What the What??

Today, I performed an echo on a woman with Situs Inversus. This is a very rare condition “in which ALL major organs are reversed and mirrored from their normal positions”. Basically, everything on our left is on her right side and vice versa.

I’ve done a couple echoes on patients with Dextrocardia (this is where the heart is on the right side instead of the left, but all other organs are in their “normal” places).  But, in my eighteen year career, this was the first complete Situs inversus that I have seen and can remember in the flesh, outside the textbooks I learned about them in.

She was my last patient of the day and arrived about fifteen minutes late, so I was already ready to go. Normally, I think I would have seen “Situs inversus” in her chart and groaned. This would take SO much longer than a normal study! But, this time, I didn’t. I thought, “Cool, let’s see what’s inside and how good of pictures I can get on her. I wanna see this.”

I had to turn her the opposite direction we normally do. My probe had to be turned completely opposite of how I normally hold it. It was truly a mirror image. A challenge. An anomaly. A needle in a haystack. An amazing sight to behold. A lesson.

I asked her how she found out about it and she told me that it wasn’t until a surgeon couldn’t find her gallbladder during an operation to remove it, that she knew she had this very rare condition. They eventually found her gallbladder…on the other side of her body. Her kids didn’t have it. Her parents didn’t have it.

I kept telling her how special she was as I scanned her. Her organs were perfectly functioning, but they were put together and placed in her body completely opposite from yours and mine. By her Creator. She was made that way. Perfectly, but differently.

She was a blatant and beautiful reminder to me that we are all created differently. Yet, still wonderfully and fearfully. Knit together in His own way. Divine fingerprints.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139: 14-16 (NIV)

I couldn’t wait to get home and write this. She excited me. I come across people every day with organs that are put in the “normal” way, but don’t work right. Hers are perfectly functioning, just switched. Made that way.

She was my first. I may never see another Situs Inversus person from the inside, but now I’m aware they are out there, looking just like me from the outside. I thank God for the lesson He poured into my heart while I was searching for and scanning hers.

As she left my lab, I reminded her that God made her super special. And, that goes for you too. Different and set apart for His purposes. To proclaim His name and share your story of who He has been to you, Who He is to you, and why you still cling to Him….after everything.

Fearfully and wonderfully made.

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Same Kind of Different…

I look at hearts for a living…Every day, I take an ultrasound probe and I look into people’s chests. I look at the blood flow through the valves and chambers. I assess size, shape, function, and Doppler velocities.

After 17 years, I’ve come to realize that when I’m looking at the screen, it doesn’t matter what the person looks like laying beside me. Our hearts are all designed the same. The person I’m scanning could be black, white, Asian, overweight, anorexic, 95 years old, 18 years old, Catholic, atheist, smoker, vegan, a millionaire, homeless, a cheater, or the cheated. I can’t tell by the way their heart looks on my screen.

If I was only looking at a case study on a screen or was scanning through a sheet, I could only guess what that person looks like or lives like. It could be the cardiologist who reads my tests, for all I know!

This got me thinking about the God we serve. He knit us together in our mother’s wombs. He created our hearts physically and spiritually…the same. To physically pump and fire in a certain way. To spiritually crave Him. To seek Him for satisfaction when the world fails us. To love others and to find our greatest joy in serving Him. So…we are the same.

Yet, this same God who created each one of us in His image also thrives on variety. He made us to look different, gifted us differently, walks us through different stories, gives us different passions and interests. He loves variety. So….we are different.

I look at hearts everyday, but I am so relieved that nobody knows my heart like the One who created it. He sees it, He sees me, and He loves me anyway. He supports and heals my heart. He inspires and strengthens my heart. He pushes it to share and He helps it to rest.

The next time you see someone who looks or acts differently than you, think about their heart beating in their chest, it looks like yours. And, it is loved like yours.

Celebrate the Beauty You ARE!

Wow, if this isn’t full circle. God has loved me back to life. I was beautiful at twenty (and didn’t know it), but feel even more so turning fourty. Why? Because of what I’ve been through. Who I’ve clung to. And, Who has never let go of me!

I started this blog off admitting and dealing with imperfection. I realize now that it’s in spite of our imperfections that our friends and family love us (or should), and it’s because of our imperfections that Jesus died for us. We can and should work on improvement, but perfection cannot be the goal. We’ll never make it.

It’s hard for me to take selfies. I do it, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t obsess over them or use a bunch of filters, I just struggle with flaunting external beauty. Maybe because of what I think of others who do or maybe just maybe because I want others to know there’s more to me. Ultimately, I need to know that myself. We all do.

I have no problem taking pictures of my daughters’ physical beauty because I already know there’s so much more…. I WANT to take my girlfriends pictures because I think they are absolutely stunning and I love them/you and I know there’s more. Maybe someone struggles like me and I’m here to help you! You are more. Your beauty is not just in how you look, but you needn’t shy away from your outer beauty either.

You are beautiful. How do I know? Because, God made you in His image. Your scars, your hurts, your fears, your insecurities, your story has made you even more so.

I love diversity. You are beautiful. The color of your skin, the size of your nose, the shape of your chin, the curves of your body. Made up or no makeup at all. The kids you’ve had, the surgeries you’ve been through. Beautiful.

How do I know?? I know because I know Your Creator. Not because your husband told you today, not because you got flowers last week, not because you have 3000 friends on Facebook. Because, Jesus Christ died for you.

We were His last physical creation. After God created woman, He took a rest. I imagine a cowboy throwing up his hands after roping a calf. Done! This is my most beautiful! Phew!

So, celebrate your beauty. Know that you ARE beauty, you don’t just have beauty. Smile, and know that He is with you. That He loves you. That He made you. So how could you not be? So smile and say Jesus loves meeee! <click>