Do some heart surgery

[After 2 weeks, I’m back home!
Thanks for praying about my father-in-law’s successful heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic.]


The medical center is massive. Clean. White. And crowded with people of all colors, countries, conditions.

In a slightly-elevated open area in J Building—a massive structure with floor-to-ceiling windows—sits an instrument.

This piano.


Because in the middle of our quest for physical health, we still have needs of the soul.

So those walking by the main lobby at noon hear music. Some linger to listen. Others must keep marching.

But we’re all aware.

Of our humanness. Of a touch to our hearts. This we need.

And it’s one way God proves he’s still among us.

  • It’s my brother-in-law Steve bringing me a cup of ice with my OJ in the morning because he noticed I like that
  • It’s the stranger beside me from Texas on the flight home offering me a piece of gum when he gets one for himself
  • It’s Jeff packing real cheddar cheese and Keebler Club crackers when he picks me up from the airport late Friday night

All are gifts from God, passed through human hands, to heal my own heart.

Maybe all who give such gifts aren’t aware it’s God using them, flowing through them, to show his love.

But I believe anytime there is love, there is God.

As my sister Sandy likes to quote, “What a friend we have in Jesus, and what a Jesus we have in friends.”

As you step out into your week, don’t forget to be God’s touch to those near you.

You don’t have to be a doctor to do open heart surgery.
You only have to be human.

* * *

How did a human show you God last week? I’d love to know.

47 thoughts on “Do some heart surgery

  1. Mary

    Uh…where I have been that I didn’t know this??? So sorry for your father-in-law, but glad you are home and things are well. Jesus in friends…I love that.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I kinda slipped out quietly so don’t feel bad you didn’t know. 🙂 And things went differently than scheduled. F-i-l ended up having more complicated surgery than he’d planned for. But it was for the best and hopefully he’ll be feeling much better soon, especially once he can get back to his own home too. Thanks, Mary, for being one of my friends who show me Jesus!

  2. Debbie

    So glad to read that your father-in-law’s heart surgery went well. I love to read about those ordinary and yet special gifts of kindness occur. But even more importantly, I love when we recognize them and give thanks to God.

    Thank you for the encouragement to be God’s touch as we go out into the world. I try to remember that each day.

    Blessings and love,

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Wish we could have had you as one of his heart nurses, Debbie! But we were blessed with some good ones, one in particular who would go out of her way to add special human touches to his care. I’m sure you were the same way, just as you are now as a teacher. Wherever we are, God can use us. That’s comforting to me. Praying you have a blessed week.

  3. Beth

    Oooh! I like Sandy’s words! I’m going to remember that one. And I have to say, Lisa, it doesn’t take much to minister to you! Ice, gum, crackers! 🙂 I’m so glad that your FIL is doing well. It was a joy to pray for you, for him, and for your family!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      As I looked over my list, I also noticed that common denominator (as usual) of food! ha. Oh well. My husband learned early on that keeping me fed was an easy way to keep me happy. 🙂

      I do appreciate that you were partnering with me in prayer the past two weeks. The Lord was gracious to answer in positive ways.

  4. floyd

    I had no idea. Glad all is well and God’s hand is with your father in law and your entire family. I agree, Lisa. If not for the Holy Spirit this world would be utter chaos. His love can be seen in and through the hearts of all people, just exactly how He wants it to be.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “If not for the Holy Spirit this world would be utter chaos.” Truth, Floyd. I’m grateful you let him work through you in all the lives you touch through your words in comments and your own blog posts. You are truly a Barnabas in the kingdom of God. I value your encouragement.

  5. Adoption Mama

    Boy, you are so right. The Body of Christ is so important. Prayer has been key to being encouraged. People who don’t even know my trial who let me know God impressed on them to pray for me.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      And I don’t think I realized how precious that prayer support is until I was the one that desperately needed it several years back. Now I don’t take lightly the privilege we have to pray for each other.

  6. Betty Draper

    Lisa, good news about your father in law. Good reminder to look for the little gifts but also give them out. Sometimes it’s only a hug that can lift a person spirit. Glad you are home with your love ones.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re right; something as small as a hug can make a big difference to someone needing it. Sometimes we’re the one giving it; sometimes the one receiving it. May we see the grace of God in it through both situations. Thanks, Betty.

  7. Linda@Creekside

    Oh . the . piano.

    Right in the midst of the white and the clean and the fear and the exhaustion. There is balm for the terrified, wearied soul.

    Thank you for sharing this, Lisa. It hit me deep. And welcome. Welcome back.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for the welcome back, Linda. And the music was a balm indeed. One day they had a small band, another day a different group, etc. But all for soul-soothing. It definitely is helpful to me.

  8. Sherrey Meyer

    So glad to hear your FIL’s surgery went well despite a detour for a little more than originally planned. And glad that you’re home again where your own heart can heal. However, it sounds like many hands ministered to you while away and along the way. And that piano! What a delightful, soulful touch in a place where nice touches are often overlooked but oh, so appreciated when they are there. Still praying for you and your FIL.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate your continued prayers, Sherrey. The journey is still not over. Hopefully my f-i-l will get out of the hospital on Wednesday, then after a few more days of recuperation, my husband will fly back to Ohio to drive his mom and dad back to their home in Alabama.

  9. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! I had no idea that you were gone for your father-in-law, but I am so glad that it went well. The Cleveland Clinic has a wonderful reputation, I know he was in good hands.

