A year later

A year ago today, almost to the minute, my world stopped. There are some memories in life that fade. Some feelings you had when you were a kid that you might not remember. There are some memories and feelings you’ll never forget. Having two close friends show up to your house shaking and saying we have to get to the hospital now is one you can’t forget. Showing up with so many questions and seeing your mother in law having the same questions is something you can’t forget. Seeing your wife of 13 months wheeled in on a gurney with her head wrapped and bandaged is something you can’t forget. Hearing the words, “the injury is indicative of a gunshot would” are words you can’t forget.

So many thoughts rush through your mind in that moment. What? How? Are you serious? I remember thinking that this was a mistake, some kind of mix up, that my wife wasn’t in the ER at Franklin Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the head. It had to be someone who looked like my wife, but not MY Kelly. At 24, you’re still trying to figure out the healthy balance of who’s turn it is to load and unload the dishwasher, not hearing that your wife is fighting for her life. 

There are things you can’t forget.

Seeing your 22 year old wife being wheeled to a helicopter because the injury is so severe, having to call loved ones and telling them what happened as you’re on your way to Jackson, telling yourself over and over that everything will be ok, you can’t forget these things. 

I remember seeing her for the first time. As a man, you want to fix the situation. You want to come in and save the day. There was nothing in my power that I could do that day. I was just there in the room.

After we saw her, we spoke with the trauma doctors. You don’t expect to hear that, “it will be good if she is still alive in the morning.” I remember walking out of the room and just feeling numb. My pastor, Kevin Bates, immediately grabbed me and said, “don’t you dare take a death sentence. She looked you in your eyes when she was wheeled in at Franklin Medical and she’s responding to commands with her right side. Do not take a death sentence.”

Friends and family showed up in the ER. I remember seeing my dad for the first time that day. My heart was telling me that if anyone could fix this, it would be my dad. My mind was telling me that it was far from our hands.

Fear is a terrible thing. You can fight it all you want but sometimes it takes a hold of you and doesn’t let go. I spent most of that day fearing the worst.

Kelly was moved to the NSICU and was heavily sedated. Seeing her in the condition she was in rocked me. You don’t expect to see your wife of 13 months like that. You’re usually still trying to adjust to seeing your spouse without make up (she looks flawless either way). I couldn’t sleep much that night. My dad came back to the hospital around 12 and sat with me. We prayed a lot that night. I remember in a prayer saying the words, “God, You’re going to have to do something big here.” Around 3 that morning, I felt the words of Philippians 1:6 being spoken over the situation. I felt God saying that He had complete control of the situation and that He had begun a good work in Kelly years before and that work wasn’t finished.

At that point, I knew it was going to be ok. I knew that we would walk out of the hospital together. I didn’t know when, I didn’t know how, I just knew it would happen. You see David praying bold prayers. That’s where we found ourselves. We were saying that God was going to have to do miracles in her life for this to happen and we were believing that they would happen. We started to declare the goodness of God over the situation. We prayed life into Kelly. We prayed healing into her body. We declared scripture over her. We knew that God was faithful to the word that came from His mouth. It wouldn’t return to Him without accomplishing the task that He sent it out to do. 

Over the next six weeks I had the front row seat to the fight of my life. This fight put the McGregor Mayweather fight to shame. Seeing the person you love move from the ICU to a regular room in ten days was amazing. The person that doctors said might not make it through your first night move to a room in ten days shows you what kind of woman you have. Seeing her progress so much in four days of being in a regular room that she was able to be moved to rehab after 14 days of being shot and left for dead makes you poke your chest out and brag on the wife you have. It also makes you see that you might not win every argument because she is obviously a fighter. 

At one point in the NSICU the doctors told us there was a chance of paralysis on her left side since she hadn’t been able to move it in 2 weeks. We prayed hard for this. The first morning that we were in rehab, Kelly started to move her left leg. They brought her to the gym on the 5th floor and put her on the parallel bars. Her therapist, Alex, helped her with the first couple steps and then she started to move her left leg on her own. It was not pretty. It was awkward. For a little reference, go to YouTube and look up a video of a baby giraffe walking for the first time. It was awkwardly beautiful. The smile on her face was the most amazing part. Over the next four weeks, Kelly would work on her left side and would improve daily. 

There are things in life you can’t forget.

