I Grew Up This Week

I grew up this week.

There are few moments in life that change you. That truly transform you. Shake you into existence. Illuminate what is actually important in life and where your priorities should be.

And this past week, I had my first real life altering experience.

My mom had a stroke.

I thought that going through severe anorexia and a year-long  ulcerative colitis flare changed me, but honestly, I have never before had to grow up so fast in my life.

The time after the event was a blur. The dim glow of a lone florescent overhead in a sterile hospital room at 2:30am is disorienting in itself. But under the current circumstances, I found myself calling on the motto my mother had always instilled in me from day one of my own recoveryJust do the next right thing. 

And so I did just that. Watching my mother sleep, I didn’t know if I was more scared that she wouldn’t wake up, or what she would be like if she did. So I turned to a source of comfort – writing…to Jesus.


And I’ve decided to share what I wrote that night…

I’m writing right now because writing is all I can do.

My mind is in five hundred different places and I need to talk or scream or cry or punch something, but I just can’t. Not today. Not here. Not now.

So I sit. Listening to Indian flute radio on Pandora and pray.

Last night my mom had a stroke.

And by the grace of God, I was here at home and not in NYC.

I’m sitting here, curled up in my big puffy coat and watching my mom sleep in her hospital bed. And I’m helpless. I cannot give her back the memories that she’s lost. I can’t give her back the Rolodex of faces in her mind that she no longer recognizes.

I mourn for the loss of her memories of who I am and what we went through and the joy we have shared. I mourn for the loss of the mother I once knew.

And so all I can do is pray. And since I don’t have the words or the energy for anything else, that’s just what I’ll do.

Lord Jesus,

I come before you tonight and I’m collapsing into your arms scared and worried and devastated about my mother’s stroke.

And I place her into your arms, Lord. Protect her. Heal her. Restore her. Bring back the woman that was full of life and vibrancy and a joy for life.

Lord I ask you also to be with my father. He is a pillar of strength, but he needs support too. Wrap him in your firm embrace and uphold his worried heart.

Jesus, there is peace that only you can bring, and I am calling on you Lord for just that. You, who rose from the grave, are capable of miracles, and I am praying that your will be done. But if that were to include the complete and total restoration and healing of my mother, that would be great.

Keep us close to you, Jesus, in this hour of great worry and fear. And move in her mind and body to restore your fierce warrior -your faithful and on-fire servant. She has given her life to sharing Your goodness, now if it be your will, I pray you pour out your saving and healing power over her.

Anyway Lord, thank you for protecting her and keeping her alive after the episode. I am beyond grateful for the second chance you have given her in the fact that she is alive and talking at all. Your mercy truly reigns.

I love you Lord.


My mom has come a long way since then. A long way. It is hard to believe that it has only been two weeks since we almost lost her. She’s conversing, laughing, dancing.

She’s physically 100%, but still having some memory and word recall difficulties. But we are very hopeful for a full recovery.

When something like this happens, certain things become very clear. Very fast.

You find out real quick what is truly important in life: Your Family. Your Loved Ones. And God. Everything else can wait. Acting careers. New Year’s Eve parties. your own needs, really. None of it matters when you’re faced with life or death.

And that is precisely why I’m moving home. Temporarily. To help my best friend during this critical period in her recovery.

This woman is my life blood, and I’m going to be there for her, just as she has been there for me my entire life.

And there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

This is an anonymous blog, which, obviously, allows me to share this and other personal details about my life. So I ask that if you know me in real life, please do not share this information about my mother. She will share with people when she’s ready. And I thank you for respecting that.

Every day, I’m learning so much. Especially about prayer. But also about God. About Grace. And Courage. And I’m really looking forward to sharing those things with you over the next few weeks or months…or, who knows.

God does.

He’s got her. And in addition to “Doing the next right thing,” I’m also going to call upon my new motto as of Tuesday at 8pm…Jesus, I trust in You. 

Oh, and one last thing…thank you for the outpouring of love, support and prayers these last few days. I know that her tremendous progress thus far is in part thanks to you incredible prayer warriors. Thank you with all my heart.

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643 responses to “I Grew Up This Week”

  1. Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
    Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
    [6] In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

    Trust is the key. I believe with you, God will heal her and teach you more about him. Glad you are moving back to help – temporarily.

  2. Praise God for your mother’s marvelous recovery thus far; truly amazing, to say the least! And thank you for sharing this frightening, painful, awakening episode of your life. God bless you, your mother and your entire family!

  3. I have always commented on what a wonderful inspiration you are! Now we can add this part of your journey. You have a powerful testimony and amazing courage! I didn’t know about your Mom. I will pray for her continual healing and pray for you and your family. I have two daughters and know they would make the same decision. God hears every word of every prayer. Thank you for sharing your walk of faith…I have no doubt you have touched many hearts!

    • Hi Rick, oh gosh what a kind thing to say. thank you so much. Yes, life is definitely an unexpected journey. I am so grateful for the prayers. they are working. she will get well. I am claiming that. God will provide. Thankful for wonderful friends like you. massive hugs xox

  4. You are doing the right thing. It doesn’t take away the fear or pain of what happened to your mother, or even takes it away from your father in seeing your mother in such pain that’s outside of his control. In times like this, you are doing everything that God wants you to do, which is turning to Him, glorifying Him and requesting His help in comforting and healing you and your family. In times such as these, it’s good to read Philippians 4, the whole chapter, and realize three things-God answers all prayers, He does so by giving your spirit peace, and He does that by giving you the Body of Christ to share in your joys, hurts, and sufferings.

