Two Years Fruitful

I’ve gotta tell ya, this day really snuck up on me this year.

December 27, 2018. The second year anniversary of my mom’s stroke.

Two years ago today, my parents and I were out to dinner at a nice restaurant downtown, when out of nowhere, my picture-of-health, 63-yea-old mother had a stroke that initially left her unable to speak, and unable to recognize me as her daughter.

I remember watching my dad carry her into the emergency room “Marissa Cooper-style” from the OC. I will never be able to rid that image of my lifeless mother from my mind.

Nor will I ever forget the way in which I pleaded with God in that hospital room, to save my mother and keep her alive.

Since then, thanks be to God, she has had a miraculous recovery. To the point that you wouldn’t even know she had a stroke in the first place.

The courage she has shown, the determination and fervor with which she has attacked her recovery, and the positive attitude she’s sustained through it all has left me incredibly inspired and in awe of this amazing woman I have the privilege of calling “mom.”

Since then, she and I have walked 80 miles on the El Camino de Santiago de Compostella as a pilgrimage of gratitude for her healing. She has traveled in the footsteps of Fr. Jacque Marquette – whom she saw in her near death experience vision. (Which you can listen to in this post.)

But more than that, she has reclaimed her life and is a living and breathing picture of God’s mercy and faithfulness.

In addition to my mom’s incredible transformation these past two years, I too, have undergone significant growth of my own, as a result of this impactful season for our family.

Two years ago, the young woman writing this blog was much different than the young woman sitting at the keyboard today.

There is a depth of faith, she possesses that can only be obtained through pitch black nights, without even the light of the moon to provide comfort.

There is a dependence on God that I have learned these past two years that I almost cannot put into words.

What began as a desperate pleading – bargaining – begging with God in that hospital room that night, just to keep her alive, has bloomed in to an absolute trust that transcends understanding, logic, and circumstance.

Days spent being strong, brave and anchored for my family, ended in silent tears on my pillow, filled with fear and heartbreak, anxiety, confusion, anger – the emotions I was hurling at God behind closed doors that year were so intense and so raw. And He took them all. Every day, nailing them to the cross that He had given me to carry that year.

But that’s the thing. We all go through seasons where we are given a particularly difficult cross to bear. No one is immune from it. It is part of our Christian walk.

“Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23

Day after day, Jesus would meet me in the morning, and give me the strength, hope and endurance to make it through the day.

Each day, calming my fear. Sustaining my emotional and spiritual exhaustion. Shouldering my anger. And blanketing me in peace, moment by moment, that He was in control. It was my job to trust Him. And to pass on the fruits of the spirit that He was providing me, even though I was unaware of it at the time.

It is only looking back, now, from a place of hindsight and gratitude, that I can see the gifts of the Holy Spirit all over that season of trying times.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22.

Love. – Every day, I woke up thinking that it was impossible for me to love my mom any more than I did in that very moment. Until, of course I woke up the following day.

Joy – The bright bursts of joy during that season were unparalleled. Be it dance parties in the kitchen. Tender moments that we shared because of the presentness we all had together, working towards the same goal.

Peace: Though tumultuous and full of uncertainty, most mornings brought with them the peace that everything was going to be okay. Maybe not right now, but somehow, I knew that whatever was to come, we would survive together.

Patience – This one stretched me, but was the most important. As I had to learn to breathe and offer the grace with which she had shown me my entire life.

Kindness – There was one thing that didn’t change in my mom after her stroke, and that was the kindness of her heart. It is her filter through which she sees the world. And then of course, seeing the kindness of her friends and our community, rallying around her. It was a beautiful thing.

Goodness – I witnessed first hand, the way in which God can take even the darkest of situations and bring about good from them. And the most beautiful example of this, is the blessing of time and togetherness that my family experienced as a result.

Faithfulness – Learning to depend on God in such a total and complete way – my faith had never been tested – or strengthened – more.

Gentleness – It was revealed to me just how gentle is the hand of the Father – and I saw that through the love of my earthly father. Seeing his heart through all of this. I have never been so inspired or in awe of him either.