Seeing your wife walking and talking like she did on July 15. Seeing your wife cook chicken spaghetti. Seeing the smile on her face. Knowing that this is the same woman who you were told probably wouldn’t make it. It was insane. Seeing the Lord move in a situation like that.

From the outset we knew that if she was going to live, God would have to do the miracles. It wasn’t just one miracle tho. God stepped in and worked miracle after miracle and let us, our family, our friends, and the doctors saying wow. We all knew that something was behind all this. 

We are choosing this morning not to be upset because of the day. We’re celebrating with our family. We’re celebrating with our church. We’re singing a song this morning that says, “I’ve seen you move/ You move the mountains/ And I believe, I’ll see You do it again.” We’re going to my mother in laws after church to celebrate with people that love us. Tomorrow, Kelly will oversee the trip to Cross Camp in Marshall, Texas where we’ll bring 43 students. She’s going to teach a bible study declaring the goodness of Jesus. 

There are things you can’t forget. The feelings I had a year ago today will not be forgotten. Seeing God move like He did will not be forgotten. Seeing the joy in my wife will not be forgotten. Seeing how strong and brave she is now will not beforgotten. Seeing her worship in complete abandon will not be forgotten. 

Thank you so much for your prayers and support over the last 12 months and would love your prayers as we move forward. Kelly starts grad school August 21. Please be in prayer for her as she begins her journey through her masters.

We love you all.

Shane and Kelly.

Wow

7 months ago today I challenged the students of Life Church to go deeper in their walk with Christ. We talked about Peter stepping out on the water with Jesus. I challenged the students to pray bold prayers asking God to do whatever He needed to do to take their faith to the next level.

Prayers like that, if you mean them, are “dangerous.” My dad has been a music minister most of my life. I remember he would always say, “now words like this really mean something so if you don’t mean them, don’t sing them. Just hum them.” A bold prayer saying God do whatever You need to do to take me deeper with You is a bold prayer. I never thought what happened to us would happen.

3 days after this prayer, Kelly left our home headed to a store meeting. Nothing out of the ordinary. I call my mom and talk about camp and how we were so excited. Peyton Sparks and Brandon Loman come to my home and tell me we have to go. Something had happened to Kelly and we needed to get to the hospital. After ten to fifteen minutes, Kelly was wheeled past us on a gurney. Her eyes seemed to say that everything was ok.

Later, we found out what happened. I’ll never forget that moment. My pastor told us that the wound was indicative of a gunshot wound. Sometimes you don’t believe things. How could that happen? Not Kelly. This is a misunderstanding. Kelly is at the store meeting.

The ER doctor came out and told us that this was true. He told us that she was responding to commands with her hands and that it was very good that this was happening. They were putting her on a helicopter to take her to Jackson.

In Jackson, we met some amazing people. Doctors and nurses who would pray for us. Strangers from churches showing us what the hands and feet of Jesus look like. We also saw God do some amazing things. Things that weren’t “supposed to happen.” Kelly was out of the ICU in ten days. She was in a hospital room for four days and then moved to rehab. The first day of rehab, she moved her left leg. This was amazing because we were told that there might be paralysis on her left side. I saw my wife fight for her mobility. Kelly was able to walk out of the rehab facility 6 weeks after the incident occurred. 42 days after being left for dead, my wife walked out of a rehab facility victorious through Christ.

This Thursday will be 7 months since the incident. Kelly is still in out patient rehab, but we’ve been told that discharge is on it’s way. Her mobility is amazing. She’s running at about 6 miles per hour on the treadmill. I don’t think I could do that. The fine motor skills that were shaky at times are near perfect. Her memory is solid.

More importantly, her faith is still intact.

As a husband, you can be proud of your wife for so many reasons. Seeing where she is physically, emotionally, and mentally makes me extremely proud. Hearing my wife say, “If people came to know Christ through this, I’m ok.” leaves me at a loss for words. Hearing her say “When I gave my life to Christ, I said ‘my life is Yours. Do whatever You need to do.'” reminds me why I married the woman I did. (I married way up by the way)

Kelly prayed that prayer just like our students did. Did we think that this would happen? Absolutely not, but we have seen God do so many amazing things in our lives and the lives of others.

“My life is Yours. Do whatever You need to do.”

