July 24, 2010

Craniotomy Part 2: How My Jesus Has Proved Himself to be my Fortress

Before you read Part 2, I have to insist that you read part 1. However, because of the way this shows up on the blog you may be tempted to read part 2 before part 1. Don’t do it.

Psalm 48:3 says that God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers and that he reveals himself to be her defenders. Verse 4 and 5 say that the kings of the earth joined forces and advanced against the city, but when they saw it they were stunned, terrified and ran away. Verse 8 says that we had heard of the city’s glory, but now we have seen it for ourselves, the city that he will make safe forever.

In the last day I have seen this, I have witnessed it in my life, and I would be a blind man if I did not walk away from this deeply impressed by the beautiful weight of this blessing I have been given. My Jesus is my tower, my defender, my fortress and I will be safe there forever.

As James described the process that I went through to have this biopsy, I hope that you were cringing mightily. I’m not t trying to toot my own horn here, but there is something deeply psychological about feeling and hearing screws crunching around the bones in your skull at four different spots, followed quickly by about 20-25 long, thick syringes of freezing puncturing into the skull again and again, and the feeling of numbing juices pumping into your head. Call me a drama queen if you will, but I never want to experience that again. Once the frame had been mounted, adjusted and readjusted several times, it was like have metal inside my head. Every time the frame was touched the reverberations traveled deep inside my head, sending a jittering feeling down my spine and into my teeth. This is not to mention the operation itself for which I was partly awake (especially during key moments like sawing through my skull, pulling and prying).

In order for you to understand how this fits into my Mighty Fortress, I have to go back a year and a half in time. Exactly one week before we left for China, in February of 2009, I had a dream that puzzled and confused me to the core of my being and I have wondered about it ever since I had it. In this dream I was sitting in an empty room by myself on a single chair, holding a gun. I was thinking to myself very calmly about the pros and cons of killing myself. I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself. I wasn’t trying to get people to notice me. I was just thinking about it logically. I speak in total truth when I say that I have never in my life been suicidal, but for some reason in this dream, I decided that I was going to do it. I lifted the gun to my mouth and I pulled the trigger.

Instantly, my head became very heavy, like it was filled with lead and it was like there were pressure points on my skull, pushing in. I could not lift my head and it was filled with darkness and weight. I felt my life leave my body and I went into a very dark and a very small place. In that place in head, I heard myself say, “Jesus, do you have anything to say to me?” Instantly I heard a response. He said, “Jessica, you hold my life in your hands.”

But everything about that seemed wrong to me. After all, isn’t it God who holds OUR lives in HIS hands? I tried to correct him, but he spoke again and in that small dark place he said to me, “Jessica, you hold MY life in YOUR hands.” After that I woke up, and that dream has stayed with me ever since, making me wonder what it could possibly mean, or why I would have had that dream when I have never been suicidal. Besides, I have always been under the impression that people don’t usually feel themselves die in their dreams.
Yesterday after they pushed, pulled, injected, screwed and pressed things into my head, they shoved me into a tiny, dark little MRI machine, and suddenly I was back in my dream again. I was in a small dark, enclosed space, with metal in my head, pressure pushing in from the outside and an inability to lift my head. It was 100% exact sensation I had had in the dream after I shot myself. The intense pain, the pressure, the exact same sensations. And in that small, dark, very scary and painful MRI machine I could hear the exact same words spoken to me again, over and over again. “Jessica, you hold my life in your hands.”

I know that there are a lot of conclusions that people could draw from this. I know it sounds crazy. There could be theological discussions, healing discussions, suicide discussions… but I’m not that interested in those, because I know that I got exactly what I needed from it. I now know, that God saw this coming and he prepared me for it. I know he loves me so much that he would give the same physical sensations to let me know that he is was/is with me during a time of extreme physical duress and emotional pain time in my life. He was with me in the place telling me that the power of his life is in my hands. If I have the power of God’s presence, I do not need anything else… even my human life. I can let go of my life knowing that his life is far greater than mine and that what he chooses to do is what he will do. Praise his name, no matter what happens I am safe in his walls! I don’t say any of this with a feeling of helplessness or giving up. Rather, it is submission and it is peacefulness…

The preliminary medical news we have received from this biopsy is not good. With the worst level being a Grade 4, Crang looks to be either a 3 or a 4. It looks like we’ll be going to surgery within six weeks, with potential for serious loss of functions on my part after the surgery. After that, chemotherapy, radiation, gradual degradation…

But he spoke to me, and no one can ever take that away from me. He loves me and no one can ever take that away from me. He loves my children and my James and no one can ever take that away from me. What a blessing! What a gift!


Jenny said...

Hey Jess and James: this is Jenny, Tannis' friend.I just wanted to let you know that I don't really know you but I love you. Just from knowing your family, reading your blog....I sincerely love you. I'm praying for you guys. God wasn't joking when he said that in this world we would have trouble hey. I hold on to that truth that He has overcome all of this trouble....already now, He has overcome this.

2 Samuel 22:3
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior

May angels fill your room with praises to the King. May God cause you to fix your eyes not on this earthly situation but above, where Christ is seated at the very right hand of God. May He help you to create boundaries to shield you from well-meaning 'help'.


Carla said...

Jessica and James, This is Carla Stutzman. My husband was the doctor who escorted you back to Canada. Your latest blog was shared in our Sunday School class today and I want you to know how deeply it affected all of us. Your willingness to see this as a blessing is an encouragement to everyone who reads it. I can clearly see God in you. Many people are praying for you from here and also my brothers-in-law and sister-in-laws in Alabama. Mo sends his regards.

Jenny said...

Tannis' friend Jenny again:

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth".

Romans 8:34-39

I felt these scriptures for you today Jessica.

Anonymous said...