As I have aged, I have discovered that I am not as capable of remembering things from the past as I once could. The fog of having had a stroke has not helped, so that has been my go-to excuse when someone says, “Remember when…?” Most of the time, I honestly don’t remember. But one very important thing that I want to always remember is God’s steadfast love for me and all of the miracles that He has performed in my life.
One of the ways we can recall all of God’s wonderful acts on our behalf is to testify about them, to friends, at church, in a journal. Just put the words out there so that others can share in the joy you had when you saw God working on your behalf.
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is healing from my stroke. In January of 2015 when I had a massive stroke (the occupational therapist told me that it was a 19 out of 21 on their scale, whatever their scale was), I could not move most of my right side, could not speak without stuttering and lost my memory for speaking Spanish. The OT encouraged me that the brain is made in such a way that it would find new pathways to get around the ones that had died when I had the stroke. Well, she didn’t say it, but I did, in my mind. I am fearfully and wonderfully made and God would make a way for me to function again. I had to practice walking, telling my legs to take steps until it became natural for me again. I practiced reading, much more slowly than I had ever done before, but I could do it. And I got out old Spanish books from my high school years and practiced my Spanish. Oh, yeah, and I couldn’t write except for illegible scribbles. My physical therapist was a real gift from God. He had been my therapist after my knee surgery and my broken elbow and when he saw on the schedule that a patient was coming in who had had a stroke and saw my name, he told me he didn’t know what to expect. So, with love and patience, he worked with me in all ways possible. He brought out a whiteboard for me to practice writing on. I did OT puzzles and other exercises to build my dexterity in my hands. It amazed me that my left hand was faster than my right because my right had to be trained again. After about three months, I was able to return to teaching part-time and by five months after my stroke, I was working full-time and discharged from PT. Amazing, right? God is the God of miracles and He gave me back my speech, my ability to walk and my ability to use and teach Spanish. Some would say, “Well, of course. The OT said that your brain would find new pathways.” There is no “of course” to it! My PT said that my progress was like a miracle because I progressed so rapidly. To this day, I know to Whom to give the credit for my recovery. God gets all the kudos because not only did He make me to begin with, He healed me when I had an unimaginably scary stroke. I will admit that sometimes my brain fogs and I know that’s the sign that I need to rest, to pull away and just be quiet, whether that means napping or going to bed extra early. But I continue to be amazed each day that I awaken because I know that it is God who loves me enough to allow me to still be here on earth. Since my stroke, I have had four new grandchildren born, and I am so blessed to be able to meet them and get to know them. In fact, Penny was born only a month after my stroke and I told my PT that I needed to get better so I could go meet her. I did! I met her in March, when she was only a few weeks old. Why am I writing all of this? I’m writing my testimony for me to remember and for you to know what a miracle-working God we serve. I am thankful every day for my life that He gave back to me, and I hope that each of you is thankful for all that he has done for you.