I want to welcome someone really special to the blog today. Back in the 1990’s, God brought Ross and Lisa Johnson to our church to serve as youth leaders. Lisa loved on me and therefore had a big impact on me as I navigated adolescence.
What I remember most about Lisa from those years is her SMILE. She was always smiling. Always. Two years ago, Lisa and her family experienced trauma that no one was expecting. I’ve been following their story from a distance, but recently felt compelled to interview Lisa and hear her heart. I know her heart’s desire has been for Christ to be glorified through her life, and I have watched her smile stay steady even in the midst of this pain. These next two weeks I want you to hear the story of someone who has trusted God’s heart even when His hand is confusing.
Annie: Take us back to that day that changed your life, May 16th, 2015:
Lisa: It started out as a beautiful, sunny afternoon. Our family was invited to a birthday party for Xavier’s friend, Tyler Peretti. The party was held at a park and lake so the kids could swim, jet ski, and families could barbeque and enjoy each other’s company.
Everyone was having a great time. The boys were out on the jet skis having a blast. But not too long after, one boy came back on his jet ski, hollering that Tyler had been hurt. Tyler’s dad went out to check on his son, but rushed back for my husband, saying that our son had been hurt as well.
My younger boys were crying and asking questions, I kept them close and told them everything was going to be fine. I tried not to let the worry and fear show on my face or in my voice. It was as if time had stood still as the rest of us on shore just held our breath, waiting for news about the boys.
Finally, after what seemed a lifetime, we got brief news that Tyler and Xavier hit a boat dock while in a water tube being pulled from the jet ski. Tyler managed to jump off just before they hit and banged up his leg and suffered a few other injuries. But Xavier hit the dock head on.
There are many details that we are still unsure of, but one thing we know is that God protected Xavier’s life that day. When Tyler jumped off the tube, the tube collapsed over Xavier acting as a cocoon and airbag as Xavier hit the dock.
We all knew it was bad. Xavier was airlifted to a hospital.
When we got to the hospital, the doctors informed us that he has suffered severe traumatic brain injury and were monitoring him closely to see if he would wake on his own. They decided to put him in a medicated coma to help his brain not have to work so hard.
Annie: What did the doctors tell you that first week?
Lisa: We were told all kinds of things, like X will never be the same to he could pull thru and make a full recovery. On day four after the accident we were told he might not make it and then he seemed to pull through.
Annie: How has God shown his love and faithfulness to you these last 18 months?
Lisa: I don’t think I could possibly list all the ways He has shown his love and faithfulness to our family. But here are just a few of the ways. God has been a comforter to us throughout our journey. Every time we felt discouraged or without hope, God was there for us in some way. He also used his servants to reach out to us and bless us in many ways.
For almost 9 months our family had meals provided for us. How is that even possible? We still get freezer meals here and there. We had families take our younger children and bless them with outings and trips to the amusement parks and swimming.
We’ve have people donate time and services to our family to help with needs for Xavier. We had our whole community of Land O Lakes do 2 Warrior Run 5K’s for Xavier to help with medical expenses and essentially help us afford a wheelchair accessible van so we can transport him to places.
I’ve also had to take a leave of absence from my teaching career and therefore receive no salary or health benefits (My husband who is a Pastor of a small church plant makes very little, below poverty level, so my teaching salary kept our family afloat). However, by God’s goodness, we have been able to pay our bills and feed our family. It’s been miraculous how He has provided. We are in awe of all He has done and continues to do.
Stay tuned this week to hear more from Lisa and what God has taught her through this trial.