These last three years have been quite a journey.
There was the time in the neuro-ICU. I still have no memory of that.
There was thanksgiving dinner at Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute, another thing I don't remember.
But things began to improve. My first clear memory comes from a few days after Thanksgiving. On that morning, I had a clear memory of a passage of scripture which I shared with Al and Brandon when they arrived. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee."
That was my first clear memory. It stands out because, at that time, I couldn't speak clearly. I was wearing an eye patch because my eyes wouldn't work together. I couldn't read. I couldn't write. I couldn't always understand what was being said to me. Even so, God brought this verse very clearly to my mind. It got me through those days in rehab, and through all the days since.
From that morning forward, I made steady progress.
Eventually, I traded my eye patch for a new pair of glasses.
Several months later, I was able to teach Sunday School again. That was something I had thought I would never be able to do again.
Since then, I've made steady improvement. When I finally graduated from speech therapy in May, 2017, my therapist told me I would continue to make improvement. I confess that I didn't really believe her. But she was right!
Since then, we have had some wonderful adventures! We have been able to travel.....
I've celebrated birthdays and Christmases and family vacations. I've even done some baking, which is a real accomplishment, since the stroke has left me very challenged with anything to do with numbers and baking requires accurate measurements. These last three years have been full of challenges. Of ups and downs. Of frustrations and discouragements. And of great joy.
This has been quite a learning experience.
Learning to talk again.
Learning to read and write again.
Learning that even on that days when I struggle with those things, and I still sometimes do, God is still good.
These have been years of learning to trust.
Of learning to deal with my limitations.
Of learning that it's OK when I have to say no to some things.
Of knowing that even though I have limitations, God is still God.
God is still good.
God is still in control.
God has a plan and a purpose for all things.
Even for strokes.
I may not understand (I don't!), but that's ok.
Because God is God and I am not.
Because even in the valley, God is still God and He is still good.
Life is filled with good days and bad days, frustrating days, and encouraging days. These three years have been years of learning and growing. It is an experience I certainly don't want to repeat, but I am thankful.
Thankful for all God has taught me, and is still teaching me, through this experience. Thankful for family and friends who have walked through this journey with me. Thankful for all the people who have prayed me through this experience.
I didn't see it coming. But it happened. And I survived.
I am a stroke survivor.
And it's all because of God's amazing grace.
"Now therefore, our God, we praise You, and praise Your glorious name."
1 Chronicles 29:13 NASB