I wanted to bring y’all an update from my last day before surgery — the last “normal” day for a while, although I’m learning that normal is really, really relative. But my thoughts are so all over the place that I don’t know which I can catch long enough to write about.

I think, more than anything, I’d like to talk about the things I’ve been grateful for throughout this process. That may sound sentimental & saccharine, but my heart feels so much healthier when I’m focusing on those little joys & gifts, instead of complaining.

So, first, I am grateful for community. Last night at church, the sweet people I serve with (leading preschool small groups) gathered around me in the center of the room, laid hands on me and on each other, and prayed for peace. The way I felt in the center of that circle is how I have felt, figuratively, since all this started. I have felt surrounded, wrapped up, by people who have reached toward me to help, to pray, to do what they can and love where they can’t. In this little group are people I know and people I don’t know, people who pray and people who don’t. God doesn’t have hands or feet on earth; he has people. And all of you who have wrapped me up in thoughts and love and cards and meals, the religious and the skeptics alike — you’ve been God on earth to me.

I’m sure they’ll bear the brunt of all my complaining in the weeks to come, so let me say now that I am endlessly grateful for family. For my aunts and uncles and grandparents who wrapped up piles of silky, filmy scarves, all ready for the half-bald days after surgery, and brought them to our Thanksgiving meal. For my brothers who have cheered me up in a million brother-y ways. For my parents, who are letting me stay on their health insurance, and letting me stay in their home for weeks after surgery, and a million things I can’t begin to list. Everything about this would be harder without them.

I’m grateful for social media. Seriously. People have left these strings of comments letting me know they’re thinking about me, and praying for me, and I can go back over those and read them again and again when I’m feeling afraid. How incredible is that? Maybe it’s self-centered, wanting to read these thoughts about me over and over, but I have felt so loved & so cared for, just being able to go back and hear what’s been said.

I’m grateful for experiencing all of this during the Advent season. I’ve been reading the She Reads Truth Advent study in the mornings, and it has, more than anything, set my heart in the right place for all that is to come. This season of waiting, of joyful expectancy for the King born in a dirty manger, reminds me that our whole time on earth is about expectancy. There is more ahead, more for us than what we experience here on earth, thanks to the coming of that baby-King.

How You Can Pray: 

My surgery is tomorrow (12/9) at 8 a.m. We’ll arrive at the hospital at 6 a.m. for a final MRI. Please pray for TONS & TONS of peace for my mom & dad, as well as a safe surgery, safe anesthesia, and limited pain afterward. 

Please also pray for my boss, Matt, and his family. He visited the ER last night & had surgery this morning to have his appendix removed. And, since we are a department of two, follow that up with a prayer for a few slow days :)