Good News, and Not-So-Good News; or Professional Patient Take 2

God’s doing some soul-stretching in my life right now, that’s for sure. How do I know? Well, I’ve experienced way too many highs and lows lately for something amazing not to come of this experience.
Let me explain.
It all started in September of 2014. I tried jogging my normal 3-mile route, but couldn’t.

(CC BY-SA 2.5)

Unusually tired, my cellphone slipped from my hand as if my fingers had morphed into one of those dangling pronged claw cranes typically found in arcade rooms. You know the one. It’s created to entice youngsters to deposit quarter after quarter, because they think at any moment they’ll lift that fluffy teddy bear to freedom, but the flimsy metal fingers slide right over his brown ears.
Yeah. That’s what my fingers felt like. Flimsy prongs. By the third cellphone drop, I surrendered to my weakened state, and walked back home. Only, the rest of the day I was done.
Exhausted. Worn. So tired that not even my second cup of afternoon coffee could wake me—done.
This fatigued followed me all year, and I pretty much chalked my added exhaustion up to the extra work I took on teaching eleven students 6 subjects, like Latin, economics, American Government, debate, American literature, etc. Although I love, love, love to teach, something seemed…off.
I depended on energy drinks, or 3 to 4 cups of coffee, sometimes tea, and eventually I acquired an espresso habit just to string my flitting thoughts together.
Then something else happened.
After walking two flights of stairs, my heart raced at an unusual rate. Man, I’m outta shape, I thought. I needed to exercise more, but couldn’t break into a steady jog without the wearying sensation creeping in.
I started turning down speaking engagements and pretty much stopped blogging or working on my next book projects.
{Side note: It turns out, when you stop marketing your book, and slow your speaking calendar, this reflects poorly in book sales. Kind of a big no-no in the publishing world. But I knew as soon as school was over in April, I’d be back at the keyboard, I promised myself.}
God continued to put two projects heavily on my heart. So much so, I sheepishly confided in my small ladies’ Bible study that I sensed God was calling me to write again.
Then out of the blue, I received a phone call from a good friend, asking if I wanted to become a contributing writer for an online devotional (one that reaches roughly a 1,000 readers daily).
“Uh, yeah?” I responded with a scrunched forehead. I couldn’t believe my ears.
Is it wrong that I went on to confess I hadn’t written in a while, and that I’d give it a shot, but wasn’t sure because I was feeling rusty? Geez, I’m an awful sales person! What dingbat admits rusty-ness when given such an opportunity? But he didn’t care.
And, really, what did I have to lose?
Dignity, self-worth, I don’t know…loss of sleep because the words just aren’t coming to me like theyused to?
All in all, things were looking up. heaven
Then, two weeks ago, April 22, I smiled while watching my students celebrate their end-of-the-year pizza party. I’d miss them, for sure. My kids were awesome. But I knew I could finally finish my 90 Day Devotional for the Newly Diagnosed and my second secret project. Only, that exact day, right about the time the party ended, an email popped in my inbox from my agent. Perfect timing, I mused.
I read on and realized she was explaining why she needed to tighten her client list. In essence, she was dropping me. Ugh. Can you blame her? I pretty much faded out of all writing endeavors for an entire year.
Ouch. April 22 was a hard day.
How can this be your plan? I questioned God.  How can I shop a book without an agent?”
No sooner had these words zipped through mind did I hear, “Am I not bigger than an agent? And when have I ever done anything the conventional way in your life?”
He kind of had a point there.
So, my first online devotional was published in March.
My agent dropped me in April.
May 1, I opened an email that caught me off-guard, “What a GREAT writer you are! I really enjoyed your devo. I think you should write a devo book. 🙂 Blessings, D., Writing Team Manager CCFL”
Confirmation after confirmation, I knew God was kicking me. But I had no idea the new material He was about to send my way.
Because yesterday, May 6, my cardiologist told me I needed surgery.
Heart surgery.
My new cardiologist described my heart as pipes, and explained that mine were pretty much malfunctioning. And leaking. I knew something was up, especially when the tech took so many extra pictures during my echocardiogram. Turns out my mitral valve has moderate leakage (which I kind of knew), and my aortic valve has severe leakage and regurgitation, so much so that my heart is having a hard time pumping sufficient blood through my body. Thus the fatigue, brain-fog, and cellphone-dropping weakness.
The not-so-good news is that I need valve replacement surgery.
Next week I’ll visit my oncologist to double check that I’m still cancer-free (which I’m believing I am…please believe with me).
June I’ll go in for an endoscope to take internal photos of my heart.
And sometime after that, I’ll fly to New York to consult with surgeons on how to proceed, given my crazy medical history.
And the good news…the best news, really, is that after my surgery I’ll have my energy back. I’ll be able to jog again, think clearly again, and be a little more chipper during my days {you can’t hear’em, but my kids are cheering in the background}.
So this is where the soul-stretching comes in. Do I really believe God is in control?
Of course I do. With my whole heart, even the broken parts.
Do I possibly believe that He allowed another medical bump to ignite my passion to finish a devotional for those newly diagnosed?
Seems to align with His timing, right? All I know is that God uses everything we go through, but sometimes He requires for us to walk through the uncomfortableness of life. That’s how I grow. That’s how I fully depend on Him. And that’s usually when I sense His presence the most, because the Lord is closest to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).Jesus calling
And this morning, of all mornings, this was how my heavenly Father reached out and spoke to me:
May 7
“Do not fear what this day, or any day, may bring your way. Concentrate on trusting Me and on doing what needs to be done. Relax in My sovereignty, remembering that I go before you, as well as with you, into each day. Fear no evil, for I can bring good out of every situation you will ever encounter.”
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
—Psalm 23:4 {Jesus Calling excerpt}
Boy, isn’t that the truth. He’s with me. So much so that His perfect peace surrounds me even as I type these words.
I think not.
If you’ve read this far, I have 3 favors to ask, and one shameless plug we’ll call number 4.

