You’re a vibrant and beautiful young mom and you’ve just had your 3rd healthy baby.
You and your husband now have a precious baby girl along with two little boys, ages three and six.
The delivery goes smoothly. But the next day, your temperature spikes dramatically.
Your health rapidly declines, and soon, you’re in a coma. A ventilator is required to keep you alive.
How is this possible? What has happened? The theory is that a sinus infection (which you didn’t know you had) entered your brain as a result of the physical stress of childbirth and caused severe bacterial meningitis.
The doctors have little hope for your survival and think that death is a near certain outcome. If you survive, they are convinced that you will be left with significant deficits.
Your minister comes to the hospital, unwilling to accept the doctors’ pessimistic predictions. Along with praying family and friends, he cries out to God, asking for Him to heal you.
He prays Lamentations 3:22-23 over you: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” At the end of the prayer time, he shares his belief that you are going to wake up. The medical personnel just shake their heads.
A few hours later, you open your eyes and do indeed begin to wake up. The nurses are amazed; the doctors even more so. Your head hurts, your throat hurts due to the ventilator, your arms are restrained. What is happening?
You’ve lost a week of your life, but what else have you lost?
80-85% of your pre-coma memory, that’s what.
You’re convinced that you are 17 and are panicked to learn you’ve just had a baby. Your husband easily becomes familiar to you because you began dating him at 17. But three children? No recollection. Thankfully, a mother’s innate love for her children soon begins to bubble up within you.
And so begins the very long road back to “normalcy.”
Your memory is never to return, but you continue to put together the pieces of your past through photographs and the stories of family and friends.
For seven long years, you struggle with anger, not understanding why God would allow such a tragedy.
And then, one day, while walking up your driveway, you look through a window and see your husband cuddling with your children on the sofa. And you have a very real sense that God is saying to you: “As much as that father loves his children, I love you more.”
Meet Marcy Gregg. This is her story. It’s a true story, and it is a story of God’s amazing grace and faithfulness.
When that shift in perspective happened in her driveway, Marcy realized that God had done a big miracle in her life.
She was alive, and with newfound clarity, understood that God had healed her for the future.
The past was the past.
She learned to trust God for what He would do in her life in the future.
After Marcy shared her story of healing in her church, someone asked her to give a motivational talk at a business. She began to get speaking requests from around the country to share her inspirational story of overcoming.
That developed into a 12 year run as the owner of a successful corporate consulting business where she taught others the principles of moving forward and overcoming obstacles.
But in 2006, she felt it was time to sell that business and pursue her true passion: painting. She had been a studio art major at SMU, but had set aside her art when she began to raise her children. Marcy quickly moved from being a successful corporate consultant to an acclaimed artist.
“I experience great joy when I stand in front of a canvas. In my miraculous healing, God gave me a second chance at life; and each day that I paint I have a second chance to pursue my love of art. I am motivated by color and texture. It is what inspires me. It is my goal in each painting to leave something to the imagination…lines lost or an unexpected perspective found. I want my viewer intrigued.”
Marcy paints “big.” There is an incredibly magnetic quality about her work that draws you in. And every piece begins with Marcy writing a verse of Scripture across the canvas. The painting is then developed with that verse as a literal and figurative foundation.
A gifted teacher, Marcy also spends one morning a week loving, feeding and leading a Bible study for the homeless in her hometown of Charlotte, NC.
What an amazing story of restoration. And what tremendous lessons for each of us:
Many of us may be “stuck” in the past, wishing we could go back in time either to rewrite the painful memories or relive the happy ones.
But, like Marcy, God has healed each of us for the future. For what lies ahead. For our todays and our tomorrows.
How often do we let our limitations, by what we “don’t have” keep us from utilizing the many gifts and abilities that we do have?
How often does fear of the future keep us from stepping out into the unknown?
Yes, we might wish for our future to be as clearly laid out as a “paint by numbers” kit. "Just follow steps 1-20 and you’ll be guaranteed success." Those types of paintings don’t have much value when they are finished.
But a life of faith, a life of trusting God, is much like one of Marcy’s magnificent paintings. The lines might be blurry. The edges might not be clear. But a life of faith is full of color and texture and of unexpected perspective. And of great joy.
Marcy didn’t have a choice about forgetting her past.