This is an excerpt from my doctoral project (soon to be published) The Seventh Dimension of Leadership. Many years ago, my children and I were living in a housing complex in Indianapolis, IN. In the middle of the night, I instantly awoke and heard, “You shall not die but live.” I started praying and asking God what it meant (Psalm 118:17). A few minutes later, I heard my second son screaming, “Mom, they shot me.” I jumped out of bed and ran to the top of the steps to see my then 19-year old son crawling up the steps and leaving a trail of blood behind him. I pulled him to the top of the steps while believing that the shooters were inside of our apartment. He was ripping his pants down to reveal multiple bullet holes across the top of his legs. Do you remember the church mother’s admonition that above all, I learn how to pray and call on the name of Jesus? I put my hands over the bullet holes and started praying. My son was screaming that he did not want to die, and the scripture that had awakened me became the banner over the situation. In my spirit, I heard, “I will bless the Lord at all times, and His praise will continually be in my mouth.” I strongly advocate that every believer has a scripture that becomes their anthem verse. While there is obviously much more to this story, my son was transported to the hospital. The doctors told me that they would likely have to amputate both of his legs. I am also an advocate that your spiritual anthem should come with both verses and a chorus. The chorus of my anthem is to blurt out, “We will see what the Lord says.” My son walked out of that hospital 36 hours later with both legs that the doctors said would need amputation. He walked out on crutches. He walked out wobbly, but he walked out.
One of the strongest encouragements you will hear from me is to look for the good and believe in miracles. God has a way of showing up and showing out when we least expect it. May I offer a little more detail about the night of that shooting? For some weeks, prior to that night, I had tried to get another phone line put into our apartment. On the day before the night of the shooting, the phone company finally came to install the second line. Earlier that evening, I had started walking toward the kitchen to check the safety bar on the patio door, but “something” in me told me not to worry. I walked away. As my son was crawling up the steps, screaming, I had grabbed the phone from my room and the line was dead. The Spirit of the Lord told me not to worry. As I held my son who had been shot, his brother came out of the back bedroom upstairs and immediately started screaming that he was going to “get whoever did this.” I told him to shut up, go back in his room and call for help. When he came back out, I said, “YOU are going to do nothing. You let God take care of this. How many more mothers have to go to an emergency room or a funeral before someone says stop. I told you to live for justice (explained later in the book).” We found out later that my son had been shot two blocks away. Because he had been shot in his upper legs, he crawled home. He started to hide behind the bushes in the front yard but could hear the shooters looking for him. He crawled to the back and found the open patio door. He tried to use the phone in the kitchen but pulled it and broke the cord (dead phone line). That is when he crawled up the stairs screaming. God had already put pieces of his miracle in place. Let’s go back to the point of him leaving the hospital on crutches and find ourselves in the story.
Sometimes, we walk wobbly, but our focus needs to be on the fact that we are walking. When it seems that something in our life is so damaged that it becomes subject to amputation, we must have a resolve deep in our spirit that defies natural logic and even scholarly information. There must be a spiritual locus of control that takes charge and speaks loudly up over the voices of those who would say, “There is no hope.” In fact, my son was not the target of the shooting. He happened to be in a house where the shooters were targeting another young man, and my son was in the way. Sometimes our life gets in the line of fire for something that was intended for someone else. The damage is real. The recovery time is necessary, but we can hold our head up and know, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD” (Psalm 118:17).