The Patient Heart

love-859067_1280Many who have known me for some time and others who have come to know me over the past seven years or so have likely become aware of the longstanding health challenges I have faced. Yet, despite facing challenges, doctors have been stumped by my case. According to almost all of the tests I have had over the past 7+ years I should be healthy. Along with not having an answer to why I was experiencing things like high blood pressure, fatigue, and gall stones, the past few years have been especially difficult as my symptoms have evolved, intensified, and manifest in multiple body systems.

Since there are far too many details to include in regard to my health journey I will do my best to stay focused as I share about one of the greatest revelations of my lifetime.

In 2002 I was diagnosed with a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. This condition causes an irregular heartbeat due to extra nerves that function like hyper-conductors. At the time I was a sophomore in college and the greatest tragedy was that I had to give up my competitive sports career. I walked away from a full-ride to play Division I softball and returned home for further testing. Eventually I was scheduled for an “ablation” which is the corrective procedure for the condition. After the procedure was over the doctor came to speak to me in the recovery room. He reported that when they were inside, they were unable to locate the source of the condition. In essence, the physical issue that multiple tests and doctors had confirmed wasn’t there.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

15 years after the phantom diagnosis, 7 years after my blood pressure inexplicably sky rocketed, 2 years after unexplained paralysis in half my body, and 1 year after discovering I was in adrenal failure…a week ago yesterday I saw a naturopathic diagnostician. What this doctor discovered was a heart problem. As he explained it, the abnormality in my heart has continued all these years and it is the root cause of all of the other issues that have come about. From what I understood…the irregularity in my heart is electrically influencing my brain waves which manage how all my other systems function. That is why I have experienced different issues in very different systems.

heart-915562_1280What came out in the recent appointment was that the reason the surgeon couldn’t find the physical area in my heart to fix 15 years ago is that the area that needs fixing isn’t physical.

The new diagnosis is a broken heart, one that has been manifesting its pain physically for decades. In essence, my heart is the patient.

Though I felt defeated and forlorn I was not without hope. I sat with the information and dolefully looked to God for comfort, encouragement, and guidance. He faithfully cultivated a developing sense of relief in me. The truth had been been revealed after so many years of navigating the unknown. Now the question was…what in the world am I supposed to do?

The new doctor prescribed six different things for me to start taking immediately: one for my heart, one for my brain, and four for my digestive system. But before I took a single thing, God showed up.

4am the morning after the appointment I woke up and began to pray (usual practice for the wee hours). As I prayed God invited me to go inside my heart. He placed a burning torch in my hand and I followed Him in. As the light from the flame feeding on an oil-soaked cloth began to light up a dark space, I saw an altar. I didn’t understand what it was or what it meant.

As the Spirit does, He helped me interpret what I was seeing by giving me a supplemental vision. He showed me my natural heart…but a piece of coral was inside. It was a foreign object and was not supposed to be there. It was causing blockages, pain, and strain for the heart. Over time the heart and the coral grew together. In that, the heart tissue had grown into and throughout the coral’s crevices.

I sensed that extraction would not be quick or singular. At that moment I was deeply thankful I was in the hands of the Great Physician. The entire time I felt a slight sensation of pressure in my chest and immediately afterward I felt a distinct shift. From that point on I became aware of my heart in a new, deeper way. I have already experienced pieces of the coral breaking off and God removing them in different, specific, and creative ways.

A few days after this encounter I was meditating on the heart and how it beats. In a moment it seemed that all life moved and breathed because God’s heart was beating and pumping time-as-we-know-it through His veins. The rhythm of a heavenly contraction and release was almost audible.

My prayers, thoughts, and actions for the past week have all become heart-conscious. I have felt free in ways I’m not sure I ever did before. I suspect the feelings are new and different as I am very different.

As I pursue the Holy Spirit for wisdom about how to proceed and, more importantly, how to believe, He has reminded me that Jesus has the only healthy heart. He is the only one whose heart is pure. I am encouraged because the love and living water that flows out of the heart of Jehovah Rapha is moving toward mine. His desire to heal each of our hearts is greater than we could ever know. This journey has caused me to believe that He desires to reveal what is in the heart of His people and, thereby, His Church.

And…it’s just the beginning…

The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. Proverbs 20:5

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