Memorable Ministry Moment #3

In honor of Pastor Appreciation Month, some memorable ministry moments:

The third incident took place on one of the scariest days of my life.  It was February, 2011.  I was home with Laura Marie.  Her grandparents, Steve and Linda Doherty, were visiting.  Laura Marie was sick and had been to the doctor just that morning.  It was around noon, and I was feeding her lunch as she sat in her highchair.  Since she had been running a fever, it was a great relief to me that her temperature was normal when they checked it a couple hours before at the doctor’s office.  Because Laura Marie had a febrile seizure about six months before, we always kept a close eye on her temperature, and it was very stressful whenever she was sick.  On this day, I decided to check her temperature as she ate lunch.  It registered 104.4.  I didn’t see how that could possibly be right, so I checked my own temperature.  Normal.  I checked Laura Marie again.  Still 104.4.  My heartbeat spiked just as my daughter’s temperature had.  I distinctly remember telling Steve and Linda, “I’m really surprised she hasn’t had a seizure.”  About two seconds later, her eyes rolled back in her head and it began.

Memorable Ministry Moment #3: Steve and Linda carrying me through the scare of my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter’s second seizure.  With one finger I scooped out the strawberry she was eating, while the other hand unclasped the straps holding her in her highchair.  I carried her into the living room and laid her down sideways on the floor as she convulsed and stopped breathing.  Steve called 911 and kept them on the line as I performed CPR on my baby girl.  Meanwhile, Linda gathered some things for Laura Marie so we would be prepared for her ambulance ride and short stay at the hospital.

The ambulance arrived in literally about three minutes—the first responders in Ocean Pines are truly amazing!  As I clutched onto Laura Marie during the ambulance ride, I remember telling God that I was not going to be okay if I lost her.  (I was still panicked by how quickly her temperature shot up, and I didn’t know how high it might go.)  But I was not the only one on the line with Heaven: Steve and Linda were praying, too, as they followed right behind the ambulance.

Once we arrived and Laura Marie was tended to by Dr. Jeff Greenwood—a wonderful physician who suffered from febrile seizures as a child—Linda stayed with me at the hospital while Steve picked up Carolyn from work and brought her over.  Dr. Greenwood took great care of Laura Marie, answered our questions, and offered encouragement.  And we brought our baby girl home, where it was another day or so before her temperature stayed consistently below 103.

Every day throughout the rest of the week, Steve and Linda found some excuse to stop by… always around lunchtime.  They didn’t need an excuse, of course, but they wanted to reassure Carolyn and me by not admitting they were checking on the baby.  Every single day, they just happened to be in the neighborhood (about 45 minutes away from Steve’s office), or we had left something at their house (and the junk mail that had come two weeks before with Carolyn’s maiden name on it just couldn’t wait), or Steve had to bring me a copy of a great article he’d read.  No matter how crappy Laura Marie was doing, Steve and Linda assured us that she looked great and was acting like her normal self.

Their ministry to Carolyn and me throughout that whole period was helpful in a way I could never express.  But the part I will always especially remember is that when it happened, they were there.  And they knew just what to do.  If they had not come by that day, I would have been alone when it happened.  My mind won’t even let me go down that road.  A truly unforgettable ministry moment.

By the way, some good and bad came out of this experience.  The bad: My mother-in-law now shares our seizure-related PTSD issues.  Ever since then, whenever Laura Marie gets sick, the anxiety strikes Linda.  The good: I am now basically required by law (mother-in-law, that is) to notify Linda every time Laura Marie gets sick.  Why?  Because she prays.  No ministry is greater than that.

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Published in: on October 29, 2013 at 7:17 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for writing this; not only a touching story but a beautiful tribute to the enormous love Steve had for his granddaughter. As a side note, Grandma has gotten smart enough to pray for Laura Marie’s health EVERYNIGHT—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! :).

  2. Well said, Linda! Thanks 🙂


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