Retreat was so great! I have to say that every year is better and better.
We left Thursday night. It was so late in fact, that C was already in bed. And we didn't arrive at the hotel until after 11pm. No matter, after being put above the very active karaoke bar, it just gave us a chance to catch up with our pianist who attends a different church than we do. (Or in my case, did.)
After some room fiasco, we were able to have great sessions with our speaker, Linda Seaman. She and her husband were missionaries for the Church of the Nazarene in Martinique and West Africa. Now, her husband is the district superintendent of the Michigan district for the denomination.
We've had the privilege of hearing her at retreat four years ago. When she tells the story of her then 17 year old daughter Kendra's terrible accident and subsequent severe brain injury, there isn't any way for me to hold back the tears. It's a story that would give anyone chills. In 1991, Kendra is 17 years old and a freshman in college and is taking a ride with two friends of hers at night. Out of nowhere the car is hit by a what is described as a black monster truck without its lights on. Witnesses to the accident say that there were tire tracks from the truck on the roof of the car that the teens were in. The guy at the point of impact turned his body to shield Kendra and was killed instantly, but saved her life.
Linda describes the next several weeks for herself and her husband in great detail. Kendra spends two weeks in a coma and basically wakes up in the infant stages of life. But Linda and her husband are surrounded by church family who are praying for Kendra on a constant basis, and the Church of the Nazarene as a whole is praying as well. Just hearing the details of what God does to watch over Kendra at that time is heart-wrenching and truly a miracle.
This year, Linda did one better. On Saturday morning, we watched a DVD of some of the highlights of Kendra's time in rehab. Again, an amazing story in pictures of the power of our God and His decision to heal Kendra.
As if that wasn't good enough, just as the DVD ends, I catch a glimpse of a shadow at the door and then a woman comes through the door and I realize that it is Kendra herself. She walks up to the platform and stands at the podium and the whole place erupts. She then without much difficulty, told us the story of what God has been doing in her life since she was able to go home to Michigan.
The summer of the accident, Kendra was six hours short of being a college junior. And it took her four years to finish the last 2 years to her degree, but she graduated from a Nazarene university in 1997.
Since then, she has met and married a wonderful man with four small boys, gotten a drivers license and through the grace of our God, defied every odd that the doctors said that she couldn't.
She describes herself as a "miracle with a limp".
She is my hero.