Butterfly Bumps

Hospital by Russell Weller (FreeImages.com)

Hospital by Russell Weller (FreeImages.com)

Each one of us has little insignificant rough places that seem harmless — lumps and bumps of no consequence. That was the way it was for several years with a little bump on my neck under my chin. The bump on one side of the butterfly gland known as my thyroid didn’t hurt, was barely noticeable and didn’t concern me. When I would go for my annual physical checkup, the doctor would send me for a sonogram of my thyroid. Even then the sonogram showed nothing harmful on either wing of the butterfly.

The next year, although the sonogram showed nothing, the doctor ordered a more thorough test, one that showed a cold nodule was present on one wing. On his direction, I agreed to talk to his surgeon.

Rebellion or prayer?

When we seek guidance for our lives, physical or spiritual, we should expect God to speak to us through those who care for us. If they notice a lump or bump in our lives and offer to help us get rid of it, what is our reaction? Rebellion or prayer?

My husband and I sought the prayer support of our covenant community before making an appointment with the surgeon. Somewhat apprehensive, but armed with this prayer support, we went to talk to the surgeon. He explained that although less than 20 percent of such nodules are malignant, he strongly recommended removing the wing of the thyroid containing the nodule. If the lab tests done during surgery indicated one wing was malignant, he would continue the surgery, removing the entire thyroid. In either case, the thyroid function would be replaced by medication for the rest of my life.


Also, there was a danger to the voice box and the parathyroid glands, which control the body’s metabolism. So why have my throat cut open for a 20 percent chance?

Why remove something suspicious from our lives that is not proven to be dangerous, only potentially dangerous, to us? Why risk losing part of our ability to function?

The Lord had led us to this place in our lives. He was offering us a gift, although a mysterious one. We could accept or refuse it.

Day surgery was scheduled. On the appointed day the whole process took longer than expected and I spent 24 hours at the hospital instead of 6. It was painful, expensive and inconvenient. The lab reported the entire organ was benign and no further surgery would be needed. Hallelujah!

Spiritual lumps and bumps

The parallel circumstance in our spiritual lives is our acceptance of the gifts of healing from those who care for our spiritual lives. We submit to the surgeries of forgiveness, reconciliation, restitution and prayers of  healing to help us give up our lumps and bumps and begin to recover and praise God. This experience is not without pain, inconvenience and sometimes financial sacrifices. Like my recuperation, we can allow others to love and care for us until we are better spiritually.

Next came removing the stitches out and waiting for the swelling to go down. Scar tissue must develop to harden the area against further attack. This natural protective process takes place if we recognize our vulnerability to infection and protect ourselves from anything that might disturb our healing. In healing spiritual maladies, we can carefully guard against any new wounds in the specific area of our life that we know is vulnerable.

Fill the vacuum

During recovery, medication is carefully monitored. When we are stripped of something potentially harmful in our lives, we need to fill the vacuum with the prescribed antidote. If we are diligent and faithful to the Lord’s instructions to us, we won’t lose our balance.

Nothing in our lives is insignificant to the Lord. He is in the business of healing our spiritual lumps and bumps, as well as performing major surgery to transform our hearts and minds. And why should we allow him to do this work in us? For me, the answer came in the form of a comment at the bottom of the lab report. “This type of adenoma, although benign, is of the type that deteriorates into malignancy if not treated.”

Praise God for the spiritual tools he has given us to help one another over our lumps and bumps! He answered the prayers of our covenant family for me in a way which gave me a new teaching to share about healing.

What lumps and bumps in your life need healing?

(© 2012, revised 2017 Nancy H C Ward)

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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One Response to Butterfly Bumps

  1. Diane says:

    Love this Nancy! What a great connection between body and spirit.

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