And lastly, self-control – This one really was a gradual bell curve of a transformation. But learning to put my needs second was a shift that I was not used to, but that I now am grateful for.

All in all, every day brought with it new challenges and new lessons that were beautiful and full of grace, that I wouldn’t change for the world.

Because that’s the thing about our crosses.

They are beautiful in a very transcendent way. They force us to our absolute limit, only to reveal to us a beautiful truth that we couldn’t arrive at any other way.

Jesus showed us the way in this: somethings you have to endure, to allow true freedom and true transformation to occur.

We have to die to self, to live with Christ.

And that is what happened that year.

I know that Jesus is in control. And I know that He is going to give me everything I need to get through those seasons of desperation and fear. He gives us what we need. Sometimes it just takes a little time and distance to be able to see His hand at work.

The Holy Spirit was working overtime for me that season. What a blessing now, to be able to look back, with my healthy and thriving mom, and see the His fruits in our lives.

What a cause for praise and thanksgiving. What a Father we have.

Thank you, Jesus, for helping my mom, my family, and me, through our season of need. You are our divine Protector, poised and ready to get us through the storm. Waiting to shape our situation into an outcome of goodness and truth.

For the Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness; These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.” Deuteronomy 2:7

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196 responses to “Two Years Fruitful”

  1. Hi Caralyn. Nothing can be added to what you wrote. Except PRAISE JESUS, and we thank you LORD.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful testimony in such a beautiful God Glorifying way.
    Happy New Year Caralyn, and to your Mom and Dad also. May you each experience the Blessings of God, His Provision, Health, Prosperity, as God sees each of these.

    3 John 1:2
    2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

    I don’t know your Mom and Dad, but I Love them, as I Love you Caralyn.
    God Bless,
    Luv. 😀🌹❤️😘

    • Hi George, thank yuo so much for this beautiful response. amen to that -Praise Jesus indeed!!!! You have been such a wonderful friend through all of this, i really appreciate your support, prayers, and encouragment! sending big New Years hugs!! and I will absolutely pass along the love 🙂 much love and hugs xox

  2. Caralyn, I am so glad that you and your mother are well at this point! I remember your request for help, and I was surprised to see tonight that it was two years ago! How blessed she is in her near-death experience and what she learned from it! How blessed are you both in richer walks with God! I rejoice with you both and your family in the richer lives God has grown out of that dark seed.

    Blessings, prayers and love for you both, Jeff

    • Thank you Jeff. Yes – you have been such a blessing to me and my family during this time. Thank you for the prayers, support and friendship you have so generously shown. Thank you for rejoicing with us tonight! Hugs and love xox

  3. 2 years I remember you when you told us all about it, hope you are well been a while since we have talked I’ve been going through some rubbish personally 😢 I’ve celebrated my birthday and Christmas since we last spoke, I am now 30 😂🙈 your mum is an amazing human being with an equally amazing and beautiful daughter ❤️

  4. Wow! That was outstanding! What a great example of faith. You’re right about walking through the darkness. We wonder why we sometimes have to go through such suffering and turmoil. But our God can be trusted. He gives us exactly what we need, and He walks through it with us. He so deserves our faith, obedience, and praise. And His love knows no bounds. He really is there for us always. So glad your Mom is doing so well! 🙂

    Hey, only 54 away from 41K!! Congratulations!! Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Amazing! I have been following your blog for just a bit over two years now – through this whole process – praying and watching all that the LORD has been doing in your life. It has been truly beautiful, challenging, encouraging, and also has helped me look for the fruits of the Spirit in the lives of those around me. It’s wonderful to see what He’s doing!
    Still praying for you and your family!

    • oh gosh thank you so much for your prayers and support. that seriously means so much. God has been so good to us!!! hugs to you xox

  6. Very moving post. Thank you for sharing. This quote seems appropriate: “Some of the early Church Fathers well summarized the nature and purpose of our lives when they said that we are born in the image of God and meant to grow into the full likeness of God. I interpret that to mean that our core nature is a unique shaping of divine Spirit energy, a unique shaping of divine love, freedom, and creativity. . . .” — Tilden Edwards

    • Thank you so much for all your kindness and support these last couple years! You’re a great friend 💛 and thanks for sharing that quote!! Hugs and love xox

  7. Thank you for sharing this touching slice of your experience. Moved by the look backwards that revealed Holy Spirit fruit “all over…”!!!

