Are there are times in life where you question God?
Could there really be a God that knows my thoughts?
Does he actually hear me and care about my life?
If you are reading this, you have seen the pictures in the back pages of the devotional ‘40 Days in the Man Cave’ and are curious as to what the story is behind the photos.
Back in 2010 I had numerous questions for God. I was frustrated. I was feeling bitter going through divorce proceedings, irritated by the court system, working two jobs while trying my very best to raise two amazing teenage kids. I never let go of the rope that held me to God, but it was looking very frayed and my hands were full of blisters while I kept making tighter knots to hang onto.
Sounds like a big pity party and I was invited right?
I completed many pieces of art during this challenging time in my life. In a way, art became an outlet for me. It was cheap therapy. As in... free.
One night while I had some free time, I went for a walk. That particular day I was extremely stressed so I asked God to show me an idea in order to draw something significant. Before I even got to the end of my driveway I believe God gave me a distinct visual image of a heart with a band aid across it. I could picture the idea in my head instantly.So back inside I went to start the painting.
There was something powerful about the simplicity of this art. The colours within the heart. The significance of a band aid. String woven over and over around the heart. On the left side, the string is tight whereas the right side has become loose and unravelled.
At the time I thought I knew the reason why God gave me the visual. In my mind I surmised it was the fact that many people in life have very deep hurts. Pain that requires a band aid. Aches that need time to heal. I also assumed the dark colours I chose were due to the fact my own my heart had become hardened and crusty. Feelings of bitterness were pushed way down deep in my own life.
As I shared this drawing, I could sense people became emotional and identified with the painting. Some even cried. Heart Art became personal to them and it had significance within their own life. The art had a life of its own.
Fast forward a few years. I am not feeling well. I have little energy for activities I love to do. While playing hockey I start having blurred vision. Running up a flight of stairs my legs are burning. Cutting the lawn I feel pain in my neck and jaw. What is going on?
After some visits to the doctors and specialists, I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse. Basically I had a valve that was not closing properly so the blood going to and from my heart was not being oxygenated the way it should.
After stress tests, echo cardiograms, an angiogram and numerous appointments I was referred for surgery at London University Hospital, in London Ontario.
During the pre op and consultation we met with the amazing staff and in particular the Chief of Cardiology, Dr. Robert Kiaii. Upon discussion with Sherry and I, Dr. Kiaii then described the surgical procedure, the benefits and possible risks that could occur.
We will never forget his explanation as he took a pen, opened a pamphlet with the diagram of a heart and began to explain the main issue with my heart. While describing in detail he circled around and around with a pen the exact area where the mitral valve was on the lower left side of the heart. Dr. Kiaii also discussed how there are fine ‘cords’ which open and close the valve and mine in particular he noted had come apart and were all loose and flimsy like a parachute. He explained that since the valve did not seal properly my blood would not receive enough oxygen, therefore resulting in all the symptoms I had been feeling. Lastly, other doctors had told us that I may need a replacement valve while Dr. Kiaii explained he felt confident he could repair my valve robotically. He even went as far as to say, ‘it is almost like attaching a strong band aid on your valve’!
After driving home from a very emotional day, Sherry was sitting quietly in our home doing her devotions and she placed the Heart Art framed picture directly in front of her. She seemed mesmerized. Sherry said to me ‘Do you realize all the things Dr Kiaii said about your heart are in the drawing’? The band aid was in the location of the defective mitral valve, the strings are all woven loosely around the heart and all the colors in the art you chose reflect how the heart would react without proper blood flow? There is just a slight glow of color underneath the bandage?’
God cared so much about me that back in 2010, as He does for all of us. He gave me a vision to paint a picture that would be prophetic at the present time and for my future. From that moment we knew everything would be fine and God had us in his hands and under control. We could relax in the fact that we knew God had a plan, and his plan would not just be good but great. When the day of surgery arrived September 22, 2014 Sherry insisted we bring a copy of the art and keep it wherever I went, whether it was the operating room, ICU or recovery.
Having the art sitting out in each area was an opportunity for us to explain the amazing story behind the impact of the art that had been painted four years previous to the surgery. God had a plan and the story became so much bigger than just a piece of paper and some paint.
So do you see how God cares about the details in our lives? He did for me, and He will do it for you too.
Trust Him. Ezekiel 36:26