Heart Choices: Heart Renovation -->

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Heart Renovation

I was born with a broken heart. 

It wasn't the kind you may be thinking.  I had a congenital heart defect called an atrial septal defect.  It's a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart.  Mine was about the size of a fifty cent piece.

Today with all of the advances in technology it's quite easy to repair, even on infants.

But in 1953 when I was born, it was a different story.  After all, the heart lung machine had only been in use for a short time.  The risk of complications and death was quite high.  So the cardiologist told my parents to keep me quiet and wait until the technology advanced and improved.

It's weird but I always knew I was different.  Since I wasn't able to run and play with the other children, I spent much time alone.  In my childish mind, I tried to imagine how the surgeon would eventually repair that hole in my heart.

My heart was fixed in two different ways in 1960.

On July 20, 1960 (50 years ago today), I had open heart surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.  I was seven years old.  The surgery was a success and I'm in excellent health today.  I have no restrictions on my activities.

This is Dr. James Malm (my heart surgeon) and me when I was 18 years old.

I had a more permanent fix in my  heart that same year. 

I prayed to received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.  Mrs. Anderson, my grandparents' pastor's wife asked me to go for a drive with her several days before my surgery.  She explained why I needed Jesus and if I had any questions.  I'd heard the Gospel before and understood. I prayed at that time to invite Him into my heart.

However, it wasn't really until about 15 years ago that I really surrendered my heart to Him.  I was in desperate need of a heart renovation in my attitude and actions.  Instead of simply holding a free ticket to heaven, I wanted to grow in my relationship with my Abba Daddy.  I wanted the God sized hole in my heart to be filled to overflowing with His love.  And that could only happen when I gave myself fully to Him. 

He could then work in me and through me as He began to change me ...from the inside out. 

I'm so thankful for this heart renovation that continues to this day.  He teaches me lessons and prunes me.  The trials and challenges in my life are more opportunities to trust Him and to allow Him to conform me to His Son's image.  My suffering is never wasted.

How about you?  Is your heart pliable?  Are you willing to continue to grow?  Or do you feel like you've already arrived and are comfortable where you are? 

I believe the Lord will continue to peel away those layers from our heart but we must cooperate. 

So, are  you willing to allow Him to do His work in you?

Blessings and love,

Debbie Petras
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  1. I praise God for the immediate heart transplant given to me 5 yrs ago upon Salvation!

    However, He continues to sanctify me each and every single day showing me the areas of my heart that needs His love to heal it completely!

    Love you!

  2. Great story Debbie! NO, I have certainly not arrived nor am I where I hope to be yet allowing God to peel away the layers is SO painful. Attempting to let go:)

  3. What an awesome testimony! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. What a beautiful 18 year old. Praise God for the healing in the natural and the spirit. You are such a blessing to so many!

    Love you,

  5. What a beautiful 18 year old. Praise God for the healing in the natural and the spirit. You are such a blessing to so many!

    Love you,

  6. Such a beautiful post sis, bless you.

  7. Thank God for that miracle, my sweet friend. You are such a blessing to others. I pray God keeps working on our hearts. Love you ~

  8. Such a beautiful testimony, Debbie! I always love it when you share these stories....

  9. What a great testimony Debbie and you look so beautiful then and now.

    I'm definitely willing to continue to grow. I second Cathy's comment--you are a blessing.

  10. I have had the exact same surgery on my heart for the very same reason except they didn't find my hole until I was 30! I gave my "heart" to the Lord years prior to that and Praise HIM for helping find this hole! I had a whole new life in sooo many ways :)

    Love and Hugs!

  11. I feel like my heart is being transformed on a daily basis. I want my heart to be fully His, fully surrendered to His will and His ways. Sometimes I get in the way. I am so thankful that Dr. Jesus is always on call and ready and willing to bring transformation!

  12. Oh Debbie! I am in awe of you and your amazing story. I admire you so much! Congrats on you special anniversary today. God is good.

    Blessings, ~Melissa :)

  13. No wonder your blog is titled Heart Choices, Debbie! I thank God for that pastor's wife for leading you Christ. What a wonderful testimony you have shared with us - thank you!

  14. Oh Debbie! Thank you so much for bringing this post to my attention! Praise God that He enabled the surgeon's hands to heal your physical heart...and that God alone healed your true heart. It is encouraging to hear of such a positive outcome to such a challenging circumstance. I am praying (as you know) for someone dear to me to have her heart healed both physically and spiritually...I am placing my trust in Him. Thank you again for sharing and being such an encouragement to me. I truly believe that God has placed you in my life for a purpose. Thank you for allowing Him to use you to minister to lil' ole me.

    Living for HIm, Joan

  15. I love this post, Debbie. It was written a few days ago but I only got to read it now.

    Amazing story. We were born the same year!

    I always love your posts - they are deep. Even if you don't use too many words, your words reflect that you have a deep relationship with God. That is clear to see.

    Praise God that your heart was fixed.

    ANd above all, that God has led you to His heart, and that you already have a ticket to heaven, purchased by Jesus.


  16. Isn't God's work amazing?!? I love the transformation process...healing from the inside out...it is beautiful...stunning...and it brings Him so much glory!
    Blessings sister!

  17. I learned something new about you, Debbie. Your heart. ;)

    Thanks for sharing your story.. and that pic. Girl, you were groovy!


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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