Graces from Above
Lakeview Village residents took time during this holiday season to share stories of the miracles they have witnessed in their lives.
My Guardian Angel
I was 11 years old when I went to the Lake of the Ozarks with my dad and brother for a family reunion. We were at a lake and I ended up going swimming but went out too far, and I couldn’t swim very well. No one had noticed that I was out there alone. I began to struggle and started going under and felt like I was drowning. Then this beautiful woman put her arm around me and carried me to shore. Her eyes were so blue, her skin glowed, her smile radiated and her voice was so soft and sweet. She said to me as she laid me down, “You’re okay now” and then she backed away and was gone.
My family swarmed around me to check on me and I asked where the beautiful woman was that rescued me, because I wanted to thank her, but no one else had seen her face. My family checked in all the cabins around us, but there was no such person staying there.
I’m 66 now and it’s been over 55 years since that happened, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I will never forget those beautiful blue eyes of my Guardian Angel. To this day, I still pray to God, that I will meet my Guardian Angel in Heaven someday.
My Miracle Every Day: God’s Grace
Some things are too personal to put into writing, but this I can say: It took a miracle for God to get my attention so many years ago. It was October of 1971, just before my 40th birthday.
I had a pulmonary embolism (the kind that is usually fatal), with the blood clot passing through my heart and lodging in my left lung. The clot was so big that it was visible on an X-ray that evening in the emergency room. My diagnosis was either lung cancer or a blood clot. Neither of which were very good.
We were an hour from home visiting friends, so they gave me shots for the pain so that I could manage the trip to a local hospital in a suburb of Chicago. Upon arrival, I was met by my doctor and was immediately sent to I.C.U., where a code blue was necessary on me and the scurrying of nurses!! HORRORS!!! I think I am dying!! The pain was excruciating, worse than birthing labor! My prayer was “Please Lord, HELP! I surrender all of me to YOU. Thank you for being my Lord and Savior! My family is in Your hands, so please take good care of them”. Then I received a Peace beyond all understanding. I said my goodbyes and “I love yous” to my husband and three teenagers, and still that peace was there.
A tumultuous evening followed. I coded five times, with the repeated experience of my body floating down while my spirit ascended toward a HUGE bright light with a long tunnel behind it,that was up in the corner of my room. I had the experience of my life passing before me (like a video!) and it was so wonderful and so comforting. The most memorable experience on that journey toward Heaven was the most beautiful music EVER!! I never did reach the end of that tunnel, and was saddened to return to all the pain and nurses scurrying around.
My husband returned, took my hand and said, “I couldn’t sleep, so I came back”. I could not talk, but could hear him and remember thinking, “I know I am dying but I just want to hear you say I love you”. My parents also arrived making excuses of why they had driven four hours just to “visit” me, and I remember wondering why everyone was so afraid to show concern or even tell me they loved me. I wanted to be able to tell them about the JOY I felt going to Heaven and that I would see them again and to say “please know I love you” as we squeezed hands.
Obviously, I didn’t die then but it was a long road to recovery, with setbacks of a bleeding kidney. Eventually I got off of the blood thinners and even survived a move with our teenagers plus a dog and a cat to St. Louis, MO. I will spare you all of those details but there were more miracles!! The outpouring of love and helping hands was humbling and overwhelming! I can never pay it forward enough and I am thankful every day for His Amazing Grace!!
P.S. Soon I will experience another of His many miracles……great grandchild number 3!
Miracle on a Cottonwood Cul-de-Sac
It is a tradition on Christmas to stuff the turkey with a giblets dressing,a recipe passed down from my mother to my wife Mary. The aroma and taste cannot be forgotten and is requested from year to year. An extra packet of hearts, gizzards and any other edible internal parts was purchased with the fresh bird.
When Mary needed to grind them, she asked me to bring the grinder up from the basement. Not being able to find it, I become exasperated and disgusted and started slamming the cabinet doors, because I know I had brought it down last year and now I couldn’t remember where I put it. I thought for sure I had put it into our tall metal cabinets, but it was not there. Having stored several decorative metal tins on top of the cabinets, my vigorous reaction caused a small tin to fall, hitting me on my head, then it crashed to the floor. When I picked it up and put it back on top of the cabinet, there right next to it was the grinder. Thank goodness the grinder didn’t fall on my head, because the cast iron grinder was very heavy!
When I took a second look at the tin, it seemed to say “You dummy, why you didn’t look up here in the first place is beyond me. Do you always need a miracle to get things done?”
