Two weeks ago on July 11, 2017 with the wind blowing through my hair I stood on top of the Arc de Triomphe and gazed across the city of Paris at the Eiffel Tower and I cried. The tears flowed slowly at first and then started coming out in an ugly rush as my shoulders shook.
One year since my stroke which changed my life. Not just changed my life but changed who I am as a person.
I think most people would tell you I seem to be exactly the same (and praise God I am physically the same through His healing). But where I’ve truly changed is internally. When you go through a situation like a stroke there is an inevitable war that takes place inside you. It’s a war between fear and question and between joy, gratitude and hope. And you know what?! I can confidently say THAT I’VE WON THAT WAR! I don’t mean to sound conceited but I’m darn right proud of myself!
Now don’t get me wrong – as you know the year wasn’t easy. From getting through the stroke itself to the surgery that followed to place the implant in my heart to close the hole that allowed the clot to go through were incredibly tough. And then the awfulness that came from blood thinners and a million doctor appointments is sure to weigh on anyone. And I’m not going to tell you I handled it with grace all the time. Many days I wallowed in self pity and allowed myself to be overcome with fear. BUT in the end I relied on my faith… and the healing began. Like everything in life one of the tools God uses is TIME. I needed to give myself time to heal physically and mentally. And the mental healing requires way more of it!
During that time I learned more about myself and who I wanted to be than I’d ever learned before. My faith solidified more than ever and my gratitude for life overflowed. No – things still don’t go perfectly every day but I believe I now have a new outlook on what’s truly important in life (a little older and wiser as they say).
As I stood on the edge of the Arc de Triomphe and looked through those bars there were moments that my mind wasn’t looking across the roof tops of Paris. There were moments that it was in that bathroom one year ago and I allowed the fear to rush through me one last time of feeling locked inside my head unable to speak, struggling to move. And I remembered the hospital beds, the breathing treatments, my body covered in bruises from the blood thinners. One last time.
And then….I let it all go. I gave that fear to God and I decided I’m leaving it in Paris.
And then I remembered the blessings that have overflowed this year. The warmth that went through my heart watching my boys play together and their smiles that brighten my life every day. My friends and family who have been by my side throughout. Winning my 2nd San Antonio Fashion Blogger of the Year award. Meeting George Strait and interviewing Rachel Zoe. I could go on and on. It’s been a great year that I will forever be thankful for.
And Paris – I’ll never forget Paris…the number one place in the entire world that I’ve always wanted to visit. How serendipitous that it would be in that beloved city of lights that I would celebrate the one year. And it was a celebration of light. And I decided to take a little bit of Paris’ light and add it to the light that God lit inside me.