Medical Trauma Has Been on My Mind

Medical trauma has been on my mind. Despite, or maybe because of, the current pandemic that is disrupting all of our lives, I’m pressing onward in writing my story. I want to remember every detail; all of the moments of anguish just as much as the squeals of delight. Medical problems are traumatizing and often overlooked when we study trauma-informed care. I knew my mom would have more answers for me but I also knew that a hard conversation needed to occur.

“Mom, I need a favor. I’m working on a writing project and need for you to try to remember all of the details about my surgery and the time you spent at the hospital with me.”

“Um…well…I remember it as if it was yesterday but then I also have times during it that I’ve blocked out or something. I’ll try…I just don’t know if I can remember all of it.”

Within seconds, Mom started pouring out details of that fateful time in 1983. The paper quickly filled up with notes. I barely kept up with her. Her voice cracked a few times, followed by a drawn-out silence until picking back up where she left off. I knew she was holding back tears. I knew this was hard for her to go there again. As you can see in the image, Mom thought she couldn’t remember that much because of the stress involved at that time, but she did.

What I experienced is considered medical trauma. For her (and my Dad), it is also trauma induced by the near-death experience of their daughter.

Why am I telling this to you? Because medical trauma has been on my mind. I’ve been trying to dodge the fear of getting sick with this virus. I know, however, that it is a trauma-trigger for me. And, for anyone who has experienced significant, life-changing illness. It is also triggering for people who cared for those of us who survived serious illness.

Tonight, I’m thinking of all the people around the world who have just narrowly escaped death or the ones who are fighting it. I’m thinking about the health care professionals who are battling exhaustion and fear so they can keep someone else alive. My heart is with those who couldn’t be there for their loved one’s final days.

This virus is traumatizing for our society. As we push through it and prayerfully get through it, we will come out okay, but changed. Medical trauma is just as real and valid as any other form of trauma.

Let’s keep each other close in thought. Let’s check on each other, show grace and kindness. We will all remember the fear or worry that we are feeling right now, but we can also do our part in letting compassion and putting others’ needs in front of our own become just as memorable.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad (jumping in the deep end)

Father's Day

When I was 3-years-old, my dad threw me into the lake and yelled, “Kick, kick, kick!”  My mom was not pleased (to say the least) as he scooped me out of the water.  He did this to teach me how to swim, to not be scared, and to learn what to do should I find myself in the water again.

When I was five-years-old, my dad pushed me off and ran behind me as I learned to ride my bike without training wheels.  “Peddle!”, he yelled as I excitedly conquered riding on two wheels.

When I was 9-years-old, my dad looked up at me on the diving board of the deep end  and yelled, “You can do it!” as I did a gainer off of the board.

When I was 11-years-old, my dad held my hand as he told me I would never have children.

Waking up from my hysterectomy, in a daze, I saw him and the doctor standing over me.  The courage and strength he must have carried just to mutter those words overwhelms me.  It breaks my heart and fills it with pride all at the same time.  Actually, I do not recall one time waking up in the hospital without him present.  Even as an adult, if I have a serious medical issue come up, he is there.  He has always been there.

As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend in the US, the times my dad has told me to “jump” or held my hand when I needed it the most, have flooded my mind.  My dad is not perfect.  He was not as a young father and he is not as a grandfather but he is always there and always giving his two-cents-worth (or more).

I can come up with a thousand words to describe my dad but that would make way too long of a blog post and I’m sure you would get bored with it.  I’ll just say this.  My dad is loyal.  He is opinionated (even when you don’t want to hear it).  He has a soft heart (even if he doesn’t want others to know it).  He is exactly the kind of Earthly dad that I need (even if that irked me as a teenager).

Throughout my life, I have had this notion; this juxtaposition that I need to be careful and brave all at the same time.  I have carried this feeling that life is precious but also worth taking a risk.  I learned this from my parents – especially my dad.