Many people don’t believe in miracles, but they occur whether you believe in them or not. I know, because they happened to me.
The first major miracle was when I was 10 years old. I was in a sledding accident, where I was impaled on a dirty stick, which ran through my body, puncturing all my intestines and lodging next my spine. Through a mistake, I was taken to a doctor’s office, rather than to a hospital. As I lay on an examining table in the corner of the office, I appeared to be unconscious, but I could hear the doctor tell my father, “There is nothing we can do to save his life. Infection will have already spread throughout his organs from his punctured intestines, his condition is hopeless, but we should take him to the hospital and try anyhow”.
Hearing that, I could feel my life flowing out of me. When they operated on me later that night, they found they were faced with a hopeless situation. In those days, miracle drugs such as Penicillin had not yet been developed, but there were miracles. God’s miracles! They were made available to me through my mother’s prayers and through the prayers of the Elders of my church, who came to me that evening, poured oil on my head, laid their hands on my head and asked God to heal me. This is as the Bible tells us to do in James 5:14. Instead of dying that night, God touched me and healed me. The next day I was very weak, but ready to sit up and be on with my life. But at 10 years of age, I didn’t yet understand what God had done, or that with God all things are possible. If you were betting against my survival, you would have bet on 100% against my recovery. However, God can operate against the odds and He did in my case. He obviously had other plans for my life. Included in his plan are four remarkable sons, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Where medicine could not succeed, God could. And he chose to save me for his own purposes – the most obvious purposes would unfold through my sons and grandchildren in future years. The world will be a better place, because God let me live so those sons and their children could be born to help make it a better world.
For the second major miracle, in1958, I was miraculously healed again. I had been stricken with crippling rheumatoid arthritis in my back, hip and foot. I was in great pain, could not walk without a cane and always wore a heavy back brace to keep my back from bending, because of the pain. While I did not yet understand that God was ready and eager to help me, God had blessed me with a wonderful wife who did understand and who prayed for me unceasingly. After three years of agony, when the arthritis would not respond to medical treatment, it left me suddenly, permanently, and inexplicably over the Christmas week in 1958.
After that, I finally realized where the solutions and the power lay.
A third major miracle occurred in 1993. I was with a group of short-term missionaries in Russia shortly after the Soviet Union fell apart.
On a morning in April, at eight in the morning, in a high school auditorium overflowing with smiling teenagers dressed in bright colored jackets, we were to address about our faith.
I had accompanied two others of our group who were accustomed to speaking about and publicly sharing their faith. They had prepared speeches. I was only prepared to participate in the question and answer session after their presentations. At this point in my life, I had never shared my faith publicly, except to small groups. Contrary to our experience on previous days, after our two speakers were finished, there were no questions; only silence – total eerie silence. We weren’t prepared for that awkward situation. We hadn’t talked about such a possibility and I didn’t know what we should do. However, as I sat studying the faces of the hundreds of Belarusian high school students in front of me, I bowed my head and asked God to give me words to reach the minds behind those bright, eager faces waiting for us to say something more meaningful to them. Tears came to my eyes as I asked God if he wanted to speak through me. I said, “If You have a message for them, I will be glad to try to deliver it for you. If you wish, use my voice to make a difference in at least one mind and heart in this huge assemblage of students. I have no idea what you would want to say to them, but you do.”
This was our first chance to share our faith with such a large group of people and at that point we were failing. Suddenly, I felt myself actually lifted and walking toward the podium, I had no idea what I was going to say, but I was surprisingly calm and at peace about it. After all, it was God’s problem – not mine. I was the last chance to achieve a response for Him that morning, and I was totally unprepared. I didn’t have a speech to give, I didn’t know what to say, but God wrote a message and instantly installed it in my mind. I know now that God choose to use the Holy Spirit to speak through me, by simply using my mouth, but His words. He placed me mentally in the seats of those high school students, so I could understand what they needed to hear. He gave me the words to use, and they touched their minds and their spirits. I don’t know what I said, but He does. Within moments after I finished His message, the mass of students were smiling, laughing, and jumping to their feet to ask questions about my Christian faith, about living in America, about my family, and playfully asking whether I would adopt some of them and take them back with me. At the end, I jumped down to the floor to give and receive hugs as they filed by me to leave the auditorium. The two principle speakers just sat and watched in amazement. It was a truly unbelievable, life changing experience for anyone’s lifetime. One I never expected to experience and one few people may ever have the pleasure of feeling, but one for me to grow from even further in the future. My two fellow speakers were astounded and wanted to know how I did it. I told them, “I didn’t do anything. God did. I am as surprised as you. He just spoke through my mouth. I don’t even know what I said.
