SGLY: The Psalms
I knew my spinal surgery would be delicate, long, and complicated. I also knew these were the same descriptive words I would use for my recovery. I am in recovery now, resting in the familiar comforts of home. Looking around my bedroom at pictures upon the wall, a part of me feels I have been in recovery my entire life, daily restoring myself to Christ until the day I stand before Him. Maybe better put, Christ has recovered me. He covered my sin in His blood and rescued me.
Before surgery, I was scared about the daunting healing process. Having to literally put one foot in front of the other with exhausting focus was frightening (and still is, at times). But these moments have bolstered my courage and resolve. I have grabbed hold of the vision of me healthy, and I walk toward this image with steady and slow determination. I am still walking.
It is not my faith that calms me, but who I put my faith in. No matter the size of the obstacle, I trust God has gone before me and paved a way through. Where I see giants, God sees victories. But during my final night in the hospital, I took a mental stumble at the feet of my giants.
The last night was a shock. I had received exceptional care from highly skilled and compassionate doctors and nurses. Everyone from food services to other patients were examples of cheerleaders and champions. I was in good hands, and I felt firmly held. Then I slipped through the fingers of the system for a block of time that dragged on through the bulk of the evening.
The new nurse assigned to my room was having an off night. As a result, I went seven hours without pain medication. My IV faltered, spoiling my sheets and staining my arm with blood. After multiple calls for assistance, the nurse told me she would be right back. She appeared distracted and unaware I was before her. She left and did not return. I became nauseous, but I could not get out of bed without assistance — help was delayed by hours.
I had to remain still in my mess until the morning light peeked through the side of the blackout blinds and a doctor came in and saw the situation. He rallied a small army around me immediately. In the company of help, I allowed myself to cry for the first time. Crying because I knew I was on the other side of night: daylight had sprung.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Joy came to me not because it was a new day but because God remained with me in the midst of my mess and pain — He paved the way and got me through.
In the hours of waiting, I understood that there was nothing within me strong enough to change the situation. My setbacks were greater than my strengths. However, when I remained still and redirected my focus upon His strength rather than my deficiencies, I was able to endure — to gather hope around me like a child’s security blanket and rest in the tenderness and power of God’s Word. And, friend, I literally rested in His Word.
During that night, when the nurse came and left, she scooted my rolling tabletop away from my reach. I was unable to collect my glasses, water, remote, lip balm, etc. It was nearly impossible to read my phone without my glasses, and I knew anyone I would attempt to call would be asleep. No position was comfortable. No thought or song soothed me. I laid flat in darkness, feeling my skin burn with irritation, the wetness of my sheets, the pain of my incision, and the stale smell of sickness.
For reasons beyond my comprehension, one word kept coming to mind: Psalms.
My phone was plugged in and stretched just far enough above my head on the mattress that I could not unplug it or put it before my eyes. I strained my neck upward just long enough to press play on an audio bible app I recognized by color. I could not maneuver well enough to control the volume which boomed in the darkness, agitating both the shadows upon the wall and in my mind.
The words of the Psalms were literally spoken over me, and in each verse, I felt my own Red Sea part and my thoughts and body being led to higher ground. I cannot determine for how long, but I know that time came and went while I laid still in the presence of God. And yet, in my stillness, I have never been so moved.
As I reflect upon my experience in the hospital, I can genuinely say I am thankful for it all. In the best and worst of it, God was ACTIVE.
I don’t know how I got my bible app to work with the angle of my phone and in the darkness. I cannot explain how the volume was so high that it forced any competing thoughts to vanquish. I can explain, however, that my suffering that night was just as much of a gift as the success of my surgery.
When people say they have heard the voice of God, I know this comes in many different forms. Mine came in the hours of darkness and discomfort with the Psalms washing over my body. I believe more than one type of healing began in that hospital, and I am thankful for both.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.