    • Thank you so much Dee, I really appreciate your kind words. Haha yay! i take that as a huge compliment 🙂 i think she is beautiful! big hugs to you xox

  8. Excellent reflection on your journey through trusting God with your mom. I have a thankful journal, but your fruits of the spirit list inspires me. I always think of them as what I am to be doing for others, not how I see God being good to me through the fruits of the spirit. Thanks for a new way of recording God’s faithfulness.

    • thank you so much Karisa 🙂 i really appreciate your kind words. That’s so true! They’re an expression of His goodness and love! hugs xox

  9. There’s just so much to be thankful for. Without God leading and providing, where would we be? I’m grateful for your growth and the healing that’s occurred for your family. May 2019 be filled with many more blessings and God’s presence in your lives. Thanks for being such a light and sharing your foundation and heart with us all.

    • Amen to that. Where would we be indeed. Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement. Big hugs to you! Xox .

  10. You are so blessed to have tasted the fruits of the Spirit in your life. Lost my dad late November and needed to pray for a refill from God. He did send more through his word. You are a wonderful witness to others as always. Thanks for sharing John

    • Oh John I am so sorry for your loss, my friend. Gosh that is so tough. Praying for you and your family during this difficult time. Hang in there friend. Sending so much love and hugs xox

  11. My dear friend,

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful thoughts about the recovery of your mom and your experience during this time, your close interaction with God.

    In your text you share a very important message, quote: “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23 – there is a very deep meaning behind. To deny ourselves is the confession that there is only ONE existing and that is the ONE (the ONE is not even broken in millions and millons of fragments, but He is the Ocean consisting of millions and millions of drops and nevertheless water is merged with water without any separation. Only our “I and ego” separates us from this Ocean that is always existing (like the sun that has set and is nevertheless there) – so when I know I am not there, then He is there, then I make space for Him – two, I and He, cannot exist at the same time – this is infact our “dream” our so-called reality, our life, but our mind is put into the illusion that it exists separately from Him – we are all ONE and form the Ocean of Him, each drop. In this way we can let go our ego, which thinks it is doing something, but there there is only ONE Doer – as I once wrote: “The shadow thinks it is moving, but it is the light that moves the shadow…” Once we know it and let this flow into our blood and venes, then God is nearer than our own skin to us… the second part of the message: to take up our daily cross…. this is another deep meaning which requires much more than a few words to explain it…

    However, I am happy that you share your impression, your feelings and thoughts which are useful and helpful for many people.

    Thank you, my friend 🙂

    From heart to heart a big hug

  12. This post is my favorite so far from you. Maybe because I can relate to this, “Nor will I ever forget the way in which I pleaded with God in that hospital room, to save my mother and keep her alive.” Maybe because of how I see you in an new way as you share how you’ve grown. The inner transformation can often be a place we overlook and feel dismissive of because it’s not tangible, but you laid it out and acknowledged it, allowing it to not be shoved under a rug or hidden behind some physical thing. This is beautiful. Thank you for a reminder of how important it is to acknowledge our ongoing transformation and journey, even when not tangible. I can hold space for that which I can’t hold within my hands and be thankful for the fact I’m not the same person I was last year or five years ago. Great reminder and thanks for opening up to this new level (to me at least… I’m still new to following you.).

    • Oh my gosh thank you so much Shell!! I am seriously so touched by this thoughtful response. Amen! We are always growing and evolving into who He made us to be! Hugs and love xox

  13. Excellent testimony, my friend! Nobody could make that up. Your mom’s miraculous recovery from a wicked stroke is an example that God is still in the healing business. And His promises to us are true. The doubtful Thomas’ like to frown on testimonies like yours. But there is no room for doubt here, because you did share those heart wrenching moments with us on this blog.

