For days I had been feeling “off,” yet I continued to press forward day after day. There was nothing more important to me than my work. I found a job that I enjoyed and was highly successful. The money was great too! However, those “off” days persisted, and I did my best to focus on the work. My team needed me. The pressure of performing well was relentless, but I loved the challenge.
It got to the point where I decided to day a day off from work. My mother called to see what was wrong. I explained to her that it was nothing serious but that I felt a little “off.” I returned to work the next day because there was a morning meeting I needed to attend.
Is God My Priority?
One of the most important things I learned over the past twelve years is the necessity to make God the priority in my life. Click To Tweet, Not “a” priority but “the” priority. Because without the magnificent, unmatched grace of God, I would already be in heaven!
Every breath we take is because God allows it. He does not want us to take Him for granted, disrespect Him, or even forget who He is. I mention this because Satan will do EVERYTHING he can to distract and discourage us from keeping God first in our lives.
There are days that I struggle with this and probably will until Christ returns. But I believe that God knows my heart, and He knows how much I love Him, and I’m working to be better at making Him my priority every day. A word of warning. Guard your heart against discouragement. It can be mind-crippling at times!
So, I returned to work the next day and talked with one of my best friends in preparation. She had become a tremendous mentor as I continued to succeed in my job’s Sales and Marketing aspects.
The meeting was over before I knew it. I returned to my desk and began discussing the meeting with my dear friend and mentor, Jenna Hill. We hung up after a few minutes as another colleague entered my office. He was curious about the meeting. I asked him to have a seat, and we began to chat. I joked with him about eating all the sandwiches I had purchased for my team.
While we spoke, I was devouring a sandwich. Then I reached into my drawer to grab some gum while conversing and dropped the bottle. I then picked it back up and dropped it again.
The colleague asked, “What’s wrong clumsy?” My response was, “I don’t feel so good. Why don’t you take me home” We laughed, and before I knew it, Jenna was coming around the corner. When she saw me, she stopped, picked up a phone and dialed 911!
She could see that the left side of my face had begun to droop, and she knew something was seriously wrong! The EMTs arrived within minutes. Now. I am in shock! What in the world is going on? After examining me, the EMT asked, “Do you want to go?” I replied, “Go where?” “Hospital, ” was his response. “Do you think I need to go?”. I asked. The EMT felt that something had happened and thought it best to get checked out.
You know, God's plan will be very different than what we have in mind for ourselves. Click To TweetWithin minutes, I was up on a gurney, being whisked away while my colleagues and friends looked on in horror!
What in the world was happening to me? I was terrified, but things would only get more confusing for me. I had no idea what was going on! This was the first ER visit I could remember since I was a toddler in Germany. A rock had cracked my head open. The noise in the ER was deafening. Everything was happening so fast! I remember them cutting my beautiful Kelly green shirt right down the middle as they began to try and figure out what was wrong. A fierce struggle occurred as they attempted to stick me in the CT machine for a cat scan of my brain. I could hardly say claustrophobia as my mouth began to droop even more. Within an instant, I was out like a light!
After awakening from a medically-induced coma days later, I had to know idea where I was! Lying in a bed, unable to move in this stark, sterile room, my mind was in a fog. Where was I? What is happening right now? Is this a nightmare? I screamed for help. “Hello! Is anybody there? Hello!” A nurse popped her head in and was happy to see I was awake. She then went to get the doctor. The doctor came in and was pleased to see me alive! He explained that I had suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke due to extremely high blood pressure.
I was moved to the ICU, and my mother entered the room. Standing by my bed, she asked the doctor if I would be alright? The doctor replied, “Oh, your son will never be the same.” He left the room! So, what now? Everything was at a standstill. My mother leaned over the railing on the bed and whispered to me, ” that doctor doesn’t know what God can do.” Then she quoted this verse.
For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.
I now know that this was a promise God made to the children of Israel. However, this scripture is in His holy Word to encourage His children who live under His grace. I cannot tell you the comfort I felt at that moment despite not knowing what would happen next.