Do I believe in miracles? I surely do! I am a slow learner, but not that slow.”
My miracle is Dutch Dalke.
I was going through a long, drawn-out, devastating divorce, and I felt like my life was ended. I would be alone and looking for a job and a place to live. My ex-husband and I had established a successful printing business, and we lived in an apartment above the business.
A lady who worked in our print shop suggested I go to Tuesday night Singles meetings at Village Presbyterian Church. I went, reluctantly at first, because I considered Kansas to be like a foreign country. I had always lived and worked in Missouri. But there I met Dutch, and we gradually got to know each other on Tuesday evenings. Dutch came from the southwest in Olathe, while I came from the opposite direction in a bad section of Kansas City, Missouri. I truly believe this was a miracle that God provided for us, for we would never have had a reason to meet otherwise.
We were married about 10 months later and bought a house in Overland Park where we lived for 26 years, joined Village Presbyterian Church and traveled extensively.
Then we moved to Lakeview in 2006, and Dutch passed away in 2014 in the Care Center here at Lakeview. I really miss Dutch, but I have many wonderful memories and a nice place to live at Lakeview in the great state of Kansas. Thank you, God!
My Life’s Miracles
It was the fall of 1962 and I was crossing over a ditch on the way to our car, while carrying our 10 month old son, when he suddenly lunged forward when he saw his daddy. So as not to drop my son, I fell backward so I wouldn’t fall on top of him and landed quite hard on my back. Right after that fall, I started having trouble walking. The doctor felt it was the fall that injured my back, but the pain increased and I had trouble walking forward usually going sideways and often even backwards.
I was admitted to a small hospital in Red Cloud, Nebraska where they put me in traction. I was beginning to have a feeling of pins and needles in my legs and by morning that same feeling was in my fingers and arms. The feeling was progressing and I was struggling to move. Friends came to call that morning and found me with no makeup and my hair wasn’t combed, which was unusual for me. The breakfast tray was untouched and I could not move my arms or legs and I could barely speak. The nurses told my friends that I was just being stubborn, but my friends knew better. They got ahold of Jim, my husband, who called the doctor. Jim convinced them that something was really wrong and so they did a spinal tap and found a virus in my spinal fluid called Guillain-Barré Syndrome. I was put in an ambulance and taken to Lincoln, Nebraska. Jim called his folks in Mulvane, Kansas and they came and got our son Mark. My mom got on a bus from Wichita right away to join me in the hospital.
The doctors were very concerned as the paralysis continued. They told my mom and Jim that I probably wouldn’t make it thru the week. (I didn’t know this until later.) During all of this my prayers to God were for help and to be in His will. I never felt afraid, which I knew were from my prayers. I knew God was giving me the peace, but I knew Mom and Jim were very concerned. The week passed and everything but my heart and lungs lost function. My speech was slurred as my tongue wouldn’t move. My parents had me transferred by ambulance to Wesley Hospital in Wichita to be closer to Mulvane so that Jim wouldn’t have to decide each weekend which direction to go. The doctors told us this was the most severe case Nebraska and Kansas had ever had that lived.
Wesley started physical therapy immediately and over time, by the Grace of God, in the next 24 hours I was weaned off of morphine. It was an intense challenge back to health, especially when I was supposed to die. But I am sure that my healing was one of our miracles granted by God.
Miracles Part 2 – Our son Ron is a series of miracles. Our first miracle was when he was 22 months old he had gotten the flu. He was sleeping but then woke up and went into the big room and laid his head on the bed and our son Dale thought he had fallen back to sleep, so he called to Jim who saw he was turning blue. At the time, I had two students who were in the music room taking piano lessons from me. Jim had started compressions and I immediately called 911. The father of my students was outside in the driveway and he came running in and asked if I would like his wife to come (she was a leading pediatrician in Johnson County). Ron took his first breath as she and the ambulance arrived. She offered to ride in the ambulance to Shawnee Mission Hospital. Who knew that we would have a pediatrician at our side in an emergency? Our Doctor joined her in the Emergency Room and they conferred that since it was his heart that was the issue, they sent him to KUMC where he was admitted into the new Pediatric ICU. We were told that one of us had to be in the waiting room at all times. Jim went to find us some food and while he was waiting at the elevator, the doors opened and a former student of Jim’s was coming out of the elevator. Lonnie was now a pediatric resident and was assigned to Peds ICU for the night. What a gift it was to have a friendly familiar face to help our son and give us updates all night long.
