I recently was invited to come in Tunica Mississippi. It’s always a pleasure to travel and meet new people while exhorting them through God’s Word. I am blessed to see the doors God has opened for me through Soul Surfer and also, through the ministry He has allowed me to be a part of here on Kauai. As I travel, I have made lasting friendships and have been touched by so many people as they share their stories with me.
Every trip I take, I look forward to seeing what God is going to do and how He is going to use me. Often I hear stories of tragedy and pain; people looking for a word of hope to keep them going. Sometimes they need a hug or someone to pray with them. Often I am brought to tears by the stories of the pain that is out there! I am always blessed to share the hope we have in Christ and remind people of a promise often forgotten in the storm: Romans 8:37, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” God’s Word is the truth that will get us through our darkest hour.
Mississippi was a bit different from all the other places I have gone; probably because it hit very close to home for me. While there, I met an incredible young lady by the name of Madysen Acey. Madysen, who is now almost thirteen, became a double amputee at the age of ten. In one day she went from being a young girl full of innocence and wonder, to fighting for her life.
While out with her friend Betsy, they found themselves playing on top of a cotton picker (a very large tractor). Madysen lost her footing and to avoid falling she grabbed onto a live electrical wire that was hanging low due to a storm that came through days earlier. She remembered people telling her to not look down and she couldn’t understand why. She said all she could see was black stuff on her arms. She shared how everything after that was pretty much a blur. Her friend Betsy told me that it was like flames shooting through her hands.
By the time she got to the hospital and went into surgery, they had to remove one of her arms at the shoulder. As she was fighting for her life, doctors fought to save her other arm. Within four days her and her mom received the dreaded news. In order for Madysen to survive, they would have to amputate her other arm. After numerous surgeries and skin grafts, Madysen’s attitude, like Bethany’s, seemed to bring so much hope to others. When talking about all who had helped to save her life, she said, “God put them there to save me because he has a plan for my life here on earth. He’s not finished with me yet. This may be a set back in life but thank God for life!!”
There is such beauty in knowing and trusting God in the darkest hour of life. I love how Jeremiah 33:3 puts it, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Bethany’s story and faith had played a role in Madysen’s life and it helped her to remember that God was not done with her. He has a plan in this, as He did with Bethany. Only He knows what the plan is, but as we seek Him, His peace will be upon us. That peace is what came upon Madysen, helping her to cope with losing her arms.
As I sat and talked with Madysen and her mom, Bethann, I was touched by their zeal for life and making it all work! I saw Madysen laugh, play and wrestle with one of the neighborhood kids; her joy is moving. Her mom has such a servant’s heart and it was extremely humbling to see. She has sacrificially given so much for her family and does it all with a smile. Her love didn’t stop in her home; she helped to put together the community outreach I spoke at. Her hope is to share God’s truth with the lost. They are living out their faith and looking to reach out to others while doing so.
God knows what He is doing; He knew that through Bethany losing her arm to a shark, that a young girl would look to her to draw strength in her own storm. He loves us so much; if we would only see that. So often we hold out our arm in a sense to block that love from moving toward us in difficulties, and because we do not understand, we run away. Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” When we allow ourselves to rest in Him, His peace will be upon us. He is never far from those in need. He is always ready to lift us up and help us see.
I look forward to sharing Madysen’s story with others and I look forward to seeing what God is going to do with this young thirteen year old to bring glory to His name as he as with Bethany. Today if you need encouragement and a spiritual hug, look to Jesus. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2Corinthians 1:3-5
Click here for more information on Madysen Acey,