It’s All About the Heart

For over a year now my precious husband has been making a funny sound. And it’s not funny as in “LOL” but as in “bizarre.”   To make it more curious, the sound is positional, meaning it is only produced when he goes to bed at night and lies on his left side. Furthermore, I don’t like the sound.

Knowing a little bit about blood flow, I’m not envisioning good things when I hear this sound. Our heart has four rooms, or chambers as we call them. Blood visits these four rooms. Blood returning to our heart makes its first stop into our right atrium. Then flows on down to our right ventricle. After it grabs some oxygen from the lungs it enters into our left atrium and then flows into the last room of our heart, the left ventricle. From there it goes on its journey through our body delivering oxygen to our cells like FedEx delivers packages to our door. Except our blood is also kinda like the garbage truck and picks up our cells’ trash while it’s there, but that’s a more lengthy post I suppose.

So. Considering that the last room our blood visits before it’s grand journey throughout the body is the left ventricle, and considering that my hubby makes an involuntary sound when laying on his left side at night, would make any person push for a professional assessment.

It took a year. First I suggested. Then I nudged. Nudging turned into pushing. Pushing turned into nagging. And then, as I’ve been known to do a time or two, I took matters into my own hands and called myself to make a cardiology appointment.

Puzzled. That’s what I would describe the cardiologist’s response. Brandon is not what we call symptomatic. He has no SOB. (I threw that in to be funny. But really, he doesn’t. That’s what we say in healthcare for shortness of breath). He can run without any issues. While he’s not as lean as he’d prefer, it’s not like he’s really overweight. And his EKG showed no concern with his heart’s electrical activity.

But his cardiologist was again, puzzled. Therefore, we went for an echo to get a little gander of the structure of his heart.

It’s amazing really that we don’t have to have a perfect heart for it to work well and sufficiently meet our body’s need. Which at the same time is both incredible and crazy. And realizing this provides much spiritual insight.

Ever wonder why there are so many scriptures about the heart? I mean why did the psalmist not say, “I will praise you O Lord my God with all my kidney”?

Instead the Psalm says in chapter 86 verse 12 of the NKJV, “I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.”

When we think about shock it definitely makes sense.

Blood shunts toward two vital organs when one’s body goes into shock. And they are two organs we read about so much in scripture. The heart and the brain.

Patients can lose limbs out of the physiological changes a body makes to preserve the heart and the brain. Reduced peripheral perfusion means it all shunts to the core.

See, I believe the science reveals the Creator and what He is telling us. Every part of our body is significant, every organ is vital, but the heart and the mind are core to who we are, not only for our physical existence but our spiritual life as well.

And while we give much attention to public service announcements, and funds to foundations researching and saving the lives of our physical hearts and brains, it is our spiritual hearts and brains that are most vulnerable to injury.

Psalm 7:9 NLT “End the evil of those who are wicked, and defend the righteous. For You look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God.”

The Israelites used the words “heart” and “mind” as virtual synonyms to refer to a person’s innermost center of conscious life. To ask God to look deep within the heart and mind, means we are inviting Him to examine the hidden places of our heart, and the hidden places of our thoughts. It’s asking Him to perform His own echocardiogram and get detailed with us, evaluating the structure of our character and motive.

And that is something that is not natural. It is part of our human nature to hide. I mean, do you remember when sin entered into the lives of Adam and Eve? They realized they were as naked as a jaybird and what did they do? They hid.

Asking the Lord to examine our heart and mind is the most significant thing we can do in our pursuit of a growing relationship with Him, because it may be hard to work on the hidden places He uncovers. Maybe we like some of the stuff we’ve got tucked away in the rooms of our heart. Maybe we find some enjoyment in those secret thoughts we revisit here and there. Maybe we’re wanting all the goodness of God but we’re not quite sure about cleaning out and throwing away what we’ve got in those rooms.

But if we are to have a healthy spiritual life, we have to protect our core.

We can’t fill our mind with garbage and pollute our heart with impurity and still experience true living. No. That kind of living is a crisis-mode life. It’s living in a constant state of shock.

And God did not call us to live in critical condition. He called us to live abundantly and victoriously.

So how?

Well here is a scripture from Psalm 51:10 to post on your wall, mirror, fridge or car and wholeheartedly pray,

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Friends! We have to be renewed! Daily! We are just people. We’re not living as supernatural beings. We’re flesh and we need to continually draw near to the Lord to be renewed and strengthened.

Then ask Him to change the way we think. Talk about a new mindset. Setting our thoughts on things above has some major influence on taking us from a critical state to a powerful state. Romans 12:2 in the NLT says “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” If you want to have a healthy mind, ask the Lord to change the way you think. It’ll be different from the norm, but it will guide you to such goodness. It’s a kind of goodness that sticks with you even in the midst of difficulty.

