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Words of Life

Waiting on the Lord

By Linda Barrick November 23, 2014 Words of Life

Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Barrick was the daughter parents dream about: a varsity athlete and cheerleader; a healthy, happy girl with a loving heart. And if the Barrick family had left church even one minute later that night, everything might have stayed the same. 

But in a moment, a drunk driver careened into their van at eighty miles an hour. The entire family was seriously hurt – but Jen’s injuries were so devastating that the paramedics thought she had no chance to live. 

As Jen lay in a coma for five weeks, her parents, Andy and Linda, pleaded with God to heal Jen from her severe brain trauma – to let their daughter be “normal.” When Jen finally awoke, however, it became clear that normal would have to be redefined. 


There were times when I wished we’d all gone to heaven that November night. Our serene, content life as a family seemed pretty much over. We’ll never know peace again, never know contentment, never know relief from pain and misery and worry. 

Then a smile from Jen, or a word, or her laugh would bring me out of the darkness for a moment. One day she was dancing around the room as she sang praises to the Lord. 

“Jen, what do you think about when you’re praising the Lord?” I asked. 

She gazed at me with a far-off look and said, “When I praise God, I feel His presence. I feel so close to Him. I raise my hands and I want to touch the hem of Jesus garment just like the woman in the Bible. I long for the day when Jesus will look at me and say, ‘My child, your faith has healed you.’ That’s what I’m thinking about when I’m singing.”

I, on the other hand, felt nothing! I knew I was a Christian. I knew I loved the Lord. But something was wrong with me. I felt completely dead inside. 

Later that day Jen was taking a nap. Andy wasn’t home from work yet, and Lisa was away. It was the first time I can remember being by myself since before the accident. Overcome with emotion, I shut the door to Jen’s room and collapsed on the floor at the top of the stairs. I got on my face and confessed my thoughts to the Lord. I didn’t know what else to do. As I lay there, I didn’t hear an audible voice in the room, but I heard God speaking to my heart.

Linda, do you love Me as much you love Jen? 

Lord, You know I do! 

In that instant I realized that at the root of our greatest fear is often something we love more than God. I didn’t want to love Jen more than I loved God. I didn’t mean to do it, but my priorities said otherwise. 

Then you have to stop being consumed with trying to fix Jen. I don’t want you to be consumed with anything else but Me. I want to be your number one obsession. 

Jen is mine. You have to let go and trust Me. 

My heart was so worn and raw. I tried to express my thoughts in my journal, crying out to the Lord for help and direction: 

The only way to survive is one day at a time. When I rely on my own strength, I am a basket case, a mental and emotional mess, and I haven’t even begun to process what has happened to our family. It is a nightmare that never ends. Nothing is normal. My whole life is consumed with wanting Jen back to the life she had. My only hope is in God alone. I have to believe God loves her so much more than I do and that He is going to heal her exactly the way He wants. And she will be better than before in His eyes. 

God knows my pain. He alone understands my struggle. He is not overwhelmed by my feelings. Lord, I’m right here where You want me and there’s no way out. I don’t want to miss one thing that You want to teach me. Lord, help me to recognize Satan and rebuke him. I am just going through the motions. I am numb. My heart is broken for Jen that she would have to go through this. My heart is aching for normalcy. I refuse to believe his lies anymore. Lord, give me your heart and re-wallpaper my mind with the truth of your word. 

Sometimes I’m in a dream. I can’t allow my heart to feel. I can hardly sing praises anymore. I want to run and hide and wake up when it is over. I am obsessed with laundry because it is the only normal thing I can do with one hand. Forgive me for focusing on Jen instead of you. Satan accuses me daily and makes me feel inadequate, like I have failed in helping Jen. I didn’t do all I could have to help her brain heal quicker. Satan wanted to destroy me but he could not keep me down. To God be the glory! 

Father, I admit I have never wanted to pray for faith. I have never wanted to go through bad times. This is worse than my wildest nightmare. I can’t fathom Your ways. I can only say, “I surrender all.” I have no feelings, only paralyzing anxiety and Satan’s lies of condemning thoughts. I torture myself with second guessing. Have I done everything right today? I should’ve done this differently! I should have, I could have, I didn’t. Obsessing about “I” is going to lead to my emotional and spiritual destruction. 

Andy is constantly reminding me that God is going to heal Jen exactly as HE wants her to be. We have to wait on the Lord. 


Watch Linda and Jen this Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Miracle For Jen by Linda Barrick. Copyright ©2012 by Linda Barrick. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Used by permission.

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