“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
I memorized this verse a long time ago and it is definitely one that I continue to meditate on. The Lord again brought it to mind this weekend when we received a phone call during our annual staff retreat (we go away to the Poconos mountains with all the other staff in the NYC Metro area to plan, pray, and kick off the school year). On the other end of the line was my cousin Traci, who lives in SC. What she said rocked our world.
To give you a fuller picture of what the phone call meant, let me back up a little. As many of you know, we have been seeking the Lord about whether to have a surgery called Hyprocure for Kinsley to correct her pronating flat feet and her feet turning in. We have been looking for opinions from people who have done the surgery, talking to our insurance to see if they would reverse their decision to not cover the surgery, asking lots of questions of her doctor, taking time to see if the orthotics she got would help her, seeking different opinions from other doctors, and mostly, just praying and asking the Lord to provide wisdom and ultimately finances if He wanted us to do this. Because the effects of doing the surgery or not doing the surgery later on in her life are unknown both ways, we felt like we wanted clear direction before we proceeded.
Let me be clear, when we are seeking wisdom from the Lord, I know He doesn’t always spell it out in the Bible or write it in the clouds to provide a clear answer. Sometimes your clear answer is to have faith that He will make your path clear and just start walking. We always tell our students that sometimes, when you have two options that seem good or when you don’t know what to do, the best thing you can do is to start walking in one direction and God will make it clear that is the right way, or He will halt your plans and make it clear that it isn’t. Or, he will ultimately in his sovereignty, bring you around to where He wants you, even if you take the wrong path (which, in his sovereignty, isn’t really the wrong path…so complex).
But, Ed and I both really felt that we were to just wait on the Lord to make it clear and help us to know beyond of a shadow of a doubt what to do…and because it wasn’t an immediate issue that needed to be dealt with like yesterday, we could afford to wait. So wait we did. To be honest, even in my waiting, I felt like we were going to end up doing the surgery. We did receive funds from a lot of generous people who said that if we decided not to do the surgery, we could use the funds for ministry, but it wasn’t all we needed, so we waited. So because we weren’t sure and didn’t have the money, we waited.
The night before we came back to NYC from our summer travels, we stayed with Ed and I’s good friends in Charlotte. The wife, Lyndsay, is a nurse and used to work with a foot surgeon. She said that while it had been a while since she had worked with him, she had never heard of this surgery. However, her daughter has orthotics and she HIGHLY recommended them. She also said she had looked up the specifics of the Hyprocure surgery that we were considering for Kinsley and she didn’t understand how they could use the same size stent in both kids and adults and how they wouldn’t have to size it up as they grew bigger. She overall said she saw some big red flags. “Ok, point taken and something to look into,” I thought.
We also had been corresponding through email with our foot doctor in NYC trying to ask about which insurance companies and specifically, which states in the US with Blue Cross Blue Shield, covered it as he said they had, because our insurance said they may overturn their decision if we could provide this info. However, after multiple emails asking our doctor, we kept hearing “I will ask the company who makes the stent” or “my records were all lost in a transfer recently and I don’t have that” or “I left a message and haven’t heard back.” Another red flag.
Then, we got the phone call from my cousin Traci. Traci has been an RN for many, many years, works for a surgery center, and had a foot surgeon working at her center. When we were talking a few weeks ago, she said she would ask him what he thought of the Hyprocure procedure. While we were at retreat, she called to tell us what he had said. Basically, this doctor (who has no reason, financially or otherwise, not to tell us the truth) went on for about 45 minutes about how he WOULD NOT do this procedure and how we SHOULD NOT do this procedure on Kinsley. He said that in the procedure, because of where they place the stint, it causes irreversible joint damage to the surrounding joints and that she would be working the rest of her life to fight the problems associated with that. He also said that the only people who do this surgery nowadays are podiatrists and it is only because they make a lot of money off of it. He got really angry about it and said he wanted to slap any person who would recommend this surgery for such a young child, especially since he feels Kinsley could grow out of it and orthotics could make such a huge difference for her. She shared a lot more things, but this was the jist of their long conversation.
Another drug rep, who was in the office at the same time and briefly overheard Traci mention the hyprocure, also advised against it and said some of the same things. I asked my cousin if she trusted this doctor and she said that she trusted him “150%”. That was enough for us. Honestly, we weren’t bummed. We have the orthotics and that will help her for the most part when she is wearing shoes. If anything, we were so very, very thankful.
Thankful that we didn’t already do the procedure. Thankful that the Lord clearly, at least in our minds, spelled out what He wanted us to do. Thankful that we have people that we trust that the Lord very clearly used to make it clear. Thankful that the Lord used so many of your prayers to make it clear. Thankful that we waited and didn’t rush to do what we thought would be best. Thankful that God is the definition of wisdom and that when we ask, He clearly provides wisdom and will make our paths clear.