Stroke

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Art:

The Art for this week is a photograph I took with my iPhone last Saturday from the window of my 7th floor hospital room at Southdale Fairview Hospital. Several hospital staff who came into my room thought I had the best view of any in the hospital.  I couldn’t argue.  When I return to the garage with my Oil paints, I look forward to capturing this in Oil. I may even do an Acrylic before then.  So, you may see it in a future blog.

Thought:

Is there such a thing as ‘spiritual stroke’?  I believe it’s a reality.  In fact, I believe spiritual strokes occur more often than we recognize.  Exactly what am I saying?

I believe a similar condition may take place in our spiritual life as in our physical life that physicians call a stroke. How is that possible?  First, look at the condition defined as a physical stroke and the consequences.

Condition:  Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of blood vessels leading to the brain. Consequences: Depends on the area of the brain affected and what part of the body it controls. Stroke consequences may include trouble walking, speaking, and understanding, as well as paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg.

The key cause of such physical consequences of a stroke is blockage of life sustaining blood flow. So, what do I see as a parallel in our spiritual life?

Followers of Jesus are spiritual lives living within a host—our physical bodies. Our role is to allow the power of the Holy Spirit, in us, to freely flow through our gifts, talents and experiences to continue the good work Jesus began in this world.

When free flow of the Holy Spirit’s power, that sustains spiritual life, is blocked, a spiritual stroke takes place.  I see Paul describing this in two of his letters to churches.   In Ephesians 4:30 Paul instructs followers of Jesus: “Do not grieve [block] the Holy Spirit of God.”  To those at Thessalonica Paul writes, using a different metaphor, in 1 Thessalonians 5:19: “Do not put out [block] the Spirit’s fire.”

In Ephesians chapter 4, Paul describes examples of ‘clots’ that will block the life sustaining Holy Spirit power through the follower of Jesus in his/her sphere of influence: “…unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.’  What is the treatment protocol?

For physical strokes, treatment tends to focus on restoring an adequate flow of blood to the brain. This may include immediate action to deal with the current ‘clot’ as well as a blood thinning agent to reduce the risk of future strokes.

For spiritual strokes, it may include first identifying the ‘clot’ that caused the spiritual stroke.  Was it caused by my unfaithful action or by life circumstances? If it was my action (it often is) apply 1 John 1:9. “If we  confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” If it was my reaction to an unpleasant life circumstance, the answer God gave Paul in his request for the removal of a ‘thorn in my flesh” may apply in our case. The Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

 In Physical stroke patients, to minimize the risk of future strokes will probably result in some lifestyle changes. The least of which may include taking new medications and regular checkups

In Spiritual stroke patients, In Ephesians 4, Paul lists several lifestyle changes: “[speak] only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may be beneficial to those who listen.”  And “…Be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”

As with physical strokes, spiritual strokes may also need some (PT) Personal or (OT) Occupational therapy to improve the function affected by your blockage.  If your speech was affected by your physical stroke, you will need to follow some prescribed plan for improving your speech.  If your spiritual stroke, as Paul outlined, wounded relationship with another person, it will probably take some time to restore that relationship to where it needs to be.

My first physical stroke was last February 22 and the second May 7.  I am grateful for the many prayers on our behalf and for God’s intervention.   The residual damage from the first stroke was a distortion in peripheral vision in my right eye.  Otherwise, my vision is normal.  The second stroke affected the right side of my face and speech.  My speech has already retuned to 90%.  My smile on the right side is nearly back to normal.

My prayer for you is that you may be protected from strokes of any kind in the days ahead, as we navigate this current Pandemic.

“Delight yourself in the Lord  and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your ways to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this; He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

Psalm 37:4-6

 

 

12 thoughts on “Stroke

  1. Thanks for updating us about your stroke. We are praying for you. We care about you and Marj.
    Love, Lew and Cheryl Richards

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  2. I like your comparison between physical and spiritual strokes. I wasn’t aware of your May 7 stroke, but I will pray for your full and quick recovery. You have been one of the best influences in my life with your wisdom and your personal walk with the Lord.

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  3. Hello My Brother in Christ! Your passion for other people in the midst of the health issues you are going through, shows me that you have certainly become “More Like God/Jesus”. Thank you for your message and your love for all. We will be praying for you, as we always have, and that you will heal completely from this stroke. May our Lord stroke your heart and sole with His Loving Grace and Care. God Bless You Always, Todd

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  4. Jim, I was glad to get the email from you about your artwork and you’re photography… Plus your thoughts on stroke and our physical and spiritual lives. Sandy posted a post from Steve about you having a stroke and it was on the Calvary alumni page. But we heard nothing about what is going on now. With your permission may I put some information that you shared in this email for those that have been praying for you on the alumni page? Prayers continue for you. My prayer Journal is called THE LIST and you are on it along with Marge as you recover. I presume you’re having speech therapy at the present time. Or if you want to send me an email of what I can post on Facebook on the calvary alumni page I will do that. Lots of prayer for you, Mavis voicemail

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    1. Mavis

      February 22, I had a stroke and spent most of two days and one night in the Hospital. Bottom line: I lost some clear peripheral vision in my right eye. I have no problem with reading, driving etc. Things to the far right are just not in focus. That may improve with use. I wore a heart monitor for a month after being discharged. Results were normal.

      May 7, I had a second stroke and spent two night and a couple days in the Hospital. Bottom line: Initially the right side of my face was affected, and speech was slurred. Within 24 hrs. my speech was almost normal, and the face muscles seem nearly back to normal.

      With all the tests that have been done (MRIs, EKGs etc.) there was no obvious physical reason. Things look good. Suspicion is my heart may ‘act up’ on some occasions sending a little clot to the brain. Two preventive actions have been taken: First, I am on Eliquis as though atrial fibrillation was the fact. Second, I had a Medtronic Heart Monitor installed under the skin with a 3-year battery life. This should tell if the heart is ‘acting up’ less often than the 30 days with the first external monitor.

      Bottom line: Thanks for all the prayer. Marj and I are doing well. My speech is 90% retuned. My ‘smile’ is near normal and my eye is some improved. I could live with all this with no change in lifestyle compared to before the two strokes. My primary care doctor’s comment is that I have a ‘darn good heart for an 82 year old man! Thanks for reaching out. Didn’t you have some stroke issues a few years back?

      God has truly answered prayer! PTL!

      Feel free to share anything with anyone.

      Jim Thomason
      Ps 1:1-3

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      1. I am so glad that you are recovering. I enjoy your posts and your paintings that you share with us. No I have not had any Strokes I’m still pretty healthy going on 82 this July. I try to stay busy and out of trouble. I do a woman’s breakfast devotional at one of our Mane restaurants here in Lewisburg once a month. I do a small group study with some women on Tuesday Mornings at the church. I’m on the visitation team to visit patients in hospitals and in their homes except right now we’re kind of curtailed for that right now. I will share an update on you on the Calvary alumni page. Give my love toMarj.

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  5. Jim, sorry to hear of your strokes. Glad to hear you are recovering. I have 5 years on you at 87! Legs are giving me problems, making it more difficult to work out in our “Berry Patch”! Otherwise we are doing well. Dave and Carol Osterhus

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