A portion of my church's motto reads "Faith releases what Grace contains." According to my pastor, God doesn't do the supernatural until we do our part in the natural. And the way that we get God to move on our behalf is through our faith; He wants to know that you believe He will do exactly what the Word says He will do.
Mommy's life changed dramatically on August 22, 2007. She suffered a hemorrhagic stroke at the young age of 50. This hard-working, outspoken, larger-than-life mother of two and grandmother of six was struck by a condition that only took a few minutes to leave years of complications.
I remember jumping in my car when I got the news that evening. With the exception of two truck-stop coffee and bathroom breaks and a check-in at my mom’s house, I drove most of the night. When I arrived at the Medical College of Georgia, I was not prepared for what I saw. My mommy had tubes running from everywhere on her body. There were monitors and alarms blaring. And the first hospital had erroneously treated her for an ischemic stroke. As a result, she had a severe allergic reaction that caused extreme swelling and water retention throughout her body and kept her blood pressure at higher than stroke level. The doctors feared she would have aneurysm, so they placed her in a medically-induced coma.
During that first week, her blood pressure remained high in spite of increased dosages of medication. The MRI’s and CT-scans showed that the bleeding had not absorbed from her brain’s surface. This meant pressure was building inside her skull. After much discussion and a whole lot of prayer, a procedure was performed to drain the blood. That did the trick; blood pressure began to stabilize.
But Mommy wasn’t out of the woods yet. She spent three more weeks in the ICU. She had become dependent on the ventilator, and it was difficult to wean her off of it. In addition, she had to deal with a staph infection and pneumonia. But God responded to our faith; Mommy opened her eyes four weeks after her stroke.
And when she opened her eyes, I was standing right there…excited. That excitement changed to sadness after a few minutes. The blank stare in Mommy’s eyes told me that she didn’t remember me. It broke my heart.
But I had to focus on her recovery. And I trusted God enough to know that if He had already brought her through so much, He surely could restore her completely. So we prayed and went to work.
We took Mommy home on October 2, 2007. Because there was no insurance, there was no money for the mounting hospital bills. Because there was no insurance, rehabilitation would be a family effort instead of facility-based process. Mommy couldn’t walk. She could barely speak. She was confused. She was dependent on others for the simplest things. But we had faith.
I remember the first time I had to wash and change her. As I was cleaning her intimate areas, I glanced at her face. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. This “I’m every woman” female was ashamed. I kissed her on the jaw, told her that she was my baby now and that we would get through this. I kept my own tears at bay and continued the process.
Through the support of other family members and friends, we kept bills paid and food in the house. Her sisters and a cousin alternated watching her whenever I had to return to Florida and check in on my household and my job. We created a system and kept at it. Working our faith!
Slowly Mommy got better. There was a day when I rode up to check on her. After using my key to let myself in, I called out for her. As I entered the kitchen, I heard her answer from the living room and tell me to wait a minute. I looked through the doorway to where she sat in her favorite chair. Mommy then cautiously stood up, turned and took steps toward me. When she reached me, I embraced her. Faith in action!
It’s been four years now. Though there is still some paralysis on her right side, Mommy’s mobility returned. In spite of going through a divorce while she recovered, she uses her disability income to pay bills and manages her household that includes a teenager and a seven-year old. She does deal with depression and some of her spunk is gone, but it is not foreign to hear her erupt in laughter. She’s not the old Mommy, but she is on her way. Faith produces results!
January 8, 2012