When it has come to making decisions that might elate and break my heart at the same time, I have always tended to go for it, despite the risk.  When it comes to expressing my opinion even if it means being misunderstood or ignored, I have usually leaned towards just stating it.  A big part of this is the faith I have in God; my Heavenly Father, Keeper of my Secrets, Whisperer of my dreams.  Another part, of course, is my Earthly Father; my dad.

As I get older and watch my parents get older, I have come to recognize the full measure of what it is to have a dad (and a mom) who are still active in parenting.  They give me advice.  They help around my house.  They celebrate special events.  They cry when I cry.  They laugh when I laugh.  They worry…just like I suspect I will when my children are adults.  I know our days are numbered.  I know that one day, I will wake up without my parents to call or cry to or just be there.  It is becoming more real as we all traverse this crazy thing called life.  I do not know how many Father’s Days I will have with my dad but I do know that each and every one is special and that I appreciate him more and more as time passes by.

Looking back on life, he has always been there.  When we fostered, he was immediately at my door step the minute we accepted our children into our home.  As a grandparent through adoption, he has never wavered in his love for my kids.  Not once.  Not for a second.  Never.

Back in 1983 when my dad held my hand and whispered truth and encouragement into my ears, I would have never guessed that we would be where we are today…three kids…three lives touched by adoption…three lives influenced by my dad…hearts that were once filled with grief, now at peace.

On this Father’s Day, to my dad, I want to say, “Thank You”.  Thank you for throwing me in the lake at 3-years-old.  Thank you for pushing me off on my bike ride at 5-years-old.  Thank you for yelling “You can do it!” when I was 9-years-old.  Thank you for digging through your own grief and finding the wisdom to tell me at 11-years-old that I would never have biological children.

As an adult, when considering choices in front of me, I usually go with the attitude of “go for it”.  I know this came from my dad.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  Thank you for encouraging me to always jump into the deep end.  

A Letter to the Nurses Who Had a Hand in Saving My Life {and every single nurse out there}

It’s no surprise that doctors tend to get a lot of affirmation for their life-saving precision when it comes to surgery.  The doctor who performed my surgery reluctantly received plenty of attention for saving my life.  My case and the way he performed my hysterectomy have been studied both abroad and at home.  He chose to take on the surgery (first of its kind) knowing the risks at hand.  Even his wife knew of the concerns.  She called her friends and they gathered to hold a prayer vigil while he was performing the surgery.

I still have him as my doctor and see him often.  I can call him anytime I need something – day or night.  He and his wife came to our adoption celebrations.  We’ve exchanged Christmas cards and shared food together.  Our families have stayed friends through the years and he knows that I hold no bitterness towards him or the Lord.  Even still, he gets a bit weepy when we talk about my surgery.  It absolutely impacted his life.

The reality is that it was not just his expertise and his hands that saved my life.  There were many nurses who walked through that terrible sadness of my illness; yet, they did not receive the same type of attention and they did not get to watch me grow up and eventually become a mother.

To the nurses who worked the pediatric floor at the formerly called St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Missouri and who had a hand in saving my life in 1983, thank you.

Thank you for carrying my family through a horrible ordeal.  Thank you for holding my mother up while she nearly collapsed from the news and for offering my dad extra blankets at night because he just couldn’t leave.  Thank you for wiping away tears, caressing my hands and speaking words of encouragement into my ears.

Thank you for holding my body down while the needles were sliding in and out of my veins.  I knew it needed to happen and you did, too.  Thank you for checking in on me all of the time and showing the utmost professionalism with the full measure of tenderness.  Thank you for sneaking a friend onto the floor (even though it was against hospital policy).

Thank you for seeking my parents out to offer assurance that I was receiving the best care and for being goofy, smiling a lot and cheering my recovery.  Thank you for putting up with my smarty-pants antics when you couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my IV machine but I could (and I told you how to fix it).  Thank you for holding each other accountable.

I’ve often thought about the nurses on the pediatric floor who tended to my needs.  Without them, I know my experience in the hospital could have gone a lot different.  Even though it was a traumatic time, the love received absolutely made an incredible impact on my healing.