As his heart kept getting weaker, they placed a temporary pacemaker in his body. The pacemaker kept him alive for the next few days. He was tested each morning about 7:30 a.m. when they turned off the pacemaker to see if his body would take over. I wouldn’t. During this time, there were lots of prayers being said from all faiths from all over the world for Ron’s heart to beat again. Sunday came and the staff didn’t get to test Ron’s heart until 11:00 and Praise God, it started beating slowly on its’ own. Now they knew that a permanent pacemaker needed to be placed in his body. In 1970 pacemakers were the size of a hockey puck, so it was placed just above his waist. We almost lost Ron a couple of times from wires breaking, rejection infection, etc. We spent 90 days during the first year in and out of the hospital. He is now a very active 49 year old husband, father and a charge nurse at SMMC with several new updated pacemakers to his credit. (He was the third child to get a pacemaker at KU and the one before him was girl that lived six blocks from us.)
Ronnie’s second miracle happened when he was 16 and jumped on the back of a car like silly teenage boys do when celebrating the first place win of the band, and his friend pulled out quickly throwing Ron off the car and hitting his head. He was in a coma for three days with a concussion and lost his hearing in one ear. Again, God answered our prayers and kept Ron safe as he coded blue three times in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
The latest miracle happened last February when Ron lost hearing in his good ear. There was no known cause and the doctor gave him a 0 to less than 25% chance of hearing again. They tried injecting medicine into the ear but it wasn’t working. It seemed to be destined that Ron was never to hear again, when one day he was watching a basketball game with his brother-in-law Wayne when his brother shouted out to the refs for a bad call and Ron could suddenly hear for the first time. When they went to see the doctor, he was so shocked that he declared “It’s a miracle!”.
Through all these trials and tragedies we continued to pray fervently along with our family and friends. I believe that God has answered our prayers by blessing us with these miracles.
Tragedy to Joy
In 1984 my husband, Jim, had surgery on his cervical spine to put a drain in a fluid filled cyst surrounding his spinal cord. We and all our family and friends were praying hard for a good outcome. Because the surgery was at the University of Chicago Medical Center and the head surgeon was a teaching professor of neurosurgery, we felt confident that the surgery would have a good outcome.
After the surgery I went into the ICU and saw that Jim had apparently made it through the risky surgery in good shape. He was waking up and could talk and respond to directions. The doctor asked him to move his hands and wiggle his toes. He responded well and I breathed a prayer of thanks. Then Jim said “Am I moving my toes and my legs? I can’t feel them.” The doctor and nurse just looked at each other and I had one of the worst moments of my life. I knew something was terribly wrong.
The staff rushed me out to the Doctor’s conference room and I think they gave Jim some medicine to keep him calm. I was alone in the room and the tears came. I prayed like I never had before. I knew both our lives had changed forever and I was fearful we wouldn’t be able to handle the challenges to come. I prayed that the problem was only temporary, as the doctor had said it might be, but somehow I knew it was going to be permanent. Suddenly I had the clearest impression of a voice in my head saying “It’s ok. You’re going to make it and you’re going to make it together.” I knew this was the answer to my prayer, but it wasn’t the one I wanted.
Jim learned to walk again with two footed canes, but he was never as good physically as before the surgery and it did not slow the progression of his disorder. I remembered God’s answer, but our faith was still deeply challenged that year as we both learned to deal with all the changes in our lives.
One Sunday our pastor preached on II Cor. 12:7b-9 in which Paul writes “There was given me a thorn in my flesh,. . . to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Jim accepted this as the Spirits’ answer to him and he spent the rest of his life doing everything he could to glorify God through his physical weakness. We were told that the fact he hardly ever missed church was an inspiration to others. He challenged three of the churches we were members of to improve their finances and complete building programs. As a Deacon he counseled many people.
Don’t misunderstand; we still had our down times, too. Sometimes we were angry and sad, but there were also many happy, fulfilling times. We didn’t get the miracle of healing that we prayed for, but we did get the miracle we were promised. God helped us through all the rough spots and we did make it together for the next twenty-five years, with the Holy Spirit guiding and comforting us. That miracle turned a tragedy into many occasions of great joy.