“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock”
Greetings sweet friends. I am so glad that you are here. Today will be unusual! There are no pretty pictures, no exciting places that we have traveled, no creative tablescapes. I have wanted to share this real life experience with you for a long time, and I feel that today is the day! Have you ever had a day that started very ordinary, but quickly shifted to a heart wrenching circumstance? This is our story, but we are just the characters. The author is our sovereign God that chose to write this for Butch and me. You will hear it from both of us – one story from two different perspectives. It started eleven years ago this very day, and it would forever change how we view Everyday Living…
January 17, 2007 found me working on a project near Mobile, AL. It was mid-week and all seemed to be going well. Around lunchtime I headed back north and east with plans to be home by Thursday night. This would include a swing by our hunting camp located in a very rural part of our state along the Bullock and Barbour County line for an overnight stay. Why not move a couple of deer stands to better locations since I’m already down south? Not likely anyone at the club during the week for me to disturb. I wanted to be better prepared when I came back with Seth to hunt the weekend.
When I arrived at the camp house, I was surprised to find one of our members. He had brought a friend as a guest to hunt a couple days when it wasn’t crowded. It was good to have a little company! After going out for an early morning hunt on Thursday, I came back to the house for a quick turkey sandwich. It was my plan to move one more tree stand and then head home. Seems like the guys who were there were a little low on bread and I had plenty. Long way to the nearest store over at Midway, so I told them no need to make that trip right now! For a reason unknown to me at the time, while sharing my bread, I told my fellow club member I was about to move a deer stand and then go home. I happened to mention where it was located…I suppose to be sure I wasn’t intruding on an area they might be planning to hunt. This was hunter courtesy and one of several seemingly insignificant “small things “of the morning. It was not a problem. Eight thousand acres is a lot of space for a couple of hunters! Now all this was working out so well. A great week at work and an upcoming weekend of hunting with my son and some friends…a good plan!
I could have never imagined that some guys needing a few slices of bread, and a one line statement I would make would be a part of God’s sovereign plan to save my life.
Thursday, January 18 began like most of my days. The only exception is that Butch was out of town on a business trip…which is a part of his job that I have never liked. I am a bit of a worrier and I am always concerned about his safety whether driving or flying. You might say the day began very ordinary, but little did I know how important an ordinary day would become. Butch and I had talked about me going with him on this trip, but I was working with several clients on jobs that needed my immediate attention, or so I thought. I would second guess that decision over and over again. If only I had gone, things would have been different. As I left a client’s home around 10:30 that morning, I immediately checked my phone. Butch and I talk all during the day when he is traveling to check in and see how each other’s day is going. I had a missed call from him. He left a message that he was going to move a deer stand and he would call me when he was finished. I tried to call back but realized that cell service in this rural area was very poor. After running a couple of errands I returned home around 12:30. I made myself a snack and turned on the gas logs to sit and enjoy a leisurely afternoon knowing that Butch would arrive later that evening.
I thought it strange that I had not heard back from him, which was most unusual. I tried him several times and it immediately went to voice mail. I thought perhaps he decided to hunt. I was a little unsettled. No, I was a lot unsettled!
At 1:42, my phone rang and I was certain it was Butch! It was my brother instead. His voice was extremely shaky and I knew immediately something was very wrong. He began to tell me that he had just received a call from our pastor. Butch had an accident and was being air lifted to a hospital in Montgomery! Time seemed to stop. He asked how soon could I be ready to leave and we agreed to meet at our parents’ home. I could only think that I needed to talk to Seth. I called him and left a message to call me as soon as he could. Within five minutes he called and I told him what little I knew. I tried to think what I needed to pack. I could only think what Butch would need. I packed him a bag with several changes of clothes and personal items and only a couple of changes of clothes and personal items for me. I thought I would be back home by the weekend. I had no idea what I was about to face. I drove to my parents’ home and in their arms I found such comfort and love. It felt so good to have Seth’s strong shoulder to lean on as we all prayed before we left. By 2:30 we were on the road.
All of this time I was praying for God to please let Butch live. My mind was racing…I couldn’t imagine life without this sweet man that I had been married to for thirty four years. My godly brother’s words of comfort were so needed as he was assuring me that God was in control and we could trust Him. I knew that, but I was having a hard time believing. I was trying hard to trust God and stay calm, but I found that impossible when I received a call from the physician in charge of the trauma unit. Do doctors call family members while they are in route to the hospital? I don’t think so. The good news was Butch was alive, but they didn’t know the extent of his injuries. He was unconscious. When I heard the word unconscious, I completely fell apart. Would Butch live, would he die? I had to make a choice that would carry me through: Can I trust God in this crisis? The two and one half hour drive seemed like an eternity. Upon our arrival, we were met by the chaplain of the hospital and our pastor. He would be taking us to back to the ER. I did not think that chaplains normally did that…unless it was not good news. He opened the curtains where Butch was and nothing on this earth could have prepared me for what I saw. It was a moment forever etched in my memory.
That turkey sandwich on the morning of Thursday, January 18, would be the last thing I would remember for about a month. The words I shared with my hunting buddies on the porch would be the last words I spoke to anyone for the same period…with the exception of 4 important words that I’ll share later. Strangely, every year these days on the calendar leave me with an indescribable sense of loss and absence. A mysterious gap that can stir a wide range of thoughts and emotions. Yet at the same time it’s truly a reminder of God’s mercy and miracles. The events of that day and many days thereafter are the beginnings of my story. A story of the supernatural work of God as would be shared with me later by those who were there. A host of alert, caring, and loving people. It all started with a phone call….
Thank you all for entering into our story…and this is just the beginning. We are anxious to share more and more of God’s sovereignty and goodness during one of the hardest times of our lives. Stay tuned next week!