What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Testing, Trials, and Miracles

Another episode in the life of our family, and especially in the life of our precious son Matthew.

This story takes place way back in time...when my husband had decided to begin his preparation for the ministry and attend a graduate program in Bible and Missions.  We had moved out of state far away from family and familiar surroundings, and we were hoping that John would not have to work full time so that he could devote as much time as possible to his studies.  We were also hoping that I would not have to leave the children (two little boys at the time ages 3 and 18 months) to go to work.  A seemingly tall order, “but with God, all things are possible!” (Matthew 19:26)

Somewhere along the line I responded to an ad seeking a couple to be house-parents at a home for boys.  The ad said that this home was located on a farm about fifty miles from the city in which we were living.  Although the distance from the college might present a problem for John, the other details appeared to be a workable solution to our dilemma.  The directors of the home contacted us and came to our home for an interview.  The job itself looked simple enough; we would be house-parents to approximately ten boys, each about ten years old. We would live in a “cottage” with them, and would have our own personal bedrooms and bath.  I would be responsible for the laundry of our group and the general upkeep of the cottage.  This was a “Christian” home for boys, and we were to have devotions with them at bedtime and attend church together on Sundays.  It certainly looked like an answer to our prayers.  I would not have to leave our own children while working, and our room and board would be provided along with a small salary.  John learned that there was a family in that town whose son was also attending the same college, and they would be able to car-pool!  The main concern was the fact that we would be giving up a certain amount of family privacy and freedom, but it was a ministry to young boys who needed a strong father and loving mother image.  We felt God was giving us the “go-ahead” to embark on this new adventure, and we moved to the “farm” the first of September.

The Testing Begins

James 1:2  “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, know that the testing of your faith produces patience…”

The experiences we had over the following several months are too numerous, and some too depressing to describe.  The ministry with the boys was very special to us; we learned a lot about giving and receiving love with those who were craving such attention and demonstrations of affection.  However, our relationship with the Director of the “home” was less than idyllic.  Although he claimed to be a Christian, the examples of Christ-likeness were, in our opinion, few and far between.  There was such a spirit of fear, dogmatism, and overpowering authority that we sometimes cringed beneath the load.  Our spirits were quenched in the fire of this man’s wrath that was often displayed.  Our hearts would break as discipline was often unmercifully doled out and we would fight back tears of anger and frustration at being totally unable to do anything about the situation.  My days left alone there at the farm were often filled with fear, anguish, and bitter remorse.  John would come home after school to find me thoroughly defeated, and yet quite often fighting mad.

One day, however, something happened that changed our lives completely.  It was my responsibility each afternoon to greet our “boys” at the school bus, and supervise them in getting out of their school clothes and into “work clothes”.  “Play clothes” were unheard of as playing was considered a waste of time.  I would then escort them to the dining hall where they were to do homework until supper.  While the boys from our cottage were changing their clothes on this particular day, my own two little sons were out in the yard riding their “big-wheels” around on the sidewalks. 
Matthew on his big wheel
I kept looking out the door to check on them, and they were fine. Besides, one of the other house-parents was standing nearby in the yard talking to the Director.  I had no sooner gone back inside the cottage to hurry the boys along when one of the older boys from the farm came running into the cottage yelling, “Come quick! Your son has just been hit by a car!”  There was no time for questions, and in a panic I ran to the dining hall where I was told he had been taken.  To my horror and shock, there sat my ashen-hued eighteen-month-old baby, bleeding profusely from the scalp, barely crying, with a towel wrapped around his head.   “Let’s get him to the hospital!” I screamed in anguish.  The Director hesitated, and then responded, “Well, I suppose he should go…”

I grabbed baby Matthew in my arms and immediately ran to the car of the other house-parent.  This woman was the lady who had actually run over Matthew as she had started to back out of the driveway, but her car was the only one available and we had to move quickly!  She jumped in the car and away we drove.  Sorrowfully, I had to leave my three-year-old son, Benton, standing there with an elderly lady who had “just happened” to come spend some time at the farm that week. She assured me that she would take care of him.  I wanted to reach out and comfort him, as he was so obviously distressed.  After all, it was his screams that had alerted the driver of the car that something was wrong in the first place! But we had no time to lose, and we rushed away to the local hospital.  All I could do was pray that God would give him the comfort that only He could give at such a time. 