My wife is amazing. kelly

Home

There is no place like home. There is no bed like your bed. There is no off white couch like your off white couch. There is absolutely no recliner like your recliner. Your home is your home. It’s your home not because of the furniture or the things you have in it. It’s your home because of the memories you’ve made.

We have been married a little over a year and have lived in the house we’re in for right at a year. We’ve had friends over, the youth over, and our families. We have made so many awesome memories with those people here, but we have also made memories between the two of us that will last a lifetime. Locking ourselves out of the house, letting dishes pile up in the sink seeing who would wash them first, or staying up late playing board games. Other memories like laughing in the middle of an argument, getting into bed and saying “I got up and turned the light off last night”, or sitting on the back porch drinking coffee early in the morning.

On August 27, we left Jackson to come back home. There are no words to describe the feelings we had. After 6 long weeks we were finally coming home! Crossing into Louisiana was great but seeing a sign that said welcome to Franklin Parish brought so much joy.

We’ve been home for 9 days and those 9 days have been amazing! We were told that we would see Kelly improve more at home. In the last 9 days, I’ve seen her personality sky-rocket. Her jokes are back, her laugh is back, her sarcasm is back. She’s adjusting to being home wonderfully. Tomorrow we will go to an out-patient therapy center to have an assessment to see where Kelly is and to begin to strengthen her body and mind.

Thank you for your love, support, and prayers. We are so happy to be home.

Wednesday, August 24

39 days ago, I remember walking into Franklin Medical Center to my mother in law shaking, in tears, saying she didn’t know what was going on. I remember the feeling of panic. I remember hearing the news of what happened. I remember thinking that I was going to lose my wife. That seeing her leave at 6:40 that morning would be the last time I saw her alive. That I’d never get to feel her put her hand in my hand. I would never feel her run her fingers through my hair. I’d never hear her tell me that she loved me. I remember terrifying thoughts. I remember fear gripping me. I remember falling into chairs at Franklin Medical Center. I remember a car ride to Jackson, Mississippi that felt like an eternity. I remember frantically pacing a waiting room in the ER praying someone would tell me something. I remember hearing the words, “there’s a chance she won’t live through the night.” I remember thinking, “No, that’s not my Kelly back there. This is a huge misunderstanding. It has to be a huge misunderstanding.” I remember my mom and dad holding me like I’ve never felt before. I remember fear. I remember following Kelly to the NSICU. I remember seeing my wife with a breathing tube. I remember tears of fear and hate filling my eyes as I looked at her. I remember thinking I would wake up from this terrible dream. I remember the doctors saying that she’s responding with her right side, but her left side was showing no signs of response. I remember thinking if she would be paralyzed for the rest of our life. I remember hearing the words, “critical but stable” and thinking how much of an oxymoron that statement is. I remember hearing that we were far from out of the woods. I remember sitting by her side, wondering if she could hear anything I was saying.

These were the most terrifying times of my life. Times that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. Thoughts no husband of 13 months should have.

I remember all of these terrible things.

But I remember this. God is faithful.

I remember being told that Kelly had opened her eyes for a few minutes. I remember standing outside of her room late at night and her nurse grabbing me, pulling me into the room, and showing me that her eyes were open. I remember being woken up early on a  Sunday morning to the words, “we’ve extubated her if y’all want to come and see her.” I don’t think I’ve ever moved that fast…at least not that early.  I remember feeling relieved. I remember going back for an 8:30pm visit to hear, “we’re about to move Kelly to the floor.” We were headed to a regular room. I remember hearing some of that Kelly sass the first night in a regular room. I remember hearing on a Friday that we were moving to rehab. I remember running across the room on a Saturday morning to see Kelly move her left leg. I remember watching her on the parallel bars taking steps on the left side that was unresponsive to commands just days before. I remember her walking down the hallway with the smile I was afraid I’d never see again. I remember seeing her light up as we pushed her down the hall to her speech therapy. I remember seeing her left side improve every single day. I remember her speech getting stronger. I remember her lifting her left arm above her head for the first time and saying, “huzzah!” I remember the joy that I saw in her eyes.

That joy is there and I don’t think I’ll ever see it leave. This isn’t a joy that says look at what I can do. Is Kelly proud of herself? Absolutely! And rightfully so! But this joy isn’t from pride. I know this is the Joy of the Lord. Rend Collective sings a song called “Joy of the Lord.” These are the words to the chorus.

