August 1, 2010

God Is Amazing

Near the end of July every year there is a faint voice in the back of my head reminding me what happened "x" number of years ago. This year it happens to be 7 years ago.  7 years ago I experienced the worst day of my life while we were at a family reunion.  I remember getting ready to go to the family reunion  and how we were all excited to have a mini-vacation away from home.  We left on a Thursday and got there that evening--our destination was the hometown of Ben's dad--Kingsland, TX.  The first evening we grilled, and Ben played his guitar and sang while we listened. He had just learned a new song--"Cover Me"--by Bebo Norman, and he was singing it for us before we went to bed for the evening.  I remember the conversation I had with Ben that night as we lay in bed.  For some reason we were talking about if something bad happened to one of our kids (we had 3 at the time). We were telling each other that if something bad happened at least we knew we had each other and together (with God, of course) we could get through anything.
The next morning Ben woke up and went walking to take pictures of the landscape. He had just started in photography classes at Kilgore college and was doing well.  We all had breakfast, and then it was time for jet skis!  Cole and Ben rode together on one while Susan rode another one with their cousin Noah.  I remember sitting in a chair by the lake eating Skittles and thinking they had been gone a long time--I was wondering when I would get my turn--when I saw a jet ski coming toward us. I was happy that they were coming back so I could take Jacob for a ride. But then I realized that the person riding the jet ski didn't look familiar to me at all.  It was an older lady and as she got off the jet ski she was saying something about a man and a boy in a skiing accident.  She was saying things that didn't make sense to my brain, but at some point it started to compute that the man and boy she was speaking of were my son and my husband.  I couldn't breathe. I couldn't find Jim and Ruby. I didn't know where my other 2 kids were. I couldn't think straight at all.  I asked her if they were ok, hoping she would tell me they had a few cuts and bruises--maybe a broken bone or two--but were otherwise fine.  Her answer was short and honest, "Ma'am, I don't know." 
How could she NOT know? That means it is worse than I want it to beWhere are Jim and Ruby?  How do I find Ben and Cole?
Finally I saw Jim and Ruby come towards me, and as I was trying to tell them what I knew it just wouldn't come out right.  Jim drove us to try and find them. He was calling 911 while we were driving because we had no idea where to go.  I heard him say, "life flight" and my heart sank.  My head was spinning....Life flight????  That's my 4 year old baby.  I hope he isn't scared. I hope he isn't hurting. My husband is injured. Will I get to them in time?
I had no idea who was injured worse, or even how they were injured.  Once we got to the area where they were located I went inside the ambulance. They had Ben and Cole in the same ambulance, side by side, but Cole didn't know Ben was next to him there, and Ben had no idea either.  Cole was awake and talking. He was telling the medics my name, his name, his age---I was sooo proud of him!  Normally Cole wouldn't talk to a "stranger" let alone tell them anything personal, but he was telling them everything they needed to know!  He was crying and telling me his head hurt.  The medics were telling me they thought he may be bleeding from his ear and they thought he broke his jaw.  They gave him some medicine to help him sleep until we got to the hospital.
Ben was laying next to him, but when I looked at him and called his name I was answered with a blank stare and glassy eyes.  He was unresponsive and they were about to intubate him.  The medics told me that Ben was going in the 1st helicopter because it was faster and his injuries were more dangerous--he had a closed head injury.  Cole was going on the 2nd helicopter and they were going to allow me to fly with him.  I watched them load Ben up and fly off wondering if I would ever hold him, or talk to him again.  There was no time for goodbyes, no "I love you's" was scary and heartbreaking, and went against everything we had discussed the night before. We had talked about getting through something tough TOGETHER. I knew that I didn't have Ben to help me be strong for Cole. I didn't have Ben to help me get through this situation--this wasn't something we were going to get through together, but I still had my son I had to be strong for.  I got on the helicopter with Cole, and I remember that I was still in my swimming suit wearing flip-flops. As I looked down at my feet they were covered with burrs from the grassy field I had walked across, and I was thinking, "That's weird. I don't even feel those sticking to me."  I was oblivious to the pain that they normally would have caused.  As we flew to the hospital in Austin I could see Ben's helicopter in the distance in front of us, and I asked the medics (through my headset) if he was doing ok. They told me that they weren't allowed to disclose that information over the airways because it wasn't secure.  I remember thinking that could mean that he wasn't doing well, but I had this extraordinary peace that came over me as we flew. I am not saying I wasn't still scared--I am saying I was at peace.  I felt God's arms around me at that moment, and I knew I was being prayed for.  I knew I could not pray a single word at that moment, so all I did was sing the Rich Mullin's song Hold Me Jesus (which I also sang during the birth of my 2nd son).  The words to that song are easy for my heart and mind to sing when no other words are available:
Hold me Jesus, cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of  my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace?
I know that He was my Prince of Peace that day. I experienced Romans 8:26 that day; 26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
How magnificent is it to know that as a Christian I have the Spirit who intercedes in me and Jesus who intercedes FOR ME!!!  I couldn't get my brain to think one straight thought, but my Savior, my King, my Prince of Peace wasn't waiting for me to be able to think straight.  He was already ahead of me and the prayers were being answered as I experienced it.
There is a LOT more to this story, but this is what I want to leave you with-- if you are a Christian, Jesus continuously intercedes for you before the Father! Hebrews 7: 25 tells us: 25Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 
If you aren't a Christian, or aren't sure if you are, would you like to have such a High Priest that can sympathize with our weaknesses yet was without sin? (Hebrews 4:15--15For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin).
Do you want to know the One who has appeared in the presence of God for us? (Heb 9:24--24For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;).
For more information on how to become a Christian:


