Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Waiting in the Theater: A Surgery Based on Prayer and Guidance

I had dinner with a surgeon a few weeks ago. No, I’m not dropping names. Instead, I’m dropping one of the stories he shared and hope you will pick up the same thing as I did that evening: greater amounts of faith.

My parents invited me over to dinner to meet Grace and Dr. Moses while they were here visiting from Uganda. Grace is the Director of Christ Aid and her husband runs the clinic they recently opened.

I can guess at what you’re thinking because it probably parallels my first misconception as I envisioned a make-shift clinic in the middle of nowhere with a poorly trained staff. Let’s put that idea on a shelf for a while as reality unfolds in its place.

You see, Dr. Moses once was a surgeon in Kampala, Uganda, a booming metropolis that is home to over a million people. It wasn’t until Grace and Moses decided to join the ChristAid staff that they returned to a village. But although Moses left the big city, his reputation and name continued to float through the packed streets of Kampala.

Speaking of packed streets, that’s exactly the reason for one man’s injuries. He was riding a motorcycle of sorts in those crowded streets and had a horrible accident. He was taken to the largest and most expensive hospital in Kampala. Doctors attempted to figure out how to help him, but they were unsure what the best treatment would be. Frustrated and concerned that he wouldn’t survive, his family transported him to the second best hospital in the area.

The medical care at that hospital also has a good reputation, but the man’s injuries were so severe that the doctors there weren’t confident on how to proceed.

“I know exactly who can help him,” a doctor told his family. “There is a Dr. Moses who has a small clinic. He is a skilled surgeon. He’ll know what to do.”

Although it sounds counterintuitive, his family moved him once again, this time leaving the big city and its sophistication.

“He had so much cerebral-spinal fluid draining out of his ears,” Dr. Moses said, “that I didn’t know if he was going to make it, or if he did, if he’d ever walk again.”

I’m not going to try telling you exactly what Dr. Moses said because I promise I’ll mess up the details, but here are the parts I remember with certainty:

Dr. Moses got the man stabilized and managed to get the fluids to stop draining. Then, he prayed.

No, not one of those, “dear God, what do I do?” prayers lasting a couple milliseconds. We’re talking days.

Remember the frustrated family? Well, they weren’t too pleased with the wait on God mentality, at least not if God wasn’t delivering answers in minutes or hours.

“But God hadn’t shown me what to do yet, so we kept praying,” Dr. Moses said quietly. “It wasn’t until we fasted three days later that God showed me what to do.” With the exact steps firmly in his mind, the good doc raced to the clinic, leaving at 2 am while Grace continued praying, as is her tradition whenever he performs an operation.

In the theater.

“I raced to the clinic and prepped him and took him into the theater.”

“I was in the theater all day.”

“Um, when you say ‘theater,’ are you referring to an operating room?” my brother-in-law asked.

“Yes, yes of course,” Dr. Moses replied, a small grin spreading across his face.

As a young man, Moses decided to become a doctor to help save lives. As he excelled in his studies and practice, he went on to become a surgeon–or more accurately, he embraced God’s call to neurosurgery.

It makes absolute sense that the place where he most lives out his call is referred to as the theater. I’d assume the man’s family was there and I guarantee they wanted him to make it through the surgery, as did Dr. Moses. But his focus wasn’t on them and not even on him. Instead, it was on the One who had shown him so clearly what to do and on letting Him continue to guide and direct.

And in that operating room of a theater, Dr. Moses once again did a performance of sorts–a performance that reminds that our God is real. Personal. And oh, so able.

Dr. Moses has a camera in his theater and records all of the surgeries he performs, including that one that began in the wee hours of the morning and ended late in the afternoon. If he hasn’t yet, I’m sure the man who was operated on will watch that video, for he is expected to make a full recovery (which if you ask me is Emmy-award winning theater stuff).

So, I ask you the two questions I haven’t been able to stop asking myself:

  1. Are you willing to wait? No, I mean really, really wait. To dive in deep in prayer and petition to let God’s truth ring out, even when it isn’t the proper or politically correct thing to do.
  2. Where is your theater? What are you doing there to use the gifts God has given you?

