Surgery of Body, and Heart: A Testimony
On December 7, 2015, I came home from work in immense physical pain. My right hip was coming up out of its socket with multiple pins in it from the July surgery. A surgery meant to give me some quality of life back from 11 years living with chronic pain from hip dysplasia.
I didn’t know that hip was coming undone.
I didn’t know my life and faith were coming undone, only to be mended and healed again.
I didn’t know that the last eleven years between diagnosis and surgery, that God was good for me. I knew in a vague sense that he was good—but that I had to trust him in the pain and not question, not doubt. And so I kept him at arms length with a shallow, tentative faith where I knew where my hope for eternity came from—but not for the present.
What I did know was fear. A lot of fear in those eleven years of chronic pain. Fear that no man would ever want to marry me with such a disability. Fear of being a burden. Then with this December where my hip came apart to be healed, new fear welled up, and with it—a deeper heart pain than I’d ever known as the rug was ripped out from under me. Fear I had overdone it and “broken” myself; undone the surgery. Fear of another infection, because a bacterial infection had sent the surgeon back in less than three weeks after that first major surgery to clean out the germs, and sew me back up. That was back in August.
We wouldn’t have known till I was back on my feet that the infection had undone the original surgery. And there I lay crying, anxious, alternating ice and heat on my hips before we saw the doctor four days later. After the Xrays I hobbled back in on crutches and sat down, just numb with fear.
He came in and announced, shockingly matter of factly, “Yeah, these Xrays don’t look good.”
He explained all of the above about the infection undoing everything, and the best option–hip replacement. We scheduled two.
We scheduled my full healing, and I couldn’t even feel joy or relief. I could barely feel, so shaken was what I had placed my hope in. No…not merely shaken. Torn asunder.
See, I remember having faith, a relationship with God – I said the prayer in the back of our family van at five years old. Grew up in church, got diagnosed with this chronic pain thing at eleven, proceeding to live a mostly contented adaptive life, got baptized at seventeen. I knew my Bible, apologetics—I could (figuratively) run the whole nine yards of a good church kid.
But the older I got, I was faced with more of my own innate sin, lies I believed about myself and circumstances – and instead of drawing near to God I thought I had to keep him at arm’s length. I didn’t want to be exposed as a fraud, after all. Not to mention I just didn’t want to expose myself to being stripped bare of pride, ability, knowledge, security, control.
But that December almost five years ago? He was just getting started with wooing me deeper into the true rest and freedom of the Gospel of Christ.
Slowly but surely, through the undoing of my hip, to the healing of both my hips from dysplasia in the first half of 2016, to God leading me to find a church home to further the healing of my heart—he has done great things for me.
I am a different person. That season of being broken to be healed was the hardest of my life thus far—and the beginning of the rest of my life, a life abundant. That dark season of depression, self-pity, and closing myself off and just sit in the pain of “I never asked for this” exposed an enormous lack of belief I was wont to acknowledge. I didn’t believe God could be good to me because he allowed such pain to be my reality for half my life to that point. Such limitation, loss in opportunities, hardship on my family—I never grieved all that until I was literally being rebuilt by surgeries in the course of eleven months. And in that rebuilding, God showed me beauty for the ashes of my deferred hopes. The ashes of expectation and timid faith and limited hope that were not rooted in his nature.
Through finding a church home of my own, God then lit a fire on the kindling of my upbringing and shaky younger faith. He picked up my pieces and put me back together. Reintroducing me to his love within the stained glass walls of my church. The same church I would come to work in. The church I would go to Haiti from and hike half a mountain, painless. The same church I would meet and marry my soulmate in.
Most importantly—this church is where I found God again. He was always there. Always with me—my foundation buried a little under the sinking sand I kept trying to pile on until all was stripped away in that eleven months of surgeries, healing, and strengthening.
He put me back together, body and soul. And thankfully—the heart surgery is not finished yet, but he will bring it to completion in Christ Jesus between here and eternity. He is faithful, good, and always true. I write all this to remember this redemption in the brokenness. The rebuilding upon the Rock of Ages who is more dear to me than ever before.
This is his story. And he is mine.
Meghan DeWalt is an author of stories about remembrance and redemption. A full-time writer, she is passionate about theology and discipleship, encouraging others to know and love God wholeheartedly in order to live according to their Gospel calling. Meghan lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Jeff, where they are active leaders in their church.
Go visit Meghan at www.meghandewalt.com