The joy of the Lord is my strength

The joy of the Lord is my strength

In the darkness I’ll dance

In the shadows I’ll sing

The joy of the Lord is my strength

This is an amazing song to sing. This is a great song to jam with your great friends in the Good Times Band. This is an awesome song to worship to. This song changes tho when you see someone live those words. Your life changes when you see someone live those words. Your marriage will change when you see your wife live those words. To truly be planted and know that this is possible because of the Lord. It’s overwhelming! Especially when you’re a softie like I am.

I know this has been all over the place. There’s no rhyme or reason to these words. 39 days after this terrible incident, Kelly finds her joy in the Lord. Kelly can sing in the middle of a tragedy. My wife is pretty awesome and I’m the luckiest man in the world.

Friday, August 12

Have you ever had a terrible dream? One that you just could not wait to wake up from so you could tell yourself that it was just a dream? I’ve been living that. On a loop. Every morning I wake up hoping I can roll over and tell my wife, “You would not believe the dream I had.” But the reality is this, I’m wide awake. This is real life. I’m not asleep. 27 days ago, my world stopped. 27 days ago, my wife left our house for a store meeting. 27 days ago, my wife was taken from a gas station. 27 days ago, my wife was shot in the head and left to die. 27 days ago, I was told that my wife might not make it through the night. At that point, we were 3 days passed 13 months of marriage. These are words I never thought I would ever hear.

Why Kelly? Why my loving, caring wife? You know, I think God is big enough for our questions. I think He is big enough for our anger. I think He is big enough for our fears. 27 days ago, I thought my life with Kelly was coming to an end. I was mad. I was hurt. I had questions that did not have answers. 27 days later, I’m still somewhat mad. I’m still hurt. I still have question that don’t have answers. But that is ok. I think God is big enough for our questions. I think He is big enough for our anger. I think He is big enough for our fears. I’ll never know why this happened. I’ll never know why out of the thousands of people in Winnsboro, that Kelly was the one that this man picked.

That’s ok.

I have seen, first hand, how God can move in the middle of what seems like a hopeless situation. In the days following this horrific incident, doctors were asking why Kelly was alive. Now, they’re wondering why her progress is happening as fast as it is. One of our closest friends, Wes Pierce, posted a status on his Facebook 8 days after the incident. It was simple. It read, “My God is big and you can’t tell me other wise.” I think that sums up exactly what is going on in Kelly’s life. God ultimately has a plan for this situation. I don’t understand it right now and I’m not sure I ever will, but that’s ok. This is what I know. 27 days later, my wife is walking. 27 days later, my wife is moving the left side that the doctors said may never move again. 27 days later, her beautiful smile and contagious laugh are back. 27 days later, my wife is telling me she loves me. 27 days later, my wife is alive. Another close friend of ours, Karl Wiggers, came and visited about a week ago. He told us that his prayer on the way over from Baton Rouge was, “God, don’t let this be a slow recovery. Let this be fast.” As far as I can see, his prayer is being answered. We were told by a nurse practitioner that the staff at MRC sees miracles, but they don’t see them this quick. God ultimately has a plan for this situation. I don’t understand it right now and I’m not sure I ever will, but that’s ok. 27 days later, my wife is alive and on her way to a full recovery.

Tuesday, August 2

Seventeen days ago, my world stopped. I thought I had lost the love of my life. I thought I had lost my best friend. The Lord had different plans. We spent eleven days in the NSICU. There, we made friends that we’ll continue to visit for years. The staff on the fourth floor of UMMC (University of Mississippi Medical Center) is absolutely amazing. We moved to a regular room on 4 south in UMMC. We were there for four days and three nights. We were moved to MRC (Methodist Rehabilitation Center) on Friday, July 29 around 3. Moving to the rehabilitation center thirteen days after this terrible incident blew me away.

The next day, Kelly began rehab. She was on an abbreviated schedule and saw her physical therapist. Alex, her PT, brought her to the support poles. My heart was so anxious to see what would happen. Kelly stood up out of her wheelchair and put her right foot in front of her. I honestly believe my heart skipped a beat. I was worried about what would happen next. Her left side had been immobile for 2 weeks and I was so scared she would be upset. Her left foot rose and passed her right foot. It was not perfect. It shook the whole time. It was beautiful. There are moments in your life that you’ll never forget. This was one of mine. I saw a smile cross her face. I smiled as tears began to fill my eyes. My Kelly was back. She walked down the support poles, sat down in her chair, backed up, and did it all again. Her smile grew bigger and bigger. Monday, August 1, Kelly went back to her PT. He wanted to try something different. He took Kelly to the middle of the hall and stood her up. She walked, with assistance, down the hall. That same “Kelly” smile came back. I know She’s so proud of herself. I know I’m proud of her. Seeing my wife walk two weeks after this incident was amazing.

