You've found yourself in a hard place. You are looking for a way out, a purpose, hope through this experience. You are not alone. Others are in hard places too. Others have been in your shoes and have come out the other side. Here are their stories of how they found The Rock in their hard place.
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By Jamie Horning
A year and half
into our marriage, still very much in the honeymoon phase, we were tested on “in
sickness and health” to the most extreme. February 28th 2016, I was shot in
the neck by a stray bullet while sitting at the kitchen island of my mother’s
filled the room. I laid there in a puddle of my own blood surrounded by many
people I love dearly, relying on them to save my life. I laid perfectly still,
paralyzed with fear and mumbled to my mother “take me to the hospital.” No one
understood what had happened, but somehow with such clarity I was able to tell
them “I got shot.” My mother instantly held pressure to my neck wound, while my
husband called 911. My two young sisters screamed in absolute terror until
another friend in the room ushered them away. Blood began to drip off the
counter onto my leg, and time felt as though it froze.
I remember my
exact first thought was I’m going to leave my husband a widow at such a young
age and with no children. We both loved kids and were so excited to eventually
start our own family. My husband is a man of few words, and does not worry
easily. But I saw the fear in his face and eyes as he whispered “I love you,”
we both knew it might be the last time.
I laid there on
the counter and the nurse in me began to assess my possible injuries. I could
still talk and answer questions, so I knew my brain and jaw were intact. I
remember wiggling my fingers and kicking my feet against the counter because of
the pain, this confirmed I wasn’t paralyzed. But I was still fearful my neck
was broken, so I still refused to move. My mom offered to move her hands but I
told her not to move a muscle.
police and paramedics showed up. I was transferred via ambulance to Reading
Hospital. It wasn't until I got inside their trauma bay that I breathed a sigh
of relief that I might actually survive this. Dozens of hospital personnel
swarmed me, running all kinds of tests. We quickly learned my injuries were
extreme and beyond their capabilities. I was then air-lifted to the Hospital of
the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, one of the best neurosurgery
hospitals in the nation. My injuries included a broken neck at the C1 for which
I wore a hard neck collar for 6 weeks. But my more critical injuries were the
unseen extensive artery damage in my neck. It took the doctors days to decide
what to do with me. I remained stable without intervention and I think they
were scared to change that. I eventually underwent multiple angiograms where
they placed a metal coil in the right artery that was damaged beyond repair. I
also received a 3 inch stent in the left artery that had been damaged by the
I spent a very
drowsy 11 days in the neuro ICU, ridden with pain and headaches that were
debilitating. Those days are cloudy to me, but my marriage and relationship
with Jesus Christ were not. All those days, I never once felt alone. My husband
was so present. Every nap I woke up from he was quietly sitting there watching
over me, holding my hand, praying. He never shed a tear in my room, but somehow
remained strong and steady in front of me. As my recovery continued the weeks after
I went home, I think back about how comforted I felt. I remember thinking I
never even felt worried, like I could physically feel the hundreds of prayers
being said on my behalf.
So many parts
of this story, I know God had his hand in. When I laid on that counter fearing
I was bleeding to death, God told me with such clarity that I was shot. He knew
my heart, and how important it was for me to understand what was going on. How
I remained responsive so I could direct my family in caring for me. When my
scheduled angiogram got delayed because of someone else's emergency, it was
because of this doctors discovered the serious arterial damage I had on the
other side of my neck. When I was unable to rest due to the extreme pain and
headaches I experienced, prayer alerts were sent out to hundreds of prayer
warriors. When I chose that seat at the island versus my shorter sister, who
most certainly would not have survived.
recovery took about 8 weeks until I was able to return to work as a nurse. However,
the impact will remain with me for a lifetime. I had to give up some of my
favorite hobbies due to the risk to my neck. But God has blessed me with a
mental strength where I do not suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, or fear.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have my struggles, but I have faith in my future
health. In the past, I struggled with anger and bitterness towards God because
of different situations that have played out in my life. Many weeks after this
event, I remember sharing with my husband how I felt no bitterness, just a
strong sense of gratitude. He then told me how he specifically had been praying
for me not to feel angry about this, another unknown answered prayer.
Our most recent
blessing came to us in June of 2019. After this traumatic accident we feared
biological children would no longer be a part of our story. But after months of
trying, and trusting in God’s timing our sweet daughter Monroe Ava was born via
C-section. Pregnancy will always be a “risk factor” for my health, but we feel
blessed beyond measure to have a healthy baby girl.
Jamie Horning lives in Denver with her husband and young daughter. They enjoy their dogs and raising lab pups together. She now works part time as a labor and delivery nurse at a local community hospital. She spends her time with family, likes exploring new things, loving on her baby girl, and sharing her heart every chance she gets.
This site is a collection of real stories by real people about The Rock in their hard places.
It is curated and edited by Kara Ranck, who is a wife and mother of two children living in Pennsylvania. Kara herself has traveled some hard places in life and knows there is hope and power when we tell our personal stories about The Rock, which brings us through. Thank you for joining us here!
The crime November 3,
1991, was a beautiful fall day—cool, clear, and crisp. After church my brother,
Jeff, and I shoveled down dinner and rushed out the door to play football with
our youth group. Along the way to the game, we picked up some friends. Though
only 17, I thought I was the best driver in the nation as I steered our car on
to a local country road. We crested a
small hill and saw an Amish horse and buggy ahead of us (a common sight in Lancaster,
PA.). I thought to myself, “I’m going to blow by these guys!” I stomped on
the gas, accelerating to 70-75 mph, steering the car into the left lane to pass
the buggy. As we raced closer to the buggy, I will never, ever forget seeing
the nose of the horse turning towards me, and I instantly knew they were trying
to turn. I wasn’t even watching for their turn signal, nor did I see the small
country road they were attempting to turn into. Instinct took
over as I slammed my foot down on the brake pedal. The brakes locked and…
By Amanda Miller One of my husband’s characteristic
sayings is, “What’s the worst that can happen?” It’s meant to dissuade anxiety or
unrealistic worries, and it used to help a little. Until one day, the worst did
happen. Brian was ran over by a
tractor. Actually, he was run over by the
farming implement the tractor was pulling — a 20-thousand-pound no-till drill,
a heavy beast fitted with rows of sharp discs meant to plow through hard-packed
Kansas soil. The tractor kept going, until it
lodged itself in a grove of trees in the middle of the section, a quarter mile
from the dirt road. So by the time anyone started to be concerned at Brian’s
absence, it was already getting dark. I was at work, and normally I would
have tried to be in contact with Brian several times throughout the afternoon
and evening, but I was in the throes of prepping for and teaching a cooking
class and didn’t notice that there was no response to my single text. I had no
idea it had already been almost five hours by…
Alone I stumbled back to IMU to frantically pack up our things; alone I crumpled, sobbing, into a corner in the much-too-familiar ICU waiting room; alone I pleaded for updates while they still wouldn’t let me see Brian.
This was one of the only days I was alone. It feels a little cruel that this of all times was when no one was there with me, but (especially after the fact) I can see the grace in it. In all reality, I was only by myself for a couple hours — the hours of crisis when I had no idea what was happening with Brian or if it was all over. There was no one to distract me, comfort me, strengthen me—no one to lean on but my God. The other crises I always had people to bolster me, but this time I only had God...and he was enough.
Brian made it through the day, and over the next day or two showed small signs of progress — before he started tanking again. His lungs started shutting down, and in a horrible progression he went from room air to a bi-pap mask to the venti…