Gently, graciously and with lots of love God took me on a field trip 3 1/2 years ago to the ER with my beloved. In the wee hours of our 14th anniversary, I followed an ambulance 40 miles to the nearest heart center. Tears streamed down my face as I said over and over, “God, do you realize my heart is in that ambulance?”
My greatest fear had been losing my man… the one whose heart is intertwined with mine. That very fear became a potential reality when he was diagnosed with a 4.8cm ascending aortic aneurysm.
What I didn’t realize on that trip to the ER was that the hardest part was yet to come… since my man is young and otherwise healthy, the doctors determined that it would be best to simply monitor this aneurysm often, rather than risk greater problems by attempting to fix the issue. They did casually mention, though, that at 5 cm they would become concerned. What?!? .2 cm is all that stood in the gap. Oh, and the fix? Open heart surgery complete with 15 min on the heart/lung machine. My fear exponentially increased day by day.
For the first 6 months, I surrendered completely to the fear of the unknown. Each day I dreaded the phone call that would tell me that the aneurysm ruptured and that Chad was dead before anyone knew it. Though he would often reassure me and say, “this aneurysm changes nothing. God is still in control.” I still chose to live in fear. I justified this by accepting others comments…
Aren’t you afraid?
Can’t he die from this?
Did you know this is how John Ritter died?
The night before Chad’s first follow up echocardiogram and CT scan, I slept little. He held my hand through the echo and I sat in the waiting room during the CT. I prayed continually…
God, you know I can’t live without him.
God, Eric needs his dad.
God, please just heal him so I don’t have to be afraid anymore.
Though I prayed continually, I felt no peace. Instead, all I had was a heart gripped with self-absorption, fear and uncertainty.
There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18
The Sunday after meeting with the Dr. to hear that the aneurysm had not changed, I stood to worship… tears streaming down my face. We were singing of God’s grace and His mercy. Who was I to sing of these gifts when I stubbornly refused to accept them? Who was I to stand before my Creator singing of His love and obstinately clinging to fear?
The journey of surrendering Chad’s heart… my heart… started on that Sunday in November almost 3 years ago. It’s been a journey, rather than a destination. I wish I could say that I live every single day in completely surrendering this aneurysm.
Instead, I surrender my heart and his every day.