WPW

I have a condition known as Wolf-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome. Basically it means I was born with extra electrical pathways in my heart. I was in my 20s when officially diagnosed with it. I never really had it treated because mostly I was trying to ignore it.

I mean who wants to admit they have cardiac issues or any health issue for that matter – sometimes acknowledging the truth of a matter is very difficult. So, I mostly ignored the times my heart took off racing like a wild stallion. When it did, I used the vagal maneuvers my cardiologist had taught me. They usually worked until I reached my upper 50’s. (Read about WPW at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wolff-parkinson-white-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20354626 and more about vagal maneuvers at https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/atrial-fibrillation/vagal-maneuvers-and-heart-rate ).

I had learned to ignore my body and what it was telling me as a kid. Growing up being sexually abused by my dad I had to split how my body felt and how I felt about my body into a separate compartment of my internal world in order to “act happy and normal” with the outside world. I mostly thought of my body as bad and tried to ignore it as much as possible.

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Along the healing path of life God has had me on I have learned over the years to pay more attention to the body He gave me which is made in His image. While in the Philippines I learned even more about listening to my body. The heat is intense and when we first arrived I thought I’d die as my heart would race often. I learned quickly that I needed to stay well-hydrated in order to keep the racing heart at bay. Several other healing influences that taught me more about self-care were the spiritual realization that if I’m to love my neighbor as myself I need to love myself. Recognizing that when a friend or family member was ill I was concerned and tried to help them by getting them to a doctor and getting medicine needed I was like, “why not do that for myself?” An ah-hah moment from God.

Another influence in learning to take better care of myself was a dear friend, Judy. I used to think she went to the doctor to often. The reality is she went for yearly checkups and she went when truly not feeling well. In the Philippines it’s common for people to do things together, so I and another friend started scheduling yearly checkups at the same time Judy did. It was fun for three or four of us to go to the doctor’s together and wait for each other while each had their private checkup.

Two books that strongly influenced me in better caring for my self were Living Like You Mean It by Ronald J. Frederick and The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.

God has designed us spirit, soul, and body – – Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

As I’ve gotten older, WPW has become more of an issue for me. Our last year in the Philippines I was 58 and my heart was racing wildly for a few seconds or minutes almost daily. Needless to say, when we arrived in the USA I saw a cardiologist.

In the summer of 2019 I had what is known as an electrophysiology study and ablation done at Henry Ford Cardiac Center in Detroit. It worked great.

(An electrophysiology study (EP) is a test performed to assess your heart’s electrical system or activity and is used to diagnose abnormal heartbeats or arrhythmia. An ablation cuts the extra electrical pathway. Learn more at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cardiac-ablation/about/pac-20384993 or https://www.henryford.com/services/electrophysiology/treatments/ablation).

But, since electricity likes to jump, sometimes the extra pathway is re-formed or another one comes along years later. I have a friend who has had four ablations done for the same issue as I have. I pray not to have to end up with that many, but I will be having another ablation done on January 18th.

electricity jumping

As I was pondering about WPW, this upcoming procedure, the providence of God, and resting in Him no matter what trial comes along, the thought came to me that WPW can stand for something else:

Wrestle, Prayer, Worship

Instead of WPW being a syndrome it can (and should) be a way of life for Christians. There are two definitions given for the word syndrome –

From https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/syndrome

Combining its two Greek roots, syndrome means basically “running together”.

Definitions

1: a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality or condition

2 : a set of concurrent things (such as emotions or actions) that usually form an identifiable pattern

So, while my physical heart may be displaying a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality or condition which in the case of WPW manifests in heart racing, trouble breathing and dizziness, my spiritual heart’s WPW is a set of concurrent things that usually form an identifiable pattern, a pattern every Christian should develop – one of honest wrestling with sins and past woundings; a prayer life that is unceasing; and worship. God’s deeds and love are truly amazing and we need to ascribe to the Lord the glory (worship) due His name.

