Saturday, May 08, 2010

'Do not be anxious about anything'

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I freely admit that a dozen years ago today, I was anxious.

Noon, at age 39, I lost the feeling and use of the right side of my body. I suddenly could not speak or read. Not a good day.

But a nearby colleague got me some help. The ambulance took me to the hospital. The doctors and others injected me with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Movement came back, slowly. Language skills came slower. My wife, standing by me, asked me to say the word "Jonesboro," the name of a nearby city where I had recently visited. My three responses: Towrith. Rithe. Rice. Not even close.

So you might be able to understand my anxiety. Would I ever be able to work again? How could I provide for my family? Would I ever be able to tell her I love her again?

But the anxiety slowly faded. Replaced by frustration as my recovery slowly occurred. To this day, when I'm tired or stressed, I have trouble finding the right words in speech. To this day, I wonder whenever I stumble over a word, I wonder: Was this caused by my stroke? I require much more concentration when I speak publicly. My formerly common glib, off-the-cuff comments are far less common these days. Been that way for 12 years.

But I finally did beat anxiety. My stroke and recovery reminded me that God gives me the strength I need. Not necessarily the abilities I want or what I think I need, but what I actually need. He will do the same for any and all.

Today, on my stroke anniversary day, I ran 10 miles in just under 90 minutes. And for that, I thank God. I realize that not every stroke survivor recovers completely. Stroke is the leading cause of permanent disability in the United States. Each recovery manifests itself in a different way. A relationship with God offers strength and help to any and all.

Today, I remind you to know the signs and symptoms of strokes - be aware so you can improve someone's recovery or event save a life.

(Image from Heartlight)

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