Nurses deal with anger, confusion, grief, sickness, bodily fluids, weeping parents and screaming patients on any given day.  They are comforters, counselors, scientists, and mentors.  They are teachers, advice givers, and hand-holders.

They intentionally walk into the trenches of sickness and trauma, sometimes even at their own risk.  They put up with bureaucracy, policies, and politics and do so with their patients on their minds.  Nurses do not get enough credit for the life-affirming and hope-dealing job that they do.

hosp1

To the nurses who had a hand in saving my life in 1983 and to all of the nurses out there, thank you.

“I Wish I Had a Hysterectomy at Eleven.”

Me (at the ER for kidney stones following the typical question regarding last menstrual cycle): “I had a hysterectomy when I was eleven-years-old so I do not have periods.” Nurse: “Oh. I wish I had a hysterectomy at eleven.”

Um…really? Let’s break that down just a bit.

1) You wish you would have had a major surgery as a child.

2) You wish you would have been in the hospital for nearly a month.

3) You wished you would have missed nearly half of a year of school.

4) You wish you would have felt completely different from girls your own age.

5) You wish you grew up knowing you would never have biological children.

6) You wish you would have believed that your lot in life was your fault and that God was punishing you for some reason.

7) You wish you would have attended baby showers with the full pressure of grief on your heart.

8) You wish you would have cried until you could not cry anymore over what life had thrown you.

9) You wish you would have walked around with the weight of the world on your shoulders.

10) You wish you would have fought the physical, emotional and spiritual battles that encompasses infertility.

11) You wish you would have had to make the decision to be courageous enough to explore foster care and adoption.

12) You wish you had to look into your children’s eyes and try your best to explain why they did not grow in your tummy and why they are not able to grow up with their biological parents.

Don’t get me wrong.  I so appreciate nurses.  Nurses sustained me throughout the many operations and medical issues in my life (both in childhood and adulthood).  The compassion I felt from the nursing staff was incredible and even at a young age, I recognized it.   They are the front-line warriors of so many tragic endings and for that, I have great respect.

However, there have been a handful of medical professionals who have reacted oddly when learning of my surgery.  Some have questioned why the medical team felt it necessary to remove my uterus and other organs.  Others have given flighty statements like the one described above.  The bottom line is that if you do not know what to say to someone, then just either don’t say anything or say something like, “That must have been really hard for you to go through.”

I have found that people who experienced severe medical issues as children are some of the most resilient adults.  I know I may be assuming a lot and that’s okay.  Those of us who have been delivered from the brink of death get that compassion and understanding are so important to the human experience.

If you are someone who experienced a tragic medical history, you’re strong.  You got this.  You know that a select few can truly relate to what you have been through and that’s okay.

If you are someone experiencing infertility, close your heart off to the silly notions and words of others.  You know what you are going through.  You get that others don’t get it.

If you are a nurse, you have the most incredible opportunity to show love, kindness, and compassion.  Keep doing that.  Mind your words, of course, but continue to fulfill the calling on your life to tend to the hurts of so many who need you.

“I wish I had a hysterectomy at eleven.” After all these years, I haven’t forgotten these words. Let’s just all commit to minding our tongues.

After all, words do hurt and if given the choice, wouldn’t you want your words to heal?

To the Momma-in-Waiting on Mother’s Day

To the Momma-in-Waiting on Mother’s Day,

This is a tough time, isn’t it?  Your Facebook feed is filled with pictures of smiling moms with their little ones adorning them with cards, pictures, and gifts. You “like” the pictures but in your heart, you have grown to despise them a little bit.  Not the people, of course, but the pictures.

Here’s a little glimpse of what your Mother’s Day (which always falls on a Sunday) may look like:

You grab some coffee and choke down your breakfast but you are not hungry. There’s a lump in your throat and you know why.  After trying on what seems like a bazillion different outfits, you settle on one but it still isn’t good enough.  It’s not that you look bad.  You’re just uncomfortable and the clothes have nothing to do with it.