We need to wrestle with our issues, delve into our past hurts, name them, lay them at the feet of Jesus. We need to wrestle with our anxieties, fears, concerns, name them, pray them to Jesus, just as the Psalms and so many other places in the Bible do. God wants our honesty. He doesn’t want plastic smiles and christianese speak that is not truthful – He wants our honesty. (Read more about christianese at https://www.dictionaryofchristianese.com/christianese/)

Suffering works God’s purpose. He loves that I struggle and persevere. He loves that I question and rage and am indignant at all this judgment and unrighteousness. He is sovereign, He reigns. Faith is not passive. Faith is active. Faith demands perseverance. Faith demands discipline to set my mind on Christ, to give thanks as a sacrifice of praise in the midst of storms and trials. My relationship to my Dad is so vital. He loves me. This I know. He cares about me. This I know. He holds me in His hands – this I know. And He loves to hear my questions and railings. This I know. He’s not mad at me for wrestling with Him. This I know. I am asking why. I cry. I rage. I hurt. And He loves me. This I know. I persevere. I seek Him. I praise Him. And underneath all, in the wrestling to rest, are His eternal arms (ref. Deuteronomy 33:27) (excerpt from unpublished Missionary Musings, Journal Reflections from a Borderline across Borders by Beth Symanzik, 2021.)

Amy Grant has a great song that speaks to this truth, Better Than An Hallelujah. Listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm5kx3xqmg0.

God loves a lullaby in a mother’s tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes
God loves the drunkard’s cry, the soldier’s plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes
We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are; The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah
The woman holding on for life, the dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
The tears of shame for what’s been done, the silence when the words won’t come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are, The honest cries of breaking hearts Are better than a Hallelujah
Better than a church bell ringing; Better than a choir singing out, singing out
We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are; The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

The truth is, the Psalms are filled with honest cries of breaking hearts. So in our wrestling we learn the heart of Jesus.

Of all the knowledge that we can ever obtain, the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves, are the most important. Jonathon Edwards

Prayer is the next thing. The following are just a few passages admonishing us to pray without ceasing, which goes hand in hand with wrestling and worship. In our trials, in our wrestlings, in every moment, pray. Prayer really is the life blood of the Christian. Martin Luther puts it this way, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

  • Matthew 5: 9 – 13 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
  • Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
  • Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
  • Philippians 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
  • Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Worship, the last letter of the WPW abbreviation, is integral to the life of a Christian. Worship can be one of those nebulous words that we feel we may have some understanding of but not really. Here are a few quotes on worship to hopefully help clarify what worship is:

  • What is worship? It is essentially doxology, a giving of glory, praise, honour, and homage to God… “Godliness is a worship” wrote Swinnak. Worship comprehends all that respect which man oweth and giveth to his Maker…it is the tribute which we pay to the King of Kings, whereby we acknowledge His sovereignty over us, and our dependence on Him…all that inward reverence and respect, and all that outward obedience and service to God, which the word “godliness” enjoineth is included in this one word worship. (pg. 249 J.I. Packer A Quest for Godliness.)
  • Father, since Hebrews 12 deals with discipline, endurance, and struggling against sin and concludes with “offer to God acceptable worship”, is that our worship? To show You love and reverence? to fight and struggle against sin? to not be complacent? Do You view our struggles to walk Your way in the hard as worship? I think You do. I feel like You are saying that exactly: to press on, pursue joy, to diligently pursue Your holiness, to not get weary, to strive for peace with everyone, to strive for holiness without which we will not see You. This is worshipping You. (excerpt from unpublished Missionary Musings, Journal Reflections from a Borderline across Borders by Beth Symanzik, 2021.)

Worship is acknowledging His Sovereignty and giving thanks to Him in all things.

  • John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
  • Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
  • Hebrews 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
  • Revelations 13:3-4 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
  • Nehemiah 9: 5-6 Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you
  • Psalm 29:2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

God is Spirit and the Source of all love. Our spiritual journey calls us to seek and find this living God of love in prayer, worship, spiritual reading, spiritual mentoring, compassionate service to the poor, and good friends.Let us claim the truth that we are loved and open our hearts to receive God’s overflowing love poured out for us. And living fully each day let us share that love in all our wonderful and difficult relationships, responsibilities, and passages. The seeds of death are at work in us, but love is stronger than death. Your death and mine are our final passage, our exodus to the full realization of our identity as God’s beloved children and to full communion with the God of Love. Jesus walked the path ahead of us and invites us to choose the same path during our lifetime. He calls to us, “Follow me.” He assures us, “Do not be afraid.” This is our faith. Henri Nouwen

Isaiah 64:3,4 For when You did awesome things that we did not expect, You came down, and the mountains trembled before You. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.

Published by pianobeth7

I'm a mom. Our family lived overseas for 11 1/2 years. The mission field was rich with healing and deepening faith in Christ. I enjoy piano playing, cooking, writing, reading, doing projects. I've been married to my husband since 1990. I have a bachelor degree in social work and a masters in counseling, non-licensure. I've taught creative writing, English, and New Testament at the international school my kids attended while living overseas.

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