If you have read this blog for long, you’ve been introduced to my daughters, Amanda Dugger and Alycia Neighbours. Alycia has written several blog posts for me, and today you will read another one.
Our family lived alongside Alycia through the stories you are about to read, one 8 years ago, and the other this summer. She has such a powerful way of showing how God works in and through each situation and I know you will be blessed by today’s post:
Yesterday (heck this whole past week) has been a bear. This time of year is always hard as we approach the anniversary of when my late husband took his life. I struggle through all of the emotions and mostly the bad ones.
Yet I still have hope and God always shows up.
I started yesterday not even wanting to crawl from my bed. The sky was gloomy and I was gloomier. I finally got out and headed to the barn, thinking visiting with my horse, Hondo, would help. Two of my friends were there and in no time, they had me totally distracted, laughing and having fun. The bonus was getting to ride one of the beautiful Gypsy Vanner stallions.
I’ve always wanted to ride one, so that was a special treat that was unexpected and a reminder that God can only bless you if you’re willing to crawl from your pit.
As I left the barn, I felt prompted to fill up my tank. I had half a tank of gas but for some reason filled it anyways. It’s a good thing, because right as I pulled from the station, I got the call that Isabella, who was at my sister Amanda’s youth camp in Kentucky with her four siblings, had been injured. The only information I got in that first phone call was that it was bad, real bad, and I needed to choose a hospital that was going to have surgeons (hand and, probably, plastic surgeons). I was going to have to drive over 2 hours to even get there and had no idea what I was walking into. As I looked at my full tank of gas that I was going to need, it was a reminder that although bad things are going to happen, God will help you be equipped and prepared to travel the journey.
As I began heading north, I made quick phone calls to my husband, Brian, my mom, and my best friend. Luckily, or truly, just God’s providence, Brian was working in town and right off the interstate where I was headed. He was able to mobilize in minutes and jump in the van to drive us both up there, which was good, because I was barely holding it together and couldn’t safely drive. My best friend stayed on the phone with me and provided me not only with logical medical advice, but distracted me by talking about art, so I could safely make it to Brian. My mom prayed prayers that put things in perspective. Within minutes my phone was blowing up with calls, prayers and offers from people to help not knowing what we might be facing; proof that God will send people along the way that will love you, support you, take care of your dogs, and just help you feel not so alone in a crisis.
Isabella was injured, but she had an amazing presence of calm and peace.
She was at a camp run by my twin sister and her adult cousins (two of who want to be in the medical field). They constantly kept me updated with info as they had an hour drive to the hospital from camp, and I couldn’t be there. Knowing that my daughter was injured, and not knowing the extent, was hell, but knowing she was also surrounded by family that loved her dearly, kept me from totally breaking down. She wasn’t alone. When I walked in the ER and saw her laughing and joking with family, I was able to breathe knowing that God had ordained every moment of this and had given her a calm spirit, and family, that stayed level headed, humorous, and constant.
She had a beautiful outcome, getting to keep her finger, and the surgeon was amazing. But I know that even if it had been worse, it would’ve been OK. I’m not the same person who walked into an ER 8 years ago and had to immediately start planning a funeral. I walked in yesterday, scared and shaken, but full of hope. This hope has carried me through the past 8 years of being able to see God at work in even the smallest details. It is a hope that says “I don’t know what I’m walking into, but I trust the journey and the One who leads the journey.”
Thank you to everyone for your prayers, support and love.
The same strength and hope is available for you, too, as you claim this truth: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
P.S. This happened the next day to sister Annie, but gratefully it was not as bad as it looks! And 2 out of 5 kids getting injured is still the minority! LOL
You can connect with Alycia Neighbours on FaceBook. A resident of Hendersonville, TN, she’s a wife, mom, writer and quite an amazing artist. She focuses her art pieces to be deeper than just a drawn image. She got her start through illustrating scripture and sermons to help her grasp a simple message through somewhat complex passages. In sharing this type of art with others, she found her God given gift and passion of “sketch-notes”
Alycia has taught several classes to others focusing on hand-lettering, simple images to convey words and how to express what is auditory into something visual. Her sketch-notes and Bible Journaling pieces have been shared nationwide and opens the door for many other opportunities, including special commissions through her ink style, watercolor, acrylics, pyrography, sculptures and crochet.
She enjoys an active lifestyle in nature which she credits to her inspiration for art. Whether riding her horse through trails, kayaking the local lakes, hiking with one of her 4 dogs, tending her mini-farm of goats and one sassy pig; she looks closer to find textures hidden in all that surrounds her. When Alycia is not busy raising her 6 kids at home or off having an adventure with her husband, you can find her busy sketching these images out in hopes of touching more and more people to look deeper.