    Rejoice in the Lord, for He is good and His steadfast love endures forever.

    Praying for you hardcore and always Caralyn!

    • Thank you so much, my friend. What an encouraging and kind note. He has been upholding my family right now, that’s for sure. God is good and I am so grateful for His grace, and also for friends like you. Yes, even during this time, I am rejoicing in His goodness. hugs xox

  5. It’s hard, it’s messy but oh so worth the memories and being there for our parents when they need us. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  6. I am sorry to hear your news, but heartened to learn your mother is bouncing back so fast! What wouldn’t we do for our mothers. Travel safe in blessings and prayers for continued healing!

  7. What an amazing post. I’m so glad to hear your mom is not only okay, but great! And you chose right in trusting in the Lord. He so wants us to do that, and He is so completely trustworthy. God bless you and your family, and it’s wonderful you will all be spending more time together-that is priceless time 🙂

  8. Dearest, letting you know that I am weeping, is for me. Hugging you in joyous appreciation of your strength and wisdom, is for you. My prayers and the candle I am lighting, is for your mom…and your dad. Your faith just may have saved her. just sayin’

  9. I was so sorry to hear this and I’ll be praying for your mom’s quick recovery. I know it’s not the same but my grandpa had a stroke years ago and it really is scary worrying about how much strokes can change people. In my case and hopefully yours too, it only brought my family closer together. Even though my grandpa couldn’t talk just seeing his smile when me and my cousins came in the room was more than enough. I’m sure this will only remind you and your mom how much you mean to each other even if some words and memories are lost

    • Oh, thank you so much for your prayers. it really means a lot. and gosh, I’m so sorry to hear about your gradndpa. ou’re right, it is scary. thakfully it didn’t hit the part of her brain that controls her personality or her mobility. we were very lucky. oh, gosh. my heart just goes out to your family. it’s true, things like this bring people together. hugs to you xox

  10. I am praying for your family and all of those who are following me. I am trying to write more, myself. This was such an inspiring post, and I must say I am very proud of you. Thank you for sharing such a difficult post! It is encouraging and building others up.

  11. Praying for you and your parents, and especially your mother. My mother-in-law just returned home from the hospital after having had two strokes, so I know the struggles. In life’s stages, first the children are cared for by the parents, and then the parents are cared for by their adult children. Such is God’s plan. He will give you strength and grace for each moment.

    • Thank you so much for your prayers. Greatly greatly appreciated. I’m so sorry to hear about your MIL. I’m glad she’s home now. You’re right – He will give us strength. Big hugs xox

  12. Your Faith, Caralyn, is a powerful thing.

    Wishing you hope and resilience and peace, and strength so that you can provide the support from a daughter that your mother needs to weather this turn.

  13. I got to read your post this early because I was up all night prepping for a professional development day today with my teachers. This after about 9 days of reflection and struggle to prep for this! It was well worth it, both to put in effort for their precious sakes, as well as to catch this so quickly after you posted.

    In 1997, I almost lost my dad to kidney failure, and I’ll never forget those nightmarish days, when I was almost on the verge of selling the house furniture because we didn’t have money for the treatment. I vividly remember one morning letting it all go – breaking up inside and falling into His hands, while listening to Kevin Prosch’s ‘Even So Come’, and the days of difficulty upheld by a strange peace after that, and then weeks later, the miraculous open doors to take him for surgery, it’s success, Dad’s vision of extended life given to him, and the amazing provision after that to pay the bills. He’s now 91, and lives with me, and a few months back he deteriorated at about the time I launched my blog, and I wrote the stories of God’s amazing answer to desperate prayer, and his complete turn-around, while at the same time struggling to deal with death in the family that we’ve been helping for more than 9 months now.

    I’m so glad for you to have experienced this. These are turning points for sure in our lives, and you will be amazed to see the blessing that will continue to outpour from these last two weeks in the coming months and years, both in your life, as well as through you into lives of others.

    My family will be praying for all of you through these days. Your family is precious in His sight, and as the Word says, He doesn’t willingly allow affliction to His children, and their deaths, both literally and metaphorically are precious in His sight. You can be sure of a mighty act of love being carefully constructed through this, although it may not feel like it. God never makes mistakes, and He is in TOTAL, loving, control of everything. You are all very much in the palm of His hand.

    God bless, and much love to your parents from us,

    • I realise that my saying that I’m glad for you to have experienced this may have sounded quite insensitive. I’m sorry if it did. What you have gone through is not something I would wish for anyone, and of course I’m sorry that your parents are experiencing this time, but I’m very glad for you to have had the experience of walking with God through this with all the attendant pain, knowing what it is doing for your relationship with God and your parents, and I’m very glad to hear how God has answered in your mom’s recovery.

    • Hi again Indi! I’m sorry, I thought I pressed send on my reply, but something must have happened!! Again, I am so grateful that you shared this. You’re right- these experiences bring people together and shine a spotlight on the things that really matter, and also illuminate those things that we’re preoccupied with that are just flat out unimportant. It’s true. God is in control and He will get us through this. What a gift you’ve given your father. You are a good son. Thanks again for your prayers. You and your family are also in mine 🙂 hugs xox

  14. Beautifully spoken. The words of God always are. You’re exactly where you’re meant to be. Where you’re truly needed. Where you’re safe. The universe has big plans for special people like you. Sending you and your family my lights.

  15. I’m so sorry about your mom, but I’m glad she’s pulling through! I can only imagine how hard this must be. You’re being a wonderful daughter helping her through this. You’re all in my prayers!

