Love Like There’s No Tomorrow: How a Cardiac Arrest Brought My Heart to Life by Ocieanna Fleiss
About this book: (from the publisher) 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.
About the author: Ocieanna Fleiss has written three historical novels with Tricia Goyer in the best-selling Love Finds You series. She speaks at churches, parenting groups, and writers conferences, and teaches a Bible class to homeschool junior high students. She penned a writing column for eight years and contributes to the Seriously Write blog. She has also written for MOMSense, MOPS.org., Hearts at Home, Guideposts for Kids, and CBA Marketplace. She is a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and the Writer’s View. Ocieanna makes her home in Seattle, Washington. Connect with Ocieanna at Ocieanna.com.
Genre: Non-fiction/Memoir/Christian Life/Women’s Issues
Reminds me of: Love Idol: Letting go of your need for approval–and seeing yourself through God’s eyes by Jennifer Dukes Lee
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Reflection: Here’s my confession: I allowed this book to jump the queue. Though I had a pile of other books ahead of it in line, I began reading this one the very day it arrived in the mail. I had intended to read only a few pages…but once I started, I couldn’t stop. From its first gripping line, Ocieanna’s story pulled me into her true story of rebirth after death.
Hers is not an out-of-body, near-death story, one of those in which the person experiences some form of heaven in the moments after the physical body expires and is revived. In fact, except for one vivid dream, she has no memory of the day of her cardiac arrest or the days that followed, until she awakened from her coma.
Instead, her story is about how her past had left her broken and stressed–and how all that changed in the days following her awakening. How the experience of nearly dying made her love “her” people all the more.
Ocieanna has constructed her memoir for maximum impact, beginning her story from her husband’s perspective, and then picking up the thread with her own. She goes back, way back into her past where she sustained a lot of emotional and even spiritual damage–and from which God miraculously healed her.
I’m still mulling the personal applications of Ocieanna’s story. Especially meaningful to me are her observations about being present for our children–such an easy thing for busy moms to overlook.
In this deeply authentic memoir, Ocieanna unflinchingly faces her pain. She told me, in fact, that for years after her cardiac arrest, she was unable to write about the spiritual and emotional aspects of her journey back to health. She tried, but in the end, she needed time to provide perspective before she could dive deep, deep into the very source of her struggles.
Among many meaningful aha moments, there’s one bit that remains a favorite of mine:
“Glancing out the window at the city lights decorating the night sky [minutes after my awakening], I hungered to experience the world again. Life, not some grand new adventure.
I wasn’t craving traveling the continents or skydiving. I simply wanted my life. My simple, love-filled world. ” ~ p. 73
I thoroughly resonated with Ocieanna’s honestly told story, crafted with vivid prose and aching transparency. She takes her readers to the heart of her struggle but wondrously does not remain there. Instead, she invites us to share in her joy of overcoming, and to know the thrill of loving like there’s no tomorrow.
Thanks to the author and Broadstreet Publishers for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.