Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 001 Heart Conditions
Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #001 Heart Conditions
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective podcast Episode #001 – Heart Conditions.
Thank you for entrusting and investing part of your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed and thrilled to be back with you today to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
In the last podcast, #000, the Introductory podcast, I explained a little about why I started this show. The main points I shared are the great joy I experience in sharing and hearing God stories, in encouraging others to live with an eternal perspective for Jesus, and that I consider myself a “girl” in love with Jesus. I hope each episode encourages and inspires you to mature your walk with Christ and allow Him to transform your heart, as well. I pray that each personal experience and lesson I share with you points your heart and mind upward to Him.
I have a husband, one daughter in Heaven, one son, a grandson, and two daughters on earth. My youngest daughter is always on the hunt for hearts. She spots the shape in flowers, in artwork, in cereal, rocks…really the list is very long. I enjoy looking for them with her. Finding hearts together feels like a special gift from God to make us smile. One Christmas morning, I found a perfectly shaped heart in the foam on top of my orange juice. Our sweet girl came home from China to be with us at the age of nine. Brooklyn had survived a lonely existence in the crib room at a Chinese orphanage. The bed she was confined to was smaller than an American port-a-crib. No one talked to her, ate with her, or played with her. Because of her heart condition, no one thought she would survive, except for God.
At the age of 7, Brooklyn was able to have open heart surgery. There was actually a first step in this procedure that should have been have been performed on her when she was just an infant, and the surgery she had in China should have been performed when she was around the age of 2. We will never know why or how she finally received the operation, but it enabled her to experience life with much better quality, and she was abruptly released from the crib room to join regular orphanage life at 7 years old. There’s a deep and detailed story behind that release, but I’ll save it for another podcast.
Because our girl has several heart defects, the surgery she had wasn’t a repair, but she definitely did have a better quality of life than before. Knowing that Brooklyn’s health was much improved, but that it was still imperative she have another open heart surgery, the orphanage finally prepared documents for her to be eligible for adoption. Most couples, however, did not want to take a risk on a child who could not have her heart repaired, even after the next surgery. Because her future was uncertain, her prepared adoption records sat mostly unnoticed. I believe God was holding her for us to find.
I had been praying for various children, both domestically and internationally, to find forever homes for over ten years at the time I saw Brooklyn’s face online. While scrolling through photos and offering prayers for several of the children I viewed on my computer screen one morning, I literally stopped when I saw her. I could not scroll past her face or expression. I immediately began praying for her, yet instead of moving on to other children to pray for them, she remained embedded in my memory. I told my husband about her and asked him to pray for her, too, but instead of releasing thoughts of her, I continued day dreaming about her each day. After a couple of weeks, I contacted the adoption agency that listed her and inquired about her history. I also asked for more information to be gathered. Before long, I memorized every fact they had on her and I was receiving updates from China. The agent I worked with said I knew her file better than anyone. The only concern that kept rearing an ugly question was her health. I sent her medical file to top pediatric cardiologists at several major hospitals in the United States. They all reported back with the same information. Any repair would be palliative. Her heart could not be fixed. At some point, a heart transplant would be needed.
It was such deep news to process. My husband and I went straight to the Lord. The major hesitation in my heart was that we had already lost a daughter. I didn’t want to experience that pain again. I also didn’t want my then nine year old daughter or my grown son to experience losing a sibling again. Marissa was four when Jaime died. It had been brutally hard. Even harder on her and the whole family was losing Jaime, then also dealing with the gradual decline of my mother’s health due to Alzheimer’s disease, and walking through almost a year of lung cancer with my father. My father died six years after Jaime, but dealing with me managing the care of my parents in the interim was excruciating for my then youngest child. We spent almost every day with either my mother or father and it had been one hard battle after another for years by this time. My mother was still alive and I knew her health would only decline. Even thinking of caring for a palliative child who had lived in isolation most of her nine years in an orphanage on top of everything made no sense. But one question kept pressing in my mind. Would it make sense to God? My husband and I prayed for three months before knowing it did. This was His plan. God doesn’t call us to seek a life of ease; He calls us to obey.