    I rejoice with you, my friend. I can almost touch the joy you radiate through your words. God bless.

    • Thank you so much Noel! Gosh what kind words. Thanks for being such a great source of support and encouragement through it all. Hugs and love xox

  14. Thank you for sharing your journey and your family’s! I’m very saddened that you all had to experience this, yet uplifted that your mom has recovered!

  15. What a powerful post, an amazing testimony. Your pure love for your parents shine through! Also, thank you for the reminder about the fruits of the spirit. It’s something that I memorized in elementary school, but seeing it written this way struck me. Thank you for your writing, your testimony, your love, and your own spirit. Happy New Year, darling!

    • Thank you Laura Beth for your kind words and for being such a great friend and encourager through it all! Very grateful for you!!! Hugs and love xox

  16. Everything you write is kind, good,meaningful, and it has purpose! I am so happy to hear that your mother recovered and she is doing well. There’s nothing better in life than a mother! Prayer works as God is good. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful blessed day

    • Oh my gosh thank you Lane!! You’re so right about that – moms are amazing. And yes! There is power in prayer! Hugs and love xox

  17. Thank you for sharing this with us. It is a truly inspirational piece. I am grateful to have found your little corner of the interwebs because your posts help me to reflect and to better understand my relationship with God. Have a wonderful and blessed day!

    • Thanks so much Todd 🙂 I really appreciate your encouraging words! So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you Meggan for your kind words. It was definitely quite scary. God got us through it! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much friend. God has been so good to us. You as well! Have a blessed 2019!! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much Amy. Yes – God has been so good to me and seen us through time and time again. Thanks for being such a great friend! Hugs and love xox

  18. Yes! God is amazing! What a lovely devotion to him and to your Mother. I’m so happy she is better and able to make some amazing memories with you. Sending lots of love and happy thoughts your way!

    • Thank you so much Deanna! I really appreciate your kind words. God has been good to us! hugs xox

  19. I really do identify with this post. Having my 83-year old mother living with us for more than a year now has been a strain, frankly. It’s changed the dynamics of how we use our home, and the strain will probably get worse as time goes on.

    I needed reminding that she, set in her ways and declining in health, is my cross. And I must continue to seek God’s help to find a way to battle through it all, day by day. Blessings and best wishes from Kentucky– Mike

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story, Mike. What a gift you are giving your mother. I will definitely keep her and you in my prayers. hugs xo

  20. Dear BBB, I love this quote from this post, “Sometimes it just takes a little time and distance to be able to see His hand at work.”

    This “little time” is most definitely the FAITH, seed faith God wants to see in the heart of everyone who calls on HIM. And what about the “distance”? It is the trust in HIS rhema. These faith and the attendant trust survives on the food called PATIENCE. Now patience can be so, so enervating. Great post!

    • Thank you so much for your ind words! I think you’re about that. Patience! Hugs and love xox

  21. I, honestly, do not know who’ll like to lose such an adorable Mum! Who says Jesus is not historically a phenomenon? Who says Jesus does not hear prayers? That person has not read this wonderful testimony. I thank Jesus for all He’s done for you, personally, and your lovely family. Praise the LORD!

    • Thank you so much for these wonderfully kind words. There is power in prayer!! And amen to that – God has been so good to us! Hugs and love xox

  22. I really enjoyed reading this post, and it reminded me…My dear Mama also suffered a stroke back in 1993. She is 79 this year and still going strong after making some drastic life changes! All glory to our Lord!

    • Thank you so much for sharing that. I’m sorry that happened to her, but gosh praise the Lord that she is healthy doing so well! God is good! Hugs and love xox

  23. It is so inspiring to watch God work in the lives of young people. But it is even more so, when I watch you respond to Him as your Daddy and your Friend. You have understood relationship with Him, more than many people ever will. Isn’t He wonderful?

