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Two by Four

Has God ever hit you over the head with a two by four to get your attention? Well, that’s what happened on the day my daughter was born in Columbus, Ohio.

I had been a Christian since age five. My family was a religious, church-going family and I was very into God until age 18. I did everything during high school – church, youth group, Young Life, Bible study.

But after graduation – nothing! I went on to Seattle Pacific University and studied Biology. But no one invited me to church and I was too quiet and introverted to imagine going by myself. I fell in with students who were rebellious and wild, breaking all the rules. I established a self-destructive path that continued through college, career, marriage, a move to Ohio and my first child – a son.

Then I got pregnant again and was literally sick for nine months. There were no meds to take that could help me. My baby was positioned breech, so I visited the doctor every week. On the fateful Friday in April, the doctor checked me and said, “You cannot pass GO, you cannot collect $200 – you’re going straight to the hospital. You can’t go home.” I was headed for an emergency C-section because my baby was in fetal distress with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.

But, I had a 2 ½ year old son in school. I couldn’t just not show up and get him! My husband was working and going to school. I had no family, no friends, no support. But, the girls at work banded together to take care of my son, saying, “Don’t worry! We’ve got you. We’ll take care of your son.” And they did, until my mom could arrive and take over.

After the C-section, when I was hazily awake on a morphine drip, the doctor came in and told me, “There’s something wrong with the baby. The head is too big. There's a hole in her back and you're going to have to take her to a neurologist. Though, we’re not even sure she’s going to survive.”

I called my mom and I was crying, telling her “something’s wrong with my baby and I’m all alone and I don’t know what to do!” She promised to fly out and see me right away. But first, she made a significant phone call.

The next morning, this man comes walking into my hospital room and I say, “who are you?” He says, “I'm Pastor Doug Olson from Faith Covenant Church.”

I say, “What?!” And he says, “Your mom called the pastor at Highland Covenant in Bellevue, WA, and he called me. He said that you're in pain and you need somebody. You need help.” And so Pastor Doug Olsen sat there and listened and prayed for me and prayed with me.

Pastor Doug was God’s two by four! That was the AHA moment. I’m thinking in God’s direction: I haven't been to church in 14 years, and yet you're doing this for me. That was the moment when everything changed, though I didn’t go back to church right away.

My mom flew out. She stayed with me for eight weeks, took us to all the neurology appointments and all that stuff because I didn't have anybody else. My little girl had so much to battle and so many problems like a case of meningitis when she was five months old. It turned out to be viral, not bacterial, but she stayed in the hospital for ten days, and it delayed her back surgery for a month, which contributed to all her other developmental delays. When we finally could do the back surgery, I was sitting out in the waiting room, by myself, and Pastor Doug walked in. He came to visit and sit with me, and again prayed with me and for me and for us.

At that time, I was thinking: OK, God. I see the point. The pastor never lets go. He keeps being there for me, for us. OK God, I'm going to go back to church. I want to do this.

And that was that. I've never looked back. I got very involved at church. My husband wasn’t a believer, and I had to do it by myself with the two kids. When my daughter was six, I moved back to Washington state and got involved at Highland and then Creekside Covenant, and here I am today.

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