Updated: Feb 7
Faith And The Alter
In 1991 on a Sunday night in a small Alabama church, I found out what true faith meant and what real heartache felt like. I had lost my first love to a car accident ten years earlier and I admit I thought there would never be a pain that my heart could feel that would be worse than that.
On January 14 1991 I attended church with my mom and my husband and my then 2 year old son in Florence Alabama. I'll never forget that I called my sister after the morning service and ask her if she would please go with us to the night service. She wasn't having any part of it because it was her off day and she had made plans with the guy she was dating and her best friends boyfriend. Kim, her friend would join them after she got off from work. My sister and her best friend and myself all worked at the local Captain D's, two of us in management. At the evening service my mom asked me if I would go up during the alter call and stand in for my sister. If you're not familiar with this it's when the Pastor lays his hand on your head and calls you by the persons name that you want to pray to God for. I agreed of course because I loved my mom and I knew she loved my sister and was worried about her. I knew she wanted my sister in church and in a relationship with the Lord. Once the prayer ceased I remember turning around to leave the alter and glancing up at the wall clock hanging above the door we would soon walk out of, it read 7:18 P.M. As I began to take a few steps I got a very sharp pain in my left side, it was so strong and sharp it caused me to stumble, I felt like I had been hit by something. My husband reached out to catch me before I fell. In just a minute or two the pain was gone and I felt great. I brushed it out of my mind and we all headed to the car. Once in the parking lot I suggested to my mom that we all go to Captain D's and have dinner on my family discount. She agreed and off we went. About 10 Minutes later we had ordered and just taken a seat in the dining room when I noticed our friend Kim open the Office door and wave me to come to her. As I reached the door I could see there was worry on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she said "you have a phone call and I think its your dad". I was surprised because my dad was a Alabama State Trooper and I knew he was on duty, it was very unlike him to call while on duty. Once on the phone he asked me where my mom was, I told him she was in the dining room. I could tell by the tone of his voice he was upset, not crying but anxious. I ask him what was wrong and he said your sister has been in a car wreck, I ask was she OK and he slowly answered, " I don't think so". My heart dropped and I thought I was going to faint but I knew that my mom needed me strong. I lay the phone down and went and told my mom she had a phone call. She looked surprised but got up and headed toward the office. Two minutes later I heard her let out the loudest, blood curling scream I had ever heard. My mom was on her knees on that kitchen floor screaming "Is she OK, Is she OK?" The hospital was only 15 minutes away and all I could do while driving was pray. I begged God to save my best friend, my sister's life. I told him if he would just save her I would tell the world that he had done it and I would never forget it. Upon arrival at the hospital we were met by a young women at the ER counter who told us they were still working on her and we would be able to go back in a little while. The look on her face told me she didn't hold much hope in them saving her. I was then approached by a police officer that ask me if I knew the boys in the car with her. I said well yes I guess I do, why do you ask? He dropped his eyes a second and said well they didn't make it and they don't have any ID on them and we need you to identify them. My heart screamed "NO I Can't Do That". I was already so distraught I just knew I wouldn't be able to handle seeing that right then. Just a moment later a nurse opened the ER door and waved us to come through it. Once on the other side she led us to a curtain that was closed and we stood by as she pulled it back. What I saw laying there shocked me to my core. My beautiful sister was swollen and dark blue all over. She was so still and so quiet I thought she was gone. My mom walked over and laid her hand on her head and began to pray. As soon as she started praying my sister began screaming as though she was reliving the wreck she had just gone through. I stood thinking that it sounded like my mom was praying and God and Satan were battling over her soul. Once my mom stopped praying my sister became quiet again. The doctor told us that she had alot of internal injuries, a major head injury, a broken pelvis, a broken jaw, her lungs were damaged and he didn't think she would make it through the night. We were heartbroken and devastated but would not give up hope that God had her in his grip. They moved her into ICU and we waited and prayed. The next morning my dad came to the hospital and had the wreck report for us to see. While looking over it I happened to notice the time of the wreck, it said it was at 7:18 P.M.! Yes exactly the moment I was leaving the alter where I stood in her place with the pastor praying for her. God had heard our prayers and intervened at the exact moment her life was on the line. The report stated my sister's car was stopped at the red light when the light turned green and they started through the green light and were side swiped by another car that ran the red light. The impact had pushed my sister's car several hundred feet down the road and into a light pole. The two guys were in the front seats and my sister was riding passenger in the back seat. As I read these facts I was floored that she had let someone else drive her car, that was just not something she would ever do. How it came to be that way I don't know to this very day. The impact had killed both guys instantly. The report stated that as the wrecker was hooking up to her car to take it to the lot they heard a low moan or cry come from somewhere. They rushed back to the car to finally realize that she was in the backseat trapped and almost unconscious. Another minute and they would have never found her on time. The car had hit them on her left side throwing her into the right side of the car with both front seats collapsing on and around her. It was while reading that I remembered the pain I had felt in my left side as I was leaving the alter. It was that moment when all I could do was cry and began to know God was in full control of everything at the church, at the scene of the wreck and right then in the ICU room where she lay. God was going to save my best friend, my sister for us. He had worked it all out that I would be at that alter the exact moment she would need him to save her life. He had used everyone of us to show a testimony of the love, mercy and grace he showed on her soul that night. He was showing the power of prayer and Faith. God was showing out for all to see. She was in a coma two weeks and in a room two more. She had to have here jaw wired shut, learn to walk again, learn to talk again and let her pelvis and lungs heal, but one month to the day she went home. I can personally give witness that our God is in the life saving business if we are working toward living as close of a righteous life as possible. Even when we aren't I know he still hears our prayers. Prayer is our greatest gift and our most powerful weapon. In Psalms 46:1 we are told that " God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. I promised God if he would save her I would give him the glory and praise publicly. That was many years ago but I'm keeping my promise.