“CODE ORANGE!” Yelled the nurse in front of me. She was holding my hand, but I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t move the entire left side of my body. I couldn’t hold anything, my head was aching, and my heart was racing. My husband looked at me in shock as I was whisked away from him in a wheelchair. “CODE ORANGE.” It was announced again. That was the code for stroke.
Was I really having a stroke at 38? Just a few weeks prior I was interviewing for the top position in my department. Devastation was an understatement when we were called in to meet our new executive director—the position I thought I was still in the running to get. It felt like a slap in the face when I’d put so much into my career. And I chose it over family, supporting my husband in ministry, and unfortunately, my health.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, a dream came true, working from home. But like many others, I quickly realized I wasn’t prepared for productive routines at home. Because there was no separation between work and home, I found myself working nonstop, not eating well, and often suffering through migraines and brain fog. I was drinking coffee and reading affirmations, but my body needed rest and I believe it was shutting down.
Once the decision was made that I was to be admitted for stroke watch, I was in the hospital by myself. No visitors due to COVID protocols. The only voice I could hear was my voice—and God’s. All I could do was pray. A few doctors came to give me results; they all ordered more tests, medications, physical therapy, and a walker for me to pick up before I could go home. Was that it? I’m going home with medicine and a walker?! Although I was disappointed, confused, and a bit nervous about what was ahead for me and my family, I knew I had to make changes.
The quiet was what I needed for clarity. Within those few days in the hospital, God gave me the vision to help other moms and women through encouragement as they go through career and entrepreneurship. To remind them that they are valuable and have a voice no matter where they are in life.
I got home on my daughter’s third birthday. I cried. I’ll never forget how my children looked at me. I knew my husband and children deserved a healthy, happy wife and mother. Even more importantly, I wanted to be healthy and happy for myself.
I wish I could say after a spiritual and mental awakening my body followed suit, but it did not. I had physical therapy and counseling. I had side effects to several medications that led to more hospitalizations. I thought I’d done everything asked of me up to this point in my life. I thought I was doing alright until the realization hit me: Perfection is never achievable.
Sometimes it takes a health scare…or just the Holy Spirit to disrupt the routines and plans you set for yourself. The routines I had were dangerously unhealthy and could have cost me my life.
Today, I have a better story. I’m walking again. I’m more grateful, and I listen to my body when it needs more rest. I decided to stop waiting for the perfect time to prioritize enjoying my family, tending to my health, or working on an inspirational project.
It’s never too late to make changes—especially ones that will enable us to see life in a new, positive light. It’s worth recognizing the power of what feels good and is good. It’s worth living a life with joy and good health. It’s worth living a life you love.
Do overs are acceptable! I’ll be here to cheer us on!
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