The bible says to rejoice always in every circumstance.
Sometimes it is easy to rejoice. We met our daughter for the first time on the 1st of March and ever since then every time I see her my heart fills with Joy.
The few months after her birth were one of the most beautiful and rich times I have experienced so far. Learning how to be parents for the first time has been so satisfying, so rewarding and incredibly fun. Our hearts are full up and we are getting so much revelation more than ever before on Father God’s loving heart towards us.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
When we found out after numerous medical investigations, ultrasound scans, MRI scans that I had an issue with some of the blood vessels in my brain it really made us both think about things and put a lot of things into perspective.
At first the neuroradiologist initially thought that the AV fistula I had in my brain was a low grade one, but the MRI scans he had to work with were not very clear. Low grade means there is only a very small chance of immediate complications with the vessels such as a stroke or a brain haemorrhage. We were even considering going back to Cambodia for a while and then returning 6 months to a year down the line to receive the treatment I needed. As we were praying about what to do and the timing of the potential operation one day I started getting bad headaches and was rushed to A&E.
Thankfully we had the letter in hand which had already described what the problem was and after a CT scan and a few hours wait I was blue lighted across the Humber Bridge to Hull Royal Infirmary where my surgeon was based and where they had diagnosed the problem. Because of the frequent painful headaches they decided to operate and I was given priority. All around the world people were praying for me and I could feel such a peace and joy which didn’t make sense in the natural.
The operation was 4.5hours long and went well. They got to the blood vessels in my brain through an artery in my groin and using constant X-rays they could see what they were doing and managed to block up 7 stray arteries that were causing problems. It turns out the fistula was much worse than the consultant thought and I was at a much higher risk of having a brain haemorrhage than initially thought.
I woke up after the operation telling jokes with a funny sounding voice because having a tube down my throat for over 4 hours had damaged one of my vocal chords.
Praise God it all went well and there were no complications or problems during the surgery. The days after the surgery were much more difficult and challenging. Because of the sudden redirecting of blood flow in my head and massive increase in pressure I felt at times unwell, physically tired and emotionally down.
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Philippians 3:1 ESV
The bible says it is SAFE to remain in a place of rejoicing. It is a safeguard. I can see why now, there were times when I was in the hospital ward in recovery, I was so tired and there was so much pressure in my head that the temptation was to feel really down and start to feel sorry for myself. Throughout my time in hospital I kept coming across scriptures telling me to rejoice and I had been for a few weeks prior. I know God was trying to tell me something.
Sometimes the circumstances can be so challenging that it seems like the only response to a situation is to despair and start allowing yourself to feel depressed. I had just been through major surgery, I had huge pressure on my brain, was feeling constantly oppressed and tired and I started to feel these emotions to.
I knew I needed to do something, I needed to cling onto Jesus in some way and in some way get my strength from Him I was too tired to read and I had too much of a headache to listen to worship music so I started to pray. Then I started to remember some scriptures and Holy Spirit brought this scripture to mind:
Count it ALL joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Before this point I felt I had no reason to rejoice. In my mind my circumstances were not giving me much reason to rejoice and I definitely didn’t feel like it but after remembering this scripture I realised I could rejoice even in this situation because of what it was doing in me. I felt like God was giving me a challenge. “Are you willing to rejoice in me even in such challenging circumstances?”
So I started in a very lame way thanking God for things, and really not feeling it but doing it in faith, then I started praising God, again not feeling it but in faith because I know how good He really is, because He is wonderful and magnificent all the time regardless of the situation. Then something wonderful started happening, I started feeling it. In the hospital ward I started to feel His fiery presence in a stronger way than I had felt Him in months. A supernatural joy welled up from within me and all the feelings of despair, oppression and depression had left. I also started feeling a lot better physically.
Fire always falls on sacrifice. – Bill Johnson
I was discharged from hospital after a week and the recovery was at first slow and challenging, the headaches stopped after the first few days and I was able to be up and about more. After about 5 weeks the feeling of tiredness left and now I can say I am feeling back to my old self (with the addition of some expensive glue and coils in my head).
The only difference is my voice it is still damaged from the operation, I think it slowly repairing but it still a long way off being back to normal.
There have been many other challenges in this season at home but God has constantly been with us, so close and so faithful and constantly teaching us things.
My Nanna (Grandma) recently went to be with Jesus and it has been such a blessing to be around family at this time especially my Dad and Aunties and Uncles who have felt it the most. There have been a few other challenges also but God has been so faithfully in the midst of it all, turning situations around for good and bringing healing and restoration where it has been needed.
Now we look ahead, we plan to set off for Cambodia on the 12th August. I have one final MRI scan on the 6th of August which will hopefully give me the all clear and show that the problem blood vessels are still closed and will remain so and that everything else in my brain is how it should be (if not then we will have to change our flights and stay for longer, we are praying this is not the case!)
As we look ahead we are so thankful for all of God’s faithfulness with the things He has been doing in us and through us in these last few months. Jesus is always there even when we don’t feel it and He knows how to keep us safe and strong in His joy.
We are so grateful for all the wonderful people scattered around the world who have been praying for us, every prayer has made such a tangible difference to us. Thank you so much, we appreciate and love you all.
Steve, Mollie and baby Grace x
(It's been a while since our last update, there are some more photo’s below of our time here).