Your husband walks in, compliments you and you sort of shrug it off.  He knows something is wrong and suggests that maybe skipping church would be okay for today.  You say, “No, it’s fine”.  In your heart, you know it’s not fine, yet you don’t want to be THAT person who skips church just because it’s Mother’s Day.

Off you go, heading towards what you know will be a less than desirable time. On the way there, you beat yourself up over the self-pity that has taken over.  At the front door, greeters welcome you with, “Happy Mother’s Day!” You nod…thinking, “Don’t they know I’m not a mother.”

The sermon, yeah, this is where it gets sticky.  Pastor goes on and on about children and motherhood.  He delivers an enthusiastic message about how God created women to be unique and that childbirth is a miracle.  You listen, sort of.

You fake a good smile when the congregation gives an ovation to the Moms in the room.  You even muster up the strength to slap your hands together but not too enthusiastically and certainly without passion.  You feel ridiculous for being bitter, especially in a church of all places.  All the time, you sink further and further into your skin.

Sweet friend, you are a Momma-in-Waiting and this day is really hard, isn’t it?

It just doesn’t make sense anymore, does it?  You are strong.  You are faithful. You’ve done everything right to prepare for having a family to call your own, but now, you’re just adrift in a lifeless sea.  People tell you, “Just trust God.”  The problem with this is you have always trusted God.  This is not a matter of trusting Him any more or any less.  It’s a matter of heartbreak, loss, and confusion.

It’s not that Mother’s Day is the only one out of the year that reminds you of a life without children.  You are reminded daily through social media, walking by the maternity sections of stores, negative pregnancy tests, grim news from the doctors, financial bills from IVF treatments, getting invitations in the mail to baby showers, and hearing that another person (among many) is expecting.  This is what is hard about infertility and what is most misunderstood about it.

You have become a captive to the bones that carry you around.  Your body is a stranger to you; betrayal of the greatest kind.  Your heart beats and blood flows but it feels like an empty vessel; a shell of what it once was.  Your thoughts won’t let you escape the narrow road that you are walking, even though you try. All this nonsense has awakened a level of sorrow that you never knew existed. Truth be told, you wouldn’t wish this upon anyone.  You never wished it upon yourself.

There’s a special place in your imagination that you frequently visit.  It has visions of pregnancy, childbirth, picking names and holding on to the living witness of love that has come into your life.  It is filled with birthdays, family pictures, giggles, and grins.  You visit if often and even though it brings you pain, it also brings you hope.  Hang on to it.

Survive for the sake of that special place.

No one else should or could tell you how to get through Mother’s Day.  Just do what you need to do.  I’m not even going to tell you what will make this day easier because I know the only thing that would make it better is for a child to look at you, wrap his little arms around you, and call you, “Mommy”.  This is a truth that churns up both devastation and fortitude.  This is something that you know all too well.

To the Momma-in-Waiting on Mother’s Day,

Above anything else I’ve said,

Momma-in-Waiting, on this Mother’s Day, I’m thinking of you. 

The Fall-Out After a Hysterectomy {what I want others to know}

One purpose for my blog is to share my experience with other women who are going through a hysterectomy or facing infertility.  I’ve had multiple conversations with women who have undergone a hysterectomy and while some women were like “Good Riddance!”, this is not the case for the majority of ones that I’ve spoken to.  Even though my hysterectomy occurred before I could really conceptualize the impact of it, I still had overwhelming thoughts about what had happened.  Not only was I confused by them, I couldn’t even appreciate or understood why confusion existed.