Once we knew God was requesting us to bring Brooklyn home to our family, we moved as quickly as possible to submit documents to begin the adoption process. After we received pre-approval, we completed our home study, began completing all of the required paperwork, and gathered much needed funds. In our case, I spent hours locating, completing, and submitting grant applications. God provided absolutely everything we needed. We were blessed to be recipients of several matching grants and experienced the generosity of many friends and family. There is never an excuse for us to ignore the calls that God places in or on each of us. Where God leads, He does provide. It is our responsibility to take the step of faith that creates obedience and opens the door for God to supply.
One special friend held a huge garage sale for us and donated all the money toward the adoption fund. On top of that, she contributed $500 to the adoption. Another dear friend donated $800 towards the adoption. God was clearly calling others to invest in His work and in the life of His dear daughter who deserved a family to love her. It only took eight months from the start of our paperwork that began the process, until we actually traveled to China. We were on a mission to get our girl home, and then quickly get her as healthy as possible.
After she was home, Brooklyn had so many doctor appointments. There were many health issues and as I said before, this subject would be another podcast on its own. Following other surgeries that she had to undergo to rid her body of multiple infections, we were finally able to focus on her second heart surgery. Due to several heart defects, our girl basically lives on half a heart. But let me tell you that her heart explodes with love as full as several whole hearts.
That’s actually the focus of our podcast today: the condition of our heart. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 4:23, which warns, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Do you ever just stop and look around? It seems everyone is always in a hurry. We’re so used to immediate gratification, and over-scheduled lives. We’ve jam-packed kindness right out of the picture. No one has time for it. In reality, we make time for what we care about. This world – and all of us in it – will not change until we change the condition of our hearts. I truly believe the problems of this world would be solved if we all allowed a heart adjustment from Jesus.
Before Jesus left His disciples, He warned them that He would not talk with them much longer. “The ruler of this world is coming,” He said. “He has nothing in me.” Jesus was letting them know that Satan had nothing over Him. There was absolutely no handle with which Satan could get a hold on Jesus or persuade Him to sin. Here’s the important point for us to remember. Satan actually needs fertile ground to plant and grow his damage and destruction. This means that when we have an area of our life that has not been surrendered to the Lord, we invite Satan into the garden of our hearts to begin preparing for a harvest.
Do you realize that God’s word is actually full of warnings for us? The Bible holds wise and seemingly simple advice to steer us straight to Jesus and away from the clutches of Satan.
Here are a few:
Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.
Give to those who have need.
Be kind to one another.
Forgive one another.
Walk in love and be imitators of God.
They are all such simple directives.
What is the key?
We have to follow these commands with a pure and willing heart that is submitted to Jesus because we love Him and we have surrendered our lives to Him as our Savior. The works we do are acts of love and obedience – they’re not done to attempt to gain favor or to look good to others.
Everything circles back to the condition of our heart.
Ephesians 4:30 instructs, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” What I find so fascinating is that the verses right before, and also following this verse, warn extensively about the inappropriate use of anger, fighting, slander, bad attitudes, and our tongue. This proves that the Holy Spirit is deeply grieved by sins committed daily by those of us who profess to love Him.
Matthew 12:34b says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If you skip down to verses 36 and 37, Jesus warns, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words, you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The excess in our hearts - both good and bad - will eventually spill out of our mouths. When it happens, it reveals our core nature.
Colossians 4:5 offers a wise solution. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Simply translated, this means that the words of believers must be spoken with the intention of being useful for helping others and for building them up.
Help others and build them up.
So incredibly hard to do when we’re angry.
Hard to do when we have been abused or misunderstood.
Almost impossible when we’ve been wrongly accused.
Just like Jesus was.
Yet, every single action He took was intentional.
Jesus didn’t react according to how He felt.
Jesus longed to fulfill His Father’s plans for Him.
He longed to please the Father.
