Flashback: A doctor at the urgent care clinic ducked into my room.

“The CT scan shows blood clots in your lungs,” the doctor said quickly. “We’re transferring you to the hospital—stat.”

Minutes later, I showed up at the ER and spent several days at the hospital. A year has gone by since my brush with death. Here’s an update and 7 things it taught me: 

1.)  My family & friends love me oodles of noodles. The cards, gifts, texts, hugs, and emails that poured in warmed my heart. As the months wore on, once back on my feet, I secretly wished the stream of encouragement kept on streaming—as fear of relapse crept back in.So when I need encouragement, I encourage others with a picture, Bible verse or prophetic word. She who refreshes others will herself be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25).

2.) Keep excellent circulation in your legs! Don’t sit at the computer too long. I do these 3 E’s:
(I wear compression stockings.)
(I put my feet up above my heart to increase blood flow.)
Exercise (Daily walks are great!)

I added 3 E’s of my own:
Entertain—Make people laugh—joy draws good-natured laughter!  The joy of the Lord is my strength (Neh. 8:10).
Expect—Focus on what I want to happen; envision it; rehearse it; expect it. As she thinks within herself, so she is (Proverbs 23:7).
Eat—Munch on the Bible throughout the day by listening in the car or texting a friend. Open my eyes, that I might see wonderful things in Your law (Psalm 119:18).

3.) Waves of gratitude drown traumatic memories. The last two weeks, flashbacks of an uncomfortable hospital bed and memories of isolation kept me awake. But instead of focusing on the physical pain and tears, I laser-focused on the positives.
I lived to publish my first book.
I lived to contribute to a my friend Bruce Cook’s book.
I lived to laugh and play with my two grandchildren.
I lived to meet a 7-year-old pilot.

4.) Though I write, speak, teach, and blog about self-forgiveness, patterns of self-directed anger die hard. My train of thought rode relentless rails: While writing a book about self-forgiveness, I sat at the computer for long hours, which helped create clots that I later had to forgive myself for. I had to remind myself: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).

5.) God sees the beginning from the end. With a Mt Everest landslide of medical bills sluishing in my wake (why does a red squiggle pop up for a perfectly blissful word like “sluishing,” anyway?), I returned to substitute teach in classrooms. These kids ride the same rails, apparently. They’re angry with themselves for giving unpopular answers, dropping their books, being left out at recess, and hurting other kids.

But I tell them that they’re powerful, confident, and kind. Their mistakes are where they were but not who they are. They get it. Another uplifting thing about subbing: teaching is friendlier to my veins than sitting at a computer all day. While “doing time” for all those medical bills I associate in my mind with self-accusation, I’m teaching the next generation to forgive themselves. There’s poetic justice somewhere in there.

6) Co-Co (Comforter and Counselor, the Holy Spirit) shows up when you need Him. Co-Co is clever. Co-Co is patient. In the last year, on days when I skipped my devotional time with Jesus, Co-Co smiled at me. I love warm cups of Co-Co! “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).

7.) In medical follow-up visits like physical therapy (pictured above: yours truly and Dennis Gavin of Physical Therapy Team Rehab of Gateway) and massages, when I focus on the word “forgive,” my body relaxes. My spine, neck, and head get adjusted, I sense a safe place, and my body does the Elsa thing—“Let It Go.” I get my head back in the game. And the rest of me follows.

Friend, what upgrades did last year provide for you, in retrospect?

Get The Quest for Self-Forgiveness today!