Kelly also sees an occupational therapist. Her name is Emily. She helped Kelly get ready Saturday morning. This was the first time I saw her move her left leg. This was amazing. Emily took Kelly down to the gym and worked with her. Kelly had a smile on her face. Nothing in this world is better than seeing my wife smile. Monday, Kelly had an assessment test. Emily told us the results and said that Kelly had scored a thirty-six out of thirty-six and she never had someone get every question correct. I thought, “well, I did marry a genius.” I mean, she finished her undergrad in three and a half years after changing her major her sophomore year.

Kelly also sees a speech language pathologist. Her name is Rainey. Kelly loves going to the SLP.  If you didn’t know, Kelly just finished her undergrad in speech language. It’s crazy for me to think that God began this miracle the day she changed her major. Kelly knows exactly what is going on every time she goes into the office with Rainey. She smiles the whole way down the hall because she knows where she is going. Kelly is talking. Her voice is very quiet because of the breathing tube she had for eight days. Her vocal chords continue to strengthen everyday. She’s said my name, told me she loves me, and told me that I’m hovering and I need to go lay down on the couch. That’s my Kelly. She has no slur. She has no stutter. Her words come out perfectly fine, just a little quiet. Last night, her mother and I heard the first word in what we call her strong voice. She was telling her mom about her favorite wrestler, Randy Orton. She likes him because, “he’s good looking.” That’s my Kelly. (By the way, don’t judge us because we watch “good ole wraslin'” from time to time!)

Kelly has made incredible improvements in seventeen days. We were told by a staff member at MRC that they see miracles all the time but Kelly is different. They have never seen this many miracles happen this fast. That’s my Kelly. I’m so very proud of my wife and the fight she has in her.

I’ll never understand why we had to experience this, but that’s ok. We’ve heard stories of people placing their faith in Christ because of this, others faith have been strengthened, others have seen God move like never before. I know that to Kelly, if this happened so that the Gospel could reach people and change their lives, she’s ok with it. That’s my Kelly.

Saturday, July 23

A week makes a huge difference. A week can change your life. A week can bring joy. A week ago, I was told my wife might not survive this tragic incident. A week ago, my world was falling apart. This week, things have changed. If you can see what has happened to my wife and the progression she has made and not believe that God is real and still performs miracles, I don’t know what it would take to convince you.

The past week has been an emotional rollercoaster. There have been ups and downs, but we’ve seen the faithfulness of the Lord. A few summers ago, I thought I saw what His faithfulness was about. This summer I have experienced a different glimpse. When I first heard the news about my wife, my world stopped. I could not understand why this would happen. The Lord always had a plan.

This week, my wife has made improvements that have left doctors clueless. I’m perfectly fine with that. I love that. I love that through this, the Gospel is being shared. Kelly’s life has shown people who Christ is. I am so proud to be her husband.

The progress Kelly has made is amazing. From the start, Kelly was responsive. She could not speak, but she could motion with her right hand. Since Saturday, she has made amazing leaps. Her breathing has become more stable. They are slowly but surely lowering the level of pressure and assistance that the machine gives her. She’s following the commands the doctors give her. She is opening her eyes from time to time. The doctors are telling us all these things are great.

One of the hardest things to watch is when she coughs. I hate seeing my wife struggle against the breathing tube. It’s something that makes me feel helpless because I know there is nothing that I can physically do to help. I step out of the room as the nurses help and I pray. This is one of the most difficult things for me.

