Stories of Hope come in all shapes and sizes.
January 11th, 2015 was absolutely freezing. I woke up at 2am, drank a large glass of milk, ate half a bagel, laced up my brand new running shoes, and went to my quiet room to read the Bible and pray. At this point, everything seemed pretty much routine for the day ahead, but life outside of the routine was completely different.
I was fully prepared physically for the race I was about to run, as I took one last glance around the house, noticing the peace and tranquility that had settled exactly 7 days after the hardest day of my life.
You see, one week before this I was still in bed, resting my eyes for a bit before I ran my last practice run before the big race. It would be my first marathon, one I knew God had fully prepared me for. My husband and I had experienced an enjoyable Saturday evening out, the night before, just the 2 of us; dinner at Mellow Mushroom (my favorite) and shopping at Nordstrom Rack (his favorite). Our children were all at my families’ houses having sleepovers and honestly, we had no worries at all. It was just a great date night, never realizing that it would be the last like this. On that Sunday morning, after I finally roused myself out of bed, I went straight to my daily quiet time and then out the door for my 20 mile practice run. As I got back to the house, a quick shower was needed to wash the salt and sweat off my entire body and to church we went in outfits we never wanted to wear again.
The sermon that morning was amazing, the Holy Spirit was stirring, but it was Sunday School that got my greatest attention.
We had just started a book by Mark Batterson, called “All In.” I can still remember the discussion vividly. The question Mark asked in the beginning of his book was: “What would we pack in our coffin if we went on a one-way trip as a missionary, knowing we would never return alive?” Our coffin, those words, they jarred me, not because the missionaries that actually did this knew they would die, but because I had felt God speaking to me on death and head injuries and brain cancer for a few months, always when I ran. Honestly, it was because of my prayers: prayers for my high school best friend whose husband was diagnosed with the same brain cancer her father had died from, prayers for a friend at church whose daughter was fighting brain cancer and a tumor, wondering if so long ago when I went to college, had done it all wrong and should have become that neurosurgeon, but all of these prayers, all of these words flowing up to Gods ears what was He saying back to me….
As we got into the car after church, I turned to look at Brett and said, “I don’t know why, but I feel I should tell the kids today that if I die, not to be sad because I will be in Heaven with Jesus.” In the past, Brett would have gotten angry, he always hated the discussion of death, but for some reason this time, he said OK and lets talk to them after lunch.
We arrived at my parents farm 45 minutes later, all the kids were in the yard playing, all except Hunter. He had stayed at my sister’s house and decided we could just pick him up on our way home. The rest of us enjoyed Publix fried chicken and macaroni and cheese for lunch, then the kids hurried right back outside to play. However, Hayden, our youngest, hung back, he had a secret to tell us. Something had happened the night before and as parents trying to be intentional, we knew we needed to address it. So, we left the kids with my mom and drove on to my sisters to have a talk and pick up Hunter. We prayed as we drove feeling completely unsettled, unsure of what was causing it. My past began rushing before me, my adrenaline running on high. Yet, when we got there, everything went fine, actually beyond fine, extremely well.
With that still nagging unsettling feeling, we loaded in the car with Hunter in toe, and my mom text me to say my brother had taken the kids to his house. My brother’s house, our old house, a drive we knew extremely well. It was like we had the car on autopilot as we made that last turn onto Branch Forbes Road and that’s when everything changed. Every parents worst fear came to life.
To be continued……