  16. Every time you post I learn a little more about love. And I have a little more hope about the future. God bless you and your family.

  17. Oh dear sweet one! How wonderful to be able to turn to Jesus, to trust Him and to know He’s got you mom in the palm of His hands! Praying for you all!!!

  18. I am so glad to hear that she continues to recover! All I know is that, without Jesus, life is unendurable. With Him, well, life’s a beautiful Tiffany lamp with a warmly glowing bulb inside!

  19. My friend Carolyn, I am greatly burdened for your soul. You are wonderful person. My dearest friend. Why are ye fearful? Be anxious for nothing. Tonight you talk about mottos. I have a motto for you and I pray that you keep it within your heart. Regret looks back, Worry looks around and faith looks up. Have your mind girded with the words of the Lord. Think on the things that pure, true, honest, just, lovely Put your heart upon God’s altar and seek him. God heals the brokenhearted. If you need any guidance in the scripture to keep you in good courage and strong in the faith let me know. I’m wondering why I have such a pull towards you and the gospel??? I will always keep you and yours in prayer.

  20. I love your blog, but more so I love how you master challenges head on with courage and discipline. you are encouraging people to overcome fear and insecurity. yu are quite an inspiration #StrictMotivation

  21. Caralyn, I thank you for your sharing. I pray for your mother and father, trusting that though I have not their names, God knows for whom I intercede, and for you and your family…

    I pray in hope of healing in this life and world…

    I pray for you all to know the Spirit’s strength of solace and solace of strength.

    Love and peace, always and in all ways,

  22. Oh Caralyn, I am so sorry to hear that your Mom had a stroke, I PRAISE GOD with you for her strong recovery this far, and partner with you in prayer to our Healer, Jesus Christ, for a further recovery.
    I will continue to pray for your Mom, also for your Dad, as I know he will be suffering along with her, in a different way of course, but still suffering,no wondering.
    And Caralyn, I will certainly be praying for you. Praying for our Lord Jesus to give you Strength, in body, mind and spirit, as you go home to help your folks. In all you do, praying for a Protective Covering of the shed Blood of Jesus to be over you. Praying for the Spirit of the Resurrected Christ to give you guidance and wisdom in any and all decisions. Praying the Spirit of God will give you words to say as you speak with your Mom and Dad during the next days, weeks whatever. Also praying that you each will have full understanding of every thing the Doctors and nurses may tell you.
    Mostly praying that each of you will experience the Presence of Jesus, the Power of His Spirit, the Love of Almighty God with you continually.
    God’s Blessings Friend.
    If there is anything come along I can pray specifically for, please let me know.

    • Thank you so much for this beautiful note, George. Yes, God has really brought her through. There is power in prayer. Thank you for your continued prayers. I am so grateful for you and your friendship. Gosh, George, I am so touched by your powerful words. My heart is so warm right now. Cheesy but true. You are a blessing to me. Know that you and yours are also in my heart and prayers. Massive hugs xox

  23. My thoughts and prayers are with your mother for a full recovery. My prayers are with you as well. What a beautiful piece! However, I think I disagree with the premise of your lede paragraph. You sound grown up to me. In fact, I suspect your family is pretty proud of the woman that you’ve become. In any event, I understand what you were trying to say. I know seeing my own family’s health issues over the years has hit me hard. You feel like you’ve been hit by sledge-hammer. Glad though to hear things sound like they’re looking brighter for your mom!

    • thank you so much for this wonderful note, Brian. I so appreciate your prayers. and what a kind thing to say. I am grateful for you 🙂 Very true – it is an unexpected shock. Yes, God is good and there really is power in prayer! she’s doing great and I am so inspired by her courage. thanks again. hugs xo

  24. So much love and Light to you, and to your mom. Good for you for following your heart …. remember your intention to nurture yourself too.
    Hugs and many blessings. Lots of comfort and strength of grace present,

  25. You and your family are in our prayers. We feel like we know you, and care very much. Courage and trust are wonderful things. God bless you and your Mom.

  26. Wow, it’s amazing how even in our darkest hour, we can call on God who is our source of strength. He is Jehovah-Rophe…the God who heals! My prayers are with you and your Mom.

    God Bless.

  27. I thought about working in the hospice. Is it fair to ask God for one more day? God gave breath, isn’t it our job to appreciate that and find our way back? I just, might not be that close to Him to ask for favors. I’m happy your mom is okay.

      • I have carried what’s left of my friends home to their loved ones. I have watched new hearts go into old men and then they light cigarettes while I, just got healthcare this year. I have watched, and waited, and hugged, and gotten coffee for the dying that have had many more chances than I’ve ever received. Somehow, that’s fair. It is fair because God only gave us breath and we created poverty.

  28. You are extraordinary. I join the others here in a circle of prayer for understanding of God’s will and healing for your mother. I pray, too, that his hand will guide you and comfort you in these next several months.

  29. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom! At least you were there when it happened instead of getting the news while in NY. I’m super close with my mom too and can’t imagine how difficult it is for you. I’m glad to hear that you mom is doing better. May God bless her with a speedy recovery. Sending prayers to you and your family. 🙂

    • thank you so much for your prayers. I am grateful with all my heart. truly. I know — it was a blessing that I was here, and WITH HER when it happened. I don’t know what I would have done had I not been here. Thanks again. xox

  30. Beautifully written..truly heartfelt. I sit here…in another part of the world, I wish and pray for your mother a life full of love life and happiness. This too shall pass!

