Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I thank God for...(insert the worst thing that's happened to you here)

"I thank God for the stroke," my mom said. We cruised along the highway toward home, on the last leg of our five-thousand mile, two-week long journey.

I silently thanked God, too.

If not for the stroke, she would never have flown from Wisconsin to Kansas City to join my husband (an Anglican bishop) and I on our annual Episcopal visits. Before the stroke, we could hardly manage a forced phone call to each other.

But five thousand miles had flown by in a breeze of wonderful, cherished moments. Along with visiting with beloved church family across the US, we stopped at some amazing sites all along the way--from Missouri, across Kansas, to Wyoming, down to El Paso, TX and back home.

Pre-stroke was not like this. Old wounds, personal issues, differences of opinions and general misunderstandings led to a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship that remained strained for years.

Then, the stroke.

But it wasn't the stroke itself that changed everything. The path towards healing actually began before the stroke...with prayer. We had both prayed for God to help us heal our broken relationship...but we didn't know how. Phone calls remained strained. Every conversation erupted in anger.

Then, an A-Fib heart event landed my otherwise healthy mom in the ER.

"Would you like to talk to her?" my sister said, standing outside of the hospital room. "I can pass the phone to her."

"Of course." I loved her. I always did.  

After assuring my mother of my husband's and my love and prayers, I caught a deep sigh through the phone. "There are things in my life I want to change," she said.

Released from the hospital, a couple of days later she collapsed on the floor. A major stroke. Paralyzed and unable to speak, she was rushed to the hospital again. The doctor said that by taking the meds she would either die, remain the same, or improve--a third of a chance it could go each way.

The meds worked. Praise God! She was told she would heal back to a new normal, not quite how she was before, the doctor warned, but she would walk out of the hospital.

The medical staff did not predict what would happen next.

My mom insisted on going to church that first Sunday out of the hospital. We continued our prayers for her full healing.

Then, a bonafide miracle!

She walked out of church that Sunday taking a lighter step than she took when she went in.

My sister phoned again, "Mama is completely well. The doctors can't believe it. They think it's a miracle. And she's...different. Just talk to her and you will see."

My mom did sound different. "God healed me completely-body, mind, and soul," my mom said. I heard peace in her voice. Calmness. Joy. She spoke about the Lord's mercy. "Whatever is in the past...all the hurts...it's all gone."

Thank God for that stroke. We both agreed!

But we also both understand that it wasn't just the stroke. True healing occurs with a desire to change, prayer, forgiveness asked and granted, and the true seeking of our God in our lives.

Exactly two years later, after five thousand amazing miles logged on the road together, filled with laughter, hugs, and special memories...we arrived back home, thinking those two weeks had gone by way too fast.
Wind River Canyon, Wyoming

In Alburquerque, NM with church member Flo Green (left), my mom, me, and my husband, watching the balloon festival

Thermopolis, Wyoming

My mom in Sheridan, Wyoming...visiting the Sheridan Inn, a place she visited with my late father, 30 years ago.

Alamagordo, NM. By the largest Pistachio in the world. Lol Looks like its coming out of my head. 
Miraculous spiral staircase Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, NM and my mom, a living miracle. 
God is good! Always!

And on the topic of the worst thing that's ever happened to you, my son Jake, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes admits that this "worst thing thats ever happened to him" became a blessing in many ways. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a teenager but was able to compete in the NFL and has been a mentor to many children diagnosed with Type 1. NOVEMBER is National Diabetes Awareness Month and through the month we are supporting a cure for type 1 diabetes by donating $1 from every autographed copy of his devotional book sold to the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).CLICK HERE to oder an autographed copy of FIRST AND GOAL from this sweet NFL player...this #1bestseller devotional makes a great Christmas gift

Holly Michael has enjoyed a writing career as a journalist, features writer, and a regular ghostwriter for a Guideposts magazine before authoring novels and nonfiction books. Married to Anglican Bishop, Leo Michael, Holly has three grown children; daughter Betsy and football-playing sons—Jake (NFL) and Nick (University of Louisiana-Lafayette). Kansas City, Missouri is home and she blogs at www.writingstraight.com

Contact her at www.HollyMichael.com or on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/AuthorHollyMichael  or Twitter: @HollyMichael


  1. Amazing story and inspired me to pray again for my family and extended family.

  2. thanks Deborah. Prayers do help. I've witnessed amazing stories...never underestimate the power of prayer. I'll also offer my prayers for them.