Rochelle Ruiz ~ The Christmas Miracle {Story 21 of 30}

It was December 24th, 2010, Christmas Eve, when I sat in that dimly lit room, in a chair I had pulled as closely as I possibly could to the side of my husband’s hospital bed.  My arms were wrapped around his cold legs because they were the only part of his body that wasn’t strung with tubes or crowded by machines working to support his comatose body.

Worship music I had requested be continually playing in his room helped to soften the rhythmic sounds of the breathing machine, beeps from empty drips, and regular announcements over the loud speaker.  Worship had gotten us through other challenges in our 21 years of married life together, and I knew that if my husband could hear anything, he’d want to hear worship. God had given us the blessing of being able to lead worship together as a couple and it was one of our passions. Our eyes are off of our circumstances and on God in worship.

The circumstances were serious.

On the evening of December 21st my husband had suffered cardiac arrest while playing basketball in our church gym. At least 45 minutes had passed since my husband collapsed when the girls and I finally made our way over the icy roads to him. We felt a sense of urgency to pray for him when we arrived at the church.

We could see my husband lying on the gym floor when we entered the building. Paramedics and brothers in the Lord surrounded him. Later we were told they had already shocked him three times before we arrived…still no heartbeat.

My heart raced and I felt something rise up in me. I knew  God still had things for him-for our family- to do. I felt moved to go to him and speak life and breath over him in the name of Jesus.  The medical team decided to shock him again…and after that, I heard someone say, “We have a pulse.”

He was airlifted to the hospital. When I arrived I was told that only 10% of people who suffer from a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive, and those who survive usually have serious complications. I had been warned, as they put his body into a cool-down induced coma, that because of how long he had gone without a heartbeat, he would likely have brain damage. The nurse had instructed me to be ready with plans in the event he didn’t make it.

I understood how serious it was, yet I had peace and even hope because of who our God was and who He had proven Himself to be in our lives. He had moved many mountains; He had healed; He had delivered; He had saved. He was Our Awesome God!

So I was trusting.

Life’s challenges allow room for God’s miracles. I had surrendered the whole situation to God and trusted Him, no matter what happened. I do remember, however, asking him to allow our family to see as many miracles as possible through whatever challenges lay ahead of us. It was my desire that our girls would see that even when there are extreme challenges, God is faithful and good.

As I sat there next to him on December 24th, I realized that the next morning my husband would be taken off  the medications, machines, and pumps so we could, as the doctors had told me, “See what we would get.”  Those words were ringing in my head as I considered what we might face the next day. Prior to this, I had not wanted to allow the possibility of anything other than a complete recovery come to my mind.

So there we were. I was grateful that as a couple, we had tried as best we could to honor and appreciate  one another. I don’t think one day in our married life had gone by without a verbal expression of love for one another. Our lives were rich from “making memories” as we always called it.

But I wanted more time with him.

I wanted more adventures with my best friend.  I wanted  a daddy for my girls. I wanted to laugh, dance, and make music together again as a family. I didn’t know “..what we would get..” in the morning, but if  these were our last moments together, I didn’t want to leave his side.

Suddenly something stirred within me….this was Christmas Eve. The next morning was Christmas! Our friends had taken our girls home with them for a Christmas Eve celebration, but the reality that the next day was Christmas just then hit me. Wouldn’t it be just like God to raise up my husband on Christmas? I realized if that was going to happen, I needed to be rested and ready to greet my husband when he woke up in the morning.

So what happened the next day?  The Christmas Miracle of 2010!  It wasn’t hours, days, or months before my husband woke up, as we had been warned.  It was minutes…a complete miracle!

The next few days were busy ones as we moved from one miracle to the next.  I don’t know or understand why God heals one person and not the next, but I do know that for some reason my husband was touched, and we were given the gift of another day of life together. We were  rejoicing as my husband passed all physical and neurological tests, proving that his brain was fine. The doctor was trying to stump him with questions about his past, dates, basketball teams and such, but he passed them all.

Since that Christmas of 2010 there are three things I have tried to do. First, I try to cherish every day we are given as a gift, because it is. Second, I try to tell those I love how much they mean to me even if I look foolish.  And third, I try to embrace the challenges that life brings knowing that it is in those sometimes desperate moments where we see God’s greatest miracles.

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Rochelle lives in Nisswa, Minnesota, with her husband, John Paul, and daughters Brianna and Matteya.

John Paul and Rochelle were brought together by their common love for music and their love of God; a love that has only deepened as the years have passed.  They are both known for their sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit as
they minister as worship leaders, through concerts, and evangelistic outreach and speaking to groups about the passions that are dearest to them, such as Deeper Intimacy with God, Worship, Becoming Who God Made You to Be, and Home Schooling.

You can contact Rochelle via email:  JohnPaulandRochelle@JohnPaulandRochelle.org or ruiz@tds.net

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I met Rochelle through my friend, Marla.  This quote from her story captured me immediately: Life’s challenges allow room for God’s miracles.  Over the past 21 days, I’ve emailed or chatted with many who struggle with the suffering in the world.

Bad things happening to good people.

But, what I love about each story is seeing how life’s challenges – all of our suffering – allows room for God’s miracles. As Rochelle wrote,  “I try to embrace the challenges that life brings knowing that it is in those sometimes desperate moments where we see God’s greatest miracles.”

Today, I pray you embrace the challenges.  Take hold of each challenge and see it as an opportunity to grow closer to Christ.  See it as a chance to witness a miracle, a life change, or a much-needed lesson.

In our weakness, He is strong.

 

Comments

  1. So amazing. I hope your family has an extra special Thanksgiving together this year.

  2. AnnMarie Dixon says:

    Thanks for sharing your story Rochelle. This story shows that God is real and miracles do happen. We need to let go and let God. Give Him all our situations and trust in Him. Once again thanks.

  3. Beautiful, with a sweetness of grace. I am so captivated and in love with our King. Thank you Rochelle for your continued faithfulness.

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