Although having a hysterectomy may be required at times and has become a bit more simple of a surgery, the emotional experience can be very difficult to navigate.  I want to help others going through a hysterectomy by sharing a few of the thoughts that I have experienced in my life.  (Please note that not everyone may feel this way)

  • “I am not female anymore.”  Believe it or not, this is a thought that can occur once someone has a hysterectomy.  The question of “What am I?” may cross a woman’s mind.
  • “I am no longer attractive to my mate.”  Yep.  Women DO struggle with this after a hysterectomy.  I used to believe that other girls/women put off a sexier or more womanly vibe that I possessed and that guys could tell; like men could tell that I was infertile. Seem crazy to me now, but it was a truth in my life that I had to overcome.  I compensated for it; sometimes, with bad decisions and other times with the “I don’t care about any of it” attitude.
  • “I must have done something wrong.”  Shame. Guilt.  Unworthy.  Although ridiculous in many ways, these words can describe the feelings that come about after undergoing a hysterectomy.  Infertility has a way of shouting this to us as well.
  • “I am broken.”  Despair upon despair.  Damaged goods.  It is hard to put a word that truly gives the meaning of what women go through after a hysterectomy.  Broken seems just about right.

Often, women do not want to talk about their feelings because they are embarrassed to feel the way they do or fear they might be misunderstood.  This seems to be especially true for younger women who are faced with the onslaught of friends complaining about periods and announcing pregnancies.  Infertility is one thing but when you throw in a hysterectomy, the game changes.

For most people, these doubts and feelings will not make sense.  For many others, though, there is great emotional fall-out after a hysterectomy, and, it is one that is surprising in nature.

If you have had a hysterectomy and are struggling, please know that what you are experiencing is normal.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Allow yourself time to grieve, and know that there are others who have had shared your emotions time and again.

7 Billion Ones {photography/storytelling project}

In the latter part of 2015, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting photographer Randy Bacon, and his sweet wife, Shannon.  They invited me to be a part of their amazing movement/project/mission called “7 Billion Ones”.  Their goal is to excite others in believing that “Your Story Matters”, and to instill inspiration through images and words.

I am not a person who takes a ton of selfies, and I certainly don’t like to have my picture taken, but the purpose and validation through this cause was well worth stepping in front of the lens.  My purpose for being in it was this:  to share my story so that others in similar circumstances can be inspired to never give up.

Even if I only have an audience of one, but that one person is moved to encouragement by my story, then it is well worth it.  We never know how sharing ourselves with others can directly impact lives.

You can check out my story by clicking the link below.  Spend some time exploring all of the stories on the 7 Billion Ones website.  I promise you will find a great deal of inspiration from the multitude of others who have stood in front of the camera and told their stories.

7 Billion Ones Story

And, dear friends, keep telling your own stories.  Our lives, full of characters, drama, sadness, and joy, are what makes this big ‘ole world go round.  You never know how your story will affect others; even if it is only an audience of one.

Blessings,

Caroline

I see the Lord’s redemption

This is a picture of my dad with the kiddos on Father’s Day. To you, it might just seem like a happy pic of a Grandfather with some of his Grandchildren; however, I sense an incredible ending to a story started so many years ago.Family

In 1983, when the sadness entered our lives during my illness, my dad held my hand almost day and night while in the hospital. He sat by my bed, gently rubbed my hand, and said over and over again, “If I could trade places with you, I would.” We had all just plunged into the torrential world of barrenness.

When I look at this picture, this is what I see: an incredible sense of HOPE for the future, an opportunity to pass along life-lessons learned through the years, and in so many ways, I see closure.

I see the Lord’s redemption. I see His promises of love, hope, and a future. I see bloodline disappear, and love take over.

I see a Grandpa who is completely enamored by his Grandchildren.

I know that while the Lord planned my life to include my children, He wrote the script of my parents’ lives to include them as well.

What a happy ending to the sorrow that started so many years ago…
What a way, Lord, to show Yourself in our lives…
What an amazing vision You have given us for our future…

What an incredible sense that after my dad and my mom have gone on to You, these children…these precious souls…will carry a piece of them as they grow into their own place in this world…

If one ever doubts the majesty of a loving Heavenly Father, please take a look at this picture. A Dad who watched his daughter dance on the edge of death, steer her way into the world with barrenness on her shoulders, step into the world of foster care and adoption without knowing what the next step would look like, and approach the courts three times over to prove herself, is the same Grandfather who is enjoying three children whose own lives were majestically penned to be in his.