Today, a very close friend of ours came to Jackson to see us. His name is Wesley Wallace. He’s been an amazing friend to us. We absolutely love him. We were able to joke around and laugh. We were also able to be serious and talk about the Lord and His faithfulness. I was so encouraged by his words and his friendship. He left Jackson around 10 to head back to Monroe. After he left, I wanted to go check on Kelly. I got to her room and she was coughing. I hated to see it. I walked over to her side. Her eyes were already open. I grabbed her hand and said, “Babe I’m here. Can you see me? Squeeze me hand if you can see me.” I’ve never been so excited to have someone squeeze my hand. I told her that I was right beside her and I was not going anywhere. I asked her to squeeze my hand again if she wanted me to stay where she could see me. Another squeeze. At this point, I’m on cloud 9. My wife knows I’m here and she wants me to stay where she can see me. We’ve been playing some worship music through a speaker for her so I asked her to squeeze my hand again if she wanted the music turned on. Another squeeze. We turned the music on and I asked if it was too loud. Another squeeze. I let her know that I was there, I would be there until she fell asleep, and that all she needed to do was rest. I watched her close her eyes and begin to settle down. I stayed and rubbed her arm until I knew she was back asleep.

This has by far been the greatest moment of my life. The Lord has been so faithful and Kelly has been such a fighter. In the words of the piano player at our church Mary Easterling, “God has already done the miracle, we’re just playing catch up.”

Trials

Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James tells us to count it all joy when we face trials. He’s basically telling us we need to look at trials in the light of what God is doing for us. To respond to difficulty with joy seems a little ridiculous at first. We try to avoid trials for the most part. James isn’t telling us to go through life and these trials with a fake smile acting like nothing is wrong. We can’t always control what happens to us but we can control how we react to them. This joy is different from happiness. Joy is being content in whatever situation that is going on. Basically James is saying that this is more than a feeling. It means choosing to live above our feelings. Trials have a purifying quality. It’s a place where something good develops.

Have you ever looked at the bottom of a rug? It’s ugly. There’s a pattern that doesn’t make sense, loose ends, and yarn everywhere. But the thing is this, you cannot judge the work or the worker by looking at the wrong side. It would be easy for us in a trial to just say I’m done. The reason it’s so easy is because we haven’t seen the top of the rug, only God has.

God’s approval of our faith is priceless because it assures us that our faith is genuine. The result of testing our faith produces steadfastness or perseverance. Perseverance is colored with the idea of hope. The focus isn’t to look at what is going on right now, it’s to look beyond this situation. This isn’t positive thinking but an inner confidence in trusting God through the trial. There’s a story about a man who sees a caterpillar. He brought it home so could watch it come out of the cocoon. The man watched it struggle for a couple of hours as the caterpillar struggled to get through the small opening. It began to seem like progress stopped and the caterpillar was stuck. The man, trying to help the caterpillar, cuts off the rest of the cocoon. The caterpillar comes out easy. It had a swollen body and small wings. The man watched it hoping to see the wings to pop out. They didn’t. The caterpillar spent the rest of his existence crawling around and was never able to fly.

Because the man was impatient, he failed to see that the caterpillar needed to struggle with the cocoon to shape the caterpillar to be what he needed to be in order to fly. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. Depriving him of his struggle, the man deprived the caterpillar of its potential.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need. If God removed the obstacles in our lives, we would never grow.

Perseverance is also a means to an end. We shouldn’t be satisfied with where we are. We should let ourselves grow to our fullest so we can become mature, lacking nothing. Completeness here means maturity. Maturity here has nothing to do with age. It has to do with everything we learn from the trials we face.The complete person is one whose character is fully formed to what Christ wants them to be. God wants us to be perfect and complete after we face a trial.

And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘TheLord is my God.’” Zechariah 13:9

In ancient times when someone was refining gold, they would heat a fire as hot as they could get it and they would put the gold in the furnace. As the gold would start to melt down, black dross and slag would rise to the top and the person refining the gold would use a tool to scrape all these impurities off. After he scraped off the impurities he would put the gold back in the furnace and repeat this process until he could look down and see his reflection perfectly in the gold.

This is what is happening to us now. God is putting us through a process that will strengthen us. He is making us into everything he wants us to be, everything he is calling us to be.

Next time you find yourself in a trial remember that. Remember that you haven’t seen the top side of the rug, remember that caterpillar and that freedom and flight would only come after the struggle and that sometimes we have to struggle. Remember that even though it may seem hard and it feels like there’s flames all around you, the things that are keeping us from being like Christ are rising to the top and He is scraping those things back till he can perfectly see himself in our lives.

Think of the words to that old song.

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy and the hill would not be hard to climb. He never offered victories without fighting but He said help would always come in time. Just remember when you’re standing in the valley of decision and the adversary says give in, Just hold on. Our Lord will show up and He will take you through the fire again.

