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Taken Hostage on Life’s Train Through Hell

Updated: Feb 14, 2022


Seeing those little eyes full of tears and body trembling, I knew in an instant the damage I had done. It shook me to the core. Years ago, when my children were younger, in a moment that one of them had looked to me for security about what life held for us, I reacted wearily, “Do you think I’m not afraid too?” I don’t have any answers.” They needed me to be a source of strength for them when life threw so much at us. They needed me to be strong and stable in a world that was chaotic. I resolved then and there to do my best to become a steadfast strength so that they were able to be okay when feeling weak and fearful.


For a moment here, let me set the stage for this journey I am about to share with you. In addition to teaching higher education, I have spent the last 20+ years providing Biblical counseling for the hurting after the Lord so graciously provided it for me years ago. And a little over a year ago, I began providing the coaching side of it. My main area of emphasis is in trauma recovery, relational wholeness, and mental health wellbeing on the personal side, and then recently adding leadership development on the business side.


One day, as I was praying, I distinctly heard the Lord ask, “who will go with me into the dark places to guide my people out into the light?” In my response to “I will go with you”, He forewarned as a preparation, “you will be going into some very dark places. I need to prepare you.” This preparation came through understanding the famous 23rd psalm, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…during some of those dark places.

You might be asking; why share all of this? You will be exposing yourself and becoming very vulnerable before many. You may be criticized or seen as dramatic. Well, the short answer is this. The famous Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, founder and medical director of the Trauma Center, says that a person must be intentional in reestablishing self-leadership of their mind and body to be empowered for healing. Though I have been on this healing journey for a lot of years, it has primarily remained private. Recently, the Lord began prompting my heart to move from the private to the public so that others can be encouraged by not only the victories, but also understand the struggles and hard work that come with those victories.


And so, the story of my journeys begin. Fast-forwarding to January 2021, Mike and I did something we had never in our 23 years of marriage ever done. Having no clue that the Lord was preparing us for a long road ahead, we impulsively jumped in the car for a 10-day road trip through nine states. We knew that our usual full family summer vacation wasn’t going to happen this year because of a grandbaby due July 4th. Additionally, our praying about selling our house to move to the country created a restlessness to get away. This trip was absolutely fabulous! We felt free and on top of the world. We laughed more during this time than we had in a long time. Little did we know what was in store for the remainder of the year.


Walking back into our home afterwards, we felt a stalemate and barrenness. The warmth of life seemed to have left. We didn’t know what had changed, but we knew something had. We loved our neighbors! They were the best in all the places we’d lived. We loved our home. We had put a lot of love and hard work into it. We made many memories there…friendships, the kids finding their mates, two grandbabies. With all this, we couldn’t shake the fact our time here was coming to an end, and it was time to start preparing to sell.

During our preparation to sell the house, we received the exciting news that one new grandbaby turned into TWIN grandbabies on the way. Soon after, though, we received the call that there were major concerns with the babies, requiring at-minimum weekly specialist visits. Our daughter, Amy, and son-in-law, Andrew, were told not to expect one or possibly either of them to survive. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I watched Amy, Andrew, and their other two young children, Samuel and Abigail’s, lives turned upside down with repeated emergency hospital visits and tests.


Fear tried to set in, but I fought back. I would be strong for Amy and her family, hoping that I could somehow help them be okay in the uncertainties. I did what I’m sure many of you would have done, I prayed hard. I refused the consideration that the Lord might allow this to happen. Rationally, you know this is a very real possibility. Miscarriages happen all the time. But emotionally, you hope and pray that you won’t be in those statistics. You hope and pray that because you follow the Lord’s ways, you will turn His heart to not let the evil touch you and your loved ones. Isn’t this the way it is supposed to work? I do my part to follow Him, and He does his part by keeping all pain and suffering from us? I knew this was not the truth about how life in Christ is. But this one time, I sure hoped that it would be.


And then the inevitable happened…an emergency visit to the hospital led to very premature births on April 23rd. Little did any of us know what was to come the three days prior when Mike and I began the process of putting our house up for sale.


As I cared for Samuel and Abigail that night of the twin’s birth, I felt the dark night of one’s soul come to visit. It was life’s train coming to hold our family hostage as it took us through the pit of hell. Many, many people were praying. Yet, in those hours of waiting for their birth, I couldn’t feel those prayers. Having turned down my sister and sister-in-law’s offer to drive three hours to be with me, they texted me for hours on end attempting to distract and encourage me. But by this time, my heart was hunkered down in the darkness and fear that had fallen on our family.


Around midnight, I received and passed on the joyous news that both grandsons were born. While Ezra was rushed immediately to the NICU, they were okay! Or so we thought… How wrong we were. How wrongly we were informed. How short-lived the joyous news was. Shortly after texting family and friends to go to sleep and rest in the victory we had, I received the news that our little Ezra was not expected to live through the night. Little Joseph, we were told, was doing okay. It was not until much later that we discovered he was also in grave danger. That night, Andrew ended up alone in one hospital watching Ezra through a NICU window, while Amy and Joseph were both alone in a different hospital because Amy couldn’t be with either of them.


With a tenacity, my mama bear heart rose in ferociousness for Amy and her twin babies, for Andrew who could do nothing but watch from a distance and pray, and for Samuel and Abigail who couldn't understand why mommy and daddy were gone so much. I would not give in! I would not faint in fear! I determined that I would storm heaven and fight the depths of hell for them. Until approximately 4:30 AM, while the little ones slept, I prayed; I spoke scripture; I begged and pleaded with God to not allow these children to be taken from this life. I texted prayers and scripture over and over to Andrew and Amy throughout the night. At one point, while on the phone with Amy sobbing in fear, not realizing I was on speakerphone, I began screaming at the devil, “NO, you cannot take these babies!” It is possible that I traumatized the nurses in Amy’s room. But you know what?


I. DID. NOT. CARE.


I was willing to make a fool of myself. I was SO angry. I was SO afraid. No, I was terrified. I wanted so bad to wake my sister and sister-in-law back up. I felt so alone. How badly I wanted to ask them to drive through the middle of the night to be with me. Mike was home, having taken on much of our household duties so that I could be there for the little ones.


We often think that courage means absence of fear. Instead, true courage is only found in the presence of fear. This brings me back to Psalms 23 – You [God] prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Wait – what? “Lord, how about you just get us out of the presence of our enemies. THEN, you can set this table between you and I. THEN, I can relax and be with you.” But the Lord whispered to my heart, reminding me that while death in the natural is a reality for all of us, the greater death is the one to our soul when we give it over to the enemy. He said “Trust me; I am with you; I desire to give you the only kind of peace and joy that can overcome death’s sorrow.”


I knew that I couldn’t give in to the fear. If I had, it would have taken more than myself under. After many hours of waiting and praying, Ezra began to finally respond. It felt like we had just woken up from a bad nightmare. Numb, shaken, and desperate to be as far away from it as possible. But, unbeknownst to any of us, the train continued to travel deeper into hell. There was no stopping to get off. We were being held hostage.


….to be continued next Monday.




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