OK, to be straight, it was not my heart- it was my blood pressure, whatever controls that thing. It broke. It broke several weeks before my husband and daughter left to go to Kenya on a 21 day mission trip. My indicator: I stopped wanting to eat much or sleep much, yet I had plenty of energy. I felt moody. I kinda felt a little angry, a little aggressive, and then sad – not all at once, but cyclically. I started to wonder if I was facing spiritual warfare or just old-fashioned depression at the idea of my husband leaving the country for a few weeks. That notion seemed ridiculous. I am a fairly confident person. I’m not a terribly needy person. And the idea of mourning the leaving of my husband for a trip sure seemed a little bit like crazy.
But the fact remains, the longer they were gone, the worst I felt.
I had shaky hands. I had insomnia. The boys were getting on my nerves so bad, I spent much of the day trying not to yell or trying to think of a reason to stay in the shower just one more minute. Then the washer broke. The tire blew and I had a wreck. I started feeling kinda foggy and confused. My sense of direction was getting worse than it’s usual non-existant. On the morning of my heart breaking day, I woke and felt like I did not want to go on breathing. It seemed like some kinda crazy- my last facebook post was: “”I can’t breath without you, but I have to.” -Seriously missing my husband.””Then, finally, I went down. Literally. I hit the kitchen floor face-first and did not wake up for several minutes.
Then, when I tried to get up, I went down again, and again, and again.
Then I was in the hospital. Here is where things get really dicey. Memories from that day are mingled with confusion. I knew who I was, and where I was, but not why. As I woke from one of my spells, I was sure I was there because I’d had a wreck and my children died. Then, I thought I’d had a stroke. Each time I woke, it was a fresh new reason why I was there, and none of it was good. After a couple of minutes, things would become clear again.
Over the next several days, many medications were tried and rejected, tried and rejected. Finally, one brought my blood pressure down and I spent the next 24 hours asleep- except when people came and went from the room.
During my many awake hours I had lots of time to ponder what it all meant.
A couple of the nurses told my sweet Sarah (15) that she had possibly saved my life, and at the very least stopped something terrible like a stroke or heart attack from happening.
Words were thrown around in my presence like: Stroke. Diabetes. Kidney failure. Heart attack. Seizures. Epilepsy. The most upsetting event outside of the spells themselves was when they came in my room and put padding all around my hospital bed and talked among themselves about putting me on seizure protocol.
Things got very crystal clear in my mind after that.
I did not care about the dirty dishes. I did not care about the broken washer or the wrecked van. I did not care about orders unfilled for Wheat-n-Things or the 5,000 pounds of wheat sitting in a dock waiting for me to move it and unload it. I did not care about the emails, facebook posts or dozens of work emails sitting unread. I did not return even one phone message.
Here is what I did care about:
Was I right with those I loved? Did my husband know I STILL THINK he is the sexiest man alive and the ONLY one I thought could make me laugh in this horrible situation? Did my girls know that I know they are not perfect, but they are really so much better than I ever dreamed they could be? Did my boys know that I love them like crazy, even when they make me feel a little crazy? Did my parents and in-laws know how truly grateful I am for them? Did I speak forgiveness and kindness to those who needed it around me? Did I say I was sorry quick enough when I caught myself in sin? Did I encourage other mamas as often as I should? Did I write about the important things? Have I fought the good fight? Do I really run to Jesus like I should? Do I pray deeply enough, often enough, and consistently enough?
And YIKES, my friends. Just like Daniel told Belshezzar in Daniel Chapter 5, this is what the writing on the wall says:
MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27 TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
What? I am not a king, so how does this apply to me? Let me break it down for you: God has numbered my days, and by golly, I better be numbering them too. I am not here forever, and I am lucky I am even here now. I have been weighed in the balances and found wanting. Oh my, yes. If my scale is: How much is Malia Russell like Jesus, I am most assuredly lacking. I don’t think I am even standing on the right scale. Then: My kingdom has been divided. My children were spread out among three families. My life was being sifted between the most important and the mundane.
I have spent the last month in relative silence. Nothing I could think to say on facebook, twitter, my blog, or even much in person seemed to matter much. I was not bold enough to say the most important things, but the usual drivel just seems pointless. The sound of my own voice makes me sick. I hate that I am not more like Christ and less like me. I hate that I am still judgmental, argumentative, weak, harbor unforgiveness, that I get my feelings hurt by petty people. I hate, hate, hate that I care what any person besides my God and Savior thinks. I want to strip away everything unimportant and experience the divine presence of God Almighty with every relationship, every conversation, every encounter. I want to know and do the will of God. I want to share His majesty and wonder with my children. And for heaven’s sake, I want my children to want to be more like Christ and less like me.
How is the old heart now? Well, I am back home. My blood pressure is still not quite right, but I monitor it several times daily under the watchful eye of my children. I have medicine that makes me sleep an awful lot, so the doctor has been trying to help me find a combination of medications that will keep it in the safe zone, but still let me be awake for more than three hours a day.
And praise God, my heart is still broken. I am broken, but at least my physical is now reflecting the spiritual mess that I am. There is no room for pride laying in a hospital bed with special padding. There is no room for pride in a heart that has been carved open and laid exposed for the Lord to weigh and measure.