Prayers Needed for a Friend

Many of you know my good friend Allan. I first met Allan at our emergency warming shelters at Brenthaven Church last winter and have journeyed with him through the ups and downs of recovery. We all recently rejoiced when he finally moved into his apartment home in June after successfully completing a 30 day rehab program at Buffalo Valley.

Last Friday, Allan went with a Christian ministry group called “Men of Valor” to Center Hill Lake for a day of fun and relaxation. Allan jumped into the lake and a freak accident occurred. After jumping in, he had no feeling in his legs from the knees down. He was taken by ambulance to Cookeville Regional Hospital where it was discovered he had broken his back and a piece of his broken vertebrae was pressing on his spinal cord. He had a two hour emergency surgery Friday night where a neurosurgeon “put him back together.”

As of today, the doctors are uncertain if Allan will ever walk again.

He is in good spirits and feels surrounded by friends, love, and prayers. Allan would want all of you to know about this so that you can also pray for him. Allan is a man of faith, believes in the power of prayer, and is not giving up on walking without a fight.

So, please find a quiet spot in your day and say a quick prayer for Allan… 10612749_10204773361399589_6091111616910204646_n

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Finding God in the Unexpected

So as most of you know, I have really been under the weather for the last three weeks. I went in on July 30th for a simple procedure to remove my gallbladder, but ended up with multiple cuts and sores to my throat and airway, bruised lips, and a bruised tongue, resulting in a very unexpected and extended painful recovery, and the inability to eat, drink, or talk comfortably, none of which had anything to do with my gallbladder. The breathing tube inserted during surgery and a over-zealous anesthesiologist were the culprit.

I have been through a gamut of emotions through this misadventure, anger, apathy, frustration, and a brief bout of what could only have been depression over it all. There were days all I could stand to take in was water down my painful and swollen throat. Even as I write this post today, 21 days following the unexpected assault to my throat, I have some pain still when eating and certain foods will not go down without help from liquid behind them. I have been unable to commit to preaching at a little chapel I have grown to love for four weeks now, and I have just yesterday started to get back to some abbreviated sense of normalcy.

Through it all however, I have patiently waited and wondered what God was doing with all this mess. I would be lying if I told you I had that answer quite yet. However, as soon as I stepped back out into the world yesterday I think God was giving me a few clues.

A clue when I was joyfully reunited with a friend in the midst of recovery, newly housed, who had been apparently missing me as much as I had been missing seeing and checking in with him. A clue when he couldn’t wait to pull a gift for me out from under his couch, a simple framed expression of words expressing what a good friend he considers me to be to him. A clue when he wanted to ride with me to run errands as a way to extend our visit. A clue when he kept saying how good it was to see me finally.

A clue when I saw another couple I minister to who live in the same complex and they too expressed how worried they have been about me and how good it was to see me out and about.

A clue when in the midst of those errands I received a call out of the blue from another friend, calling me first to tell me he just got word he was approved for an apartment. A clue when this same friend sent me a text later in the day to express that he loved and missed me and really wanted to see me face to face (we are having lunch today!!).

It has just been one day somewhat (and briefly) back among my community that I love so much. But I know God was present in all of those clues. And I know I was reminded that I am loved as much, and maybe more, by that same community I serve, and for that I thank the God I serve, I am thankful for the call I have been given, I am thankful for the people I serve, and I am thankful for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Nashville Presbytery for supporting this very unique call and ministry. I still don’t quite know what the last three weeks was all about, but I know God has a unique way of pointing you back to what is really important and I felt the Holy Spirit’s hands on my shoulders yesterday gently adjusting my view.

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