    • Thank you so much Donna. Yes! He is the MOST wonderful! And always at work!! Hugs and love xox

      • Hi Caralyn…If I want to “press” you or reblog you, should I contact you? Not sure how all that works. What God is doing in your life often encourages me…Thanks for sharing your life. Donna

      • Hi Donna! That’s so kind of you to say. Thank you – absolutely! I would be honored if you passed this along to your readers! Hugs and love xox

  24. Thank you for stopping by and liking my blog post, Caralyn. I haven’t read yours in quite awhile, so it was so special to read this beautiful post about your mom’s full recovery. I remember what a painful struggle it was for you at times. Your strong faith and trust in God have carried you through. I thank God with you for your mom’s recovery.

    • Thanks so much Pauline 🙂 I really appreciate your friendship and support through it all. God has been very good to us! Hugs and love xox

  25. Caralyn, your site is a testimony of faith. My favorite fruit is JOY! My addictive behavior yields to self-control. That’s a tough one for me. Letting Jesus into my heart was the turning point after years of drunken dark years. You have a wonderful ministry, keep these wonderful messages coming. “Happy Healthy Eating New Year, my friend.”

    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22.

    34 years sober thanks to God’s grace – ;-D an

    • Thank you so much Dan! What a kind thing to say. Amen! I’m so glad you’ve found His light! God is so good! CONGRATULATIONS ON 34 YEARS!!! Holy cow that is something to celebrate!!!!!!!! Hugs and love xox

  26. Hope you have a great 2019 Carolyn! God really blesses your writing about your mother. Your love shines through, I thought how remarkable she was when she showed such great courage in the way she handled the photos of your early journey through anorexia. I was very ill with kidney issues following the birth of my daughter. I found those photos hard to look at but I decided to scrapbook them nonetheless. It was very healing for me to be able to put the more challenging photos in context. These things are so important. I am glad your beautiful mother has had such a blessed recovery.
    God bless.

    • Thank you friend. Gosh what a kind thing to say. I’m glad you had that healing experience! God is good. Hugs and love xox

  27. Well done. May the Lord continue to keep your mom strong and vibrant. I chose the fruits of the spirit banners to brighten up Larison’s Corner. Must be something in the air. A friend is making the hangers as I write. So enjoy your refreshing blog. All the Lord’s blessings to you and your family this coming year.

  28. Hi Caralyn, I’m so grateful for your mom’s healing and to both of you sharing her story. It has been an inspiration and blessing to me in my healing process after my third stroke in November. I had an extensive medical history, and conditions that predispose me to blood clots and stroke. But God’s love and faithfulness are always the same for each of us. My past fifteen months have resembled your year in so many ways. I have also changed and grown spiritually in ways I never imagined. I, too, can say that I’m not the same person that I was before this began. Blessings to you and you’re mom. My kids are also very grateful that they didn’t lose me. Hugs and Love 😊❤ Mary

    • thank you so much for these kind words, Mary, and for sharing your story. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to walk through that, but I’m so glad that you’re doing well and have found such growth in the process. I will definitely be keeping you in my prayers! hugs xox

      • Thank you so much, Carolyn. You and your mom have truly blessed me. I also backed away from sharing my own journey on my blog and feel God’s prompting in this area. Especially after you shared about you and your mom walking “The Way”…one of my favorite movies.
        After contemplating my own health issues, I now see everything that I am living with as a part of my spiritual journey. Way beyond a laundry list of medical jargon and conditions.
        I’m very grateful for your prayers. Your blog is truly a. ministry. You are also very genuine, which is so important in any area of ministry. Again, blessings to you and your mom. I’m so grateful for her healing. xox Mary (formerly the senior clay crafter)

      • Oh my gosh, i am truly so touched. That pilgrimage was the truly such a special time for us. Our spiritual journeys always lead us to where He wants us to be. Thank you again for such generous words. big big hugs xox

  29. I’m glad that things worked out so well for your mom. I do believe that we can grow from the challenges of others as they affect us in ways we never considered. She is an inspiration for us all. Happy New Year to you!!

  30. December 27th is a very special date for me too because it was when, also 2 years ago, I started my recovery journey. Reading your blog, your story, your testimony, had much to do with it. The Spirit talked to me through you at that dark time. I’m so happy to see both me and your mother have blossomed since that day. I wish you both the happiest New Year!!