If you’d like more information on ChristAid, check out their website. The clinic is so new that it isn’t on the website yet, but you’ll find ways to sponsor a child, a grandma, or make donations to help buy medical supplies for Dr. Moses’ clinic.

Stacy Voss

 

Not Ashamed of my Need

My alarm rang at 5am today. I turned it off then checked email, hoping to buy a few minutes of rest before getting ready for boot camp. And that’s when I saw it: this week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt.

Need
Not Ashamed of my Need

Dare I say that word at 5am has super bad connotations? I instantly reverted back to my “oh, I need you, I can’t live without you” days. Gag.

Or worse, the “I don’t need you.” Okay, so those days weren’t ever articulated, but I lived out the mindset nonetheless. They weren’t really days, though. It was more like years. Many, many years.

Going through a divorce taught me that needing people isn’t such a bad thing (yes, you can laugh at the irony that if I had learned it properly earlier, I might not have been going through a divorce. Feel free to learn from me).

Gone were the days of emulating my favorite superhero, Wonder Woman. I couldn’t keep my stuff together. Shoot, I couldn’t even go to the grocery store without praying God would put a friend in my path so I could make it through without falling to bits.

Truly.

Way back when, I think I had some sort of belief that because of God’s grace and the many things He’s filled me with, it was an idolatry of sorts to need others. Today, I see it entirely opposite. It’s idolatry to believe I don’t need others. I don the coat of arrogance when I pretend I don’t need the people God places in my life.

Some are lifers and others are for a season, but no matter the number of days our paths intersect, they are there for a purpose. Sometimes its for me to pour more predominantly into them. Other times its the other way around. And most times its just for us to walk this path called life out together–to have a safe ear, a cheerleader when I beat myself up and so much more.

So, yes, this introvert needs people as much as I need air. And I’m not ashamed of that.

What about you? How do you view the word “need”?

Stacy Voss

What I Didn’t Know I Could Do

Prior to buying my house last year, I couldn’t put an anchor in a wall to hang a picture. Seriously. If I had pictures of my failed attempts, you would see the plastic mangled into the wall–and the frame shattered on the ground.

Fast forward 14 months. I’ve since learned how to put those anchors in (trick is to drill bigger holes than I realized) AND I’ve learned a thing or two about some other stuff such as jackhammering crawl space access points, hanging light fixtures, texturing walls (I’m so not offering to help anyone on that one. Yuck!) and even refinishing cabinets and countertops. I could write tomes about what these experiences have taught me, but I’ll save you most of it and condense it to the following:

  1. Things look chaotic and disorderly during a renovation

My bathroom has been under construction for the past month. If a stranger came into my house during that time and saw it (more appropriately, if they saw the apothecary jars filled with cotton balls and Q-tips on the floor and ladders and drop cloths in the bathroom), they would have thought I was a complete slob. Someone who definitely didn’t have their stuff together (okay, probably right on that one, but hear me out nonetheless). They wouldn’t know what I did: change was in the process and that chaos was about to bring something gorgeous.

I’ve been like that stranger all too often, living in the chaos and seeing it for nothing more than that. I didn’t realize at the time that sometimes the only way to get to the best finished project is to strip some stuff bare and stir things up a bit.

2. Sometimes it takes multiple rounds

Many of you have heard me ask/write, “Seriously? Do I need to go through another round of trials? Haven’t you built enough character in me yet, God?”

Home renovations taught me an answer for that one, too. After transforming my kitchen countertops last weekend, I put a patch of gel stain on a nearby cabinet to see how the color matched the new granite-like counters.

“I don’t like it,” my Girlie announced, crushing my aspiring DIY dreams until she gave her explanation. “It doesn’t look as red as you said it would be.”

This non-crafty person had just gel stained the bathroom cabinets the week before and knew too well that the first coat barely gives a glimpse as to what the final product will be. Coat one brought improvement. Read: it was better than before. Kinda. In a grainy, streaky sort of way, but by coat 3 (okay, 4 on some areas), my cabinets looked brand new and you couldn’t even see the scrape marks where the old lady who used to live here banged them up with her power chair.

3. Something not done 100% perfectly right still looks a whole lot better than not done at all

This is for you, my fellow perfectionists. I used to stop dead in my tracks, fearful that I wouldn’t get something just right. Correction: I didn’t stop, for that would require pre-existing motion. Now, I go. Need to hang hardware on the cabinets and never done it before? Well, now’s the time to learn! So what if one is millimeters higher than another. No one other than you will notice.

