Friday, September 16, 2016

Love Like There’s No Tomorrow: How a Cardiac Arrest Brought My Heart to Life by Ocieanna Fleiss

Usually, I review fiction on this blog, but today I make an exception for an exceptional book.

Let's begin with the summary:

A few years ago, Ocieanna Fleiss—wife and work-at-home mother of four young children—would have described herself as overwhelmed, stressed, and focused on finishing her to-do list. But when at age forty-two, a sudden cardiac arrest stopped her heart, everything changed.

During those quiet months of recovery, as she reflected on her life, a pattern arose. Like a loving father, Christ had always walked with her—through childhood neglect, miscarriages, the death of her parents, and even through her own death!

Amazed by God’s loving hand in her life, Ocieanna overflowed with a desire to love in a new, more profound way. Out of this desire, transforming truths gently came to light: truths that changed her life forever and will show you how God can weave everything in your life into His elaborate plan.

And now, my review:

Open this book to the first page. Let the words flow through your mind. You’ll be hooked by the very first sentence: That day in January, the day my wife died, was the best day our family had experienced in months.
The day his wife died… We begin the book in her husband’s POV (point of view). I liked this aspect because his story made the account immediate and relatable (in so much as I’ve been married twenty-five years, and I would never want to see my husband in such a state as Michael saw his wife).

Ocieanna is my friend. We’ve been writing buddies for over a decade. We’ve gone on retreats and attended conferences together. I remember getting the call about Ocieanna’s cardiac arrest. Our mutual writing buddy, another close friend, had heard the news and wanted to make sure I knew. I couldn’t believe what she shared could be true. I’d just seen her, alive and well, a few days earlier.

Reading this memoir’s opening took me right back to those heart-breaking moments. The narrative is so compelling and heart-wrenching that I could neither stop reading nor stop tearing up. 

But the story, like her miraculous life, doesn’t stop there. Ocieanna opens up that beating-again heart and shares her story—the consuming, life-sucking stress leading up to the event. The way she looked at life before she died (wow, that’s powerful) and how she looks at life now. The way she sees her kids, and how she frames the mundane. But my favorite part is how she now experiences God’s love—in new ways. His acceptance. His peace. 

I’m so grateful for my friendship with Ocie and through her very vulnerable and tender book, you can experience her friendship and wisdom too. I’m grateful God gave her back to us, and I’m thankful she had a chance to share her story. Read this book. You won’t be sorry.

Highly recommended.

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