Normally, we come to the blog site to bring you pictures and to tell you how our family has been faring. Today, I just want to write you my story. I want to tell you of how God has been changing me, molding me, speaking into my life, expecting me to jump when He tells me to jump. Let me start at the beginning . . .
In March, a life-altering event happened. I wish I could show you one of those before and after photos or tell you that against all odds, we found out I’m pregnant with triplets or something that could help you relate to this event. All I can really tell you is that in March I found a bulge in a place it shouldn’t be. No, it wasn’t cancer, and I know for those who are far wiser and grayer than I, my story shouldn’t be as life changing as it is . . . but God used this bulge in my life. After going to a doctor, we learned that this bulge was a Rectocele. You may not know what this and even now may be looking it up on Google. Just know that finding that bulge started a domino effect.
I went to a doctor at the nearby hospital, and she confirmed that I did indeed have a problem. I did a lot of research myself and learned that I shouldn’t be running (something I did nearly every morning) or jumping (a workout I had been doing with some other ladies involved lots of jumping) or really anything that was high impact or caused strain (picking up toys and picking up children, not included. 😉 ). After talking to a friend, I decided to seek a second opinion and drove about an hour to Santiago. Through many stumbles of language (the doctor didn’t speak English, and my very limited Spanish was not enough), I called Andrew on the phone to act as a translator. This doctor confirmed that I have a Rectocele, and she recommended me to another doctor (a proctologist, I think). She called him, and he was at his office. We headed over there, and he agreed with the other doctors. I had a rectocele, and the best way to deal with it would be surgery.
The Lord worked out every detail of that day. I was with three other ladies who willingly sat with me in various waiting rooms. I had blood drawn for a test, a thyroid exam, a chest x-ray, plus visits to several doctors’ offices, and trips to the insurance waiting room to approve everything. It is unusual to be able to accomplish so many of these tasks in one day. It often takes multiple trips. Yet, in that one day, almost everything was finished and I was just waiting for surgery day.
In April, we left our house close to 5 in the morning and headed down the mountain to the hospital. We really didn’t know what was ahead of us. We were just thankful for the Lord’s provision and great doctors. The surgery itself went well. (Although, epidurals are the oddest thing I’ve ever experienced!!) Both doctors were confident of their work, which encouraged me. Recovery was painful and slow at first (especially with a temperamental bladder and catheter problems), but God designed our bodies to heal, and the doctors said I was doing well.
We returned to the States in July and had a wonderful month being with family and friends. We returned to the D.R., and I knew that it was time to see the doctors again. I was still healing nicely, and ready for stage 2 of this surgery. Did I mention that? They could only work on the deepest work in the first surgery. It was now time to finish the work, but this time, it was only with one of the doctors rather than both. This doctor is amazing. I appreciate her professionalism, care, thoroughness, and not getting annoyed with me because of my lack of Spanish. Andrew was with me through all of these appointments, and he was great! He stayed with me throughout my time at the hospital (yes, even the extra days required because I passed out while getting out of bed each time). He translated for me to the doctor and cared for me. The doctor set up the surgery date, and the tests that I would need beforehand. We finished all we could and waited a few weeks.
Everything went well with the second surgery (as I sit here and type, we are about 2 and a 1/2 weeks past this second surgery). The doctor was confident of her work, and our recent appointment showed things to be healing well.
Now, the part of the story that I really want to tell comes between the second surgery and the last day of the hospital stay. The day we left the hospital was a joyous one for Andrew. He wanted to leave our confined space and see our kids. I wanted these things too, but for some reason, I was filled with a deep sadness. It stemmed from wanting to tell the doctor how thankful I was for her and in general be able to communicate with her. I’m fully aware that it’s my own fault that I’ve been here for four years and lack confidence in the language of the country. Yet, there it was. I felt a deep, dare-I-say, “godly discontent.” That was just the beginning for me.
I have been fighting fear my whole life. Nightmares when I was a kid. Fear of getting it wrong. Fear of getting in trouble. Fear of not being liked. Fear . . . it’s been the main battle of my life. The funny thing is that many battles have been won against fear . . . Because of that, I didn’t think I was still waging war against it. I didn’t realize that I’m STILL letting fear win. Instead of trusting Jesus with every aspect, my fear still sits heavy on my chest . . . and I didn’t even realize it! Why didn’t I step out and make a fool of myself trying to speak Spanish? Because I was afraid. Of course, this led to other revelations about myself and God’s work in my life.
I have no complaints about my life in the D.R. Dare I say that I have been learning to be content (Philippians 4:11) with my life no matter what? But I’d forgotten something . . . I’m not even sure I can put it into words. I just knew that the time had come to acknowledge a few things about myself, things that have gotten lost over the last couple of years.
I have a few important roles in my life (wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend), but they do not define who I am. My identity is in Jesus (Galatians 3:23-29). When I start with this truth, the trappings of this world begin to fade for me. It gives me new confidence and a willingness to identify the direction that God is leading me. I’ve lived in a comfort bubble for four years, but the time has come to burst the bubble. The time has come to step out in faith that Jesus is guiding my steps, no matter how foolish I might feel. I want to walk in step with the Spirit and in freedom from fear (Galatians 5).
In practical terms, I plan to use what little Spanish I know when I can and am praying that God leads me to a true Dominican friend (I have none now). Our family will be attending a church in town. God has been leading me to get back to teaching. I have no certification to do it . . . just a deep love of doing it and a gifting in it from God. Within days of this conviction, money was given for me to study TEFL online and become certified. I am now working toward that goal. Where will that lead? I cannot be sure, but I have had some promising conversations with a friend here about people she knows in town who have been asking for a teacher to come and teach them English for years. This need speaks deeply to me, and I believe God is leading me in this direction.
What I have come to realize is that I don’t just have a “desire” to burst the bubble. It’s not even a need. It’s a must. God is bursting the bubble. Let’s Go!