The morning of December 12, 2009 was much like any other weekend morning for Kristin and I. The extent of our plans was to make a big brunch at home and then venture out to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. All could not have been any less memorable, until early afternoon arrived. Within five minutes of being inside the mall, I was on the floor in the middle of the hustle and bustle, blacking out. I still remember vividly looking up now and then, after Kristin got me into a mall wheelchair and sped through the hordes of shoppers, across the mall and out into the cold. I'd soon be put in an ambulance, taken to the hospital, tested, released, re-admitted then placed in ICU for multiple tests and monitoring. It was eventually determined, that at 36, I had suffered a stroke.
Here I sit a year later, healed whole, active and completely restored. The ruptured vertebral artery that caused it all, healed. The abnormal narrowing of the artery that was the source of the rupture, no longer narrow. Even the neurologists could never explain how I don't even have any scar tissue. The most educated, experienced doctors in the field of neurology in our area and all they could say was "I just don't see anything wrong with you now. This doesn't even look like the same artery." Well, that's because it wasn't! After I had returned home from the hospital in December, I located an artist's rendering of the human head and neck and its incredible arterial system. I wrote Scriptures all over it and spoke life and healing to that specific artery as I looked upon it. For months I asked God to give me the vertebral artery of the first Adam, before the Fall. The perfect, unflawed, unblemished artery that He spoke into being and formed perfectly with His own hands. Incredibly, that is exactly what was discovered in my last CT Scan. No narrowing, no scars, no issues whatsoever. Incredible!
It's been roughly nine months since I was told that news and that I was well and could begin to return to normal life again, free from medications and cautiousness. I'll never be able to count the times that I've had to confront the fears of "what if it happens again?" I'll never be able to appropriately explain how I often wonder if all is "OK in there" with my artery. I guess it's just a "natural" response. But here's the thing, I've refused, and will continue, to reflect on what the LORD has done that directly opposes what the natural mind might wonder. I willfully choose to dwell on my healing. What took place in my physical body could not even be explained nor understood by doctors. It was a supernatural work, a literal regeneration of life. Therefore, it's with that mentality that I choose to approach it, regarding my thought patterns and opportunities to fear. I have been given the mind of Christ, and I intend to keep using it.
When confronted with the "what if's", I rejoice. I thank God for His wonderful acts! I remind the enemy that what he intended to harm us strengthened us beyond words. The absolute honest truth about the entire experience is this - if I could go back and somehow avert it all, I would not change anything. Within this trial I found peace like I'd never known. I learned to truly rest in my Father's strength. I saw the Body of Christ come together around me in an incredible way. I experienced feelings and emotions I'd never known existed. I tangibly felt the presence of God in my hospital room on one specific evening. I saw family members given the opportunity to choose to embrace this love of God that I know. I literally saw the strength of the LORD in the eyes of my incredible wife. In the midst of what, on the outside looked frightening, peace and power reigned. It was absolutely incredible.
Only fondness of this time remains within my memory, not fear, not ever "God, how could You?". He carried us through without fail. The months since then have been awesome. Even after missing three months of work, my business has had its largest grossing year to date. All of the medical bills are being paid each month, without issue. My health could not be better and I've had countless opportunities to share what God has done. So, all that's really left to say is this, Praise God for His faithfulness. He alone is my Strength, my Shield, my Source and my LORD. I will dwell in His house forever as His son and I'll be forever grateful for what He's done in my life. To whom else do I turn? None other. He is my everything.
* To read the entire account of all that took place, go here.