We have a friend in Jesus. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. When you’re facing tough times, remember that he is making you into everything he sees that you are.

Saturday, July 16th

On July 16th, my life changed forever. We thought it was a regular day. Kelly left for a store meeting at 6:40. She was going to the meeting, to paint for a while, and then pack for Cross Camp. I got up, went to Ezell’s in Wisner. I called my mom and we talked about when we were leaving for camp, how many we were bringing and how great it would be. I got home and tried to start a new TV series. After about 15 minutes, Peyton Sparks knocked on my door. He told me we had to go and that Kelly had been in an accident. We got in his car, drove to Franklin Medical and waited to see what was going on. In a short while, I saw my wife being wheeled in on a stretcher. She looked at me and seemed to say with her eyes, “We’re ok. We’re going to be ok.” I had no idea what was going on. The doctor came out and told us that kelly had been shot. Words can’t describe how I felt. He told us that she was in critical condition and would be flown to Jackson. He told us that she was answering commands. I still had no idea what to say. They wheeled her by us to get her to the helicopter. I dropped when I saw her. I got in the car with Peyton and we drove to Jackson. The ride over felt like an eternity. My Pastor, Kevin Bates, rode with us as well. They did a fantastic job comforting me. We got to Jackson and heard words from doctors that I wasn’t ready to hear. The chance of survival was slim. I was devastated. My pastor pulled me aside and said, “She’s responding to commands, she looked at you in Winnsboro, do not take a death sentence.” I’m so appreciative of my pastor. The next few hours were full of questions. Myself, Lisa (Kelly’s Mom), and Shelby (Kelly’s Sister) had the chance to go look at her again. I couldn’t breathe. I immediately started asking God why. Why my wife? Why Kelly? What has she ever done to anyone? My heart was breaking. The transport team told us they were moving her to the 4th floor to the NSICU. They moved her and we came upstairs. Fear is terrible. Fear tries to grip you and doesn’t let go. Fear tries tells you how to feel. It will do what it wants to do but only if you let it. I got to go see her in the NSICU and there were no words I can say. My wife of thirteen months was fighting for her life. These things aren’t supposed to happen. I came back out and tried to lay down but my mind was racing. Around 3 in the morning I felt hopeless. I know this was an attack from the enemy. I was hearing things like, “You’ve lost her. She’s not coming back. She’s not going to make it.” In the midst of this, the Lord spoke. There’s a song called Great I Am. The bridge says,”The mountains shake before Him.The demons run and flee. At the mention of the name, King of Majesty. There is no power in hell or any who can stand before the power and the presence of the Great I am.” This is so true. When the Lord spoke, the thought stopped. The Lord showed me Philippians 1:6, And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. I just felt like God was saying, “Look Shane, I have the last word. It’s not over until I say it’s over.” There was such a comfort in those words. Since Saturday night, I’ve known that we were going to be ok. The doctors were still saying that we were taking it day by day. The Lord had told me that the battle was already won. Since Saturday, Kelly has made huge improvements. She is following commands and doing what the doctors tell her to do. It is amazing to feel her squeeze my hand. It’s crazy how seeing her hold up 2 fingers makes me so happy. Today makes 6 days that we’ve been here. The doctors have asked how she is still alive, how she is following commands, how she’s responding to what they’re saying. My only answer is that we have a God that is not limited to our understanding. Kelly is a fighter and she has the strength of Christ in her. I’ve played the “what if” game and said if I was in the car it wouldn’t have happened. I don’t know that for sure. What I do know is that my wife wouldn’t have the testimony that she is going to have. Kelly is my hero.

My Job as a Worship Leader

Before I begin let me say that I definitly do not know it all. I don’t even know half of it. I may know a third. That sounds good to me so lets go with that. I believe that the Lord has called me to lead in worship. This is a call that i cannot take lightly. As a worship leader, I’m called to do that…to lead in worship. That being said it’s hard to do some songs. Songs that make people “feel good” aren’t songs that I feel should be sung. Songs that people hear and associate with a positive meaning or thought sould not be sung. To me, each song that is sung during the worship time should bring the members of the congregation closer to Christ through their worship. If we start to do songs becuase people want to hear them or people like them, we’re doing nothing more than putting on a concert to meet the “needs” of our members.