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.”
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?
~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!