Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rejoicing in Nothing, Everything, and the Only Thing

Last Monday I wrote a happy and content blog about the nothingness of my day. After two wild weeks of viruses with the children and myself along with the hospitalization of my stepdad and his surgery, it was nice to have nothing. The nothingness of Tuesday was nice, too. On Wednesday, though, nothing became everything.

We had received the results of my blood tests early in the week. All the panels showed normal results, so we knew my chest pains three weeks prior had not been a heart attack. Frankly, I expected my doctor to tell me I had some kind of anxiety attack and should learn to relax. That didn't happen.

On Wednesday I was dropping Anna off at play practice when my cell phone rang. Assuming it was a photography customer, I answered. It was the nurse from my doctor's office. She had tracked me down. She needed to talk to me about the results of my stress test and sonogram. Since I expected a nice letter telling me I was fine, I was shocked. From there, I went to absolutely stunned.

"The wall of your heart is significantly thicker than it should be. You need to get a blood pressure machine and check your blood pressure daily. If you have more than two readings higher than 120/80, you need to come in immediately. If you have chest pains at all, you need to go straight to the emergency room."

"But last week I was told 124/76 was good."

"That is a normal person. For you, that can be fatal. Anything over 120/80 could cause you to have a stroke or heart attack. If it is that high, we have to give you medicine to get it down, or you can die."

I have no clue what else she said.

Rob met me and picked up Robert so they could go ride bikes. I spent my drive home in conversation with God.

I had a simple question: What do we do now? I don't know anything about this. What do I do?

I thought about my friend Debra's sister who is a nurse. I needed to have Debra call her. "She'll say it isn't that big of a deal, and I'm really fine."

For reasons I can only explain as stupidity, I googled "heart wall thickening" first. The first five articles all said the same thing: "You know those athletes that fall down dead on the court/field. this is what kills them." They really didn't understand the cause, and they didn't really have a way to fix it. They had some possibilities, but ultimately, it was what it was--deadly.

Nifty. I'm a walking time bomb.

When I called Debra, she was calm. At first, she simply asked for the facts the doctor gave me. I told her what the nurse had said. Then she said, "Jerri, you know this isn't going to kill you. God has given you too many promises and prophetic words. You can't do that dead."

I was silent. Tears streamed down my face. "Jerri, I've known you two years, and you've walked through hard stuff. I've never known you to cry."

"I'm not saying Satan wins. I'm saying this is scary."

"Yes, this is a scary lie," she agreed, "but it is still a lie. God is truth, and He isn't going to let this take you out."

I asked her to call her sister. She told me she'd call me right back.

When she called back, she said, "Without seeing everything, she can't say for sure, but from what I could tell her, she thinks they see the beginning of a problem of a potential problem and they are treating it aggressively. She doesn't think you'll fall down dead right now." Exactly what had gone through my head in the car.

We talked a bit longer, and I needed to hunker down with God. I needed to hear His heart. I needed to know His Word. God's Word trumps everything, and I needed to know that I know what He had to say about this.

I had questions, and mercifully, He answered:
    How do I walk through this? Keep walking.

    Do I need to be prayed over? You can be prayed over as many times as you want. You won't be anymore healed than you are right now. A paper does not define you; I do.

    What do we do to be in agreement with Him? I said you would take the Promised Land with joy. Rejoice.

When Rob and I were finally able to talk about the situation, he was shocked but calm. We agreed it would be best to make an appointment with the doctor and get more information. In the meantime, we decided nothing had really changed except we had been given a piece of paper with scary words. Ultimately, all of our lives are in God's hands, and we believe I will be here until God is done with me. Our hearts were settled.

That night was war.

I woke up several times during the night to the demonic whisperings, "You're going to die, leaving two small children without a mom, and all hell is going to break lose in their lives because you aren't there to protect them."

I had one response: "Shut up, you lying demon, and go to hell." Then I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Thursday morning I called the doctor's office. They could get me in Friday morning. Until then, the war continued, except by then, I was heavily armed.

