Abundant Health: Heart Month
February is American Heart Month, and your Abundant Health Team want you to remind you that your heart health is of utmost importance.
After a year of sitting at our desks and being stuck in our homes, we encourage you strive for a heart-healthy lifestyle. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides a helpful guide for living a heart-health lifestyle. In this post, we'll give a few tips on promoting a heart-healthy lifestyles for yourself and your family and share two heart-related stories: One focuses on unconditional love rooted in scripture and another reminds you to care for your heart while putting your faith in God.
Promoting a Heart Healthy Lifestyle
• Find a time to talk.
Talking with your loved ones about heart disease can be awkward, but it’s important. In fact, it could save a life. At the dinner table, in the car, or even via text, have a heart-to-heart with your loved ones about improving heart health as a family.
• Encourage healthy eating habits.
Even small changes can make a big difference. Suggest making healthier versions of your favorite family recipes. Research some recipes, then accompany your loved ones on a grocery store run. Help them choose items low in sodium, added sugar and trans fats, and make sure they stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables.
• Promote physical activity
. Encourage your family members to aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Offer to join them for a walk, bring them to an exercise class, or challenge the whole family to a friendly fitness competition.
• Check in on health care.
Remind family members to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly by a health care provider. Are they already on medication to control their risk factors? Help family members set up a reminder system using a phone app or pillbox.
**Information sourced from Heart.org**
Experiencing a Health Emergency - but Trusting in God
By David McCall
One of my favorite songs of all times is one by Andrea Crouch entitled “My Tribute”. Much of it has to do with grace and gratitude. One of the lines says, “HOW CAN I SAY THANKS FOR THE THINGS YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME.” Such are my feelings for my bride of 51 years.
In this Heart Month, let me share our experience with her heart in June/July 2020. We had been sharing a glorious time with our son, and his beautiful two-year-old daughter at a playground three blocks from our home. Our little one never runs down, so we had quite the visit together. We prepared to walk the 3 blocks home, and Patty said, “I don’t think I can make it home!” This with no previous indications of any major health problems. Our middle son is a doctor in Atlanta, so that was the first call…not feeling any relief we headed to the ER.
The ER was efficient and professional, and the ER doctor while not alarmed told us he had a similar experience only months ago. He called the cardiologist who was completing a 12-hour shift and headed for home. He took one look at her EKG, and told us we wouldn’t be going home… but to his CATH area to check things out.
This experience began at 7 p.m. We knew we were in God’s hands because the RN, in charge, was one of my former track student/athletes. The surgeon was akin to an angel with his comforting demeanor. We were at PEACE the whole time. Patty observing the whole procedure on a screen above the operating table. Doctor said, ”we found 3 blockages and while he called this not a heart attack, it was a heart injury”. She had two 90% blockages and one 70% blockage. Some of you have had that same moment with various diagnosis. Not knowing quite what to expect, we were told the procedure would begin NOW,…I should just settle in. I’m not good at that! They stented the first 90% with some difficulty, and the hours flew by. Hoping, we would be done for the night, we weren’t…and they began number 2 at maybe 10:30 PM, saving the third for another day. Finally at 1:00 AM we were done and thanking God.
God continued to bless as the hospital didn’t have a room on the regular floor, but we were placed in ICCU. The two senior RN supervisors were another former student/athlete and a young lady from our own church, who had been in our Sunday School and youth programs years prior.
Patty felt better immediately less pressure, less difficulty breathing. However, we sill faced number 3, which happened after she gained her strength and stamina over the next month. The 70% had somehow became 90% in these few weeks. Back we went to the procedure mentioned earlier. We had only PEACE, even in the weeks from number 1 to number 3. We were covered in prayer!
I’m here today to praise God for many more years with my bride. We were blessed beyond what we deserve, but God seems to have great plans for my bride and our ministry. TO GOD ALONE GLORY!
Medical science, plus PRAYER and GRACE = NEW LIFE and HOPE.
We have seen HIS hand and are His humble servants.
Flexing our Heart Muscles
by Lynette Moran
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)
The pinks. The reds. The warm, cozy fires. Valentines. The month of February screams to us looooove. It often is relatively easy to love our loved ones. Valentine’s Day is merely an excuse to douse love upon our parents, romantic partners, or children. We may sprinkle love like glitter upon our closest friends, students, colleagues, congregants, and neighbors. That love matters, absolutely. Jesus instructs us clearly enough to love one another. But Jesus also points out that’s the low-hanging fruit, the easy grab. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:32).
The child’s classroom offers a glimpse into the love God commands. Last week we sat around the dining room table and wrote out Valentines for all the children in my daughter’s preschool class.
“Do I have to write one for Henry? He’s always mean and really loud. He gives me a headache!” she deplored.
"Yes, darling, you do—because that’s what we do. We love every last one."
“So I have to give him candy too?!”
We revel in the love God bestows upon us, and it sets an example for us to flex our own heart muscles and share our candy with everyone… even loud, difficult Henry. Adult relationships are rarely that straightforward. It’s hard work to love one’s Henry, but that’s where we often come across the most revelatory insight. Apart from God, love does not make sense. Every time we reach out in love, beyond our comfort zone and beyond where we think love is deserved, we learn about God’s love for us.
There are positive connections between our relationships and health. For example, having support networks can help with everything from shuttling us to doctor appointments and making sure we take our medicine to meeting deeper needs of feeling known, affirmed, and loved. Take care of your heart- and keep it open for that all-powerful, all-encompassing, and all-healing love that we know only because God loves even us, drenched in sin.