Monday, August 1, 2011

Mother's Stroke

Last Wednesday Mother had a stroke. I've been taking turns with my sister staying at the hospital. God is amazing! The way He designed the human brain is amazing! The neurologist He assigned to Mother is awesome! He explained Mother actually has had some mini-strokes in the past caused from loss of oxygen caused by her atrial fibrillation problem, and the stroke she had last Wednesday was the same type. Her short term memory loss will improve over time. Other daily life skills should return with time. He explained that her brain will begin to repair itself--in fact, has already begun to repair itself (we all know it's God doing the repairing) since she now knows where she is and who she is and who we are, etc. She is still a high fall risk, weak, has balance problems and can't be left alone at the hospital. They are encouraging us to look for a rehab hospital.

I've struggled this week to keep anxiety at bay. Today the battle was particularly strong. Not only because of what happened to Mother and how I hate to see her so helpless, but also because I try to anticipate the future--all the "what if" scenarios, and "how will we be able to handle this or that?", etc. Traumas in my past have ingrained thought patterns in my brain & my thoughts default back to those patterns when under prolonged stress. Intense anxiety is the result & it can only be overcome when I pray, meditate on God's Word , and take medication as needed--all proactive steps God has graciously given to help win over the anxiety battlefield in the mind. I share this in order to help those who also have struggled with anxiety and have felt guilty because if we're Christians, how can we claim to have faith and still struggle with depression or anxiety? My comfort comes from the Scriptures--Paul had great faith, but Paul also had times of great fear--

"I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling." 1 Corin. 2:3; "we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within." 2 Corin. 7:5. And in Philp. 2:28 "...and I may have less anxiety." David also struggled with fears and anxieties, but he used self-talk and prayer to make it through. The Psalmist says, "Why so downcast, O my soul.....Put your hope in God." Moses fell on his face whenever he was overcome with anxiety and cried out to God. The great theologian, Charles Spurgeon struggled with depression. So have many contemporary Christians--Beth Moore, Sheila Walsh, Chondra Pierce--to name a few. I've been praying Scripture and forcing my thoughts to focus on the love of God for me and my family and on His mighty power that reigns sovereign over all my circumstances and my family's circumstances.

I love this verse--"I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me." Psalm 41:11. Yes, Lord! My enemy does not triumph over me. I have the Spirit of the Living God in me who will never leave me nor forsake me, no matter what my circumstances look like. And when my own faith fails, as Peter's did when he took his eyes off Christ and latched them onto the crashing waves of his immediate circumstances, He is still faithful to me, reaches out, and saves me, as He did Peter. Hallelujah!

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