Some Thoughts from the Morning of Surgery

Some Thoughts from the Morning of Surgery

They told me to arrive by 8:30 a.m. with surgery scheduled to follow around 10:30.  No food or drink after midnight as if it might be your last good meal!  No morning coffee…ughhhh.  Sticky note reminder on the counter.  Medicine restrictions a week before and three weeks after surgery.

Typically, as soon as my feet hit the floor and I’ve made a brief pit-stop,  I amble into the kitchen  to begin  the morning pour over coffee routine.  Roger has usually already started the electric tea pot and put the coffee filter in place because …well he just happens to be sweet like that.

The process is so routine …so fluid.  So much so, that it’s a wonder I didn’t need bright yellow caution tape marking off the coffee area to make sure I didn’t cross the line and mess up pre-surgery protocol.

On a normal morning, I would set my phone alarm 2-3 hours before I have to be anywhere …and “anywhere” could involve several different locations around the city.  I have the privilege of working with a team of  facilitators from our non-profit organization to share the love of Jesus with many employees and volunteers who are serving  in much-needed community organizations in our area.  ( Side note:  I’m pretty sure I  have the best job in the world. )

Times vary.  Locations vary.  Topics vary.  Google calendar reminds me where to be and when to be there.  Staff notes keep me on track to the topic that should be covered.  Prayer and research guide my morning thoughts …and coffee wakes me up to have them!!

After some quiet space–I shower, get dressed and head out the door with a Bible and a handful of notes.

September 26, 2018 was different.  The calendar reminder said, “Joy’s Surgery” — on the very date that marked the birth of our youngest son, Ben …24 years later and a very different kind of surgery.

This one was to remove thyroid cancer in my neck.  Round 2. They said after 5 years it was very unusual that it had returned this way.  I guess I’m special like that. 🙂

The date was scheduled by my doctor but I knew God had something to do with it.  As soon as she announced the date of surgery, I almost smiled as I remembered the c-section surgery I had had 24 years earlier.

This was a good day to have surgery.  There was peace in the date.   God had given life 24 years ago and He would give life again.  It felt like another promise from God that He was covering every single detail.

Miraculous peace in the process.  Anticipation of the adventure.  Expectation of what felt like a  Divinely-scheduled event.

As I was getting showered and dressed that Wednesday morning of surgery, the thought came to mind that this day — this surgery date — was just another assignment for me from God for this particular day.  It was the same as any other day …love God, love people, connect the two.

On another day my assignment might have been, “Go to the Manna House and co-lead a devotion for those 5-10 precious people I’ve gathered around the table in the little room on the right.” Another day might be, “Walk in your neighborhood and bless those you meet with encouraging words and a hug here and there.”  On most Tuesdays it might be …”Pray like a mama-prayer-warrior with others circled up in your little living room who  stand in the gap for the hearts and  lives of so many.”  Or… “Walk it out with Me.  Look for My glory in creation.  Capture beauty all around.  Snap photos to remember.”

FLOWERS arranged with love by Beth Hyde– QUOTE in background printable by Gary Morland*:  “Wherever you are is a good and important place.  Start there.” Design Artist: Annie Barnett

But on 9/26/18, it was as if Jesus said,  “Go to Crestwood Medical Center for surgery.  Bless everyone you meet with  encouraging words –showing My love in any way you can.  Make sure they feel appreciated for all they do for others.  Every tech who draws blood, every nurse who changes bandages and yes, even the one who pulls out that drainage tube from your neck — that one too!  It’s not an easy job.   And to the one who took sharp tools to carefully cut through skin and remove that cancer — hug that one.”

Somewhere between the morning shower and arriving at  the hospital, I had an overwhelming sense that today was really just like any other day of walking it out with Jesus — only this day would involve going to a different location to share the love of Jesus.  This day would include an assignment I didn’t necessarily want but one that was needed for the overall Kingdom mission to be accomplished.