    You are so right. We don’t need medical surgery to make a difference in the heart. Crackers and cheese soothe the heart too! Being kind to each other opens and relieves hearts, as you illustrated. Best of blessings on the healing path for your FIL. And what a wonderful DIL you are, spending two weeks supporting your family. You carry his love in your heart.
    Have a wonderful day,

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It really was reassuring to be somewhere with such excellent doctors and facilities. I’d highly recommend Cleveland Clinic to anyone.

      And it was my honor to be able to serve my in-laws. They are awesome, godly people who do so much for everyone else. Thanks for your kind words, Ceil.

  10. Jody Collins

    Lisa….wow, this quote is awesome, “You don’t have to be a doctor to do open heart surgery.
    You only have to be human.” An encouragement to me to keep on being Jesus wherever I go. My God bring healing soon to your relative.

    God bless YOU.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      3 this year? Yikes! You and he are a pro at this heart thing then. I feel like I’ve learned so much about the heart in the past few weeks, and enough to know I really know nothing. ha. Thanks for your prayers for healing, Dawn!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exactly–I’m sure the man on the plane had no idea that I’d be writing a blog post about him. ha. (And my b-i-l probably doesn’t even know I have a blog.) Maybe it’s best that we can’t predict where our small gestures will go; keeps our motives purer. 🙂

  11. Dolly@Soulstops

    So glad to know your father in law’s surgery went well…Thanks for sharing all the ways you experienced God’s love and for reminding us of the importance of human touch…I felt God’s love when my husband helps around the house 🙂

  12. Jen Ferguson

    Oh, after the week I had last week, this sparks tears into my eyes. Yes, Lisa, oh, yes. You have nailed this in so many ways. And this, I stand firmly in belief with you: But I believe anytime there is love, there is God.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Praying you are smothered in grace this week and find healing rest for yourself and discover a fresh stash of grace to give to others. You’re precious, Jen.

  13. Pamela

    “Anytime there is love, there is God.” I have written those words in my journal. I want to sprinkle love all over the earth!

    I’m praying rest for your body and spirit.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Your prayers are valued, Pamela. Thank you. I know you do sprinkle God’s love in many places around the world; I’m glad you sprinkle Him in my world too.

  14. Kathleen Jaeger

    This is beautiful. I noticed a comment of yours on another SDG sisters post saying it made you cry. Well, this made me cry, in a good way. I have lived out these reminders so many times in the last couple of years, the small touches of humanity that help us endure the hard things of life. thanks for sharing

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t it amazing how small things can be so big, especially when you’re feeling weak already? It’s always a good reminder to me to DO more small things for others, even when I think they might be too little to matter. They do matter.

  15. TC Avey

    I pray you are all resting well and recovering fully.

    God is in the details. His love is all around. Just last week He showed me His love by bringing me new luggage. I was in desperate need of it but couldn’t afford any. Then out of nowhere (for me) I came across a deal too good to be real- but it was God. He was smiling on me and giving me something I hadn’t even thought to ask Him for. I almost cried when I got the luggage because I knew it was a gift from God.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It never ceases to surprise me how God is all up in our details. How can he have time for this? ha. I’m so glad he gifted you with the luggage! I join you in believing things like that are surely from the Lord. Blessings to you, TC.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t it wonderful how everyday we could each make a list of those simple gifts of kindness. Thanks for stopping in Jennifer. My husband just got off the phone with his dad and he is supposed to finally be released from the hospital tomorrow, praise God!

  16. laura

    I hope your father-in-law is feeling better, Lisa. How fortunate he is to have such a sweet and faithful family member like you. I love that there is a piano in the lobby–yes, we need soul medicine too! I love the way you see, how you are always looking for the beauty in the hard places.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We’re hoping to hear my f-i-l will be released from the hospital today at noon! He had his best day and best night yet last night.

      Isn’t’ it encouraging to see when someone has gone to extraordinary energy or expense or effort just to tend to our soul needs. We traditionally see art and music in those ways, but may we be open to even more. I know you do your part, Laura.

  17. Melissa

    I love this, Lisa. You’re exactly right that where there is love, there is God. I think one of the strongest things we can pray is to ask God to help us let His love flow through us. (As the Jason Gray song “With Every Act of Love” says, “Alive in us Your light shines through.)

    Rejoicing with you that your father-in-law’s surgery was successful!

    When I was visiting my husband in the hospital, I noticed a piano in the lobby. Unfortunately, it was surrounded by “Do not touch” signs.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re going to turn me into a Jason Gray fan. 🙂 I need to get one of his CD’s because everything I’ve heard, I’ve liked. If you have a favorite CD, I’d love your recommendation.

      Glad your husband is out of the hospital now too. My f-i-l was finally released today! He’ll stay in Ohio a few more days then head back to Alabama next week.

      1. Melissa

        So glad your f-i-l was released and will soon be back in Alabama!

        All of the Jason Gray CDs have good songs! I would probably recommend “A Way to See in the Dark.” If you find songs that you particularly like, try to find video of live performances. He precedes almost every one with a story, and most are quite good.

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve put it on my to-do list for this week to get some Jason Gray music so I’ll start with that one. I have an iTunes gift card from Christmas that I haven’t used yet. I regret that I had a chance to see him in concert a few years back but wasn’t able to go.

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