We literally flew through town to the small hospital, honking the horn and driving down the middle of the road as fast as we could go.  As I held Matthew tightly in my arms I cried, “Please don’t let my baby die!” and “Please, Lord, let there be a good doctor at the hospital when we get there!”  This was a small rural hospital, and good doctors were scarce in that community.

We safely arrived at the hospital, and as the Lord would have it, the BEST surgeon in town “just happened” to be in the hospital!  Matthew was taken to an examining room, and I was allowed to stay with him and hold him while they took the x-rays and examined his head.  He was then whisked away into surgery, where they cleaned all the dirt and gravel from out of his terribly torn scalp, and pieced the skin back together.  Meanwhile John arrived at the hospital.  When he got home from the college he was given the startling news and rushed right over immediately.  Soon the doctor came out of surgery and assured us that Matthew was stable, but he wanted to send him to the large county hospital fifty miles away by ambulance so that he could be observed by a neurosurgeon.  He told us that Matthew had a large fracture on one side of the skull, extending from the crown of his head down to his ear.  On the other side of the skull was another hairline fracture, but there was no indication at that time that either of the fractures was depressed.  That was encouraging news to hear, for a depressed fracture would have heightened the risk of brain damage.

Later that night I had a terrible time trying to sleep in my little cot next to Matthew’s crib in the hospital room.  Every time I’d close my eyes, I’d see the whole incident over and over again, and I’d wake up trembling and crying.  Finally the emergency room doctor gave me a sedative, and I was able to rest.  The next morning I was awakened early by a phone call from a young lady at the college where John was attending.  She told me that the whole college had been praying all night long in shifts for Matthew, and they just wanted us to know that they cared.  I rejoiced to tell her that Matthew had slept peacefully through the night, and his vital signs were excellent, and that it appeared their prayers had certainly been answered! As a matter of fact, he was standing up in his crib at that moment talking to me! We spent a week in the hospital, and Matthew was released with no sign of brain damage or other complication!  What a miracle!

At the end of the week we returned to “the farm”.  Benton had been wonderfully cared for by that same dear lady who had arrived at the time of the accident.  However, she had departed for her home that morning before I arrived.  I did not even have a chance to thank her.  It was as if God had placed her there just for that purpose for that period of time, and when her task was over, she was sent back home.  I have thanked the Lord many times since for sending “Big Mama” to care for our son that week.

As you can see God carried us through some difficult tests and trials on our road to learning to trust in Him.  I wish I could say that from then on everything was rosy cozy...but real life isn't like that,  especially when one steps into the arena of standing up for the truth. But I can honestly say that even though times were rough, God was always there with us, and He has never let us down. No matter what the outcome of the tests and trials.
Baby Matthew, after his accident. Back to his happy normal self, praise God!

I'll have to finish this story later.  It gets better...but just so you aren't left wondering, no, we did not stay at that place very long after this accident...and yes, God did provide another place for us to live and the means to survive until John finished his course of study that year...but that's another story for another day.

Right now, our son Matthew, now age 41 years, is battling for his life again, this time from a much deadlier foe, cancer. For more on Matthew's life story, see this: "God's Perfect Timing", and this: "Trust His Heart".
His story isn't over yet. Stay tuned, and please keep praying!  Thank you.





5 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, what a story! My first surprise in the story was when you said that "The job itself looked simple enough - caring for 10 boys, 10 years old."!!! Yikes! I would never call that a simple task! haha! You are one amazing woman, dear Pamela!

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    1. Thank you, Susie. No, I am not an amazing woman, but I have an amazing God! Trust me on that one...only God could have helped me survive the ordeal that enveloped us once we set foot on that property. They say that trials come to make us strong...so I guess that was the beginning of our "strengthening exercises". Also, I was MUCH younger then...! (that makes a big difference!) Love ya dear Susie.

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  2. Oh Pamala, I can see your faith in your words.We do have an amazing God and He is able to carry us thru the storms in our life. I agree with Susie,it takes a strong person to care for ten 10 year old boys plus 2 toddlers of your own.Praying your day is blessed.

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    1. Thank you Sylvia. It is so wonderful to see you back again. I'm glad you had a little vacation. As I told Susie above, I was MUCH younger then! I know I wouldn't even attempt anything like that now! God knows what we can do and how far to stretch us. Thank you for your prayers. May your day be blessed as well.

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  3. I read this earlier. I know God was with you then and will be with you and your family now.

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