Do you appreciate your life? What if you had a heart attack; how would gratitude help with your recovery?
In this episode, I talk to Jackie Bledsoe about his near-death experience with a heart attack. We explore the profound role that gratitude plays in the recovery process.
The heart attack
At the age of 43, Jackie had a massive heart attack, known as a “Widowmaker.” He thought he could be dying and saw God orchestrate the lives of seven people to be at the right place at the right time to keep him alive. Several of them were supposed to be somewhere else, but in retrospect, it’s obvious God directed each of them to be there.
Jackie remains thankful daily as he knows he could have left his family without a husband, father, and son. He has a profound sense of mission as he knows God spared him for a reason.
The path to recovery
That doesn’t mean the road to recovery was easy. As a former athlete, Jackie had to learn to not push through the pain as the pain was a warning sign. But once his body recovered, he now has to tell his mind that he’s no longer injured. The body and mind don’t heal at the same speed!
Spiritually, he’s learning to remain on God’s spiritual heart surgery table. At times, he would prefer to get off and take things at his own pace. But after experiencing complete blockage in one of his major aortic valves, he understands the importance of allowing God to remove spiritual blockage from his heart (e.g. selfishness and pride).
The Role of Gratitude in Recovery
Not only does Jackie practice daily gratitude, but he also treasures every moment knowing that most people don’t survive a widowmaker heart attack.
Like Jackie, I’ve had a near-death experience and know that when we remember that we could have died, it gives us many reasons to be grateful each and every day.
Researchers at Harvard University discovered that gratitude is a key contributor to recovering from a heart attack. Jackie practices daily gratitude by remembering three distinct things for which he’s thankful. He also regularly retells the story of his heart attack recovery.
The Spiritual Recovery Team
Just as God orchestrated seven people to save Jackie’s life, he’s also seen the importance of allowing key people into the spiritual heart surgery and the recovery process. We falsely believe we can do it by ourselves, but God designed us to help one another.
QUESTION: Who’s on your spiritual recovery team?
Make a list of 7 people who are part of your spiritual recovery team. Write a thank you note to each one of them at some point during the next week—perhaps daily?
Lord, thank you for all the invisible ways you protect and guide me. I praise you for preserving my life and showing me the way of escape. Keep pursuing me in the good and hard times and cultivate gratitude in my heart. I pray all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Who is Jackie Bledsoe?
He and his wife, Stephana, are the founders of Happily Married Couples, a marriage brand that helps couples better connect and communicate, so they can create marriages worth celebrating.
You may have seen Jackie on Good Morning America, ABC News, WTHR (NBC Indianapolis), The 700 Club, Moody Radio, The Huffington Post, Yahoo!, CBN’s Turning Point International, YouVersion’s Bible App, HomeLife Magazine, and more.