  31. HI bbb, I will join your voice in prayer for your mom and you. Growing happens in spurts and in the slow long run too. Glad you are writing things down. You will see the hand of God as you walk with Him. Keep Christmas and Easter in your Heart and mind. These are the gifts that can endure in all life has to offer. Be of good courage as you navigate your way through this tough time.
    your servant,

  32. Amazing post. Will pray for your mother. I can relate a little as my own mother suffered from a diagnosis we were all shocked by recently. She will head to surgery next week. Doing the next right thing, I liked that, it is what living life wisely I think. Oh, and thanks for all the likes, they encouraged me this week.

    • Thank you so much Nathan. I am grateful for the prayers. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. I will keep her and you and your family in my prayers. Especially next week. Hang in there. Hugs and love xox

  33. Love and prayers to you and your family! I hope your mom continues to improve. Just by you so eloquently sharing your feelings, I am positive you have helped others who are dealing with difficult situations.

  34. So sorry to hear about your mom’s stroke. Glad to hear she is progressing well. Your heartfelt writing and prayer was beautiful the way you put your trust in the Lord to bring strength and healing to your mom and your family. My prayers are with you.

  35. What a wonderful daughter you are! Thank you for sharing this and for sharing what you wrote to Jesus. So special and real. He’s the One we need in times like that. You worded it perfectly. Blessings and healing to your mother. And from experience I can tell you that you will never, never, ever regret the time you’re spending with her now. But you already know that. ♥

  36. Thank you for sharing, Caralyn. Tears welled up as you said, “You find out real quick what is truly important in life: Your Family. Your Loved Ones. And God. Everything else can wait. Acting careers. New Year’s Eve parties. your own needs, really. None of it matters when you’re faced with life or death.”
    I am praying for you and your family. Truly. I pray Jesus helps me, and His other Children who read here, to be the best supporters and friends of you during this time. You are dearly Loved by Him, and by me (and so many others!) <3

  37. Prayers and support for you and your mom. Doing the “next right thing” is what works, and I’m sure you will continue to do that. I am hoping for healing for your mom, and for all of you.

  38. May peace and love keep you and your mother.

    I have dealt with body image issues all of my life. I oddly enough have Crohns. There are studies that link eating disorders and autoimmune illnesses. My GI says I am a binge eater. I think well yeah you go months without eating!

    Thank you for the follow. I look forward to reading more of your story.
    And thank you for sharing.

  39. He is indeed surrounding your family with love and grace…. praying for healing and good recovery for your mum, Caralyn. Sorry about the above error. Hugs and love. <3

  40. Thank you so much for sharing this… I know that God will bless your steps as you serve Him through serving your mom. And by God’s grace, she will recover, and your whole family will become stronger through this.

  41. Sorry to hear about the rough situation, glad to hear things are improving and to see your outlook through the whole thing. I’ve enjoyed reading some of your posts, keep it up!

  42. Ameeen! Healing is already hers by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Thank you for sharing this intimate post with us. It’s 4:20am here and your faith and rawness has helped even if it wasn’t the goal.

    Will continue to pray for you

    • Thank you so much for this kind comment. Yes! God is good and I am so grateful for the healing He’s facilitating! yikes, that’s late! ((or early??)) I’m glad this hit home with you. Thanks again for your prayers and support. hugs xx

  43. Thankful to hear that she is on the road to recovery! I hope that while you work hard and support your mother back home, you also find time to enjoy yourself. Prayers and blessings C 🙂

  44. Praying with you–for your mom’s recovery, and for your own well-being as you support her during this time. You’re absolutely right, HE’s got her. and He’s got you, too. Thank you, LORD, for your sovereignty and faithfulness.

  45. I pray for a speedy recovery for your mom.For the peace of God to overshadow your mom,dad,yourself and everybody around you.You did the right thing,going to stay with your mom as she recovers.That’s being responsible and honering her.

  46. I wish your mom speedy recovery my father had stroke in 2014 because of which he suffered from paralysis and i eventually lost him in april 2016 so i know what you must be going through take good care of yourself and your family.

  47. Praying for your mom’s complete recovery dear Caralyn. I praise God for the courage He has given you. May our Lord keep you and all of your family members close to His Sacred Heart in these trying times.

    Much love,

    • thank you so much Carol. I so appreciate your prayers. with all my heart. amen – and I am so inspired by her courage. it is truly a God-sent miracle. sending massive hugs to you 🙂

  48. My Daddy had a stroke 3 days after moving close to me from far away. I understand the emotional roller coaster, the stress. I too dropped everything to be his caretaker. It is humbling and contemplative and weepy and here is my unsolicited advice lol Smile with her as often as possible, Pray and cling to God and read your Bible as often as you can because that will restrengthen you when depleted. I will pray because I know this well and I walked this lonely journey also but you are never not u derstood and never ever without God who holds you every time you ask Him to. Love you, beautiful! Chin up! 🙂

  49. I’ve realised we have life-changing moments every day. Some are much, much bigger than others.

    My first was at 12 years old when my brother was killed in a road accident. In the 30+ years since then others include the first time I got my heart broken (and every time since), getting an amazing job, getting engaged the first time, my fiancee leaving me, getting engaged the second time, getting married.

    But the two biggest game-changers for me were in 1999. In May, my dad – who was my best friend – collapsed with a “headache” that turned out to be a cancer bigger than my fist (and I have big hands), which we were told was cancer. A very aggressive type. My whole world collapsed three months later when he died at the age of just 56. Nothing can prepare you for these events. No amount of Faith or “life experience” truly prepares you.