    • Hi Paola, thank you so much for sharing that! COngratulations on two years! That is truly something to celebrate. And I am so touched that you would say that. Happy new year, dear friend! hugs xox

  31. I am so glad your mom came through the experience of a stroke unscathed … and you were there for her, with her, growing in the experience. Like you, I thank God each day for the love, joy and peace that are mine … and I ask Him for help with the other six. They don’t come quite as naturally! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. You encourage us as you travel this challenging road of life. God bless you! Happy New Year!

    • Thank you so much Jan. Yes! and He is so generous with those gifts! happy new year! hugs xo

  32. Thank you for your stories with such honesty and passion. I love reading your blog. You never fail to remind us that we are all growing within and every day we all have our own struggles or challenges to get through. Glad to hear about your journey.

  33. So glad your Mum is better. She looks fantastic. And thank you for sharing how you can look back and see God’s hand. Sometimes it’s so hard to trust God when it’s happening. We are having a relatively peaceful Christmas given all the ED challenges and I am very grateful for the rest.

    • thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. Yes! she’s my hero 🙂 big hugs to you xox

  34. So glad your mom is better, I admire how much you have celebrated that and what God did during those trials, we will keep your family in our prayers.

    • Thank yo again J. Yes so much to be grateful to God for. I really appreciate your prayers. Hugs and love xox

  35. Encouraging and inspiring as always!
    Thank you for sharing your hard times so eloquently and especially the way they have increased your love for God – Father Son and Holy Spirit – and dependence on Him in the grittiness of everyday life.

  36. I “had church” while reading this post. God’s work in you is evident as I have read your blog and recently started watching the YouTube videos. You provide spiritual food while relating to a very broad audience. I thank God for you and the work He is doing in your life. I pray that God will give you even greater opportunities in this new year to be His spokesperson.

    • Oh gosh I am humbled by your words. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. I honestly cannot begin to express how much that means. Thank you Michael. Praying for you too!! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you Erika 🙂 yeah she is beautiful inside and out! I’ll tell her that! You’ll make her day haha glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  37. So glad that you prove Jesus alive and with those that need Him. Just imagine being an “unbeliever” with no God to support you in difficult times, because as you said, these times will come. I urge anyone reading this blog and who doesn’t have this”Rock” for support, to consider following Him, Jesus, for he cares for you.

  38. I am so happy for you both. Sadly, I now find myself in these same circumstances with my own Mom. She too was doing well, driving etc a young 73 yr old and went in for a heart cath (due to low energy etc ) only to stroke on the table…doctor said she had clear arteries but his instrument must’ve made her stroke. (She was less than 1/2 of a percent. ) Within the hour, my mom became a child and unable to walk or use her left side. I’m still in shock I think! That was Oct 26, 2018, and the things I could share. We still have little progress as the “pieces” apparently lodged in her brain so now we are being told there’s not much hope. Meanwhile, she’s falling and getting hurt as my dad is took her from rehab and now is trying to take care of her in a large 1800 yr old, 2 flights up at their home an hour and a half from my home. He fights me on every decision and does the bare minimum, but he refuses to get help. Oh, and he can’t hear so what little convo we have is unbelievable. Trying to work with him has been so exhausting and has made our situation 10x more difficult than it has to be. Just SO much I could say! I’m struggling with these same feelings and asking God a lot of questions in regards to mom having gone through tremendous suffering with my dad previous to this. But, how interesting to think I found your blog and then your story with your mom previous to my own stories. I truly am thankful you now have your mom back. My mom is also my best friend and it just kills me to see her suffer. Any prayers would be much appreciated. I know you get it!❤️

    • Oh my gosh I am so sorry to hear that! Oh friend, my heart is with you right now during this season. Hang in there. Keep crying out to God because He hears you and cares and is carrying you and your parents through this. I definitely hear that – parents can struggle too with getting older and losing their sense autonomy. Gosh my heart is with you. Praying for you and your parents so so so much!!!!! Hugs and love xox

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