Build An Altar

There are some things we want to remember and others we pray to forget.

My sweet husband with me in ICU.

My sweet husband with me in ICU.

Between the haze of emotions and swirling days there is a moment to pause. To reflect. To pick up small, seemingly simple stones and turn them into a place of rememberance. A place of reflection that binds us to the truth of what really happened. 

Six months ago today I had a stroke. Collapsing alone in my home, discovering I was paralyzed on my right side, realizing when I cried out for help my speech no longer worked. Things I'd like to forget. 

Sitting in the ICU learning I had a blood clot in my brain, a hole in my heart, a mass on my thyroid and two brain aneurysms. A moment I'd like to forget. 

Anniversaries are strange things. It's like your heart, soul, mind and body all know to commemorate the event. Happy or sad - all the cells in our body seem to respond. 

In a lot of ways I don't really know how to respond but I felt the need to do something. 

So, I am taking a cue from the Old Testament and am building an altar. When God did something significant the Israelites would build an alter to remember. A gathering of stones to declare who God was and who He always will be. 
I wish I could get on Amazon and pick out stones. Ones that look beautiful and strong. The perfect shape and size to craft the image I want to share. But thats not how it works. 

You have to build with what you have at your feet. What is available in the landscape of God's miracles. And to be honest, these stones here where I stand are jagged and broken. Dirt and debris fill their crevices but they are the rocks in this moment so I will choose to view them as tokens of remembrance.

I walked through hell with an anxiety disorder two years before this happened and I learned how to find peace and trust God in that season. It has enabled me to hold on to peace and security through all of this . One stone.

Even though I collapsed at home alone, I just happened to decide to charge my phone in my bathroom that day instead of in the kitchen like usual. I was able to drag myself to it when I could no longer walk because it was nearby. Another stone.

The aneurysms were discovered before they ended up being fatal. Surgery was still an option to treat them...if I hadn't had the stroke then I wouldn't have found them. Two stones.

As a writer and communicator having brain damage in the language center of your brain is a painful thing to come to grips with. I can't access information like I used to. I can't string words together as effortlessly. Communication is more challenging than before...BUT I can speak again. I can type again. I am continuing to regain my recall when it comes to words. Three stones.

Slowly this little alter of mine is taking shape. I am watching sadness turn into stones for the glory of God in my life. A display of His goodness and kindness in the midst of the fire. When I am old, I will revisit this alter with my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to tell them of what God did in this place. 

I'll look at these stones which appeared at first as painful and hard only to realize they have veins of gold running through them. 

May we all pick up our stones and start building. 

Liz Griffin