Instead of simply lying down and wallowing, I went to my arsenal. I pulled out my journals and read God's promises. I went back to the word the Lord had given me for this year:
Time to take the Land.
Scripture: Joshua 1.

I read that passage over and over. The Lord said to go back to my journals, so I pulled out the journal for January and read my notes. Then something struck me. When the Lord gave me that word, He said, "You know, there has to be a Jericho." I knew that, and I prayed for the faith to stand valliantly.

Then another thing came to mind. "What do you always say about Jericho?"

I stopped, and a smirk came across my lips. "Every time I think of Jericho, I say the same thing: Jericho had thick walls." At that moment, I knew all would be fine. This was Jericho, and I would see it fall.

I shared with a few people close to me, and they prayed with and for me. My God had provided my army, friends who have warred with me before and new friends who have walked through the season of breakthrough my family is in and withstood the assaults. They believed Jericho would fall. They didn't know how or when. They didn't need the whole battle plan. They already knew the outcome, and they were already rejoicing in the victory.

On Thursday night Debra could see the difference, and she knew I was mentally and emotionally fine. She knew I was standing. Was I going to keep my appointment? Absolutely. Wisdom says to get more information and find out how to battle this on a physical front. I don't want to take God's promises for granted. Part of being in agreement is acting wisely. I needed information. Besides, as I had told Rob, I expected the doctor to say, "Oh, it isn't that bad at all. It's something we need to watch, but you're really okay." Rob expected it, and so did Debra.

When I dropped my children off at the skating rink with Debra, I was excited. I had expectation of seeing Jericho crash, and I was ready to move forward.

As the doctor and I talked, I told me the information I had been given on Wednesday. He didn't seem pleased. First of all, I was supposed to have seen him Thursday. The nurse never told me to make an appointment with him. Second, when I told him what I found on the internet, he shook his head, "Oh, no, that is a different thickening altogether."

He explained that one in contrast to mine. He summed it up this way: "If we don't deal with this, in twenty years, your quality of life will be nothing. So we are going to figure out if your blood pressure is high now or if this is past damage. If it is high now we'll figure out what triggers it. When we get it under control, your heart will go back to normal."

He then laid out our plan of action, and I left his office with the smell of dust and rubble in my nose.

Jericho was down.

I am not going to pretend that everyone's battle is so easy. I fought for my dad for 15 years, and five years ago at the young age of 62, he passed on. I stood with a friend recently as we fought for her father-in-law who battled cancer. Cancer won. I have battled for babies who were born too soon and didn't have the strength to live.

I don't know why those battles ended in what I feel was a loss. I only know what I've learned.

  • I have learned to stand on God's Word no matter what a doctor's report says.
  • I have learned when God speaks something forth, all of hell will fight against it, but my God is All Mighty.
  • I have learned being attacked does not mean I've lost the battle. It means I'm fighting it.
  • I have learned to write the promises God has given me as a record to remind myself of His Sword, and when the enemy comes at me, my Daddy's sword will take him down.
  • I have learned the incomparable power of having warriors who stand with me.
  • I have learned being surrounded by all the mighty warriors in the world means nothing if I won't get on my feet.
  • I also learned whether I am rejoicing over nothing or in everything God's Word and His promises are the only things that matter.

Praying you can rejoice in nothing, everything, and most importantly, the Only Thing.

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2008


Robin said...

What an incredible attitude in the face of a situation that could be fear inducing - standing in HIS power and talking to HIM...

Thanks Jerri for encouraging me and others by sharing your own journey with us!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Psalm 73
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Jan Parrish said...

Jerri, You are in my prayers. :)

Anonymous said...

Jan, thanks. We are rejoicing that Jericho has fallon and we are moving on! As scary as the first 24 hours were, I wouldn't trade last week for anything. I learned far more than I wrote here, and I'll talk about that eventually. My prayer now is that I hold fast to the treasures the Lord gave me and don't forget the clarity of mind that came with the gift of seeing the brevity of time. God blessed me so much, and I am so thankful for last week. God gives such wonderful gifts wrapped in all kinds of bows, and walking through this has been one of the greatest gifts I've ever gotten.



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