Like a Tree :: An Update

Tuesday, January 22, 2013  ::  

A few months ago Chad asked me to write up some thoughts highlighting what I've learned so far in this health journey. I re-read it this morning and it encouraged me to press into Jesus and renew focus. January has been a rough month. I thought I had geared myself up to make it all the way to the 31st, but Sunday I fell short. It was a rough day realizing I still needed to be strong enough to make it another week, but felt completely empty with no reserves. 

Sometimes when I face difficulties I read back through my journals or even this blog to remind myself of all that God has done in my life. He is faithful. Even though my heart is prone to wander, He never ever wanders. I may forget, but His memory is perfect. 

This is what I wrote for Chad to read during one of his Sunday messages. I hope it encourages you as it encouraged me. 

In the beginning I was overwhelmed with fear and questions. Before we knew it was a stroke, my mind would run away with so many what ifs. While we were waiting for the initial diagnosis, God continuously brought 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to my heart. Be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. I would consider myself a fairly thankful person, but suddenly I was challenged with being thankful in a scary life circumstance in which I had no idea of the outcome. My heart was overwhelmed with thankfulness for Chad and my kids, but God was challenging me with more. Could I be thankful that He was taking me through such a trial? As He has so perfectly planned, being deeply thankful that He was giving me this opportunity to more fully trust Him was the one of the main ways He brought peace to my heart through the anxiety. On many occasions since August 16th when the stroke occurred, I have spoken out loud to God, "Thank you for this opportunity to trust you more fully." This isn't a casual "Oh, thank you for this day" type prayer. This is deep in my heart, through prayer, tears, and often fear, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for your faithfulness, for your provision, for your steadfast love, that your eyes are ever upon me, that you are trustworthy, that the outcome of this does not change who you are, that you desire to mold me and shape me to be more like Christ."

I've questioned myself so many times over the last three months (now five) wondering where I am rooted. In my marriage? In being a mom? In ministering to women? In physical and emotional strength? All of these wonderful things in my life are so good…they are the beautiful marbles in the glass jar of my life, but I sometimes wonder if I'm just coasting on a big fat head full of just puffed up knowledge. Over the last three months Jeremiah 17:7-8 has become a passage that I continuously pray in my heart, out loud, in my dreams, when I can't focus on conversations, when I am afraid, when I'm sitting in doctors offices, when I am too tired to engage, when I wonder what my new normal will be. “Blessed is the man {or woman} whose trust is in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green. It has no worry in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  I so want my confidence to be in Jesus! I don't want to trust in what is seen because it is only temporary. God has deepened my trust in Him in a way that my words can't convey. He is growing me to be rooted, built up, and established in a tree. 


His mercies truly are new to me every morning. I pray I continue to grow my my ability and understanding of accepting and resting in His sweet mercies. 

A quick update on my health: I was referred to a specialist in Phoenix. Chad and I are both very pleased with him. He spent about 45 minutes discussing and reviewing everything with us. He is fairly certain the stroke-causing problem originated with a hole in my heart. When Chad shared this news on Sunday with our church, I heard audible winces. Don't worry. It isn't a huge gaping whole (some may argue otherwise), but a tiny spot that you could make with your pen. I will have two tests on January 29th to confirm or reject the doctors suspicions.

The other relief I received from the doctor was his validation of my symptoms. I've struggled much over the last five months wondering if I was crazy, making symptoms up, being a baby. He confirmed that what happened to me was significant, difficult, and real. He said my brain will take one to two years to heal and that the healing process is very active in the first six months, that I'm still in the middle of the fastest healing and most noticeable symptoms. I felt relieved and validated. 

My family and I continue to appreciate your support and prayers. The journey is a strange one to be facing as a young-ish woman. I always thought strokes were for old people! I still sometimes pause to wonder why in the world I had a stroke. But, I do know that it did happen, I trust God, and we choose to move forward with Him. Thank you for walking this journey with us! 

7 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

wearitbaseball said...

Thanks for sharing Angel. I'm glad you got some validation. 29th is on our calendar. Love you guys.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Angel! xoxoxo

Alysa said...

Love you Angel! Thank you for sharing your heart.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Angel, you are in our prayers and may God continue to give you His strength as you walk this journey.
Love Val.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for sharing this Angel! Your testimony, Love, and Faith in God and Christ Jesus is Great Inspiration to others. More than you will ever know... Much Love, Admiration and Abundant Prayers for you through this time and always.
You've touched me deeply and I'm so Thankful that you've 'Shared' ~
I will think of you, your wisdom and self encouragement in my own times of distress. Thank you!! Vicki P.

Les said...

Wow, Angel. Somehow this totally missed us. We had no idea that you had had a stroke. We will be praying for you!
Love you!

Anonymous said...

Just finished praying for you! Wish I could see you, Chad and the kids!


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