Exposed

What an overwhelming feeling to be sitting in that room, the one where women were congregated in a half circle.  We all sported blue gowns with strings holding them together, normally in the back, but this time in the front.  I had tied these on patients hundreds, maybe thousands, of times as a nurse.  This time I tied one on myself.

I had just been there three days prior for my first one ever, but they called me back to be rechecked within the same week.

I wasn’t nervous.  Peace overwhelmed as I prayed and released it to God.  And as He would have it, a close friend insisted on showing up to be by my side.

They quickly took me back, and the sweet hospital staff reassured me that I would be leaving soon if this test showed nothing.  She informed of the small possibility of needing the radiologist to take a closer look, if it was still questionable.  I sat relieved that this would probably be over soon!

A little uncomfortable to be letting it all hang out in the beautiful (sarcasm), light-blue, un-sequined gown, I heard the words, “Mrs. Douthit, we need to have you come back for further testing.”  I could feel my tears churning in my throat.  By the time my friend and I got to the next waiting area, the tears were forcing their way to the surface through my eyes.

I thought, “This is really happening!  In the next few minutes, the trajectory of my life could be significantly different.”  I thought of my mother-in-law and how scared she must have been to actually be diagnosed and go through treatments.

Wow!  Now here I sat, exposed and wondering.

I felt her hand grab mine.  She softly began praying peace, and I felt the warmth of it wash over me.  Thankful, the fast pace of my anxious heart began slowing.  God kept reassuring me He was there.

They called us in.  Yes, I said US.  It didn’t occur to me that I would soon be lying partially topless in front of my friend until we were already both in the room.  When I was asked to lay down and remove my gown on that side, I thought, “Really Lord, really!  What is going on here?  This is humiliating!  How different to be on THIS side of this gown!”  Then I thought, “Maybe God wants my friend in here with me for some reason.  Maybe there’s something I don’t understand yet.”

The stripping of the gown brought the stripping of pride.  With my arm over my head,  I was exposed as the ultrasound tech and radiologist checked.

God spoke sweetly in that moment, “Rivera, I’m here.  Either way, you are going to be ok.  I want you to understand how this feels, so you can better relate to others.”  He hushed my thoughts.  He calmed my spirit.  I knew no matter what the result, He had me.