Same mission statement …Love God.   Love People.  Connect the Two.  Different location assignment.    New group of people.  Ones I honestly don’t want to see again but am grateful beyond words for their part in my well-being.

If God’s word is true that “Through suffering our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies,” then our bodies will most likely have to go to places of  suffering so that the life of Jesus and the Glory of God will be visible to others. (See II Corinthians 4:10 NLT)

“Your mission Joy, should you choose to accept it …” isn’t just for the cast of Mission Impossible.  Each day is a new day with a new assignment.

While it may feel routine and run of the mill, there’s nothing really routine about it.  Every moment can be an opportunity filled with Divine appointments.  Words can leave trail marks that lead others home to the Father.  Actions can be anointed for such a time as this for the rescue of those who need an Advocate…a Savior.  Never underestimate the ordinary.

As we accept God’s assignment for today, may this be our prayer …

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

from “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV)

And as Our Father equips us with the daily bread  we need for each assignment, may everything we do bring honor and glory to His name until we hear the words, “Well done,  good and faithful servant.  Assignment Completed.  Mission accomplished. 

So what about you?  What assignment has God given you?   Is it just about today or is a long-term assignment?   Have you accepted the mission?

Quote in Photo Credit:  “Wherever you are is a good and important place.  Start there.” Gary Morland     (Artist:  Annie Barnett)  Printable found HERE.

Special thanks:  
~to my husband and our kids for their patience, love and always being there for me,
~to the doctors, nurses and medical staff at Crestwood Medical Center, Huntsville, AL,
~to so many who continue to pray me through this assignment,
~to those who called,  brought food, flowers, chocolate and coffee to sustain life and happiness,
~and especially to my Heavenly Father Who continues to love me and care for me like none other!
To God be the glory …Great things He has done!

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

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  1. Julieann Brazeal

    Sweet Joy, thank you so much for sharing these amazing words, for your beautiful role model, and for passing along the truth of God’s love and plans for his children in every circumstance. I am in awe of the ability he’s given you to see him working, to walk it out and to gently teach others. It is my honor to follow you as you follow Christ. Love you, and am praying for you!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Awww… love having you in my life!! We’ll keep walking together until we’re all home with the Father!

  2. pasturescott

    This has been a life-giving moment for me! Thank you for blessing this reader tonight my friend. God’s love to you, and may He take you even deeper into Himself through this.

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      I know you’ve had some tough assignments along the way, Scott. Your well done will be so big, I believe! May His presence and hope carry us until then.

  3. mariegriffith

    Thank you for sharing this. You’re right. We have opportunities daily. We can live like it matters even in the middle of a hard season, a scary diagnosis or a painful trial. I’m thankful for you and your beautiful family faithfully living out the Gospel every day! The Griffith family is just one of those you’ve touched in a very special way. Love you Joy!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Love you Marie. You’re doing a great job with your Kingdom assignment!!

      1. mariegriffith

        Thanks Joy. I’m glad we spur one another on!

  4. Jan Kern

    My heart stirs in prayer for you in this fight and healing process, knowing well a similar journey. I’m deeply inspired by your mission statements. Powerful! God is so clearly covering you with his feathers and sheltering you under his wings. Hugs to you, my sweet friend! And many prayers.

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Thanks Jan. You are an inspiration from all God has brought you through and continues to as well… and let’s have that food conversation when you’re free. 😉

  5. Randall Elley

    Great perspective. Your words are inspirational.

  6. Phyllis Borden

    Joy, I want to say that I thought of your mom when I read your thoughts; you are just like her always sharing God’s word with encouraging thoughts! She was a blessing to me and you are a blessing as well! God bless you, Joy. Love and hugs, Phyllis

    1. Oh Phyllis …If I could love in a fraction of the way my Mom loved …how precious that would be. She did teach us well didn’t she! I sure miss her still. I do believe we’re called to continue the legacy she and Dad began with sharing Jesus in any and every way possible to bring as many people as we can home to the Father with us. Thanks for your encouragement, Phyllis! I love you!

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