There was nothing special about the office building that would have made me think, “This man knows beauty.” As I wandered through the hallways, the smell of fresh construction wafted through the air. My cynicism radar was on high alert. The protective barrier around my heart was fully deployed.
I was looking for Suite 960. Moving down a hallway of brown doors against freshly painted yellow walls, I searched for his name—something indicating to me that I had arrived at the doctor of my prayers.
Another brown door. Another brown door. I started to feel like Alice in Wonderland. All the doors looked exactly the same, bathed in the same fluorescent light. Until I got to Suite 960.
This door had something really special on it -an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper that said: Dr._____, Dr.______, Dr._____, and Dr. Holcombe. You’ve got to be kidding me! This is it? The doctors have their names on a piece of paper taped to the door? They couldn’t even afford a $50 acrylic name plaque? “I don’t think this guy is it,” I thought to myself. But out of commitment to my friend, Renee, I decided to hear what this guy had to say.
I checked in with the receptionist who directed me to the waiting room just around the corner. The waiting room was the size of my pantry. No wait…my pantry is bigger. I took a seat near an older man, who certainly was not there for any kind of beauty enhancement. “Maybe this doctor is some kind of burn doctor or something,” I thought to myself. There was a distinct lack of naked statues, pink neon lighting, and towers of beauty products like the first plastic surgeon’s office had.
“Alisa?” My name was called.
I was escorted into a room with one dental-looking chair, a sink over some cabinets, and a little black stool with chrome legs on wheels. No pictures on the wall trying to please my aesthetic senses, just a chair staring at a sink. “Nothing special,” I thought.
Dr. Holcombe walked in with his assistant, Sarah. The conversation began.
Dr.: “Hello, Alisa, I’m Dr. Holcombe. I see you are interested in an implant explant.”
Me: “Yes,” I said, “but before we get going I wanted to let you know that we share some friends in common…the Worcesters.” His face seemed to light up like an angel.
Dr.: “Oh yes…the Worcesters…some of the best people I have ever known.”
Me: “Me too. They are people who help shape my life.”
With the secret VIP password out there, I was no longer talking to a doctor, I was talking to a fellow brother in Christ. I exhaled a little.
The rest of the consultation went off without a hitch. He asked me if I was having any problems with the implants. I told him I wasn’t, they just didn’t agree with me any longer; something in my soul was not settled with them anymore. Instead of trying to talk me out of it, he told me what I could expect and how he would give the best treatment he knew to give. He picked up on my major fear – looking like a train ran over my chest. To which he said these words, “Alisa, You are a beautiful woman now, and you will be a beautiful woman then.” I said, “Amen.” He said, “Yes. Amen. I love an amen.” “Me too,” I said, as my voice began to crack and fade.
I began to cry.
He handed me a tissue.
I didn’t know I needed to hear I was beautiful, by someone who I had never met, who does “beauty” for a living. I needed the authoritative voice of someone to tell me I was not crazy. That I was not defined by my mammary glands.
We decided the best thing to do would be to remove the implants and then wait three to six months to see if a lift was necessary. I asked if it was true about something called “fluffing” – the process of the breast tissue kind of filling back up a few months post explant. He said he wasn’t really sure but he would never deny God’s healing powers. He told me, “There’s a healing process that the Lord does with each individual. It’s His right to do it.”
He was saying what God had been speaking to me. The voice of my King, telling me that He was going to heal me and restore to me to my true beauty.
I entered the world of “pretty” the world’s way—in a bright, flashy office, flooded with beauty, and a doctor who told me what he could make me become—and I was now leaving “pretty” and entering true beauty, quietly and humbly, with a “nothing special” doctor who told me who I already was.
I knew this was it. This was going to happen.
I began to cry a little more strongly, and the doctor asked if I was okay. I told him I was feeling the grief now. The mourning of who I was for who God was inviting me to become. It felt like death. The death of me. The doctor sat with me and kept handing me tissues.
Dying to pretty is not pretty.
Next, Dr. Holcombe said nine game-changing words to me. Words that resurrected me out of my grief.
He said, “I would be honored to do this for you.”
Wait…did someone say honor? My Spirit rose up and I knew this was my call. A holy, high, honorable, and humble call was being bestowed upon me. Not my have to, but my get to.
And with that, He asked if I had any more questions. I said, no. Then he put the big holy cherry on the sundae and said, “Can we pray before you go?” “Absolutely,” I said. We prayed. We said amen. And it was done.
I was sent to the scheduling office where I asked his assistant, Sarah, one question I had forgotten to ask the doctor, “Is it true that implants should be replaced every 10 years or so for health and safety?” She said, “No. That’s a myth. There’s no reason to remove unless there are complications.”
Immediately I was frustrated and mad at God because it was confirmed, again, that I didn’t NEED to have this surgery. “Then why? Why did you ask if I would do this, God?” I thought.
Two breaths later, this truth came into my mind: God knew what he was doing with me when he allowed me to go forward with these implants 15 years ago. He knew that in 15 years, a new decision would need to be made. And the only way I would have possibly been open to discussing this with Him was if I thought it was necessary. Although the surgery seemed more unnecessary than ever before, this was His time for something new. He wanted to give me fullness of life in the Kingdom, even if it meant flatness of chest on earth. He had been masterminding this event since eternity past.
“You see all things; you saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb. Every detail of my life was already written in your book.” Psalm 139:16
Sarah asked if I had any more questions. I stared out the window, a little paralyzed and said, “Yeah. I have one.” I turned to look at her and said, “Do you think I am crazy?” Sarah took a breath, looked at me with her young, flawless skin, spun-gold hair, and beautiful, blue eyes and said, “No, actually…I think you are quite brave.”
Yup…brave. I’ve heard that before.
In the parking garage, I sat in my car and had another cry. I was still kind of mad about the whole not-necessary-AT-ALL surgery I just said yes to. Why God? Why? I needed some fresh confirmation from God. I told Him I was going to open up my Bible app and I NEEDED Him to give me a word, a fresh yes, that this was His will. Because the loophole of it all not being necessary seemed like a good enough reason to turn back. Of course, He spoke:
“Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14)
Oh, sweet grace that saved a wretch like me.
This was no longer my sacrifice but my free-will offering. Something even more glorious.
My “have to do something about this” got me to make the appointments. But it was my “get to,” my free-will offering, that got me to show up for surgery on May 11th.