My times are in your hands.

Psalm 31:15a

“911. What is your emergency?”

“I think my husband is having a stroke.”

So began the latest adventure in our journey. It was not the first time that I’ve called for an ambulance for Mark. I’m always amazed that God calms my heart so that I can function in the midst of the crisis. However, once the ambulance took off for the hospital, I started shaking and knew that shock had hit. I called a neighbor to take care of Parker and headed off. This is one of those times when I’m thankful I can rely on the Holy Spirit to pray for meā€¦the emotions are too great.

En route, I called family and friends to start the prayer chain. Minutes after I arrived in the Emergency Room, friends joined me to sit and wait. Soon four more arrived. I appreciate the example in the story of Job of his three friends sitting silently for a week after his tragedy because they became God-with-skin-on. My friends did the same for me.

Tests and more tests turned up nothing. Mark stayed overnight for observation and more tests. Saturday in a hospital is a slow day and as we waited, I wondered if they had forgotten about us. I played WORDS on my iPhone, kept family updated with texts, read the news. All of a sudden, I caught the headline that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had been shot. In my local Safeway. Where I shop and bank all the time. I couldn’t believe it.

The tech walked in to give Mark an echocardiogram and mentioned that she had driven by the corner where the shooting occured and watched all the police and emergency vehicles crowding the street and parking lot. She noticed a young man, handcuffed, walking to a police car. Turning on the TV in the room, the horrendous pictures of a very familiar corner of our neighborhood splashed across the screen. How could this happen? Why? Who?

Active in politics for years, I’ve arranged many an event much like yesterday’s for the Congresswomen. Security never crossed my mind as a detail. I’m a passionate conservative but violence is never appropriate. Part of our heritage is the opportunity for civil discussion of ideas and the ability to change minds by choice rather than by force. This young man is sick and needs our prayers. His acts of violence and death will ripple through our nation for years to come.

Mark was released in the early afternoon with a diagnosis that he had experienced a possible precursor to a stroke along with possible medication interaction (he takes many!) The doctor prescribed a new medication along with more exercise and good diet. (Parker says, “Yay!”)

As we drove home, I realized God’s protection extended to me, too. It was very possible that I might have been at that Safeway. Instead, I was sitting miles away in a hospital room. This morning, my devotion reads, “One of the main ways I assert My sovereignty is in the timing of events. If you want to stay close to Me, and do things My way, ask Me to show you the path forward moment by moment.”

Our heartfelt prayers are extended to the Congresswoman and all the others involved in the shooting. They are my neighbors in Tucson. We trust God for healing.