This entire period in our world’s history continues to bring upon us new challenges and stark realities. For some, priorities have become clearer. For others, life is more confusing and harder to face than ever. I’ve learned that we should never take anything for granted and that the power of prayer is even more present, more real, more attainable than I ever imagined.
Many of you know that I have really struggled with not being able to see my parents over the past two months. I spent all of Mother’s Day in tears, hardly able to even call my mother because I was so emotional. I went through all the stages of grief, from sadness to despair to extreme anger. All I wanted was to see my mother.
Unfortunately, the old adage slapped me right across my face–be careful what you wish for…
On Monday, shortly after lunch, I was just settling back into my desk chair in my office when my phone rang. I was surprised to see my brother’s phone number. The moment I heard his voice, I knew something was drastically wrong. He asked if I’d spoken to Mom, and I said no, not since early in the morning. Scott’s voice broke, and I braced myself, certain Mom had had a stroke or Dad had been hurt.
“Trevor’s been in an accident.”
My mind raced. What? How? Trevor, my nephew and Godson is only thirteen. He is sheltered at home. What kind of accident could he possibly have been in?
While cutting the grass, Trevor’s brother, Shane, got the zero-turn mower stuck in a ditch. He called to Trevor to help get it out. The mower flipped, trapping Trevor underneath, crushing his small body for over ten minutes and rendering him unconscious for a short period of time. Shane did everything right. He couldn’t move the mower but immediately called 911 and his dad. He ran for help, and several men came to his aid and moved the mower. He told Trevor not to move but to wait for the ambulance. He was wise and calm beyond his sixteen years.
Hours later, after a flight to shock trauma and admittance to Children’s Hospital, Trevor was awake, alert, and miraculously virtually unharmed. Tests were run for two days, and MRI showed nothing, but he still doesn’t have any feeling in or movement of his right arm. What the EMTs and Shane witnessed at the scene were indications of injuries far, far worse. How Trevor’s condition changed from the time he entered the helicopter to the time the doctors saw him can only be described as a miracle.
Back at my house, I had barely disconnected the call before I flew into action. With the help of my husband and children, I had a bag packed and many messages sent out pleading for prayers. At the time, Trevor was still being treated by the EMTs, not yet in flight. My oldest insisted on driving me, and despite stay-at-home orders, we left for my parents’ house on the other side of the state. I spent the entire drive communicating with my family and reaching out to friends for more prayers. I kept picturing Trevor’s smiling face and thinking about his love for life, his exuberance and charisma on stage, and his deep faith.
When we arrived at Mom’s, Rebecca asked if we were allowed to hug, and Mom replied, “You’d better hug me” and wrapped us both in her arms. We hugged and cried but not out of joy. It was not the reunion I imagined.
Back to that miracle… The first responders on the scene were wonderful. We can’t thank them enough for all they did. With their permission, just before Trevor was loaded into the ambulance that would take him to the helicopter, his mom, Lisa, prayed over him and blessed him with holy water. Throughout the Bible, water is seen as life-giving, saving, and powerful. Think of the story of Creation (Genesis 1:2), Elisha and the cleansing of the leper (2 King’s 5:10), and Moses and the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:28). In the New Testament, water has even greater significance through its connection with Christ. Jesus identifies himself as the Living Water (John 7:37-39). and declares Baptism as necessary for salvation, “unless a man be born of water and the Holy Ghost” he cannot be saved (John 3:5). There are many, many other mentions of water and its great significance.
St. Teresa of Avila said, “I have found by experience that there is nothing from which the devils fly more quickly than from holy water.”
I have lots of holy water at home, including several bottles I collected straight from the Jordan River, the site of Jesus’ Baptism. In all my years, I never thought of keeping it in my car. It does not surprise me in the least that my sister-in-law had it in hers. That is something I will do from now on.
Whether you believe in the healing properties of holy water or not, I assure you that my family witnessed a miracle this week. It may have been the blessing with holy water. It may have been Lisa and Scott’s profound and unwavering faith. It may have been the literally thousands of prayers that were said from the moment we heard about the accident. It may have been the prayers of Father Leary, said in front of the Holy Eucharist he removed from the tabernacle for the express purpose of praying directly to Jesus for healing for Trevor. It may have been the prayers said at St. Vincent the Martyr Church in New Jersey where Lisa and I have a mutual friend, Jan, who made sure that Mass prayers were said for Trevor. It may have been the dozens of prayers groups that we all reached out to who all stopped what they were doing and prayed for Trevor. It may have been the many Rosaries that were said on his behalf. I don’t know and will never know while I live on this earth.
Here’s what I do know, and it was best summed up by my dear friend George in New York:
Thousands of people–people in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Georgia and many other states, people in Canada, our exchange student’s family in Guatemala, friends in Italy and Brazil and Australia, and people we don’t even know in prayer groups near and far–all “gathered” uniting in prayer for one little boy. And our prayers were heard.
Some may question, why him? Why Trevor? Why our family?
I don’t believe it was our family or even Trevor that made the difference. I believe it was the work of the Holy Spirit, beginning with a mother’s prayer and blessing with holy water, and the pounding on Heaven’s door by many, many people around the world.
Never underestimate the power of prayer. And be careful what you wish for.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
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Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).
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