After praying with me, my mother left to find the doctor. At that moment, I was so confused. I thought that strokes happened to older people? I’d seen both of my grandmothers suffer from debilitating strokes, but I was only a month away from my 44th birthday? Nothing but questions raced through my injured brain. It was too much to bear! Nightfall came, and I began to get sleepy. It had been quite a day!
I tried to pray, but my mind was a mess! So, I lay there, trying to fall asleep. It is incredible to see what you can hear from God when you are QUIET. Click To TweetNot asking for anything—just being STILL. Listening. Shhhh. Can you hear Him? It’s so peaceful right now. I can feel God’s presence. He is so close. His loving arms surround me. I am comforted. “Rest, My child. I’ve got you. Go to sleep.” I slowly drifted off to sleep. Beautiful. His unconditional love is so beautiful.
In the days and nights that followed, My work successes didn’t seem to matter much. I had no idea if I’d even walk again! I’ll never forget the “light bulb ” moment when God clarified that financial success and earthly pleasures were not His primary purpose for me. He had something much better and more meaningful in mind.
This new purpose was bigger than anything I could have imagined. This was a purpose larger than living for my wants and desires. God’s purpose was about me helping others and bringing Him glory. Oh, what a revelation! My life could still have meaning! Don’t leave me on the scrap heap just yet. God’s not finished with me!
My Perspiration and Inspiration!
Words cannot describe the pain and agony I experienced in the days following the stroke. I’ll never forget the former Marines in charge of my physical therapy at the hospital. I began to dread waking up. They were relentless, arrogant, and annoying. I know they were there to help, but when they started to interfere with my quiet time and breakfast, we stopped that immediately.
I enjoyed occupational therapy, and speech therapy was my favorite! The speech therapist and I got along really well. She saw that I was determined to regain my ability to speak as before. I worked hard at everything she gave me to do. Physical therapy was brutal! I’d collapse in my hospital bed and sleep until lunchtime every day. A few moments of hope kept me from getting too discouraged by the rigorous but necessary therapies.
A surprise birthday party was held in a conference room with family and friends down the hall! The party was fantastic! No hospital food! I remember having homemade green bean casserole. It was the best I’ve ever eaten! And there was a birthday cake too!
Another thing that helped is that I began to lose weight quite rapidly. Within the first month in the hospital, I had already lost thirty-one pounds! I even started rereading my Bible. I returned to a familiar passage I read as a child. But now it has so much more meaning than ever!
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do lean not unto thine own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trusting God is not always an easy thing to do. Can I get an amen? There are many times in our lives that we will face the unexpected. It may not be a massive stroke, but possibly just as painful. This is where the precious grace of God comes in. He knows that we are human and cannot traverse this journey called life alone. Click To Tweet
God, in His infinite wisdom, was preparing me for the purpose He had intended since my birth. He continues to bring people alongside me to help, encourage, advise, and inspire me. I cannot do this alone, and neither can you! Don’t be afraid to cry out to God or to ask for help from someone you trust.
I’m so thankful for the countless prayers of not only myself but loved ones and family members. I’d be happy and honored to pray with and for you if you want. No one else has to know. Just click on the Prayer Request tab on my home page, and your request will come directly to me. No one else will know except the two of God and us. I will respond in kind, so you know that someone is praying for or with you.
I know that because of God’s grace, He’s been preparing me and continues to do so for whatever lies ahead. I’m praying that you will focus on the goodness of God and what He continues to do in my life because it is not about me, but it is ALL about HIM!
Thank God for His marvelous and matchless grace, and don’t wait for your “second chance.” Follow His leading today, my friend! What is He calling you to do? Shhh. Be still. Are you listening?
In His Grace,
Horace Williams Jr.
Want to go deeper and find some inspiration for your prayer life? Get Horace’s award-winning book on the power of prayer today.
“This book is a powerful and uplifting resource for anyone looking for solid, practical ways to think about prayer daily. Pick up this book and be uplifted!” -Chloe Flanagan.
“Like many of the parables of Jesus, Unleash the Power is short but powerful! I strongly recommend it to anyone seeking a stronger, more impactful prayer life.” -Chris Amos.
“Very easy to read. Simple but powerful thoughts and insights. Good reminders of how to have a powerful prayer life.” -EK Curry