Last one. Anticipate your mouth to follow. When you set your mind on things above, you think differently. And when you think differently, you sound differently. I’m not talking about the bizarre, out-of-the ordinary sound my husband makes when lying on his left side. No. I’m talking about what Jesus tells us about our hearts in Luke 6:45. “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

Remember, we don’t have to have a perfect heart for it to work well. We simply need to allow it to be examined and treated by the hand of our loving Father.

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The Best Kept Secret

A few years ago Disney Vacation Club had a slogan; “The Best Kept Secret.” Secrets are so hard to keep, but the surprise is so worth the wait.

Anyone who knows me knows how hard it is for me to keep a secret. Well, that is when the news is good. I can hold on to bad news forever. I mean how fun is it to spread gloom? But happy stuff? It’s so hard to hold in. To see the joy and excitement of sharing something good is a challenge to refrain from. But I do when needed, because there’s nothing I love more than a surprise.

So what’s so special about a surprise? Well, let’s look back to some scriptures which hold some amazing surprises.

Jesus turned the water into wine. There’s so much I love about this passage, like it was fine wine, none of that soda pop wine, but especially because it was about how much our Heavenly Father cares for the details in our life. It would have been socially embarrassing for this couple to run out of wine, but the Lord surprised them and met their need on their incredibly special day. (John 2:1-11)

Another surprise was the feeding of 5,000. Don’t you know those disciples were concerned when Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fish? But man. How surprised were they when they not only fed thousands of people but also had twelve baskets of leftovers? (Matthew 14:15-21)

And then there is the parting of The Red Sea. Can you imagine the Israelites getting to the shoreline? Pharaoh and his army hot on their trail. A body of water before them. Don’t you know their hearts were beating out of their chest? The adrenaline pumping through their bodies. And then Moses takes his staff and parts that water with an aisle of opportunity and safety before them. What a surprise! (Exodus 14:10-31)

Now these stories may not surprise you today, but they should. They should get you super excited just like the moment they occurred. These stories may have settled into our spirits as something common. Growing up with these stories, hearing this our entire lives, may cause us to lose sight of how impressive these miracles are and cause us to forget they were surprises.

My take away is that God loves to surprise his children. And just as He has surprised us countless times over, so we love to surprise the children He gave to us. The joy is all ours to see the excitement on our children’s faces. It blesses us to surprise them. And we gave it our best shot these past several months.

Seven months ago we made reservations to visit Disney World. Six months ago we booked all of our Disney World Dining. Over a month ago we chose all of our FastPass+ selections. All the while our children didn’t know a thing.

Brandon had this fabulous idea to keep it a secret and surprise them the morning of our departure. Let me tell you, he’s the reserved character in this relationship; therefore, it’s not nearly as difficult for him to keep things to himself as it is for me, the one who loves to talk about everything. But this last week he felt the challenge too.

It took a lot of planning…and discipline not to say a word. Typically, we do a 30-day countdown calendar. We get a poster board at Wal-Mart, lay out the grid and Brandon adds specific artwork relative to where we are going. But not this time. This time, we came up with an elaborate plan and packed up without them knowing. Our story went like this….

‘Twas the night before vacation and the Meadows children had no clue! I said, “Come on guys. We’ve got to get to bed. I signed up to work extra tomorrow because they are short a few nurses. Grandma can’t keep you all, so Dad is going to drop you off at Nana’s in the morning on his way to work. You’ll have to get up early because he’s got to get to the office for a meeting.”

In the preceding days, I utilized their time at school to hoard away clothes in our safe room closet. They were packed a week before we left. The most difficult part was to play it cool when inside I was screaming, “We’re going to Disney World!!!!”

All great surprises are worth waiting for, because the memory of the joy it brings lasts a lifetime.

Our children have had a Disney vacation nearly every year of their life, but we imagine the year they got one, that they didn’t think they were getting one, will be one they treasure throughout their years. We hope they feel overjoyed, we hope they feel loved and special, we hope they soak up every ounce of fun each surprise life has to offer.

And we hope, in it all, they see Jesus, the One who came full of surprises. Because who would’ve thought a King would come in a manger? Big surprise. And the surprises kept coming. And they continue on today. He has this AMAZING plan, and we don’t even know all the details. He reveals it in His perfect timing.

My husband and I planned a trip we knew our kids would enjoy. We waited to reveal it when it would mean the most. And we were blessed to bless them. What joy it gave us. The same joy I pray we bring to our Heavenly Father when He surprises us!

He has the best kept secrets!

click here to visit our family’s All Things Disney

Sure love being able to replay this moment.  It was definitely worth the wait.

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