(Previously published January 19, 2011)
Last night, I was reading the updates on a mother, wife and sister in Christ, Joanne. Somehow, I ended up on her blog, having never been introduced to her before, I lingered for awhile reading of all that she has endured these last 8 days. She needs our prayers. On Jan. 12th, this 38 year old woman, suffered a massive stroke. She is in the ICU in a medicated-induced coma, following brain surgery to release the pressure that built up in her brain. Her future uncertain.
And it all happened in an instant.....
One minute she was fine and the next...found by her daughter on the floor shaking violently. 911 called and life forever changed.
In an instant.
Her story runs deep to my core for many reasons. You see, that was my mother, 36 years ago and the girls who were with her when her stroke occurred: Me, age 3 and my older sister, age 6 1/2. My memory is fuzzy because I was a wee little one. But I remember spilling the milk. I remember my mom was waiting for my dad to come home from work. I remember the room. I remember mom on the couch, I remember my dad walking in the door.....and then from there......nothing. A blank screen.
My mother was pregnant with my little sister, at the time of her stroke. My mom was taken to the hospital suffering a massive brain aneurysm. My sister, Tasha, delivered by c-section, a healthy woman today. I was sent to live with my Aunt Kay who became my mother for that year, and in many ways has filled that role in the years since.
Life as we knew it changed forever.......in an instant.
A family of 4 changed to a family of 5....geographically split for the 6+ months that my mother was in the hospital. When she came home, nurses frequented the house, an aunt lived with us and then a nanny took over many of the mothering duties. Mom was in a wheelchair for a long time having been left with left side paralysis and diminished brain function. Those memories of my childhood are framed by pictures and photographs, stories told and retold. They aren't my own.
Those days gone from my memorybank.
And then our family of 5 went back to a family of 4, as my parents divorced and my mother went on to raise us girls by herself. She fought the uphill battle, beating the odds. She walked, when doctors said she wouldn't. Many years later, she drove, when again, doctor's said it wouldn't happen. And she sacrificed everything for us girls, doing the best that she knew how.
I don't know what Joanne's story will be. Only God does. I pray her recovery defies the odds and she is healed and restored. God can do that, and more.
But what I know is that we are not promised tomorrow.
"All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as a the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
But the Word of the LORD endures forever." 1 Peter 1:24-25
"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." James 4:13-15
In an instant.....
life can be changed......
....a son is born prematurely as his mother's life hangs in the balance.
....the doctor tells you your son has a random, fatal genetic condition and he will either die while still growing within or may live for hours following his birth, at most.
....my sister's husband of 20 years, shares that his interests lie in others areas....areas that don't include her.
.....my mother goes for a walk and gets hit by a car from behind, suffering another brain injury.
.....the doctor calls and says, "the pathology came back showing cancer."
And the lens is polished and shined as you come to look at the future differently, and look at each moment as a gift because life as you know it, can change in an instant.
We all have our "instants."
So, how are you living your todays?
Are you loving deeply..... telling those around you that they matter?
Are you investing in people or in things?
Are you harboring unforgiveness and bitterness or are you pursuing peace and reconciliation?
Are you saying you'll do it tomorrow......or embracing your today?
Are you living for your self, or living for God, the very one who put that breath in your lungs?
And if that instant of change comes along your path.....do you have a hope outside of this life? A faith in He who endures forever?
Do you know that Christ came to give you life.....eternal life....an inheritance that is incorruptible?
An inheritance that waits for you, as does He. He won't push Himself on you. He isn't that way.
But He waits. As a patient Father. As a loving Father. As your Redeemer.....for you.....
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved..." Acts 16:31
May we all live as if today is our last day. No regrets. Secure in the arms of our Lord and Savior.
Please pray for Joanne and her family, that God would give them many, many tomorrows.