God did not promise us to have a trouble free life. In fact in the last seven years I have had to face at least three challenges that were totally unexpected.

The last one was this year in 2015. On February 3, 2015, I went to bed healthy and feeling really good. I was working part-time and going to school to learn phlebotomy.

I only had two months to go to graduate. I was scheduled that day to go to class and then to work that evening. Around 5am that morning I woke up and discovered my left hand falling asleep and was tingling all over. Within another few minutes I felt my entire left side go numb and tingling. I got out of bed and also discovered that I could not walk at all. My left leg felt like it was leaning to the left and I could not walk without hanging onto something or else I was going to fall. I sat on the couch thinking that this will all go away soon. However, it was not getting better and I decided to call 911. I told the operator on the phone that my entire left side is numb. All of the sudden I heard sirens heading toward my apartment. I thought, “OH BOY why are they doing that?” I was taken to Northwest Hospital for a possible stroke with the ambulance speeding along very fast. Another, “OH BOY.”

In the ER there was people all around me. They were poking and prodding me as fast as they could. I heard someone say, We are timing ourselves to see how fast we can do this. I guess it was called stroke protocol. Then all at once I was rushed down to radiology for a CT scan. I thought I must be dreaming since everything was going way too fast.

A doctor from Neurology came in and did some Neurological tests. I could not control my left hand at all. I could not feel my left leg and foot.

I could hold my phone in my left hand so I called my best friend Donna. She came over right away to the ER. I saw her concern, but nonetheless she has a very good sense of humor and keep me occupied with her jokes and laughter. She also got on her phone and called everyone I knew to pray for me.

To me that was so reassuring. It kept me calm and helped me to look to God instead of the situation. From the past when trouble came I did have to learn not to be anxious and instead put my faith and trust in God. Even though I have had some really big challenges I did learn from them and found out no matter what God will take care of me.

That day I used what I learned from the past to keep joyful and accept whatever help God wanted to put in place. After all there was nothing I could do about the stroke myself. Because of God’s promises I had a smile on my face and peace in my heart. Many people I have met try and do everything themselves and just get anxious, depressed, and exhausted. When trouble comes no matter what the type just look up to your father in Heaven. Just know and trust that He will take care of you.

I was then moved to a special care unit. Donna was still by my side. Thank God for people like her who support you know matter what. She knows what helps someone is my situation probably because she has been a patient in a hospital herself. I still could not move my left hand or left side very well at all. Donna reassured me that a lot of people were praying now.

The next morning, I noticed I could move my left hand. That was just glorious! I was still weak on the left leg and I had a little slur to my speech, but not bad. I figured that I would have a way to go for the rest of it to be normal again. What I did not know is that in the next three months I would be admitted five more times for complications. I had gone to rehabilation inpatient for two weeks at the U of W Medical Center. After some physical therapy I could walk slowly with a walker. I did slightly drag my left foot or it would get caught on the floor. My body felt very weak. I did some gentle exercises and stood by a wall and practice walking again without the walker with a physical therapist. I remember that my head hurt. It felt like I was telling it to walk, but it did not want to cooperate. Basically I had to learn to walk all over again.

The reason I am describing the physical symptoms of a stroke is because many people do not ever expect to have one therefore they do not understand what a stroke is. The symptoms of a stroke are very real and are similar to a brain injury. Your body does not do the commands of the brain to do ordinary things like talking, walking, and simple movements that everyone takes for granted everyday. To have a stroke and face it head on is the biggest challenge anyone would ever face. It would be so easy to get frustrated and discouraged or maybe even depressed.

One evening I did start to cry. Some things seem more than anyone can take. I got the cry out of my system and then I was back to my normal calm self.

I remember after five admits after I was home, I did feel a little discouraged and a little lost. It was hard not to because everything around me seemed to be falling apart. Eventually I did pull myself together and started looking towards Gods and relying on Him for my future since it seemed that I was not going to have a future. I have to give credit to my wonderful family and especially my very good friends who stood by me and called to check up on me. They did whatever needed to be done. I was using a walker to get around my apartment building. Everyone who lives there saw me struggling to walk down the hallways with a walker. I always kept a smile even though I was not feeling very good. I had low energy and I had to lay down several times a day. The whole ordeal was just exhausting. I was told it could take up to one year to fully recover.

As you can see a stroke is no ordinary challenge. It takes every ounce of courage, strength, and keeping a positive attitude to get you through it. Only when you look to God for all the courage and strength that’s when everything starts to work again. Peace fills your heart in troubled times because of God’s love for you. Of course God is always be your side, but I noticed that in troubled times He is even nearer and encouraging you. I have had him talk to me in a bad . situation and say to me Bible scriptures. How about that God quoting his own Bible scriptures to me.

Now in May on Mother’s  day I brought my two sons to church at Gateway. My sons are not very good church goers so I insisted that they go with me. While I was up front of the church talking to someone I saw Pastor Tom talking to my son. Pastor Tom eventually sat down beside me and I told him that I had a stroke.

The service started as usual. The music was really good. I truly appreciate the music team. I was standing as best I could just enjoying praising the Lord. Then Pastor Tom called me up front to pray for me. I really did not expect him to do that. I don’t think I have ever been called out of the audience by name to pray for me. I still remember struggling to walk up to the front sort of dragging my left foot and going kind of slow to get there. When Pastor Tom prayed, I remember hearing that the stroke symptoms be removed and gone in Jesus name. I was also very surprised when he mentioned that I had a desire for healing others. I was just floored as there was no way he could have ever known that. He prayed and touched both of my hands for that desire to be fulfilled.

Sometimes miracles do not happen right away and sometimes they do. Well one week later I woke up in the morning and all symptoms of weakness in the left side was gone! I could walk without my walker and my left foot felt normal again. I was slow at first, but I could do it! Every day everything in my whole body began to recover and eventually all stroke symptoms were gone! Glory to God in the Highest!

Now you have to understand if I did not explain all the challenges that a stroke does to a person you would not understand what a miracle this was!

Today I am fully recovered and back to my normal self. When I walk down the hallways in my building everyone can see that I am back to myself. They see me in the hallways and in the elevator and say, “You are looking really good.” I give my testimony to them how God healed me from a stroke. They cannot deny it because they saw firsthand the struggle I had endured. I am now a living testimony to the love and grace of God to everyone else that knows me.

So to end this story I have to say hard times are hard, but God uses those situations to draw you closer to him. You usually learn something even though it is so hard to go through the bad situation. I found this to be so true as every very bad situation I have been though taught me to lean closer to God and learn from it. Each and every time I have been knocked down, God pulls me up. After that I feel closer and stronger than before. I have nothing to fear, because God himself has proven time after time that no matter what He will take care of me and provide all my needs. Glory to God! Amen.