What a happy ending to the sorrow that started so many years ago…
What a way, Lord, to show Yourself in our lives…
What an amazing vision You have given us for our future…

What an incredible sense that after my dad and my mom have gone on to You, these children…these precious souls…will carry a piece of them as they grow into their own place in this world…

The Road Less Traveled

roadI went for a run the other night, and found myself alone on the path.  I thought, “This isn’t the first time I’ve been on a road alone.”  Growing up with what happened to me, I always felt I was walking down a different path in life.  I was a sojourner discovering a new world all to myself.  No one could relate. No one could understand.  No one could comfort. The chains of barrenness bound me to relive my regrets, my insecurities, and my unfulfilled desires over and over again.

I was on the road less traveled.

It was hard, really hard, to fully understand and accept that I would never have children through birth.  I hid my insecurities through a big smile, an adventurous spirit, busy life, and a confident persona.  Yet, beneath that chameleon-like suit, was a girl blindly walking through a tunnel without a light.

I felt forsaken by the Lord.  I had to navigate the road before fully understanding the terrain.  I had heard that the greatest of all gifts are children, and yet, there I was childless, damaged, and forgotten.  The Lord felt thousands of miles away…

Here I am now thirty years after my surgery, and infertility is spoken about, but not often understood.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by how many women, and men, struggle with similar gut-wrenching tugs on their hearts, minds, and spirits.  If only I had a “mentor” growing up, or someone who would have shared with me that barrenness would stay with me for life.  It would get harder the older I got, and it would try to siphon the joy from grand moments in life.  If only, I had someone to walk with me down the road less traveled.

My advice to anyone going through similar issues is quite simple: listen to your heart, cry when you need to, don’t let others negotiate your infertility for you, and never give up hope.

NEVER.GIVE.UP.

I didn’t walk down this road to keep my experience to myself.  Now, as a parent, I certainly don’t want to silence the songs my heart sings about grace, forgiveness, and the gift of children.  Looking back on my journey, I get a sense that it all led to this time in my life where I can speak out loud the twisted thoughts, confusing notions, and painful longings of my youth.

IMG_1517So, here I am.  I’m still walking the road that was carved out during that fateful time in September of 1983.  The difference now is that I’m no longer walking the road less traveled by myself.

I’m sharing it with a host of others who are walking alongside me.  I’m walking side-by-side with my husband who could have chosen a different path.  I’m celebrating it with family members whose lives and love have grown tremendously since the kids entered our lives.  I’m being carried by the strength of the Lord, and, I’m skipping down it holding the hands of my children.

I’m on the road less traveled, but I am no longer alone.

Related Posts:

Momma-in-Waiting

Glass Door

The Lens of Forgiveness

I often speak of life as viewing it through a lens. Because, we do. Sometimes, our lenses are clouded up with despair. Other times, they are full of bright light and joy. For me, the lenses to which we view trauma and relationships can get quite complicated. However, life can change when we view it through the lens of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is something that I’ve always thought I understood. I’ve never been one to carry grudges.  Truth be told, I never really had to face the hardship of truly forgiving someone until I had to come to terms with the grim reality that my illness, which resulted in my hysterectomy, was caused by infection left in my body accidentally by the doctor who performed an appendectomy on me when I was just 2-years-old.  I had carried the notion for over twenty years that it was a medical mistake, but did not get that confirmation until approximately three to four years ago.

I was told by the doctor who performed my hysterectomy that somehow, during my appendectomy, a pocket of the infection was missed, encapsulated itself, and became something similar to a fluid-filled sac.  The bacterium inside the sac was very opportunistic, anaerobic and in the same family as botulism.  