You get the life lesson, right? I’ve also learned that many of my oopses are more easily remedied than I would have guessed and that mistakes definitely aren’t the end of anything important.

4. Rely on others you who have gone before you

YouTube and Pinterest have become my new friends. I’d never painted a counter to look like granite before, but I have some mean fingers that can type up the instructional video. Same with hanging said crooked-ish cabinet knobs. I thought I could pull it off, but two non-level knobs taught me otherwise, so I went to visit my trusted friends on YouTube and they told me about this little template that does the dirty work (aka doesn’t make me calculate what half of 52.6 inches or whatever that little line on the measuring tape represents is equal to).

In my non-DIY world, my trusted others include my wise sages that surround me and bless me with their wisdom. There are also those that let me glean from them, even though I’ll never meet them in person, like Corrie TenBoom or even those that have passed, like Brother Lawrence. And of course, the Good Book is filled with incredible lessons of those who forged a path for us.

5. It’s easy to forget the change you’ve already done

The first month of homeownership was a blur, with carpets being ripped out, wallpaper torn down (yes, that stuff really does still exist) and so much more. I can tell you definitively that we did a lot of work, but honestly I became too tired to truly remember all those pieces. I could look at a remodeled room and know it looked better but with time, I came to forget what the original measuring rod was, as in better than 

I got that reminded when the bathroom remodel started. My Dad pulled down the long, ode-de-80’s box that “hid” the fluorescent lightbulbs looming over the vanity. And that’s when I saw it, that not-so-glorious boxy pattern that was once plastered to my bedroom walls.

Okay, so some things are worth forgetting, especially the Strawberry Shortcake throwback wallpaper in the kitchen. I digress.

Once the big light fixture box was removed, I caught a glimpse of what it once was. How easily I forgot that original sight just a year later.

We, too, go through radical changes, but then we hit those plateau periods. I told a friend today I’d do snow angels in a plateau life-stage for it sounds rather blissful, but let’s be real: my life can change as quickly as the things in my house and it only takes a few breaths before the doldrums have me screaming. I forget the many coats that have already been applied in my life, or get frustrated at myself for not being somewhere I’m not.

But sometimes, there’s that thing that makes me step back and remember yet again where I’ve been. Like peeking at the old wallpaper that I no longer see, I can step back and remember that it wasn’t that long ago that this mama fled with kids in tow.

It isn’t pride when I let myself see the journey of pain and growth. It is sheer praise when I say, “you’ve come a long ways” to my inner me. Ultimately, its a song of praise to the One who has carried me. And created the chaotic-looking renovations. And added multiple layers, even when I thought one was more than enough.

6. Success breeds success

Let’s start at the beginning and remember that we’re still talking about the girl that just 12 months ago couldn’t anchor a wall hanging. When my parents started this major renovation project with me called “De-Cat the Litterbox-less House,” I didn’t have a clue how to do pretty much any of the things I’ve since done. Dad showed me how to use most of the tools along the way. I slowly came to realize I could do more than I thought.

And from that I began dabbling in other areas I hadn’t tried before. Like when I decided the coffee table my parents gave me years ago from the house they had been renting out (read: scratched and beat up) needed an upgrade, I started chalk painting it. I was clueless on chalk paint, but the table was in such bad shape, I really couldn’t make it any worse. And then I fell in love with it, so then I painted the matching end table. And then the lamp. And then I switched to the gel paint and started on the cabinets. Those looked great, so I tried my hand at the granite-look-alike paint kit.

 

Okay, I possibly got addicted along the way and might need to start a support group on Pinterest but here’s the point: I think we’ve convinced ourselves of so much less. We think we either need to be perfect or drop out of the game. We say we don’t know how to do something so therefore we don’t try.

And most times we’re wrong.

Stacy Voss

So my friend, here’s our question: what are we going to say in a year that we’ve learned? What’s something we’ve felt God prompting us to do that we’ve been too scared to follow through on? I’ll be the first to admit that painting and renovations and working out at boot camp and so many other things have fueled changes in other areas of my life, too!

« Older posts

© 2017 Stacy Voss