In reading Part 2 of Hailey’s Story, I realized that I left out a really important part of who and what got us through such a difficult time. It was my intent to share this part of the story in Part 2 and after publishing the post I realized I had not done so. I would be remiss in not sharing about a wonderful group of people that reached out to us in one of our greatest times of need. As many of you know, we are Christians. Our faith is not only a part of who we are, it is the core of who we are. We take seriously our belief that God has a plan for our lives. Our ultimate desire is to be living in the center of His will.
One morning while Hailey was in the hospital there was a knock on her door. I looked up to see 2 gentlemen in suits standing in the doorway. I immediately recognized them as pastors from my parents’ church, Immanuel Bible Church (IBC). We had always attended their church when we were in town so I knew right away that one of the men was the Senior Pastor, Michael Easley and the other was the Associate Pastor, Steve Holley. The thing that struck me was that they had sent the 2 “top guys” to visit us at the hospital. This was a HUGE church with thousands of members and many pastors. I remember later telling Chris and my parents that I was thankful that these 2 men took time out of their busy schedules to come visit and pray with us in the hospital.
At the time of their visit, Hailey was undergoing a sweat test to determine if she had Cystic Fibrosis (CF). It was definitely an emotional time as I had cared for so many older adolescents with CF and had seen how CF had ravaged their precious bodies. I believe God’s timing was perfect in sending these 2 pastors to pray with us during this time. We talked for quite a while and I answered their questions. Pastor Easley then asked if they could pray over Hailey. As he prayed I immediately felt such a peace. I was so thankful that they had come to see us.
Right after they left, Hailey’s nurse came into the room and the following exchange took place:
Nurse: Who were the suits? Lawyers?
Nurse: Well, all the staff are betting on who the guys in suits were. I know your story and the difficulty in getting help for Hailey so my vote was for lawyers.
Me: They aren’t lawyers, they are pastors from my parents’ church.
Nurse: Crap! Pastors! I didn’t even think of that! With the suits on I thought for sure they were lawyers.
As she walked out of the room I heard her say “They were pastors!” I could hear all the staff at the nurses station from my room respond with “Oh, pastors!” It was definitely the bit of comic relief that we needed.
There were also 2 women who were a tremendous blessing to me during Hailey’s hospital stay. The first woman was a secretary from the church, Liz Bryant. I remember the first time Liz called me. She had the most cheerful voice and hearing her on the other end of the phone immediately lifted my spirits. She called to ask me how Hailey was and said that the pastors were about to meet and pray over the prayer requests from the congregation. She asked if there was anything that they could specifically pray for. Liz called me EVERY morning to get an update and get specific prayer requests. What a tremendous blessing she was to me!
The second woman was the music secretary, Carolyn Usher. My parents were really involved in the choir ministry at Immanuel and that is how she knew of our story. Carolyn and I never spoke during the hospital stay but she was in constant e-mail contact with my mom. She would write the most amazing prayers for our family and send them to her. My mom printed them all off and brought them to me at the hospital. Reading those prayers brought me so much comfort. Carolyn was not only a source of comfort during Hailey’s illness, but also during Skylar’s diagnosis, the multiple times she was hospitalized for severe seizures as well as during my sister’s battle with breast cancer. In October of 2008, Carolyn and her husband John were in a car accident while on vacation. Carolyn sustained numerous injuries which eventually led to her passing one month later. I can’t even begin to imagine how many people were affected by the loss of this precious woman. Our loss was truly Heaven’s gain. I’m confident that the first words she heard in heaven were “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
These 4 people along with countless other members of IBC surrounded us with love and prayers during such a scary time. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude to all of them. Immanuel’s mission for as long as I can remember has been to:
-Seek Him Constantly, Serve Him Faithfully, & Share Him Boldy!
These wonderful people surely did just that!
With love & thanks,