This post will be ragged and raw.
Late Labor Day afternoon, 2 days ago, a precious family holiday dinner filled with laughter, great food and family, ended in tragedy.
An after dinner round of go-cart rides turned to terror and heartbreak as some of our family members began to take turns touring our golf cart friendly neighborhood. As the cart rounded a neighborhood corner a new family friend from church, a dinner guest, fell from the front seat onto the hard surface of the street and crushed her head. Ambulance sirens and cries of terror filled the space that had just moments before been filled with story telling and laughter.
The hours that followed, although not completely unfamiliar, were ones that create an “out of body” sensation and short time spans between “how in the world did this happen?” and overwhelming tears.
Although there is no way for me to capture all that has transpired but because I write, I am compelled to start unwrapping in writing 2 key themes have risen to the top over the past 40 or so hours at a level I have never seen over the past 31 years of my faith walk.
#1–The Power of Prayer.
#2–The Power of Family.
Our new friends arrival through the emergency room doors led to close to 5 hours of brain surgery. “FAMILY” both blood and spirit, immediately began to fill the waiting room. The phone lines and that invisible prayer line that connects us one to another across miles shook every phone and every human in the room.
It was eternity–it was mili-seconds–when a weary surgeon stepped into the ICU waiting room. It was 2:30 am when he whispered the dreaded words “there was nothing we could do to save her”. It will be your decision when to turn off the machines that are breathing on her behalf. Bodies crumbled to the floor and cries and prayers filled the room. A few hours later my family walked numbly to our cars still wondering how we ended up here and what in the world life would look like from this day on. A human life, a stranger, a friend was taken from us within a matter of hours. We fell into our beds but sleep did not come.
#1–The Power of Prayer.
The scripture that rolled over and over in my mind as I sat surrounded by love and prayer in that ICU waiting room and as I feel into my bed, was Matthew 10:6-8
Jesus told us to “heal the sick and raise the dead” as His disciples.
“What does that look like Lord? What should we have done? What would you have us do?” I fell asleep asking God to resurrect her. To go beyond our prayers or our actions and raise that girl from the dead.
We have all been in these situations. We have all been faced with seasons, moments of intense prayer. Believing God for the outcome we long for. Healing. Restoration. Recovery.
I recalled the many times that my husband and I have stood over physical life and death together.
I remembered a son with a broken neck–we prayed, his body was healed.
I remembered my Dad’s sudden heart attack. We prayed, his body was not healed on this earth.
I remembered a tiny baby girl, 10 inches long and less than 1 pound. We prayed, her body was healed.
I remembered a beloved newborn grandchild. We prayed, his little body was not healed on this earth.
On Monday night, we read God’s word about healing. We prayed, we believed, we released.
Yesterday morning, we woke up to a phone call.
She did not die in the early hours of the morning.
In fact, she has begun a slow and steady journey towards healing.
#2– The Power of Family.
Family of flesh. Family of Spirit.
My husband and I have been part of our church family for over 20 years. We were part of our original church. We now have 4 campuses and somewhere around 15,000 members. One might think they could get lost in a church that large. One might easily feel they didn’t matter and were unseen.
As we followed the ambulance to the hospital that night, our church family began to gather. They started to form teams of prayer. They began showing up until that little ICU waiting room and the surrounding hallway filled with our church FAMILY. We all held hands and prayed. Others walked the hallways and prayed. Some sat in corners or huddled in small groups.
As my flesh family listened we learned more about our new friend who was our dinner guest and the one who was lying on a bed with machines keeping her alive is a very quiet member of our church family. Things she would never tell us about herself. She has no platform and she has no plaques with her name on them. As the room filled her story began to unfold. She is very much loved and very much known throughout our church. She is a servant. She is a minister. She is called. She is anointed. She is seen! She is appointed and God is not done with her yet!!
I have been overwhelmed with emotions. With thanksgiving. With a knowledge of being loved and loving back.
I knew that having a church FAMILY is important but I have risen to a whole new level of understanding what God has in mind for HIS FAMILY.
I close this maybe too long, maybe too messy, but heartfelt appeal with these words:
Sing to God, sing praise
Sing praise to His name.
extol Him who rides on the clouds,
His name is THE LORD-
Rejoice before Him.
A Father too the Fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His Holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in FAMILIES,
HE leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun scorched land.
My question is this my reading friend–DO YOU have a church FAMILY?
Not a perfect church family but a family just the same, where you serve, share, pray, love and get loved on?
Because life is ragged and raw, you will need them someday and God wants you to BE SET in one!
In His grip and still praying, please pray with us. Her name is Tina.
Please join me today around 12:30 EST on Periscope, a bit later than my attempted 10am on Monday, Weds and Friday. Lets talk about a bit about Prayer and Family.