Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Shape of Mercy

Yesterday's procedure went well, at least according to the doctor. I wish I could take a good picture of my wrists for you today. Apparently I have awful veins, and it took four tries to get an IV in to my wrist. It took 45 minutes, three different nurses, and a whole lot of slapping, squeezing, and an assortment of needles before they finally got it done. By that point, I was clammy and ready to pass out! The procedure itself went fine (God bless sedation!), but when I woke up, I was in a lot of pain. The doctor wanted me to stay and have some pain meds put in my IV, but all I wanted was to go home. I knew that if I could just get in my own bed, I would be okay. There was a mix-up as well where they couldn't find Jesse, so I was alone for almost an hour post-op. I spent most of the time praying and asking God for help. It's funny the things that pop into your head in times of stress. I couldn't come up with more than a few verses of Psalms, but from the moment they stuck the first needle in, I was singing the children's hymn, God is So Good. Mia and I sing it sometimes at bedtime, and the words were a balm to me. God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He's so good to me. He cares for me, He cares for me, He cares for me, He's so good to me. He loves me so, He loves me so, He loves me so, He's so good to me. I'll do His will, I'll do His will, I'll do His will, He's so good to me.

The ride home was torture. I hadn't eaten in over 24 hours, and while I tried to eat some Saltines, I was sick to my stomach. I knew I couldn't fall asleep, because I would be completely overwhelmed by the nausea. At one point, I told God that I just couldn't do it, I absolutely had nothing more left to give. Immediately I heard, actually felt, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. One of my all time favorite verses. I stopped trying to be strong and let God get me home. Getting in bed without throwing up or sobbing from the pain was not something I was capable of...at all. But when I gave it to Him, there was a relief that I didn't have to fight so hard, and there was the knowledge that ultimately it would be over.

I read my Bible and devotionals every night, but it seems like I learn more from true examples of God showing me His love. In the hospital, I couldn't lean on Jesse, the doctor, nurses, my mom or anything else. Even my own faith wasn't enough to hold me up, just Jesus. Today I'm tired, and a little more achy than usual, but it's a huge improvement over yesterday. Thank you for your prayers!

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner is a powerfully, yet subtly written, historical fiction novel. Lauren Durough has a life most people crave: daughter of a wealthy business scion, encouraged and offered every opportunity. But she craves something more, attending a state university instead of private college, and refusing to take the business classes that would put the family business in her lap. Something is missing in her life; Lauren just can't figure out what. Until she responds to a job opportunity to transcribe the diary of a young woman, Mercy Hayworth, who was tried during the Salem witch trials. Abigail Coyle hires Lauren to read and write the diary so it can be read by a modern reader. The diary has been in her family for over 200 years, and it's impacted Abigail's life in a way that now that she's in her eighties, she's re-evaluating her choices. Mercy's quiet faith and love changes both women, leaving an impact centuries after her death. This novel is so beautifully crafted, Meissner has created three strong female characters who raise questions of what true faith and love means. It was a true joy to read.

I'm giving away two copies of this fantastic book. If you'd like the chance to win, drop me an email before 10 pm Thursday night. I'll announce the winners here on Friday. Good luck!