My great niece Piper and I, and her friend Val, were enjoying a girls’ day together. We’d been to my nail salon for their manicure and had wandered in and out of various stores in Orlando’s Fashion Square Mall.
After grabbing a quick lunch, we finished our shopping at Target around 5:00 that Thursday afternoon. We were pleased with how much we’d packed into our day, since the two girls and my nephew Casey were headed back to South Carolina the next morning.
We were talking and laughing as we walked across the Target parking lot, my car already in sight. Suddenly, without warning, my right foot started slipping out of my open sandal. As I stood on my left foot and tried to maneuver my errant right foot back into place, I lost my balance. Without anything to grab hold of, I splashed on to the concrete.
As soon as I landed, both girls and several people from a nearby car quickly surrounded me. “Are you all right?” they yelled at the same time. I stayed quiet. My distorted left hand confirmed I was in trouble. After the group gingerly lifted me up, I steadied my left arm with my right hand.
We were in shock as the girls slowly guided me to my car. “You need to go to the hospital,” Piper said. Her sweet hug kept me from bursting into tears.
She called her dad, who had stayed behind at my house. As soon as Casey heard the news, he immediately grabbed an Uber and headed toward Target. After he arrived and asked me which hospital, he jumped into the car and drove us to the ORMC emergency room.
The four of us huddled together in the crowded ER, listening for my name to be called. The check of my vitals came quickly, soon followed by an x-ray. However, the call to go upstairs to confer with a doctor wouldn’t come until the next morning!
Meanwhile, my little team of encouragers stayed close by me, but we were weary and at a loss for words. As the evening wore on and no news had come, I looked at Casey and said, “You and the girls go out and get something to eat.” My body had put my appetite on hold.
Casey told me he wanted to accompany me upstairs to talk with the doctor. However, when nothing had changed by the time they returned to the hospital at 10:30 p.m., I hugged them goodbye and sent them home to get some sleep before their departure in the morning. I felt lonely without them, but I knew God was beside me.
Casey called me from the house at midnight. His words of endearment and encouragement poured love and comfort into my parched soul.
Then my cell phone died. Fortunely, earlier in the evening my friend Ella happened to call me and discovered I was in the hospital. However, now my lifeline was gone.
After dozing off and on during the long Thursday night, I heard someone call my name at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning. Finally freed from my captivity, I happily followed the nurse to my large room upstairs. Lying flat in a bed never felt so good.
Shortly, the head doctor came in. “After looking at the x-rays of your broken radius and ulna bones, I recommend surgery,” he said. I agreed. Because I had a large room, he and his team set up camp there. After the painful process of maneuvering everything back into place, they created a temporary splint until surgery the next day.
A bright spot came Friday evening when Ella decided to call the ER. They transferred her call to the nurse in my room, who handed me her cell phone. Hearing Ella's voice connected me to life again. Soon after updating her and explaining my dilemma, she walked into my room for a visit, bearing my cell charger.
At 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning, my door burst open and the light from the hallway blinded me. A nurse exclaimed, “We found you a room!” They simply rolled me in my bed across the pedestrian overpass and deposited me in a private room in the Jewett Orthopedic Center.
Later that morning, while being prepped for surgery, the cute staff girl and I carried on a lively conversation until the drug kicked in. Of course, I remember nothing until I woke up in my own room that afternoon.
I though I would be discharged, but because of my low blood pressure, the team decided to keep me overnight. I sighed. Finally, on Sunday morning, after four days of confinement, my nurse wheeled me downstairs and out into the sunlight. Sweet release.
Now, for the most important part of my story: The results of my accident. I sensed the enemy had arranged the whole scenario. He loved putting me out of commission with only one functioning hand and isolated from my friends. What he didn’t foresee, though, was he had opened the way for me to take God into the hospital!
Two women nurses, who came to check on me at separate times, put their hand on my shouder and said, “You’re beautiful.” Now, I knew I didn’t look beautiful after being bruised and battered, my makeup long gone, and sporting a cast and hospital gown.
I smiled and said, “I don’t feel beautiful.” Both of them continued to look into my eyes. My take: they saw a light in me. When we have God inside us, He shines His light through our eyes, our smiles, our countenance. God declares,
You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)
I saw something bright in their faces, too, which prompted me to say, “You know Jesus, don’t you?” Each of them quickly confirmed, “Yes, I do.” A sisterhood was formed. In the hospital. Enemy’s plan? No! God’s plan? Yes! He created a way for the three of us to proclaim we are His daughters and to lift Him up.
God wasn’t finished revealing His plan. Since I was quite helpless after the surgery in the orthopedic ward, God brought me three special helpers—my main nurse, Julia, and her amazing assistants, Remeel and Madeline. They anticipated my every need, came whenever I called for them, and seemed to relish the chance to serve me.
In that atmosphere, we all bonded. Remeel and I had the most to talk about, since he is a Filipino and I lived in the Philippines for many years. When I told Remeel about my relationship with Jesus, he listened; yet, I sensed this was a seed-planting opportunity. I knew God would bring others to water the seeds I'd planted in his heart. On my last morning I had a chance to tell Remeel, "You are the best. You helped me every day and always seemed to know what I needed. Thank you for caring for me.” He smiled.
My young nurse Madeline was only with me for one morning, but her cheerfulness brightened my day. Before my discharge on Sunday morning, Julia, the nurse fully responsible for my care, came to my room. I was already dressed and ready to go and sitting on my bed. She sat down beside me to explain my final instructions. When we stood, she reached for me and said, “I want to hug you because you’re so sweet.”
This team of three was God’s gift to me. I believe my gifts to them were my smile, my personal interest in them, my words of thanks, and my lack of grouchiness, moaning, or complaining. I trust God helped me communicate His love to them. I was excited when God gave me the idea of mailing the three of them a thank-you note to show my appreciation. Surely, that became another touch from God.
God wants us to personally connect with the people we meet, doesn’t He? He will shine His light through us, give us the words to say, and lead us to people who need to know how much He loves them. What a privilege we have to represent our God everywhere we go, even in the hospital.
Where have you been able to shine God’s light recently? Tell us your story below.