“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Phil 1:21 So, should we seek to live or to die? For, according to Paul, there is good to both ends.
With NancyLee's permission, my story of praise starts like this- NancyLee, my sister, is 8 years younger than I. There are 7 siblings in my family and she is 3rd youngest. Growing up in our family was difficult in many ways. We were very poor but always had enough. Our parents were saved in the middle ‘50’s and attended the Salvation Army, locally. That meant that all the kids grew up in the same environment. We attended all services, took formal Bible studies, played in the brass band and lived a very strict home life. As a matter of fact, it was harsh and at times abusive. Mom had a hard time coping with the poverty and the overload from 7 children. Her life was often filled with stress and mental fatigue.
In 1963, Mom experienced a mental breakdown and home life from then on was one of dysfunction and turmoil. Each child longed to leave home and be “free”. NancyLee was a lost soul looking for love and attention –as we all were. In 1972, our father committed suicide one Saturday evening when Mother was “out with a male friend”. Mother’s spiritual life had deteriorated to a low point. Life for the children still at home just got worse.
NancyLee’s life was in chaos and there was no one there to love or support her. She married at 16 and moved into her own home. She and her husband have 3 darling children (and 4 grandchildren) but NancyLee was already into a state of deep wounded-ness. She loved God but had a hard time to reconcile Him as a loving Father when she really didn’t know how to respond to such love and acceptance. She began to hate our mother and grow in a bitter inward war. This is the basis for the “rest of the story”.
On Thursday, Oct 26, 2006, NancyLee was in a head-on car crash 40 miles from her home. A young man traveling in the opposite direction crossed over the middle line and hit her car. He was instantly killed and NancyLee was presumed dead by the RCMP. There was no sign of life in her broken body. She was taken to the nearest hospital, stabilized and sent on to the best hospital in the province 100 miles away. The ambulance drivers were instructed to ‘not hurry” for death was imminent.
After 10 hrs of surgery, the family waited. For days we waited to hear that she would survive. She had massive brain trauma, broken legs, broken wrist and elbow, punctured liver and spleen, many broken ribs and a destroyed knee cap. Other minor injuries are not mentioned here. She was in serious condition, knowing nothing and no one.
Jack (my husband) & I were in South Carolina for a time of learning for the ministry we lead. As a matter of fact, we were in a Torah class when the call came at 8 PM that night. The accident happened at 3:30 PM but the family didn’t hear about it until 7:30 PM, as there was no one home at NancyLee’s house when the RCMP tried to contact the family.
Our first reaction was “gulp”- seriously. Then all in the class when to prayer. We came back to where we were staying and began to look to God for direction. Should we hurry home? What should we do? God had led us to South Carolina –were we to cut the studying short? What was God saying to us???
We called home and my brother Danny said that we should stay there at least until morning as there they could reach us instead trying to locate us at airports (2000 miles from home). By morning, we knew what God was leading us to do- it was stay and intercede for her life. Stand between life and death and fill in the gap. We searched scripture to see what God really thought about death for we had often heard in our evangelical circles that God takes His people home because He needs them. FOR WHAT??? There are no lost souls in heaven, no people who need to hear how God loves and moves in lives.
Here is what we found –God hates death.
"For the wages of sin is death,”
Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.
For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD.
1 Corinthians 15:26
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Aha! Now we know where God stands with death. It is no reward for His kids. Jack and I stormed heaven-reminding God what his Word teaches and where we stand in faith believing Him through His Word. In the early hours of the morning, God brought us through a plan He had begun in NancyLee months before the accident. She was like me- very overweight. Many months before October 26th, she began aerobics and swimming. She started a healthy diet and exercise plan. Also, her and Bob had a huge house that was a 3 full stories high –they sold it and had moved into a home with living all on one level just a few months before the accident. Outside the home was an above ground pool that NancyLee used many times a day all summer long. Unknown to her –and us- all these things contributed to strengthening her for the long battle that lay ahead.
This word came through to us from the throne room of Heaven, Wednesday night, Nov 1 (in South Carolina) –“For I know what plans I have in mind for you; plans for well-being, not for bad things, so that you can have hope and a future." Jer 29:11 (CJB) We refused to listen to anything negative and only spoke “life” for NancyLee.
On returning home from South Carolina a week later, we visited her in the hospital for the first time. She was in a comatose condition knowing no one nor responding to anything. As I stood by her bed, I felt compelled to speak to her “NancyLee, do you know who we are?” She opened her eyes and answered “yes, Lynda and Jack”. That was enough for us to be assured God and her together would win this battle against Satan.
When we returned home and called my mother, she asked if we were sure we had seen the same NancyLee that our other siblings had as their report was anything but good. Talk of feeling like Joshua and Caleb among the 10 spies! Three days later, we visited with her again –she was awake but not responding to anyone. I asked if I could sing to her and she slightly responded. I started “Our God is an awesome God…” – she picked up the words and sang a line or two with me then went back to her dreamland. God is so amazing to allow us a part in seeing Him restore her.
The progress has been anything but slow. From the hospital to Rehab and then home on Feb 22/07 –4 days short of 4 months since the accident. Healing of the body and brain is 90% with a bit of memory missing and some mobility in her right leg limited. The miracle is not yet finished though –the best part is yet to be shared…
On her first short weekend trip home, she found a journal that she wrote in many times. We visited her and this is what she shared with us… January/05 “I can’t say it out loud but I hate my mother. The words are awful but true.” With this, she looked up at us, tears running down her face, and said, “God was dealing with me a long time to forgive but I wouldn’t listen.” I had to speak up “NancyLee, you can write a new page now, can’t you? One of forgiveness and reconciliation?”
“Yes, I can”, was her reply and that has been ongoing even as I write. NancyLee and Mother often speak by phone now and most often it is NancyLee that calls. Mom is thrilled to be offered a second chance and at 79 is thankful to have the opportunity to make up for lost time.
Miracle upon miracle has been seen in our family from this accident. The pain and anguish that NancyLee experienced was so unfortunate but the long-term gain is “out of this world”.
I have included a progressive set of pictures:
The accident scene
NancyLee in a coma-state
Her first sitting up
Home to stay and on her two feet
“Our God is an awesome God. He reigns from Heaven above, with wisdom, power and love. Our God is an awesome God.”
Lynda MacDonald - email@example.com
NancyLee - firstname.lastname@example.org
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