Valentine's Day is "the day of love". February is Heart Disease Awareness Month. The Go Red For Women campaign is designed to bring attention to the fact that heart disease is the number one killer of women.
I love LOVE! First and foremost God is Love! When we are born again, His love is shed abroad in our hearts, so we can love with His Love. Not conditional, not condemning, but pure unadulterated love. Not the warm fuzzies, but a power.
I have been asked to share my story. I am doing so to show how my God has been so good to me.
September 2004, I found out that I have an inherited disease call IHSS. Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis. A thickening and hardening of the heart. The septum of my heart had thickened to the point my valves could not open or close properly.
I had noticed the past year, that I had difficulty catching my breath after exertion. I often went hiking with my son's scout troop and would almost pass out. I thought "I am so out of shape, I need to exercise more!" Little did I know that exercise could have killed me. I was tired all the time and needed more sleep. Even long conversations left me gasping for air. I would become exhausted after a meal, not knowing that is a symptom of IHSS.
In September of 2004, I had a chest xray because of pneumonia. It was discovered my heart was enlarged. My doctor made me an appointment with a cardiologist for the next day. After a stress test and echo cardiogram, I was diagnosed, given some meds and told to take it easy. This doctor told me that my prognosis was not good. I began to pray. I was going through the most stressful time of my life in other areas and stress just made it worse.
After several months of being able to hardly walk and breathe at the same time, I was freshly divorced after 31 years of marriage, moved into a new house and had numerous other bad situations in my life. I was in bad shape.
In June of 2005, we took my medical records to Dr. Pacifico at the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham. His office immediately scheduled a heart cath and surgery. It happened so fast, I didn't have time to panic! In July of 2005, I had open heart surgery to shave the thickened part from my septum. Many people were praying for me. It was the most physical pain I could ever have imagined.
Through all this, God held me up. I could have been angry with God for not healing me immediately. I was told to declare healing scriptures over and over X times a day. I was told I must have "opened a door" for the devil to come in, and on and on and on.......Well, let me tell you, God had a purpose in my pain. God did not give me heart disease, but God took what was meant for evil and turned it to my good.
During my recovery, I had plenty of time to be ministered to by Him. He showed me my life, He helped me release the pain of my divorce and the abandonment and betrayal I felt because of the adultery. He healed me of the pain and abandonment I felt since childhood and how I had placed all that need on a husband who would abandon me. How HE is my husband, my Father, my Mother, all I need. He showed me how He spared my life when I could have died on a hiking trail. He showed me that the pneumonia and xray was a blessing I could not see. While I was in such a horrible place,in my life, He came in and surrounded me with LOVE. He gave me a peace, in those wee hours of the mornings, when we fellowshipped.
He healed my heart spiritually when I was at my lowest. He gave me a new heart. Filled with Him and His love. I have no hard feelings toward any one. My ex husband has my best wishes and prayers. He needs healing in his heart too. We all need to let God take all the bitterness and hurts from us. Only He can heal.
I have had a few people tell me that they do not understand why I surround myself with so many people and how I can honestly say I love them all. How I can look past their hurts and see what God sees. How I can forgive and love unconditionally. Well, let me tell you, when God has healed your spiritual heart, you can! Only His love in you can do that! To whom much is given, much is required and much is able! He has restored all the enemy had stolen and multiplied it.
It has been almost 10 years since my natural surgery. I go tomorrow for my annual checkup and echocardiagram. Each year, my doctor tells me that he cannot believe I have done so well. That I am the patient that proves the success of this type surgery. He tells me that most patients he sees do not do well, even after surgery. He always says that he is amazed by me.
And God healed my spiritual heart. I am even amazed at how well He took me through the valley of the shadow of death and brought me into a life I never dreamed possible. He is in me, around me and on me. He is my everything. And because He is, He has blessed me with such a power that can only be described as love. God is LOVE.