The radiologist, who didn’t look old enough to be out of high school, assured me there were no masses and nothing to be concerned about.   A huge sigh of relief swept over me, and on the inside I was jumping up and down praising God!  I knew how different this moment could have been, and I didn’t take it for granted for a single second.  I couldn’t help but reflect and ache for all of those women with a different word from their doctor.

~~~

 As we were exiting the building, we sat down to talk.  I wanted her to know how thankful and blessed I was that she had taken the time to come and be with me.

We began sharing our hearts, and hers was mostly about family.  I loved hearing, so I listened intently, asking questions here and there.

Then, there it was!  The knot in my throat was back.  I began realizing what God was doing.  This whole chain of events was for healing, the emotional kind.

God was prompting me to tell her.  I listened as she talked.  Then her words faded into the background as God said, “Tell her.”

He wanted me to share my story, the one very few people know in full.

I questioned God, “Are You sure?”  My heart pounded, and I knew He was sure!

I allowed myself to be vulnerable to tell her, risking rejection and judgment.  I had no choice.  God said to do it.  I had to.

There I was again, exposed!  But this time it was a revealing of the inside, not the outside.  She loved me through those regretful words, no questions asked.

As God always does it, this conversation led to a growing intimacy in friendship. 

He knew what He was doing when He stripped me down in humiliation with that radiologist!  He always does.  He was preparing me for this moment, a stripping again, this time to be transparent about my past.

I’m not sure we’re ever completely healed of it all until we’re in heaven, face to face with Jesus.  But for me, this was just healing on a deeper level.  My willingness to be vulnerable, in turn, helped her share.

Our Healer Himself was clearly in our midst…gently cleaning the wounds of our exposed hearts.

25 thoughts on “Exposed

  1. Marcella (Bennett) Whitlock says:

    I was there once only I had found the knot. God showed me through some very hard pains in my chest. Thought I might be having a heart attack, so I laid down and began rubbing my chest. At the time I felt the knot, God took the pain away. To make a long story short, I am a 14 year survivor. With surgery and chemo, God has never left my side. I have so many blessings talking with people with whom the same things have happened. God always has a reason for everything that happens. God bless you and your work for Him.
    Love your cousin, Marcella.

  2. laurabennet says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. Our vulnerability opens the door for others to feel safe. I guess it’s a little like Jesus hanging naked on a cross. He led the way for us; we lead the way for others. You’ve done that here. Thank you.

  3. Amy Alves says:

    Rivera, What a ride you had! I’m thankful for you and the healthy results, physically and emotionally. Friendship, real, raw, friendship… is a gift from God. ~ Blessings from Maine girl, Amy

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Oh Pamela, you may not believe this. I had written that very analogy–emotional healing being like an onion, peeling back a layer at a time–but I edited it out:) It must’ve been so YOU could write it here instead! 😉 Thank you, you bless me…always!

  4. Mary says:

    Sweet Sister, I join you and others in PRAISES TO ABBA for the outcome, for the answers to prayer! I can relate to your story on SO many levels, but the Holy Spirit is prompting me to share about one life lesson in particular.

    I was preparing my third testimony to an audience comprised of Believers, non-Believers, and those on the fence. As I prayed for God’s guidance, I felt nudged to go beyond that which I considered “safe” and expose it ALL! I struggled with fear about how I might forever be judged for sinful actions in my past. Would my mistakes be all anyone would see and remember once I shared them? I had buried this part of my life long ago and saw no great purpose for unearthing it. After all, I had already confessed these sins to God and knew His forgiveness for them. I had even confessed them to others, usually one-on-one, when prompted by the Holy Spirit. It certainly seemed enough…

    But my Father saw things differently. He showed me that — no matter how scarlet my sins may be — “who I am” is not the same as “what I’ve done.” It is not my mistakes (past, present or future) that define me. In fact, when I came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, His love and mercies washed me “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). I am a “new creation” in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). As a Christ-follower, I believe all of this…but I still wondered why He was urging me to expose all of the “uglies” in so public a forum.

    “It’s not about you, Mary, or your past…and you are NOT your past! Your past serves only to remind you that you needed Me then and you need Me always. Your “story” isn’t even YOUR story, although it is a story in which you played a part. You hold onto it as if it were somehow precious, something to protect. I know you are afraid…but of what or whom? If you trust Me, as you say, you know that I would not ask of you anything that is not for your good AND for the good of others I am trying to reach. The enemy would have you keep these things in the dark, where he holds you hostage to fear, blame, shame and guilt. I tell you, expose them to the Light and I will set you free…now and forever! Boldly proclaim the healing mercies and grace I give you so that others may come to know that they, too, can receive my love and forgiveness…no matter what…if only they ask with a repentant heart. KNOW ME….TRUST ME….FEAR NOT…for I am the Lord, your God…!”

    The Holy Spirit guided me to many Scriptures as a way of confirming what I heard from the Father. Here are but a few: Psalm 27:1; Proverbs 1:33, 29:25; Isaiah 41:13, 54:4; Jeremiah 39:17; 1 Peter 3:14; Proverbs 28:13; 1 Timothy 6:12; James 5:16; 1 John 1:9.

    I laid my fears at His feet and obeyed His call to publicly confess what I’d long ago put behind me. The blessing for my obedience was akin to that which I experienced as a new Believer…profound joy and unfettered freedom to be all that He created me to be…but at a MUCH deeper level! Allowing myself to be exposed showed me the depth and breadth of God’s covering like I’d never known before. I know that I can trust His Word, His call upon my life, no matter where it leads.

    Rivera, as I follow your blog, I sense that God is showing you much of the same…and we are all bountifully blessed by your journey and the humble spirit with which you freely share it! I pray that He will continue to work through you to help us all find the courage and conviction to live our lives by HIS standards, and not our own or the world’s…I love you so much!!

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Thank you for your faithfulness Jo. I got the call one afternoon, and the appointment was the next morning at 9 am. It was a quick process, and thankfully I didn’t have to come home and give everyone a bad report. God is good, and that’s an understatement.

  5. jlknight@mcdaniel.edu says:

    Sargrant3@yahoo.com

    Connected by Motorola

    “WordPress.com” wrote:

    Rivera Douthit posted: ” What an overwhelming feeling to be sitting in that room, the one where women were congregated in a half circle. We all sported blue gowns with strings holding them together, normally in the back, but this time in the front. I had tied these on pat”

  6. Audrey Malloy says:

    Praising God for a good health report!!!
    Thank you Jesus!!!!

    Amazing how He will strip us ..,, to stretch us!!!… I have been there quite a few times myself!!…., I thank you for your realness and willingness to be exposed and share….
    Real beauty emanates from a woman who unabashedly knows who she is in Christ!!
    You are a real beauty Rivera!!!
    ❤ u

  7. D says:

    I was not physically exposed as you were Rivera but my faith was certainly exposed and put to the test. Over 7 years ago I had a heart attack. As I taken away by ambulance to hospital I prayed- “God I am having a heart attack and cannot deal with stress. you have said in your word “Cast all your burdens on me”, so Lord that is what I am doing, you take care of it.” Immediately I felt the peace of God which passes all understanding flow through me and I was completely relaxed. In less than 150 minutes from my wife ‘phoning 911 I had been taken to hospital, examined and had two stents in one artery and was in the Coronary Care Unit. The nurses and doctors were wonderful. God does work in amazing ways. I changed my lifestyle as I needed to and I have been fine ever since.

  8. Judy says:

    A very insightful post, Rivera. I think God sometimes uses our physical health issues to heal our deepest needs. It’s just what he does! However, it isn’t always the healing that we expect. I am very thankful to hear that you are not in need of physical healing and that God took the opportunity to heal anyway. Judy

  9. Sis says:

    That had to be so hard, I’m glad you are okay and I’m mostly glad you have God to guide you and to lean on. He is good, yes?

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