    The second was waking up after my fourth (yes, fourth) suicide attempt in 2000 with the beyond certain knowledge that I had lived because God has work for me to do. Depression that deep – no matter what your wake-up – takes time to fully heal and even 16 years later I still have times of real depression in a way only people who have survived mental illness can comprehend. I could retire if I had a penny for every person who’s said “don’t be depressed” when they ask me how I am.

    We were not designed to deal with this kind of shock. When God expelled Adam from Eden He didn’t do it with a re-design of the mind. But He did promise through the thousands of years since then repeatedly that He would be with us every step of the way.

    It’s not “chance” or “coincidence” that you were at home when your mum was taken ill. God does not cause these things (sicknesses) to happen – if anyone ever finds a New Testament example of Jesus telling someone they still need to learn something, it’s not the right timing or actually making someone sick then I’ll consider changing this point of view, but in 30 years as a Christian I’ve never found one. There’s a difference between God knowing what is going to happen, and God causing it.

    Death – and all illness is a type of death – was never part of His design for us. His name is “I AM the Lord who Heals You” (Exodus 15:26). Part of that healing is making sure we are where we need to be. In your case, it was close to your mum when she was taken ill. It was close to your mum when you were walking your survival road. Both are life-changing events. One may be sudden while the other seems lengthy, but 100,000 years from now, both will feel like the blink of an eye in light of eternity.

    My prayers are with you and your family at this time. This is NOT part of God’s “plan” for you, and don’t let that thought in. If you have a God that does this kind of thing, there’s no need for an enemy. The stereotypical “By His Stripes” bit has been done to death and sounds meaningless as a result, but that is a tactic. Make it “familiar” and it loses it’s power. So: Your mum’s healing – IN THIS WORLD – has been bought by Jesus. What He went through paid the price for sickness, and I believe with all my heart that she can be fully restored.

    Don’t give in to fear. Not even a little tiny bit. Your writing always indicates you are submitted to God and your strength shines through. Don’t forget that when you pray – actually when we all pray – submitting to God is the first step. Then resist the devil – whether he presents with fear, doubt, more illness or anything – and then watch him flee FROM YOU. Yes, it’s the power of God he’s fleeing from, but it’s YOU holding that power.

    Churchill once gave a speech that consisted of seven words: “Never give up! Never give up! Never!” I forget the time and place for the quote but I’ve read it many times in many places, and it resounds throughout the Bible.

    Never give up.

    I don’t say this lightly or without meaning it: I’m praying for you.

    • Hi David, wow I am humbled and touched by your heartfelt response. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother and father. That breaks my heart. It sounds like you have been through a lot, and all I know is that I am so grateful to God to have you in my life and that you’re here, sharing with others the goodness of God. Because you’re right. He IS good and I am clinging to Him during these times when I do not understand. Amen. Never give up. I am truly grateful for your prayers and for your courage to share your story. It has really impacted me as I am waking up this morning. Big hugs to you my friend xox

      • This friendship certainly counts as one of the most unorthodox ones I’ve ever had, but writing to you on this medium and chatting like this feels like I’ve known you a lifetime.

        I know people who have had lives that make mine look like a walk in a park, and are the most joyful people I know. I know others who get a hang-nail and think their life is over. It’s all about perspective – and I’m talking about Christian friends here, not non-Christians!

        Tony Campolo – who I don’t agree with on everything but have tremendous respect for – gave a talk in England in 1990 where he said repeatedly “God is Good – All the Time”, to which we responded spontaneously “All the time, God is Good!” There’s something about a group of 1500 people having the same thought at the same moment that gets to you and becomes a part of you – it would be one of my major impact moments.

        He said in the talk he’d asked his class how long they had lived. All of them answered with their age. Then he refined the question by explaining this story: The first time he visited the World Trade Centre he took the elevator to the roof and stood, holding the railings, on the observation deck. He looked out over the Hudson and something imprinted itself on his soul. It became a moment that he will carry forever. For that moment he saw the city, and more, he saw God’s creation surrounding it like it was nestled in the palm of His hand. He could close his eyes and see it again, taste the air, recall the smells and the sounds as clearly as if he were right there at that instant. At THAT moment he was fully alive, connected to God in the most intimate way for a few minutes. With that as the definition he asked the class again and their answers changed to – mostly – just a few minutes. He posed us in the tent the same question and again, for most people it came back at under an hour even for the few over 60s in the group.

        I determined that day that I would live life to the fullest, try my best to hold each moment, look at it, drink it in and never, ever give it back.

        Moments are different for all of us. Ten people in the same place at the same time witnessing the same event can have ten completely different moments. I was in England when the Twin Towers came down. I saw it live on CNN and couldn’t believe it so switched to the BBC and it was there too. I had a friend at the time who regularly travelled to work in the USA, whose company had offices in one of the skyscrapers and my first thought was “Dear Lord, please don’t let XXX be there today” as I watched men and women jump from the building rather than be consumed by the fire. Thankfully my friend had been there the previous week and was back in the UK by then – I just hadn’t seen him.

        I stood on Dartmoor in Devon one morning with a group having prayed and sung worship songs all night and watched the sun rise over the valleys and villages.

        I held my dad’s hand as he slipped from this world into the next. As he passed, he had been unresponsive to everything but pain stimulation for several hours with no pupil response to light, he suddenly turned his head, opened his eyes, squeezed my hand as his pupils responded in a way that can only be described as focussing on me and then he was gone.

