Every year family gathers at our house and we have a wonderful time of fellowship, eating (too much) and playing games for Thanksgiving. Our family loves getting together and sharing what we are thankful for. Last year, in 2009, people were thankful for loved ones, friends, family, jobs, health, etc... My mom said she wanted to make an announcement (this was out of the norm), so we gave her our undivided attention as she spoke. She explained that not only she, but my aunts and my grandma had been praying that our generation would see a miracle. They were so used to seeing great things happen during their days of the church, so the women of my family wanted desperately for all of us to experience the same. They wanted us to experience a miracle. Mom gave each of us kids an empty glass jar and a small bag of stones. She explained to us what ‘Ebenezer’ meant and shared with us the story of Samuel. “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us’.” – 1 Samuel 7:12 With each prayer answered she wanted us to mark a stone specifically and place it in the jar. The jar would be one of remembrance and answered prayers. This way if our children one day asked what the stones were for we could get them out one by one and explain the different ways God answered our prayers and showed Himself to us.
Little did we know just a couple days later I would be admitted to the hospital with severe Congestive Heart Failure. On my stones I write a few key words and then write more about what each stone means in a journal.
Stone 1 – 12/2/09: Transfer to Barnes
I had been praying for a new doctor for a while. I was not satisfied with the one I had at St. Johns. They sent me to Barnes because I would eventually need a transplant, but that put me directly in Dr. Ewalds care. He is the head of the Heart Failure at Barnes Jewish Hospital and Washington University. I couldn’t have asked for better care.
Stone 2 – 12/8/09: Defibrillator surgery
Surgery went well. Pain was excruciating but became tolerable after a few days of adjusting medications.
Stone 3 – 12/11/09: Home sweet home
It has just been a few days over a year since I was released from the hospital. I am truly amazed how my life has changed (for the better) in one year. This Thanksgiving was, of course, a thankful one. I told my immediate family I was thankful for “life”, but it meant something different this year. I am thankful for a second chance at living, for donor families who choose to give during their heartache, for family who never leaves my side, for friends who uplift me and for my God who comforts me and who saved me.
“…An Ebenezer is a 'stone of help', or a reminder of God’s Real, Holy Presence and Divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help: the Bible, the Sacramental Elements, a cross, a picture, a fellow believer, a hymn – those things which serve as reminders of God’s love, God’s Real Presence, and God’s assistance are ‘Ebenezers’.” – Dr. Gregory S. Neal