The Storm Hits
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to
come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other
created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of
God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
January 27, 2007 - 12:30 a.m. I woke up from a deep sleep feeling nauseous. I thought I must be coming down with the flu. I attempted to sit up and get out of bed, but I grew more nauseous. I wondered if I would make it to the bathroom, which was only a few feet away. Without warning a hot flash raged from my neck to my groin. My heart rate accelerated. I couldn’t catch my breath and began gasping for air. I laid back down and I tried to calm myself by taking small, slow breathes. The nausea subsided a bit and I felt a moment of relief.
A huge wave of nausea washed over me accompanied by an even more intense hot flash. My heart felt as if it was trying to pound its way out of my chest. It hurt, and I was scared! I was trying to remain calm and breathe, but there simply wasn't enough oxygen in the room to fill my lungs.
I touched Doug and whispered to him, “I think I am very sick.” He woke up instantly, but as he sat up the nausea and chest pounding intensified exponentially. I thought I was dying.
“Call 9-1-1,” I whispered.
Within minutes both an ambulance and the fire department arrived. They settled me on the gurney while asking Doug for as many details about my condition as he could give them. All I could think about was that I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to my kids. Lauren was away at college and Garic was still asleep. As they loaded me into the ambulance, Doug promised to get Garic and meet us at the hospital.
On the drive to the hospital Doug tried to remain calm for Garic’s sake. They prayed that God would heal me from whatever was going on. I had several more attacks on the way to the hospital. I did not want to die in the ambulance. I pleaded with my eyes to the paramedics, please don’t let me die!
I was given an IV and medication that was supposed to calm my heart rate down, but even with the medicine my heart rate only dropped to 140 beats per minute. A normal heart beats in the range 70-100.
God let me live, I silently pled with God. I will be a better Christian and example for my family and friends. I want to grow old. I want to someday have grandchildren. Please God let me be okay!
Doug and Garic arrived shortly after the ambulance. I asked Doug to call Lauren and tell her I love her, although I wasn’t sure if Doug could get through to her. She was in her dorm at college and most likely sleeping. She was accustomed to turning her cell phone off at night, so there was no way to make sure she knew what was going on until she woke in the morning.
I felt there were things I needed to tell my husband - things I wanted him to know, in case I really was dying. Garic reached out to touch me.
“It’s okay Mom,” he said. You’re going to be okay. God will protect you.”
“I know, son,” I put on my brave face. “I need you to know how much I love you and how special you are to me. Never forget that okay?”
He leaned across the hospital bed, gently kissed me and told me he loved me too. Doug took a hold of Garic’s hand and placed a hand across my body and began to pray. They prayed that God would heal me and give the doctors wisdom and discernment as to how to help me.
Several hours later and after many tests, EKGs, X-rays and a treadmill stress test, the only thing they could find wrong was low potassium. The attending physician prescribed anxiety medication and a potassium supplement, and sent me home with instructions to follow up with my family doctor.
My family doctor saw me briefly before I was discharged. She thought I had experienced a panic attack. I wasn’t familiar with the term. Panic attack sounded to me like another term for worry wart, and while I certainly worried about things, I knew this could not be anything as simple as a panic attack. There was something wrong with me! Every test came back negative and I was feeling better. But I knew one of two things happened: either they missed something or God chose to heal me of whatever had invaded my body so violently.
What I Know Now
Panic attacks are real.
Panic attacks can make you feel like you are dying.
How long we live and whether we have physical or mental health problems is not a reflection of how good we have been or could be. We will never be good enough. That is why we have grace and why Jesus willingly sacrificed himself on the cross.
No one deserves what Christ did for us. We can not earn salvation or God’s grace. It is a gift from God. God longs for a relationship with us. We don’t have to bargain to get it.
Strands of Hope
1. Have you ever experienced a panic attack? If so, what are some things that you were able to do to get
2. Has there been a time when you tried to bargain with God to answer a prayer that you were desperate for?
Read 2 Kings 20. If you were in King Hezekiah’s place would you have chosen to live the last 15 years as he did? If not, what do you think you would have done differently?
3. If you knew you had a certain number of years, days or even minutes before you breathed your last, whom
would you want to spend time with? Is there anything you feel you need to communicate to anyone before you die?
4. Worrying about things, whether they are in our control or not, is an area of struggle for many people. Make a list of the things that you find yourself worrying about. Separate the list into two columns. One column for worries that you can control and the other for worries over which you have no control (i.e. someone else’s behavior, choice or response, disasters, weather, unexpected events or challenges, illness or death).
5. Read Psalm 55:22, 2 Timothy 1:7, Psalm 112:7, Philippians 4:6-7 and Deuteronomy 31:6. Write these
verses down and post them in places that remind you to let go of what you cannot control, and that you can make strong and courageous choices on what you can control.
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