Little electrodes taped to my chest.
The nurse gently reminding me not to peel them off.
Choosing the pink paper Snoopy for being good during the exam.
I have only vague memories of that day - little snippets of remembrances, like the flashes of a movie where the tape doesn't play correctly and only gives the viewer short clips before the next segment of black screen appears.
The notes my mom recorded in my baby book fill in the pieces.
At three years old, I was diagnosed with a heart murmur, the cause of which was unknown. My pediatrician recommended I undergo testing to make sure it wasn't anything serious. Although I was blissfully unaware of what heart murmurs even were, the troubling discovery really bothered my dad. He told me years later that he had a hard time sleeping during the nights leading up to my EKG, afraid that the tests would reveal something majorly wrong with my heart.
The night before my testing, however, Dad said he suddenly felt the Lord's peace, a calm as only the Heavenly Father could give.
Also that night, I woke up my mom. When she came into my room, she asked me what was wrong.
"It hurts," I told her.
"What hurts?" She asked in reply.
"Right here." I put my hand over the left side of my chest.
Nothing more came of the incident, and I remember picking at all the funny electrodes on my chest as I sat on the exam table the following morning.
The results were that my heart murmur was benign, and that there was nothing more to worry about. My dad believes that the Lord chose to heal me of a heart defect the night before.
Because my exam and the good news that followed took place on February 6th, that day has become "happy heart day" in my family. It's much more special to me than Valentine's Day, not because I was really aware of what was going on back then, but because it's yet another reminder that God is sovereign and that He can still do miracles (no one can say definitively whether or not I was born with a damaged heart, but even if the only miracle involved was the peace that the Lord gave my dad that night, that in itself is beautiful).
None of my recent doctors have been able to detect my heart murmur, so I'm assuming that it disappeared at some point.
But I've noticed another heart murmur taking its place - one far more serious than the physical one. It's the murmur of discontentment.
If only we could move somewhere where the cost of living were lower...
If only we could get the rest of these school bills paid off....
If only I could get my house more organized...
None of those above longings is necessarily bad. Sometimes, longing can help motivate us in a good way. Wanting a clean house and to pay off debt can be good things. But if I simply sit and wish for what I don't have, longing quickly gives way to discontentment, and that's where sin enters.
We're not going to be able to immediately change some of the things I wish we could. While I don't want to become complacent - another trap - I do want to cultivate a heart of contentment, not a heart that murmurs against the situation God has me in at the moment.
We all have to work hard to guard against the sin of discontentment, don't we? It isn't always easy to do. There will always be things in this life that we wish were different, something we'd change if we were given the opportunity. The only way we can find contentment in our current circumstances is to focus our eyes on the Lord instead of our surroundings. There really is no other way.
And as we shift our gaze on Him and off our situation, we'll start sensing His peace, just like my dad did the night before I went in for testing. For some of us, God will also miraculously remove the thorn that's plaguing us. For others, He'll simply enable us to be thankful for the circumstances that we'd wished were different.
Either way, the result is worth the effort to keep focused on Christ.
Your turn: I'd love to know - do you struggle with contentment? Do you find yourself having to work through a murmuring heart? If so, what verses and action steps have been most helpful as you try to focus on the Savior instead of your circumstances?