  • Will you pray for me and my doctors and the decisions that need to be made in the next couple of months?
  • Will you call your mom, dad, brother, sister, and anyone else dear to your heart and tell them you love them. Really love them. And then spend time with them, because honestly, we never know what day they might be called home to heaven.
  • Will you share your prayer requests so that I can pray with you?
  • I’m walking out on a shaky, uncomfortable limb here, but I’ve already been over-the-top transparent in this post, so why not {awkward laugh}? In light of my current agentless status, I thought I’d suggest one loose-cannon idea. If you hate it, then delete this message. Ok? Ok, whew. So here goes. If you read When God Intervenes, and it touched you in some way, will you consider leaving a brief Amazon review? This would be huge. Really huge. People read reviews. And in this industry, he who has multiple reviews gets inched further to the top of the Christian industry list. Their message gets out, God gets the glory, and everybody wins. There. I asked. Now I can breathe easier again, and you can pretend I really ended this post at favor #3.

So that’s that. Lots of good news, some bad news, but ultimately, a freeing sensation has overtaken my soul as I know that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.
Love you guys,


  • Michelle Vanderwall

    You are amazing- you are always right there with just the right words from God when I’m at my lowest! My husband’s cancer medicine has stopped working and he is in bad shape. He starts a new drug tomorrow but tonight it’s all bad…. Thanks for reminding me that God is right here with us!

  • bryonm

    Dabney: I’m so proud of your faith and talent. We’re so glad to have you on our team of writers. The depth of the work the Lord has done in your life is apparent in how you live, write, and communicate. Blessings, prayers, and love to you and yours.

    • dabneyhedegard

      Thank you, friend. Please give your love to your precious wife for me. God bless you both!

  • Rachel

    I would have hugged you a little tighter and a little longer last night, had I read this before then. You always amaze me, and have inspired me ever since we first met. Praying for you and with you, my friend. Xo

  • Paula Mantrozos

    You remain in my prayers, dear one. God loves you so very much and keeps showing off right through your life! He does that whether you are writing, teaching, making pancakes with the kids, speaking, loving on your bible study group, or your family…You are GOD’S GIRL and I am so pleased to know you. I am cheering you on and will be praying for your prayer requests. Please let me know if you need anything from me more “hands on”. Want to stay in the loop. Big HUGS-P

  • Caroline Abbott

    I’m sorry to hear you need heart surgery my friend. And I truly understand the ups and downs of being a blogger and writer. One thing that shines through your writing is your strong faith. Praising God for that today.

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