Janette said...

Caci, that was amazing!! I remember first meeting you around the time that Ben was getting back to normal and I was just so amazed at that story. I'm so thankful for your family that God kept you complete and showed you how much He loves protect everyone in the ways that he did.

Mike said...

I shouldn't have read this at work...I started crying b/c I'm remembering....

I was at work when I got that fateful call from Ruby. There were 6 or 7 people in my office all wanting something or another. I turned in my chair and hunched over for some quiet so I could talk to was your number on my phone. I said, "Hi Baby, what's going on."

The answer was, "Mike, this is Ruby...Ben's mom. There's been a terrible accident." My heart sank and I didn't know if I could stand to hear the next words....b/c why would Ruby be calling on Caci's phone if Caci is alright? My heart and mind were screaming to God......please let my Baby Girl be alright.

Then the 2nd worst news I could get began to ring in my ears. I became numb....routinely called Lynn....and then just sat in my chair completely oblivious to my surroundings. Ellen, one of my employees and friend, got right in my face and yelled, "Why are you still here?" I didn't have an answer..I didn't know why. I was too busy praying and being scared. But she got my attention and I went to get Lynn.

We prayed all the way down for life first and foremost and for remaining injuries, secondary. I almost couldn't contain myself when I saw Cole sitting up in bed sustained brain injury and no arterial bleeding. I can never thank God enough for that sight and answered prayer.
The fact that Ben is who he is today is living proof of the power of prayer.

To this day, when I tell others of this story I begin to cry, but then I can also smile and testify to prayer and a loving, merciful God who gave us more than we could handle and then proceeded to handle it for us.

Ruby said...

ALL our lives were changed that day...God is good and always wants the very best for his children and he is so very good to my precious family.

Jamee said...

God is good and gave you so much strength to get through this long and difficult journey.

Windy Smith said...

I remember getting the call that day. I was at Mamaw's house in Carthage. I was finally able to get a hold of Ruby and find out more info. No one knew how they were doing and I remember being scared and not wanting to drive myself and the boys home.

Dr Eva said...

I still remember getting the email when that happened. We had just started communicating again after life had gotten in our way and we had lost touch some. I still remember praying for you and your family so hard. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Thank you for reminding me that my Father intercedes for us and in us!! The power of prayer is so amazing and His peace that passes understanding is so unique (I can't think of a better word with my pregnant brain). Love you!!