Did You Know?

I look at hearts for a living. I assess their function, blood flow, sizes, and valves. All day long I get to watch them beating. Something we rarely think about and honestly take for granted.

Because I use an ultrasound machine to visualize them, I work in a dark room most the time. When the lights go off, the test begins. This morning, as the lights went out, my patient asked if this was also a sleep study. I laughed and said “You’re welcome to sleep through it if you want to, your heart beats the same awake or asleep. The results will be the same.” It was then, that the thought came to my mind of how we can take the love of God for granted in the same way. It’s present and consistent every bit as much as our physical hearts are beating in our chests. Awake or asleep.

We don’t think about the fact that our hearts beat all day and all night from the time we are conceived until we pass away…We don’t notice them unless they are racing or hurting or skipping. And then we get concerned and get them checked on…or should. Just like the love of our God who created them, we don’t notice or recognize His consistent and unfailing love. This is how the quote by C.S. Lewis rings so true to me…

Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

My ultrasound machine suddenly makes patients aware of their heart that has been working for them their whole lives.

Just like it’s in our physical pains and concerns that we get our bodies checked on and become more aware of what they’ve done for us all our lives or what they “should” be doing now that they aren’t, it’s in our pain where we usually wake up to His love. The love we crave. The love that has always been there and has never stopped. More than likely it’s because our pain causes us to cry out for Him. Just like we call an ambulance or a doctor in a physical emergency, we call out to our God. And, He is so thankful we do. I imagine Him saying “I’m here child, I’ve always been right here.”

As amazing as the human body is, it was created by an even more amazing God. A loving Father who didn’t put us on this earth to condemn us or to scowl at us, but to love us. He doesn’t need us, He chose us. He made us with eternity together in mind.

Even those who don’t choose Him, He lovingly lets go. He would never force our love and knows that if He did that wouldn’t be love at all. He chose us first. He loved us first. He loved us always. He loves us still.

Many of my patients watch their hearts beat on the screen in amazement, sometimes it grosses them out and they can’t watch at all, and sometimes they sleep through it. Oftentimes, I hear how amazing the technology and the organ itself is when it’s in their face and they are actually able to see it. It is truly amazing that we can visualize our hearts beating inside our chests with no cutting or surgery these days. Watching their hearts beat usually leaves them with a sense of awe and awareness they didn’t come in with. And, for those it doesn’t, I wish it would. It does for me too when I take the time to consider what I’m actually looking at.

Take a moment to think about how God’s love has never left you. It made you. It was with you in that situation, at that moment, when you were completely unaware. When you didn’t believe it, when you thought you didn’t need it, when you didn’t want it, when you walked away, when you felt completely alone. When they said that. When they did that. When you did. His love was there. Always beating for you.

Is your heart beating right now? Regardless of what you’re doing or what you’ve done. God loves you too.

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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.