One year after the heart attack

What do you say after you’re life has been spared? Not once, but three times. Some wanted me aborted. Didn’t happen. I was hit by a car in second grade. Unconscious, but no broken bones. One year ago this evening I was playing basketball and my left anterior descending artery was 100% blocked. Thankfully a good friend called 911 right away, and the fire truck that was just at our event and entertaining kids returned with an ambulance this time. I shouldn’t have lived through it.

This past year has been the most challenging I’ve ever experienced. Somehow I met with the cardiologist the weeks following the attack, and he gave Marla, the girls and I the green light to spend 5 weeks loving on orphans and fighting human trafficking in Cambodia. Chest pains showed up the last week there, in a country where they can’t rush you to the hospital and put a stent in your heart with 45 minutes to spare of your life. They have to fly you to Bangkok.

Luckily the family doctor there hooked me up to 1 of the dozen or so EKG’s I’ve had this year and confirmed I was fine. The few months after we returned back to Ohio I was in the ER with the same pains, and they diagnosed me with anxiety. Who knew that patients suffering through anxiety attacks felt like they were having a heart attack. Not cool for someone who just had one!

Much has followed those visits throughout the rest of the year. I wasn’t in a state of being able to hold my job down. The job that God blessed me with (after years of having no health insurance), that ended up covering most of the $57,000 incident. I returned home to a loving house, but to self-employment again. Some weeks were spent shedding more tears than I ever have, staying in bed and not having the mind to do the basic things most guys do for their families. Longing to live, but pleading with God to relieve my family by bringing me home (to heaven).

God decided to point my life down a path that I wasn’t expecting, or had ever experienced. Healing. Being able to work and fight my battles again. Providing just enough money most months to pay for the crazy $750 health insurance bill (just lower than the actual medicine that it covers) and enough other bills to keep us moving forward. Connecting us with a great counselor to help us learn how to handle challenges together. It’s been more of a fight to get through this year than it was to get through the heart attack itself.

I could have written a much shorter post by just sharing the one thing that matters most – God had a plan through all of this, like He always does. His promise that He would never leave me couldn’t be more true. Going through days where you wanted to die lets you see how those that don’t have the privilege of knowing Him sometimes take their own lives are end up going insane. I now hurt for those people, when before I had no clue what would send someone into that much of a mess or even create one thought like they had.

Today is one more borrowed day. Not just for me, but for you. I sure wasn’t expecting to live through some of these days at the ages of 34-35, and I know now that a good amount of people aren’t living an easy life every day. I pray that on the worst days, God draws as close to you as He did with me. So crazy to be writing this and hearing one of the worst storms the eastern part of the country has ever had blow against my window. Hearing an ambulance rush down the road just now and thinking back to when those heroes saved my life.

It’s all about God’s timing. Not the comfort or joy He provides in life, but His timing and His glory. I believe we will all witness storms like this in life at some point, and I pray that you let Him calm yours instead of trying to battle the waves yourself. Praise God today with me, and live this day like it was your last. Better days are coming, I know that much!!!

    • Thank you! Thank you more for being beside me through all of this. You’ve been the best trooper I could ask for. Praising God I get to spend more years with you!

  1. timhall

    Thankful to read this Gabe! It’s not an anniversary that anyone wants to celebrate… but put in that situation… EVERYONE would want to!

    Continuing to pray for you and your family!


    “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
    Proverbs 19:21

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