I remember it was a sunny day as I sat by the window in my son’s hospital room in Atlanta. He had been in a coma for over 3 weeks by then. I was completely worn out and, for the moment, had no more tears left. It had been 3 weeks of uncertainty. Would he live? If he did survive, would he have a full life? Each day brought new challenges and today was no different. A week before he had been transferred from a hospital in downtown Atlanta. Grady Hospital is where they send patients with the most serious of gunshot wounds.
It is the place you want to be when you have experienced a traumatic brain injury. They are good at the urgent needs, but it is not a place where you want to stay for long.
Andrew was being well cared for in the ICU of “The Shepherd Center”, a premier facility for brain injury. Compared to the hospital where they first took Andrew, this was a place of peace. We had a clean room, the finest of medical equipment and the best of staff.
Today was another day of set-backs. This is how it is with brain injury. You have 1 good day to every 3 challenging days. Andrew was “storming” again. His heart rate was in the 160’s, his temperature was extremely high and even though he was in a drug-induced coma you could see his body straining to live. I cried out – “God I don’t know how to do this! I don’t know how to lose a son.” Suddenly I felt a peace beyond anything I had ever felt before and almost audibly heard these words – “Natalie, nothing can separate you from my presence, not even this.” I dropped my face into my hands. My tears returned. I knew that this was true. Not just the head knowledge that nothing can separate us from the love of God but the acknowledgement of the HEART that Jesus was holding me and would not let me go. I was overwhelmed by the comfort of my Savior in that moment. Yet God was not finished speaking to me and the miracle continued.
A few minutes later as I sat praying for my son, still a little stunned that God had spoken to me directly, a nurse walked in the door and asked me a question I will never forgot. “Where is your sword?” I was confused. I mean, at our last hospital we had to walk through a metal detector to gain access to our son’s room and this nurse was asking me about my sword? Were swords allowed here? I sincerely doubted it. I replied with something brilliant like –“huh? My sword?” “Yes honey, you know, the sword of the Spirit. Where is your bible?” It had been my lifeline for the past few weeks and I normally had it with me. But this day I had left it in the small apartment provided by the hospital. I told the nurse where it was. “Well go get it! Keep it with you! You need it to fight this battle.” I responded immediately by jumping up out of that chair and running to my apartment. Within minutes I was back in the ICU room with my sword, the Word of God.
I would love to tell you that Andrew stopped storming in that moment or that he started breathing on his own right then and there, but that didn’t happen. He still had a long hard road ahead of him. He would be in a coma for several weeks after this and would have months of therapy requiring every ounce of his energy and determination.
Never again during that time did I go anywhere without my sword. God’s Word provided me with strength, wisdom, discernment, comfort, determination, peace. Friends, I am here to tell you that God’s Word is powerful! No wonder God describes it as a sword of truth. His Word cuts through the lies the enemy would have us believe.
It was this sword I relied on when fear would surround me. I opened up my bible and read that Jesus would “hem me in, behind and before” (Psalm 139:5) and knew that there was no circumstance I would face without Him. “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you not to harm you, to give you hope and a plan for the future!” (Jeremiah 29:11) Yes! That is true, no matter what circumstances I find myself in God always has my best in mind.
My bible is how I hear from God. He tells me of His great love for me. He disciplines me. He instructs me. He comforts me. He speaks truth to me. I take my sword with me wherever I go!