A Sanctifying “Heart Surgery” in the ER

June 19, 2013 · 10 comments

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by Gloria Furman

“I can’t believe we’re wasting a good family hair day,” I joked as I marched my three little ducklings out the door on the way to the Emergency Room. I was kidding about the hair, but it’s a rare occasion when I can manage my children’s multiple hair-types and have a good hair day myself. Nevertheless, we strutted up the catwalk… I mean sidewalk… into the reception area at the ER.

I explained our non-emergency situation to the receptionist. One of my daughters had a swollen bug bite that spread into a mysterious rash on her leg. The weekend had just started; the outpatient clinic was closed. So here we were in the ER, with awesome hair do’s and an itchy leg.

That morning felt like every other morning in my life (minus the collective great hair and the hospital visit). It wasn’t until later that I caught on that it was a big day for my itchy-legged child. It usually took a great deal of coercion for my little girl to allow a doctor-type within a ten-meter radius. There were always crocodile tears, tantrums, and lollipop bribes involved.

“Come here, my dear, let me see your leg,” the nurse gave my daughter instructions. As silent as a kid with a stolen Oreo behind the couch, my normally doctor-phobic preschooler extended her leg.

“Now I’m going to take your temperature.” With her eyes squinting and jaw set, my little girl leaned her ear in the nurse’s direction.

“Alright, my dear, now hop down and stand on the scale to see how much you weigh.” I held my breath for this one. I normally shared in the fun of weighing myself on the scale, too, while holding an upset preschooler. But that time, like a professional wrestler who dutifully weighs in before a match, my child took off the gloves and willed herself onto the scale all by herself. I grinned like a clown. My daughter smiled shyly. “I did it, Mommy,” she whispered. My heart soared– this marked some significant growth for her.

Pitching Heart Fits

Incidentally, in the weeks leading up to that morning I had been angrily and bitterly preoccupied over her temper tantrums. “I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” I would repeatedly tell myself.

Remembering my complaints, the state of my own heart came to my mind. Outside of the restraining, redeeming, and compelling grace of the Lord Jesus in my life, I’m as rebellious and angry as can be. A child might pitch fits on the floor when they don’t get what they want, and I do the exact same thing in my heart.

I was glad for the time I sat on that blue polyurethane chair in the waiting room. God was doing his surgery in my heart. What grace do I have that was not freely given to me by my heavenly Father? Remembering the Lord’s kindness toward me led me to repentance of the bitterness and anger I had been holding onto those weeks. Only Jesus can sufficiently deal with our bitterness, anxiety, anger, and frustration. Through his work on the cross, we’re invited to repent of our sin and cast our burdens on him (and stop laying them on the backs of our children).

Heart Rest

Our hearts can echo the plea of the psalmist who prayed, “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!” (Ps. 79:9). And the Lord will hear our cries, because only Jesus could bear the weight of our sin on the cross, and be declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). Our loving Shepherd invites us to come to him for rest: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Weary sheep keep their eyes fixed on their Shepherd who always gives them everything they need.

As we left the hospital my child sauntered into the parking garage proudly carrying a prescription for anti-bug-bite-swelling-itchiness. I left with a renewed appreciation that Jesus has already done for me what I could never do for myself.

Jesus said in John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” When the weariness of life as a sinner living in a fallen world with other sinners overwhelms us, then the gospel refreshes our soul. We dare not build our hope on anything less than Jesus’s blood and righteousness.

Gloria Furman (@gloriafurman) is mostly from Texas. In 2008 she moved to the Middle East with her husband Dave to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai. They have three kiddos plus another on the way. Gloria is the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home (Crossway 2013) and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms (Crossway 2014).


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 yolanda June 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm

hi mam Glo…i was reading your Devotion,,thank you for sharing,,,Godbless you and your Family…


2 Gloria June 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Nice to hear from you, Yoly! The Lord bless you and keep you.


3 Tim June 20, 2013 at 12:48 am

Fit-pitching hearts – yeah, I got one of those too. You’ve done my heart good here, Gloria, especially the mental image of yoru daughter “sauntering” out to the car, and your reminder “What grace do I have that was not freely given to me by my heavenly Father?” Wonderful grace here on your blog, too.



4 Gloria June 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm

As always, thank you, Tim, for your encouragement!

In our house we like to talk about how our heart needs to “take a time-out” to recalibrate to the gospel after a fit.


5 Mandi P June 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Ah, how I needed to hear this reminder today. Gloria, I’m reading through your book and the Lord is using it DAILY to rip open my ideals and speak truth. Love this post and I’m right here with it – with my 4 year old. Thanks for sharing and being real and applicable.


6 Gloria June 20, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Thank you, Mandi! I’m so glad to hear how the Lord is ministering to your heart. He is faithful!


7 Joyie F June 22, 2013 at 8:35 am

Thanks Gloria for such a timely post. I have a few fit throwers right now and I am always reminded of my own sinfulness in the midst of theirs. And if you’re reading this (other readers) and you liked this, just read Glimpses of Grace by Gloria as well. It gives hope to the homemaker, the business woman, the empty nester- every woman, because every woman needs the Gospel and needs to understand how costly grace freely given impacts a believers life. Just read the book :).


8 Gloria June 22, 2013 at 10:53 am

Thank you for this gracious endorsement, Joyie! And a hearty “yes” to Glimpses of Grace being written for every woman’s encouragement in Christ!


9 Annette {This Simple Mom} July 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm

First, being about halfway through your book, I must say you are younger than I expected. Or maybe your picture is from years ago? Or you just have a youthful, joyful face.

I suspect if we were neighbors we’d be friends. (I sure hope so!) Your honesty and wisdom come shining through.

As for the hair…my oldest, age 6, is ALL hair. It’s rather unruly most of the time. If I comb it, I can tame it, mostly. Recently she’s bent on doing it herself, and I don’t mind. I do wonder how many people ask themselves why I didn’t comb her hair for the past week though when they see her.

Thanks for your insight and glimpses of grace in our everyday lives!


10 Gloria July 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Annette, you are just too sweet! Thank you for the feedback on the book! And to answer your question, I’m a spring chicken- 33 yrs young. ;) cheers! Gloria


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