        Those moments, among others, make up what I will carry into eternity. Nothing will ever take them from me. For those minutes I was fully alive, God Himself was with me and nothing can dim the sensations.

        It’s not been easy, but I’m learning that we can choose to make ANY moment one of those moments. John Eldredge quoted someone (Ignatheus I think) in “Raising the Dead” as saying “The Glory of God is Man Fully Alive”. In those moments, They form part of my testimony – just as yours form part of yours – those moments are the Glory of God in our lives.

        Our stories are long and complex, but we have eternity to share them as brothers and sisters in Christ. I think that’s what John means in Revelation when he said we overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony (Rev 12:11). Each of us has a story that will touch people. I can’t imagine being able to survive what you’ve written about going through in your life and coming out the other side with the beauty you demonstrate and the obvious strength you possess.

        There are very few people I pray for regularly as individuals. I won’t promise to pray for someone unless I am certain I can carry through that promise, so generally I sit and listen. If they let me, I’ll pray with them there and then, but I don’t say “you’re in my prayers” as a placation or to make someone feel better. I refuse to compromise my promises by doing so. And I’ve upset people when they say it to me by responding with “Will you really, or is that just the “christian” way to say ‘go away now, I’ve had enough of this conversation?’”

        The late Mike Yaconelli at Greenbelt said when he asked someone how they were doing, if they said “fine” he asked them again by saying “On a scale of 1 to 10 where ‘1’ is suicidal and ’10’ is euphoric, how are you?” because he was genuinely interested. That was in 1991 at Greenbelt Festival in the UK, and I’ve tried to do the same thing since as it’s a way to get through to people that they actually matter.

        My brother and my dad will always be a part of me. It is truly an honour and a privilege to have you in my life as a friend – albeit a strange friendship!

        Blessings to you, and know you really are in my prayers! xoxx

      • Wow David. I am just so complete touched and moved by your writing. Gosh I’m all choked up! You’re so right- being truly alive is something that awakens inside us. Simply breathing doesn’t count. It’s those “God moments.” As a NYer, I know exactly what campolo felt atop that building. I was just up top it a few weeks ago on the new freedom tower. And there really is something about that perspective that is breath taking and makes you appreciate the magnitude of God. Your father was lucky to have you with him as he passed. That is something that is so meaningful. I love your outlook of appreciating every moment. Will definitely take that to heart. Very grateful for you, my friend 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  50. I felt deeply for you reading about your mom and I know full well about the distructiveness of a stroke can have, as my late mother had three before the third one took her from this world, I am overjoyed your mom is recovering, give her lots of hugs and tell her often how much you love her, and continue to write and keep your light and faith alive

    • oh thank you so much, Graham. i so appreciate your kind words and support. i am so sorry to hear that about your mother. You’re right, its hard to watch a loved one have to endure it. sending my biggest hugs to you friend. thanks again. hugs xox

  51. God bless your heart, sweetheart. Your mom is a fighter and so blessed to have another fighter just like her standing beside her at this very difficult time.
    You’re in my prayers as you walk with her in this journey to full recovery.
    God bless! 🙂

  52. I am so proud of you as a brother in Christ.Your private prayer to God as you watched your dear mother sleep- shows your sincere sincerity to Jesus. You had a private audience with God- Private prayer is the one thing, above all others- which the enemy seeks to prevent. You were genuine- you know God hears you in secret.While Hezekiah was weeping and praying, in private- God sent the prophet Isaiah to assure him that he would add more years to his life. Your journey made vulnerable will show us all- that we are constantly dependent upon him… Thank you for your care. In Jesus – V. Psalm-5-3.

    • thank you so much for this thoughtful response. my goodness, what comforting words. my heart is full of so much peace and hope. thank you for your prayers and support. hugs xo

  53. Thanks for sharing your heart with Jesus and letting us overhear. I have been through this with a loved one, so I know where you are. My prayers are with you and your family. I am grateful for the miracles you have received so far and for the ones still on the way.

  54. Caralyn, what the devil meant for harm, God will turn to good.

    In this very honest post you acknowledge your mum’s stroke has already empowered you with a higher level of maturity, deeper faith and rearranged your priorities, and I have a feeling God is saying, ‘watch this space’ not finished yet.

    As you are doing the ‘right thing’ for your mum, expect your heavenly ‘Father God’, will not only uphold your whole family with his healing and love, but also, bless you in return by revealing more of his best for your life.

    God’s Blessings are ever new each morning.

    • Thank you so much for this thoughtful response. You’re right, I don’t think God is finished yet with the work He is facilitating with my mom and my family. We are all healing…even in ways we didn’t realize we needed it. Than you so much for your comforting words and prayer. I am truly grateful for you in my life. big big big hugs xox

  55. Wow – what a powerful message. My mom is my best friend and I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. I am so glad to hear she is recovering and things are looking up. Sending more positive vibes your way.


  56. I am not religious but I value the power of love and family. I like your blog as you write from the heart. I think its important that we here that having a stroke does not mean the end and thank you for showing us that. Best of health and recovery to you all.

