To Those Who Carried My Stretcher

I think Matt still wants me to wear this bracelet even though I am home.

I think Matt still wants me to wear this bracelet even though I am home.

 

“He is here, listen closely, hear Him calling out your name. He is here, you can touch Him. You will never be the same.” -Bill Gaither

 

Last Friday afternoon, my mom and I got to sit outside on my patio. After being in the hospital for a week, getting to sit in my backyard on a cool April afternoon was closer to heaven than I ever imagined it would be. We were flipping through home décor magazines, sharing little tidbits, when my mom said, “You know, God is ALWAYS all around us. But sometimes we get so busy by other things that we do not see and feel Him. It’s not He that’s moved away, it is we.”

Before April 16th, I was “so busy.” I was seeing school events that needed attention, tables that needed more paint, a calendar that was getting booked up through June… I was feeling happy, but not fulfilled. Jesus was there, but I was letting “busy” block my vision.

It took having a stroke at the age of 32, caused by an uncommon double vertebral artery dissection, to see Him everywhere. He is here.

As my mom helped me through the main office of school to the car the morning of April 16th,  He was there. He was in the form of our principal who, right there in the main office, laid her hands on me and called to Him in prayer for healing.

He was in the emergency room doctor, who diagnosed immediately what has taken other doctors much longer.

He was in my mama, who never looked younger, stronger, or calmer during the week of ups and downs.

Flowers, my sweet husband Matt, and Easter dinner in the hospital with Amanda

Flowers, my sweet husband Matt, and Easter dinner in the hospital with Amanda

He was in the strength and love of my husband who spent the nights sleeping in a hard chair next to my bed, telling me over and over that I was his “forever love.”

He was in all the visits, meals, candy, Easter baskets, and flowers that family, friends, and students brought to the hospitals.

He was in the decision of the neurologist to order one more MRI.

He was in the radiologist who came out, right after the MRI, and whispered, “If you have to get a procedure done… go to Mayo to Dr. Miller.”

He was in the neurologist’s decision to immediately transfer me to Mayo Clinic to Dr. Miller.

He was in the prayers of girlfriends who flew up to the hospital, gripped my hands with His strength, and prayed, “Lord, you know this body because you made it. It is not complicated to you. Help us with our fear.”

He was in the back of the ambulance with me on the way to Mayo in the form of the paramedic who quoted scripture.

He was in the ICU nurse who came in my room and said, “You don’t know me, but we have mutual friends (students’ parents) and they sent me to check on you.”

And oh how he was in Dr. David Miller who was so calm, reassuring, and confident.

He is still here now that I am home…. in the form of knocks at the door with dinner from mothers I have never met, but whose child knows me from school… in the form of sweet visits from students… in emails, gifts, and cards from people I would’ve never expected… in daily prayers and scriptures posted to Facebook and texts to check on me.

I am reminded of the time in the book of Luke when Jesus answers the prayers, not of the sick, but of the FRIENDS of the sick. It was when Jesus saw the faith of four friends, who found a way to reach Him by lowering their friend through the roof, that he says, “Stand up. Pick up your mat and go home.” Sometimes we are on the stretcher and we need our friends to carry us to Jesus.

I would not change one thing about the past two weeks. I have been witness to Him everywhere. I have been in a 2 week long Larnelle Harris/Sandi Patty duet and “I’ll never be the same again.”

Life is so precious. I’ve learned not to let it get so busy that I all I see is the “busy” and not Him. It’s not worth it. If you’ve ever had doubts about Him, I understand. I have, too, and so did people who were standing right in front of Jesus. I am always thankful that Mark included the father who said to Jesus, “I believe! Help me in my unbelief.”

He helped me with my unbelief… my doubts that could creep in from time to time. He will help you, too. He is here, and you’ll never be the same.

I can’t wait to serve as a stretcher carrier for someone else.

6 comments

  1. This is so inspirational, as I too, have seen the love and dedication of “stretcher carriers”. Mine were in the form of the Hospice nurses as they directed me through the final stages of my mother’s last great earthly adventure. They lead me through every phase, telling me what would come next, what I should expect to see, and took my fear and put it right in Jesus’ hands. When my mother took His hand, the overwhelming sadness turned to laughter, because I knew that at that very moment she had gone to the place we all want to be, and she was safe and strong. There is nothing like an “earthly angel” to help you transition to having a “heavenly angel’. They BOTH look over us daily. God bless you….wait…He already has! Michelle Tipton’s friend, Nanci Faulkner

    1. Nanci,
      Thank you so much for the kind words. What a blessing earthly tragedies can become. What a privilege it has been to walk so closely with Him.

  2. My daughter had a vertebral artery dissection in her early thirties too . She was saved by her God and her faith. I’m wondering what you and she had in common. It’s so unusual. Infact, she had an MRA bc of the severe pain and bc a chiropractor refused to adjust her until it was done. The radiologist missed the dissection, cleared the adjustment and my daughter had a stroke there and then , as the clot broke loose. The chiropractor rushed her to the hospital and prayed and laid hands on her also. Apparently it’s so rare that the radiologist ‘missing’ the tear was not unexpected. The stroke center she was taken to said they see a couple a week but the average radiologist never sees one. Scarey stuff.

    1. God was definitely with your daughter; I have heard of SO MANY misdiagnoses of sVAD… I hope to educate more people about the symptoms so they think twice about shrugging off neck pain and headaches. My radiologist didn’t miss it, thankfully, but the first neurologist and vascular surgeon first said it was definitely NOT a VAD. It wasn’t until my second stroke in the hospital that they believed. I was a seemingly healthy 32 year old… active, volleyball coach, swim coach, and was eating “okay.” Not crazy healthy, juicing spinach, but not constantly eating terrible things. I hope all is well with your daughter. My email is mollie088@gmail.com if she ever wants to talk about things! <3

Leave a Reply