Even though this type of bacterium is commonly known about today, in 1983, I was the second known case of a person having it in the United States.  It protected itself and thrived for many years in my body until, for whatever reason, the sac ruptured.  Perhaps it ruptured because of the heavy weight of something I had carried a week prior on my right hip after exploring my uncle’s farm.  Perhaps not; guess I will never really know for sure.

The summer before my illness, I was healthy, dancing competitively, and gearing up for my 6th grade year.  I did not know that a time-bomb was ticking away in my body.  The doctor who performed my appendectomy nine years earlier never knew either.  He still may not know.

He may not know about how close I came to dying during that fateful time in September of 1983.  He may not know about the spiritual, emotional, financial, and physical toll it took on my parents.  He may not know that my body was never the same again; and, neither was I.  He will never understand what it is like to be the only girl around who never got her first period.  He may not ever know how confused I was during my teenage years, how tormented I felt about what happened, and how I believed I would never find a man who would love me….just me….without the promise of children.

The doctor who performed my appendectomy may never know how the foot-long scar on my belly stared back at me in the mirror, how I regretted that scar, how I wished it away, and how I didn’t want it to show my vulnerability.  He does not know that I never saw myself as a mother, or that I waited until I was almost thirty to get married.  

He never sat next to me while driving away from baby showers with painful tears.  He never had to explain over and over again to medical professionals why I had a hysterectomy at a young age, or pretend to understand pregnancy during conversations.  He didn’t have to hear all of the unwarranted words of wisdom given to me from others regarding my barrenness.

The doctor may not know about the heavy blanket of sorrow I wrapped around myself while weeping in my bed, alone, and away from the world.  He may never know how close I came to fully turning away from the Heavenly Father I believed in as a young child.  He will never hear the prayers I cried to my God for some answers; for just one chance to be a mother.

No, he will never know these things…but…he will also never know how I don’t blame him for what happened.  I don’t harbor ill feelings.  I don’t wish to go back in time and correct his oversight.  There is no need to lash out. I won’t say his name. There is no desire to grieve over my barrenness that was caused by the work of his hands.  I’ve grieved enough.

I have forgiven him.  I know in my heart that he would have never intentionally left this bacteria in my system and that he did the best he could with a very ill toddler whose appendix had ruptured.  Who I am not to forgive him?  Who am I to look at this and think anything different from how I feel?  It was a mistake; pure and simple.

Truthfully speaking, if the mistake had not happened, I would have grown into adolescence and adulthood, never comprehending the beauty that comes out of struggles. Joy comes when being encountered with the revelation of the Lord’s penmanship in life.  Would I have ever sought to become a foster parent, experienced the humbling path of loving another mother’s child, or discovered faith while declaring my children’s names to the Lord in prayer for their safety and for His will to be done? I’m not sure.

I don’t know if I would have ever grasped the full measure of just how vulnerable I am without the presence of a Living God in my life.  If I had not experienced the darkness of the valley I’ve walked through, I’m not sure that I would be able to completely comprehend that forgiveness doesn’t come from my own ability.  It comes from the grace and forgiveness that was first given to me.  I don’t blame the doctor who left the life-changing infection in my body.  I have no feelings for him that would cause one to question if I am capable of forgiving someone.

No, I don’t blame the doctor, I forgive him.  If I would have clung onto the knowledge of this mistake and allowed it to blur my vision, I don’t know how my story would be written.  My life story that I view through the lens of forgiveness is one of pain, but also of promise.

Forgiveness is cleansing.  It leaps, dances, and embraces.  It grabs a hold of one’s heart, tears out the pain, and flies off with it.  Forgiveness wipes off the lens that life is viewed through, and it retells the story of life without the aftertaste of bitterness left behind in life’s tragedies.

The Lord sees us through the lens of forgiveness. Surely, we can see each other through it as well.

Forgiveness is a mightily freeing thing.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. -Ephesians 4:32

Friends, Is there someone you need to forgive?  Are you at a place where you feel stuck in past transgressions?  Go to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to help you forgive.  Unleash what is pulling at you. Let it fly away, and forgive.  May God bless you.