    • Thanks so much Maxine. I really appreciate your kind words and support. And I’m so touched that you enjoy reading my blog! 🙂 you’re right- it’s not the end. In fact, it may just be the beginning 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  57. I am so sorry to hear about your mom, Caralyn. I am happy to know though that she is much better, has recovered and on the road to full recovery. God has blessed you both with each other and together God has stronger presence where you both are, I think. It’s an awesome thing that you’re doing. I don’t even want to think about what I’ll do… so let me not go there. Instead, let me use my energy for the good and send you positive loving wishes as I pray for your mom to be back to her health prior to her stroke, and for the whole family to continue to be blessed by God. Family crisis is always an awful thing to experience. I’m thinking of you. God bless you. Much love and hugs to you from me. XO Anne

    • Hi Anne, thank you so much for the thoughtful note. What beautiful and comforting words. It’s true – God has brought us through this, and here progress is cause for rejoicing. Truly. Thanks again my friend. Hugs and love xox

  58. Yeah, I get it. Glad to hear your mom is recovering. Also glad to know you’re with your parents. They sound awesome. You’re awesome! God is awesome!

  59. So sorry for your loss but so grateful that your mom is recovering well. Know of my prayers for you as you and your family adjust to your new normal!

  60. I wondered what had happened, and I have been praying for you and your family. We don’t know each other outside the blogging world, but your words have touched my heart and helped me face some personal challenges. May God strengthen your family, and continue to bless your mother in her recovery, and help you know how to best help her.

    • Hi Heather, thank you so much for your prayers and concern. Yeah I didn’t want to share until my mom gave the go ahead. i am in just so inspired by her courage through all of this. i can tell you how much your kindness means to me. And i am so touched by your nice words about my blog. i’m glad it resonated with you 🙂 sending you a massive hug xox

  61. I’m so happy that your mom is recovering. God is good and he is the only one that make miracles happen. It is His Will that all things happen. He will work it out the way that He knows it should be. I know what he can do and I know you can depend on him. My sister had an aneurysm and a couple of strokes and she is here doing very well with only a few none visible side effects. Trusting Him is all that it takes no matter what the situation. Your faith in Him says it all. God Bless you and your mother and the rest of your family.

    • thank you so much Corrie. I so appreciate your kind words and prayers. Yes, i am so grateful for His healing power in her. He can do all things. I am so sorry to hear that your sister went through that, but wow – how wonderful that she’s doing so well. i will keep her and you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. hugs to you xox

  62. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this. Humbling and comforting. Also, that’s a great motto, particularly when life is overwhelming. I’m going to use it, too.

  63. Adding my name to the list of all the people praying for your mother’s full recovery. I know it means a lot to her and your father that you’re there for them.

  64. Dear Caralyn, I’m sorry to hear that your mother had a stroke. No matter how old we are, we need our mommy to be strong and healthy! I will keep her and you in my prayers. I know that you will be a wonderful assistant to her in her recovery.

    We are blessed to have faith and family to help us through these times. You bring others closer to Christ by your heartfelt sharing.

    And you have your writing too! I can tell that you, like me, make sense of rambling thoughts in our heads and work through the emotions that come from such a time, by putting it all down on paper/computer. And you express your thoughts so beautifully. You have the emotion, wisdom, and ability to be a great writer, Caralyn. You are a gift to all your readers.
    Sending you much love, Mary

    • Wow Mary, I am so touched by this beautiful note. Thank you so much. Your prayers mean more than I can express. You’re right- I don’t know what I’d do without my faith. Jesus has absolutely 100% been holding my family and I up through this difficult time. But God is so good and every day my mom gets a little better. I have total faith that He will bring about healing and that one day down the road, we will be able to look back and see His blessing and purpose in all of this. That’s really great advice about the writing. It’s so true. The excerpt I share in this was a private writing I had done just for myself because I find comfort there, and I shared it with my mom and she encouraged me to publish it on my blog. I am just so amazed at her strength and courage through all of this. I thought she was my hero before, but boy oh boy. What a rock. Thanks again for such an uplifting response. My heart is so warm and full of so much hope:) sending hugs and love xox

  65. My thoughts and wishes for your mom’s continued recovery. Just be strong, but leave some time to be weak. No one is strong all the time.
    “The world breaks everyone and afterwards, many are strong in the broken places.”.
    Ernest Hemingway.

  66. Beautiful tribute and prayer for your beautiful mother. My mom had a stroke too and by the grace of god, she recovered with scattered memory loss. I am so happy for you and your family. Divine timing is god setting up the perfect moment to be in awareness. You are your mother’s angel. Thanks for sharing your story! OM Shanti

    • thank you so much for your kind words and support, Shanti. I’m so sorry that you can relate on such a personal level. I’m so glad that your mom is doing well. that’s so great to hear! thanks again, my friend. big hugs xox

  67. Prayers for you and your family. I went through similar time when grandmother had stroke and grandfather came down with Alzheimer’s. It will be a challenge, but I’m confident your faith and love will get you through.

  68. May you draw strength from the Gospels; who appropriately enough, as we draw into another Ordinary Time of a New Year in the Church, reflect the miraculous healing powers of Christ. Indeed….Jesus, I trust in You. The tenderest of hugs are sent directly to you!

    • Thank you so much, Dawn. I really appreciate your prayers and support. yes, drawing close to Jesus during these times is right where we’re supposed to be. thanks again. big hugs xo

  69. when i read your words i got tears in my eyes – you spoke from your heart and your words were like a prayer. when our heart speaks it will surely be heard by God. we all change roles in our life: we are child, mother or father, and grandpa or grandma – it is like a circle that fills us with wisdom. so life is like mirror to ourselves – so more we understand from it the more we are thankful for everything we have got. this life here is a big school and some day we sit together as sisters and brothers in Him. May God bless you and your mother.
    from heart to heart

    • Hi Didi, thank you so much for your kind words. I am so touched by your beautiful wisdom, and for your prayers. you’re right – life is a big school and we are all the pupils. so glad this resonated with you. big hugs xox

  70. Sending my prayer for fast recovery of your mom and for your strength.
    Family is where always we belong. I am sure God has reasons for allowing some things to happen. God hears out heart. I feel you in every word you wrote here. It reminded me of the value of time when we are with our family, not to take it for granted rather, treasure every moment we are with them. I remember also my mom who is my umbrella in times of rains and storms. Be brave. For God gives his greatest battles to His strongest warriors…mhuaggzz!

