I didn’t know how I came to stand by her hospital bed. It was quite shocking to see such a small child fighting for her life. A family member had asked for prayer, so I said I would go along to stand unassumingly in a dark corner.
During this era, I was getting very little sleep at night, I wasn’t eating, and my whole life seemed out of control. While driving my car, and at a red light, I would tell my daughter to let me know when it was green, so I could open my eyes to go. Often, I fell sound asleep with my head on the kitchen table while going over bills making sure I was doing it right. I would wake up at 2 am, with a stiff neck, pen in hand, and go back to figuring out numbers.
It was a miserable existence trying to adjust to being divorced and having all the responsibility suddenly on me. I was clinging to the idea that God was in charge no matter what, but my mind would tell me otherwise. Every day I anticipated a problem that I would have to fix with a racing heart. I would be struck so hard with anxiety that I would not be able to breathe, gasping for air. That is how I learned that panic attacks exist.
So it was beyond me as to why I, of all people, would be willing to help out in such a high tension situation. According to the child’s grandmother, she had been very sick with a high fever. I don’t fully recall what medical emergency was happening because I was in a bit of a fog, but some critical numbers were off, and the little one was heading for a dire health situation. She wasn’t eating, and if that didn’t occur, a feeding tube was going to be placed. I could feel the fear radiating from the mom. Even though she tried to smile, I could see the worry and fatigue in her eyes, much the same as mine. We shared common ground even though our situations were different.
I observed as others stepped forward to pray while standing in the shadows trying not to be noticed. That is when I started to think of my own two healthy kids at home. How would I feel if I were in this situation with one of them? I remained silent with these images floating around in my head.
A slight pressure began to build in my chest as I heard the words spoken in my mind: Go help, Chris.
Really? How about I stick to the corner of the room and let other people handle it this time? They hadn’t exactly asked me to do anything but be present. The feeling kept growing, and just as everyone was about to leave, I knew that if I didn’t volunteer, the moment would be gone, and the results would not be favorable.
I slid up next to mother and daughter. The quiet chatting that had been happening in the room went silent.
“Can I hold your hand?” I asked.
She hesitantly gave me the one that wasn’t cradling the baby. I could see on her face that this wasn’t something she was used to. I had been told on the trip over that this was a last resort type of thing for her. She had been relying on the physician and nursing staff to bring a miracle, and it wasn’t happening. Nothing was helping.
My hand radiated a warmth that encircled hers, and I placed my other hand on the bed near them.
I closed my eyes and didn’t say a word at first. Strangely, it was like I had my hands on a cradle that was rocking from side to side. I opened one eye to see that nothing was moving, and I went back to not looking while the swaying motion became more pronounced. I just stood still like that, swept up in this heaven sent lullaby minus the music. Amazingly I was becoming calmer in the process as all my cares began to fade away. This otherworldly sensation was hypnotic and relaxing.
I spoke just a few simple words that the child’s condition would immediately improve and that she would return to normal. When I felt the movement stop, I removed my hands, smiled at the parents, and said I was believing for them that all would be well.
The next day, the call came that the little girl’s temperature was normal; she was eating as usual and was discharged to go home. She had a complete turnaround after I prayed.
That bright moment helped me forge ahead despite the hardships and unfamiliarity of everything going on around me. It brought to life this scripture from Hebrews 4:16 that says: Let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. (Voice)
When I momentarily put my trouble aside, I became an instrument for the healing power of God to flow through to bless a terrified family. In return, I noticed that some of my unnecessary mental torment lessened; while it didn’t disappear entirely and there were more mountains to climb, it gave me room to breathe easier.