Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In an Instant....

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 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. sister's husband of 20 years, shares that his interests lie in others areas....areas that don't include her. 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 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 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. 

Much love,


Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

I just finished telling Scott about her story. I read it today too. Thought of you immediately as well. Prayed for her and her family several times and will continue to do so. Praising God they know Him.

Living for today because of Him and putting my hope in Him for tomorrow!
Much love,

Jenny said...

My mom told me about Joanne' s story and I've been praying for her and her precious family. I can't imagine!

A multi-dimensional life said...

Oh, I will pray for JoAnne. Thank you for mentioning her!
Your story is riveting Stacy. Perhaps it has something to do with your amazing strength today.
So true...anything can happen in an instant.
Wow, what a message this was. Thank you!

JillAileenJones said...

Again as I was reading your blog I was shedding tears for people I never met and yet feel so connected to because of Christ. Thank you for sharing this story-we don't ever know what the next minute will bring to our lives-we have had a few of those moments ourselves this last year-they always catch my breath and make me wonder what next and then I have to stop and just praise God because no matter what changes-HE DOESN'T-ever faithful, ever true. His mercies new every morning and His grace more each day to get us through.
He paid the price and the victory is ours through Him-just hard to see that some times-I just love your blog.
I am always blessed-always walk away feeling like I have heard a great word from God.
Thank you for being so real and open about your own journey-Praying for strength and healing for you as well.
Love and Blessings to you

Susie said...

Let me share a memory with you. Your Mom has asked Daddy to help her with something - I think it had to do with getting a car. So he had gone to your house to talk with her. When he came home I distinctly remember him saying "the world needs to take lessons from that lady! She is nothing short of amazing with all she has done with so little. She is truly remarkable."

It is little wonder that you have faced the challenges that you have with such strength and determination because you had such a wonderful role model. The lessons we learn from our parents are often not the ones they planned to pass on to us but the ones that stick with is when we don't even realize we will need them. You and your mother are examples of living our best life in the moment. Thank you for the reminder that we should all do the same.

As always my thoughts and prayers are with you all and I will be sure to include the woman you spoke of in your blog tonight.

Much love,

Jenn Holste said...

Definitely living in a world of "instants" here in South Africa. Thank you for the verse from James!

Debbie said...

Oh Stacy this was all such a good reminder...EVERYTHING can change in an instant for everyone of us. My daughter lost an old high school friend last summer. One minute she was a full of life, newly married, freshly graduated from college, 23 year old woman with her ENTIRE life it seemed in front of her, and the next...dead as she was hit broadside by a drunk driver. I cried for days. No, you never know. We DO need to live our lives realizing that God hold our very breath in His hands. I will definitely look this blog up and pray for this young woman. What an amazing woman your mother is. I can't even imagine going on against such odds, AND succeding. What a wonderful example she was for you and your sisters. God used all of that mightly in your life. Have a GOOD day. HUGS

Susan said...

We never know what the marrow brings, as His Word tells us, but we do know who hold tomorrow and it is our wonderful, loving Triune God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit. I am so thankful for that!!

Bill said...

Stacy, I love you and your family deeply. Thanks for putting me in my place!

The Montgomerys said...

WOW. What a powerful post. I am speechless. Really gives me a lot to think and pray about. Thank you! Praying for you :)

Sonja said...

I've also been praying for Joanne, and I am praying for you too.

Your testimony in this blog is so beautiful Stacy. Only God can bring such beauty into so many heartaches, but He can and He does, and your voice is being heard.

Praying for you.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I know Joanne's story as well... we've been praying for her "instant"... yours as well. If nothing else, cancer has birthed rich perspective in us both--a new set of lenses from which to view the world.

I am grateful for the gift.


Inkling said...

I've never commented, but have been reading your blog the past few weeks since finding it. Our lives here changed in an instant just a few weeks ago when we lost a dear friend and our small group leader. We've been trying to learn what a new normal is ever since, as it's impacted every facet of our lives. You keep pointing me to Jesus and to His word, and I just wanted to thank you. Today, as my stomach is in knots as we go to his memorial service, I needed to be pointed back again to Jesus and what matter most. No regrets is so right. Thank you. said...

I am a breast cancer survivor and a child of God, and know all too well that life can change in an instant. 26 days ago, my husband went for an evening walk and never came home. His death is devastating, but I know God is holding me in the palm of His hand, and will not let go until I can walk on my own. I'm praying for Joanne and for you.

Wishing you all God's blessings,
Brenda Coffee

Joe said...

Your post brings tears to my eyes. My wife and I have had our own "in an instant". In Loving Memory His ways are higher than ours!

I am praying for Joanne and also praying for you in your journey.His grace is sufficient.

stephannee said...

and in an instant we can find forgiveness, healing and peace!

Sure have missed you and your beautiful words of wisdom. I'm back and I am loved and I am healing. I think you of you so often and I have a lot of catching up to do on your blog! Thanks for checking in on me, your part of the reason I decided to write again.

Cherie Hill said...

I pray that the Lord will help me to count my days. They are precious gifts. Praying for you and your family (hope the stomach bug is long gone.)