It was on July 11th of 1997 that our world changed forever.
It was nineteen years ago this month that our son Kevin broke his neck in a fall and sustained a devastating spinal cord injury. It’s one of those anniversaries that are bittersweet. So much is so good in our lives. And yet, the loss is there every day.
I nearly forgot the day this year – a testament, I guess, to the fact that we’ve moved on in many ways. Kevin is still mostly disabled, and yet he still continues to make new gains when we least expect it. We’re still mostly caregivers. And yet, I love and appreciate life more than ever.
It’s strange and wonderful how we need both darkness and light to grow.
The end of last year began a new season for us as a family. A series of events have unfolded in a phenomenon that has, in rapid succession, answered several of my most desperate and long-standing prayers for my children and grandchildren. You know, those “the stone will have to roll away from the tomb” prayers, breathed so often I feared that I might irritate God with their frequency. They were the prayers carried in the night with a heavy heart and many tears before heaven. The ones that spring automatically to mind. You know.
I prayed them for years without answers.
Then, without warning, a door opened. Then another, and another.
In August of last year, our youngest daughter Grace began a good job locally. Prayer answered.
In November of last year, we received the news that our son Erik and daughter-in-law Rachel were expecting for the first time after being told that would probably never happen. We welcomed our first grandson into the world in May of this year. Prayer answered.
In May of this year, our youngest son Daniel announced his engagement to a wonderful woman named Jenna. Prayer answered.
In June of this year, our eldest granddaughter Rebekah graduated from homeschool and was immediately accepted into the university of her choice. Her parents, our eldest daughter Jennifer and husband Scott, had sacrificed for many years and throughout many trials to educate their daughters. Rebekah is the second-generation to graduate from homeschool in our family. Prayer answered.
Their youngest daughter, Vanessa, will begin her first year of college level work as she finishes her last years in homeschool. Prayer answered.
This August, our son-in-law finally begins to see his long-standing dream of teaching become a reality. Prayer answered.
This summer, Kevin has been able, for the first time, to sit unassisted for nearly an hour at the side of his bed. This, from a man who was never supposed to move again. Ever. This, from a man who was thought – by some in the medical profession – to be better off dead. This, after nearly two decades of disability. Prayer answered.
Aaron and I continue to have the health we need to be caregivers and walk Kevin’s journey with him. Nineteen years ago, we were told it would be impossible for us to care for him at home. We live the impossible every day with him.
Living in Graceland.
A friend once told me that her daughter, who liked to come to our place and see Grace, used to call our place “Graceland.” We chuckle at the ironic designation. It seems fitting, though, because we are the house that grace built. This anniversary of Kevin’s accident is our reminder that God is always at work. Prayer is crucial, and He is never irritated that we bring our heartaches and hopes to Him.
If you’re facing impossible odds today, if darkness is all around you, lift up your head. God still answers prayer. He loves you, and He is at work in your life.
You are the house that grace built.