When I returned from my survey trip to New England, my Dad called me to say that Mom had had a small stroke (TIA-transient ischemic attack). A small blood vessel broke in her brain. Her doctor started her on Persantine, baby aspirin, and digoxin medications.
She began crying on the phone when I talked with her because she is terrified of having a larger stroke. I told her Christ is the only one who can give her peace and strength, and that she needs to receive Him as her Savior. My Dad is in denial of the seriousness of the situation. I wish I could visit her in Florida, but it is difficult to get the time off work. I wrote her the following letter, and pray for her to have a receptive heart.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 KJV).
I wanted to let you know that I am praying for you. Perhaps God allowed the stroke to happen to bring you to the end of yourself and your own resources so you will come to Him just as you are. He loves you so much! You cannot work your way to heaven or come to God on your own merit. That is why Christ died on the cross in our place, for your sins and mine. NowHe wants you to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. For all those who do, He gives eternal life, and gives us His righteousness.
Mom, none of us know how many days we have left here on earth. But I’m looking forward to heaven and the joy of worshiping the Lord there forever. I want to see you in heaven also for all eternity. When you believe in Christ as your Savior, He gives you the peace and joy that passes understanding, even in the midst of severe trials. (Philippians 4:6-7; Romans 5:1-9) It is also a comfort to know that God works all things together for good for His children (Romans 8:28) and won’t test us above what we are able to bear (I Corinthians 10:13).
If there is anything I can do for you or if you just want to talk, please don’t hesitate to call me. Also, please read through the gospel of John several times and notice all the times the word “believe” is used.
Much Love in Christ, Pam
March 1991 – Florida
On March 13, Mom had a second major stroke and ended up in the Intensive Care Unite (ICU), between life and death. I could not talk to her, so I committed her to God and asked that she would receive Christ as her Savior. She survived and was transferred to a rehab center. I was able to fly down to see her on March 13 and praise God that I had a good opportunity to be alone with her today and talk. She told me she now believes in Christ as her Savior, knows she has eternal life, and a home in heaven. I asked her if she wanted me to read the Bible to her, and she replied with enthusiasm, “Yes!” I read John 14:1-6 and she quoted the entire passage with me. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6 KJV).
I read her Philippians 4 and when I reached verse 11, I told her that the Apostle Paul wrote this when he was in prison. “Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned in whatever state I am, in this to be content.” She is a prisoner in her own body now that her left arm and leg are paralyzed, but she can learn to be content in Christ like Paul did. She replied that she is thankful that she still has one good arm and leg and can still talk. Then I read Psalm 23 and she quoted the entire psalm with me. She said she was trying and trying to remember it when she was in ICU, but it just got all mixed up in her brain. Then she asked me to read it twice more so she wouldn’t forget again. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1 KJV).
I found her small Bible in her home that she had before she was married. In the back flyleaf, she had written John 14:1-6, John 3:16, and Matthew 11:28-29. Her father was a Baptist pastor and I am sure she memorized many Bible verses as a child, but she rebelled against God all these years. God is faithful to bring to her memory all those verses from her childhood when she was alone in ICU. I think she now has the mind of a ten-year-old child and became childlike enough to trust the Lord as her Savior. It took cancer ten years ago and two strokes to bring her to believe in Christ, but now she is saved by His grace. How I praise Him! “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9 KJV).
My Mom learned to walk again short distances with a quad cane, but her left arm remained paralyzed for the rest of her life. My father became her faithful caregiver the next five years, and they traveled to a number of places across the USA with her wheelchair and their travel trailer. When they visited my new church in New England, she delighted in singing the traditional hymns of her childhood and hearing the Bible teaching.
The stroke changed her taste buds so all she would eat was mashed potatoes and cookies. She developed breast cancer, and the Lord took her to heaven at the age of 75, five years after her stroke. She chose “The Old Rugged Cross” and “In the Garden” to be sung at her funeral. It is comforting to know she can walk again in her new body and is delighting in our Savior in the fullness of glory.