by Kathy Baker and Teena Myers
Our strong willed seventeen year old son had moved out a month before Christmas. He wanted to live his life his way. His disregard for our choice to live in a manner that honored God left us one option – tough love. We set him free to do things his way, but he could not do them in our home anymore. He packed his things and left with two friends that he valued above his family.
Christmas Eve my husband, Jerry, left with our daughter for last minute shopping. I spent the morning enjoying our Christmas decorations, contemplating the joy of opening long awaited presents. Thoughts of family reminded me of our son’s struggle. I turned on my television. “The Greatest Story Ever Told” distracted my thoughts for the next three hours.
The movie of Jesus life and sufferings concluded, and I walked into the kitchen pondering Thornton Wilder’s The Eighth Day. Wilder challenged the reader to understand their lives as a great landscape that extends far beyond what the eye of our experience can see. Who knows how one experience so singularly horrible, can set in motion a chain of events that will bless future generations? Tragedy may appear to be random, but that does not mean it is. It may fit into a scheme that surpasses even what our imaginations dare to think.
While searching for my favorite coffee cup, I heard a low cry coming from the kitchen door. I opened the door. To my horror a bloody young man whose head was grotesquely enlarged and covered with contusions fell onto the floor. His left eye was swollen shut; patches of hair and scalp were missing. I didn’t recognize the face. I recognized the clothes. My son had come home.
As he gasped for breath, I heard, “I’m sorry I hurt you, Mom. I love your more than you know.”
Tears streaming down my face, I fell to the floor and pulled my son into my arms. “Lord, take my life in place of my sons.”
“Kathy, I have already taken your life. I want your son’s,” whispered the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit.
My arms tightened around my son hanging by a thread between life and death. “Son, fight for your life. Call on Jesus, and you will live.” I gently laid him on the kitchen floor. “I’m going to call 911 and your Dad, I’ll be right back.”
Within moments, we were in the hospital emergency room, our son whisked behind closed doors. We waited and prayed. Jerry’s sister and her husband arrived. We walked the corridors praying, waiting, praying and waiting. Hours elapsed. Then a breakthrough, our son responded to treatment.
A complete recovery was eclipsed by a greater miracle the morning my son was discharged from the hospital. I awoke to rays of the sun barely breaking the horizon. “This is the day you have prayed and waited for,” resounded in my heart. Recognizing the Lord’s voice, I bolted out of bed, jolting my husband from a sound sleep.
“Where are you going?”
“To the hospital,” I replied.
I sat by my son’s bedside full of emotion. “Be quiet” echoed in my mind withholding a torrent of words.
My son opened his eyes. “You’re here early.”
Be quiet. I drew my lips tightly together lest the wrong word shatter a holy moment in time.
He rubbed his eye and looked at me deep in thought. “Mama, I am ready to live – I mean really live. Please help me.” For the first time in his life, my son released his purpose and times to the direction of the Holy Spirit.
All of us experience dark times in our life that inexplicably grow darker. Take courage. Jesus always shines through. That Christmas Eve was a dark time for me, but God gave me more than I could image when he turned tragedy into good.
Dr. Kathy Baker is a certified Christian Marriage and Family Therapist and a licensed Belief Therapist. She holds a Bachelor, Masters, and a Doctorate in Restorative Justice. She is a co-founder of Church of the Crossroads in Laredo, Texas and has ministered from London to Peru, from Guatemala to Hawaii and across the United States, before God called her and her husband to New Orleans. She is the founder of Interfaith Counseling Services and co-pastors Metro Christian Fellowship 8121 Airline Hwy, Metairie with her husband Rev. Jerry Baker. Her interfaith Women Wanting Wisdom Bible Study has chapters in Louisiana and Texas. Contact Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org