Five years ago today my heart stopped beating.
I’m amazed at the work God has done in my life since death’s grasp snatched me away.
This morning I went through a few Facebook posts from past anniversaries of my death, and a pattern arose, like footprints on the path of the loving message he constantly whispers to all of us.
Here’s a sampling of my Facebook posts from this date and a few of my reflections.
Loved by You Guys
Four years ago.
January 8, 2012: I’m praising God this morning that I’ll be sitting in church with my family. Last year on this day, I wasn’t able to be there. God answered so many prayers and continues to bless me with each breath.
The first thing that strikes me is the love flowing through the likes and comments. (I only added a couple here.) I remember feeling that very love in the days and weeks after the cardiac arrest–God’s love flowing through his people. Overflowing actually … to me.
I Almost Didn’t Get To…
Three years ago.
In January of 2013 my book with co-author Tricia Goyer came out, Love Finds You in Glacier Bay Alaska. In the opening pages, I share that it’s the book “I almost didn’t get to write.”
Having nearly left this earthly land made so many things about writing that book richer. For one, somehow, the fact that I could so easily be dead washed away many insecurities I fought as a writer. Exposing personal and vulnerable layers in words on a page wrings terror from many (most) of us. But after my cardiac arrest, freedom to reveal my deeper, more risky side came easier.
I thought, life could end today, tomorrow, why let fear hinder me? Why hold back in any area? This truth still winds through my days, challenging me to be present, to feel and see and think more intently, to love fervently.
If you’ve never read the story of my cardiac arrest, you can find it here. Soli deo gloria! http://ocieanna.com/about/
This photo–it’s hard to take. That’s why I didn’t even post it till four years after the “event.” It slaps me with the reality that, yep, that was me in that hospital bed. In a coma. On respirator.
When my editor read my book, Love Like There’s No Tomorrow, he said I overused the words grateful and thankful. He was right, but can you understand why? Seeing myself so frail, so vulnerable–I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to be alive, to be holding my babies, to love my Michael, to write and teach and even clean, cook and … just breathe!
And, most of all, my cup of gratitude overflows to Jesus who rescued me from the pit of death and holds me in his nail-scared hands. Oh how he loves me like there’s no tomorrow.
Another Thing about Last Year
A year ago, I didn’t know I’d film a commercial for Medi-Share that would lead to a book contract. I didn’t know I’d spend my summer months weeping at Starbucks as I poured out my story (a sacrifice I don’t regret!). I didn’t know that my book would be available for pre-order TODAY!
I didn’t know what God had in store, but isn’t it amazing!
I’m so honored and humbled to share this story with you. It’s not really my story, but the story of God’s love in one girl’s life, which I hope and pray will bless you too.
Remember, he loves you like there’s no tomorrow.