Jesus loves us so much that He kept His focus on what He knew with a certainty God was calling Him to do.
Jesus didn’t put himself on the throne of His life.
Because He knew His life wasn’t His own.
Neither is ours.
We know it, but don’t always keep it in the forefront of our mind and heart.
Abiding in Jesus means we are to allow every bit of ourselves to abide in Him.
We are here on this earth for such a short time. There’s a purpose to the personal suffering each one of us has endured.
No one else is created exactly as you are. No one else is created exactly as I am.
We are called to use our lives for Him and let that overflow to each other.
Each of our stories, each of our glories and disasters are sifted through His hands before they touch us and have been allowed for a divine purpose.
Our hearts cannot help but be radically transformed when we remember that truth. In turn, our transformation affects everyone around us.
This then draws others to Jesus, as we allow His heart and mind to radiate and work through us.
Our hearts begin to love others as Jesus does and our words and actions prove it.
This is living with true eternal perspective.
It changes everything about us, beginning with our heartitude.
It’s my made-up word, but I think you know what I mean. It’s what God refers to as our “core nature.”
Heartitude vomits what we’ve got stored inside. We suddenly expel what is, and has been, buried deep within.
What about when we are tired at the end of a day and we just want to run into the grocery store and get out quickly with what we need for dinner. The lines are looong! One cashier works as quickly as they can to process everyone in the store through one line, and of course, everyone suddenly wants to leave at the same time. The scowl on our face and the impatience in our body language tells everyone around us just how much we love Jesus, right?
What about when we’re dealing with customer service or a medical representative on a phone call, and after we’ve been transferred again, and have repeated our story for about the fifth time, but we’re still no closer to getting direction or resolution on our issue? The tone of our voice and choice of our words lets the person on the other end of the phone hear how much we love and follow Jesus, right?
What about when someone, an adult, or even another child, intentionally treats your child unfairly or unkindly? Even after you rationally discuss it with them, they continue to harass or harm your beloved child. What about when they make fun of your child with special needs? Our reaction reflects how we respond just like Jesus, right?
I have lived through each of these triggers. Sometimes I have responded in a way that I believe Jesus would approve of, and I believe I have shown Him to others through the way I handled my reaction. But at other times, I know I have saddened Jesus with my response. I immediately regretted the choices I made. It grieved my heart to know that I intentionally caused sorrow for Jesus. When we live by reaction or for what is easiest for us at the time, we are choosing to live for our own flesh, whether that is because we are simply being selfish, or because we lost our temper, or because we became frustrated, it doesn’t matter. We are intentionally making a choice to hurt Jesus, whether we recognize it or not.
We all have different triggers and strongholds. Instead of living in shame or embarrassment when you react in an ungodly way, praise God for it! I am always humbled after responding in a manner unworthy of a daughter of the King. I apologize to God (and the person I offended, if I can) and I look at my weakness as a reflection in a mirror that has clearly shined my area of need. God has shown my frailty with a distinct clarity because He loves and He understands me completely. He is expelling “me” so He can fill all of the spaces.
As we abide in God and allow Him to fully reside in us, the changes are permanent and visible. “More of Him, less of me” becomes the chant we hear internally and respond from when we are thrown off balance, disturbed, or hurt because Jesus and His reactions and replies are permanently embedded in the pulse of our being.
We are then truly living with an eternal perspective.
Thank you for listening to the Live With Eternal Perspective podcast. God has impressed so much on my heart to share. Living with an eternal perspective affects absolutely everything in my life. I am thrilled to delve into different areas with you. Since everything affects our eternity, we will have a lot to discuss! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you found value in this podcast, please subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. I also encourage you to leave a review. In order for others to be able to find this podcast, I will need the support of listeners who will invest a few minutes in subscribing and reviewing to lift Live With Eternal Perspective higher on the charts so that the platform shows it to everyone.
Thank you again for sharing part of your day with me. Until next time, keep looking Upward and finding new ways to live with an Eternal Perspective.