    • Hi Syle, thank you so much for your prayers. I really appreciate it. You’re right – family IS where we belong. so glad I’m able to be here right now. thanks again for the support. hugs xox

  71. Blessing you and family my dear. God grant your mum a speedy recovery and work all things for her and yours and family’s salvation and His glory. Peace with you.

  72. Thank you for the beautiful prayer that you shared. I’m praying for your mom, your dad, and you.

  73. And now I understand what has been going on. I’m sorry my friend. Thank God you were home, that you can move back for a bit, that things are going as well as they are. May God continue to watch over you, comfort you, guide you and bless you through all of this


    • Thank you so much, Jeff. I really appreciate your support and prayers. Yes, thank God I was home and that she was in such tip top physical shape that her body is responding terrifically to the recovery process. God is good. even when we don’t understand. hugs xo

  74. You’ve really been on my heart a lot recently – I’ve been praying for you, and now I will add your Mom and your family to that list. May the Lord bring a full recovery to your Mom, endurance for y’all, and continued hope.

  75. WOW.

    You know, I was wondering when we would hear about what was going on specifically in your life during this season. Now that is some tough stuff!!

    It wouldn’t be fair not to thank God that you were at the right place at a critical time! He is so faithful. How astonishing that through the chaos and the first impressions she is nearly FULLY recovered? That. is. miraculous.

    As you and your family continue to press on and recover, know that you have many prayers in your direction. As you enter another season of learning, growing , teaching , and healing I know that you will just become stronger than ever before!!

    Thank-you for being so transparent. It is stimulating.


    • Hi JV, thank you so much for this kind note. Yeah, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. You’re right – God is so faithful. it is amazing how God lined up this timing so that I would be home when it happened and in a position where I could spend more time at home. this will definitely be a season of learning. thanks again for the prayers. it means the world. big hugs xo

  76. This is what love for someone else is…being all grown up. Suddenly, we are not thinking of “me”, but of someone else, first. ; All grown up. By the way, growing never really stops.

  77. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I just saw my mother off the airport this morning. Her health is becoming fragile these days, and she is apparently battling some memory loss. Alzheimer’s runs in our family, so we’re all worried that she has it. With the geographical distance between us it is difficult to navigate through all the challenges that come with the disease. My Mom and two of my brothers live in Germany, another brother and myself live in the US. I feel extremely helpless because I’m so far away, and I’m worried about all the unknowns – does she have Alzheimer’s? If so, how fast will the disease progress? How long will she be able to live alone? Do we wait until something bad happens? As I’m writing about this I realize that a lot of my worries have to do with a lack of communication in our family. We siblings have to keep in touch, more so than in the past. It’s tough to see parents decline. It feels like an important part of us dies. I’m glad that God hears us and that we’re not alone in this struggle. I believe being there for your Mom is really the best you can do right now. Cherish the time you have with her. You are making memories that you’ll revisit in days to come, memories no money can buy. God bless you and your family!

    • thank you so much for this thoughtful response. I’m so sorry that there’s worry about your mother’s health. i will definitely keep her and your family in my thoughts and prayers. yeah, as the world gets “bigger” and our jobs take us farther and farther away, communication definitely becomes more difficult. thanks for the encouragement and prayers. big hugs xo

  78. This is not only one of the most beautiful posts I have read but your willingness to share openly and honestly is also an awesome testimony to God’s grace in your life.
    There are others that will read this and be blessed and encouraged as they have or are going through their own “Growing Up” challenges and struggles.
    You have been through a lot in your young (compared to me for sure) life and God has blessed you with wisdom beyond your years as a result of your trusting Him.
    Keep trusting, keep writing those prayers to your heavenly Father, He cherishes them!
    I too will be sending up a prayer for you and your Mom & Dad.

    • gosh, thank you so much. i am incredibly touched by your prayers and kind words. Jesus has truly been holding my family up these past couple weeks. He’s showering us with grace, even when we don’t fully know how to ask for it. He is good. thanks again for your kind words. hugs xox

  79. I am praying for complete healing for your mother. I also pray for strength and comfort for each of your family members and you as you help her recover. I thank God that you and your mother have relationships with God and can draw close to Him during difficult times!

    • Thanks again, Soph. Yes, it really is. I’ve been clinging to that truth recently. thanks again for all your kind comments and prayers. i’m grateful to have you as a friend 🙂 hugs xo

  80. Sometimes I think God brings us through our own personal battles ahead of time, so that when the time for courage comes, we will be armed and ready. I lost my mom when she was 63 yrs old, but none of us were ready for God to take her home. Had I not already gone through a tremendous struggle earlier where I had to trust Jesus every hour, minute, and second of the day, I would have fallen apart with no one to pick me up. Praying for your Mom. YOU are going to be OK. 🙂

    • Thank you for this heartfelt reflection, Mary. You’re right – those times develop courage and strength. I’m so sorry for your loss. you’re right, Jesus is our source of strength and truly our lifeline in those times. thanks again for the prayers. know that you and yours are also in mine. hugs xo