Grace Episcopal Church
Testimony - Katie Miller
Last year was undoubtedly the hardest year of my life. To set the stage, I moved from Manhattan to Ocala, had a second child (a beautiful daughter), my husband and I purchased our first home, and I began a remote career. Many of those moments are blessings but they brought stress to my life as does two children under two and a lot of change does to any family. Manageable stress until the day came and my dad called me to tell me that my mom, who had been fighting COVID, would be going on a ventilator. To say I was devastated, terrified, frantic is an understatement. I am the youngest of three and my mom and I have always had a deeply close relationship. She is the person I call when I need advice, to reconfirm her famous recipe for pot roast, ask her opinion on a piece of furniture for my new home, or just share the latest with my life. We talk every day and always have from the moment I left for college. She is and will always be my best friend.
My mom was put in a medically induced coma on September 23, 2020 and intubated. Two weeks in, she was on 100% oxygen, in the prone position (this means on her stomach paralyzed to reduce pressure on the lungs), and the doctor was giving us a very bleak outlook. I distinctly remember being on a three way call with my Dad and the Doctor
saying if things didn’t improve ‘we would need to make a very difficult decision in the coming days’. A week later, she was in kidney failure and needed to be on continuous dialysis. Her lungs were so riddled with pneumonia, she ‘would never regain a normal life due to the scarring’. We waited anxiously chest x-ray after chest x-ray praying for improvement. A week after that, she was diagnosed with a mini stroke and we were told she may never wake up. A week after that, her breathing had improved but she hadn’t responded to any verbal commands or moved her limbs indicating potential brain damage. I spent days traveling back and forth to Virginia (my home state) to be with my family and countless hours on the phone with doctors. My dad describes it best - we were battling windmills.
I can’t say I am a perfectly devout Episcopalian. I know many of you haven’t met me or seen me at Grace Church (if you have I’m the one with the two young children making a racket during the service). What I can say is that I have always carried the faith of God in my heart. I have lived with a blind trust in God that most people fear. And there were so many moments through the last year where I saw God’s grace at work. I had moments where I saw His timing. Had my mom been sick six months earlier, the doctors and nurses wouldn’t have known the unique treatments it takes to care for a COVID patient. They wouldn't have seen have seen early stages of kidney failure and known how to react immediately. They wouldn’t have known that prone position is immensely important for patients with COVID pneumonia. We had some good nurses and some less patient and caring nurses but I knew my role was to love them and help them know the love I had for my mother and to pray with them. All God’s beautiful plan. I never once doubted my mom would come home - which may sound like something people say but I truly knew she’d come through. And with the prayers of Grace Church behind me, I had comfort even in the hardest moments. So many people prayed with us and extended the most touching kindness.
If you need living proof of a miracle, my mom is that. She no longer requires breathing support aside from low levels of oxygen, she is no longer on dialysis, she no longer has a feeding tube, and she is currently at her home in Virginia rehabbing. She can walk with the assistance of a walker and has no long term effects of the stroke. Days aren’t always easy for her but we have the priceless gift of time. God’s grace is so good. His gifts are endless if you can trust in His plan.
There were many scriptures that gave me comfort but one I continued to come back to really resonated.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18 God’s plan is so much bigger than anything we could comprehend. In moments when I felt like this was happening to only me, I remembered how this experience may be designed for a friend, a relative, a nurse, or maybe even someone reading this devotional. It is difficult to zoom out of the role you’re playing in your own day to day and to miss the impact you may have on someone. Even the smallest of interactions could change someone’s entire perspective or if you allow it, could even change your own. We are all pieces in a much bigger puzzle and God is perfectly laying each one in methodical, perfectly timed order. May His grace shine through in your toughest and most wonderful times as you remember you cannot see the full picture by looking at just one piece. If you feel called to pray for my mom and her continued recovery, her name is Terry Johnson. My family will be forever grateful for the support Grace Church showed us during this very difficult time. — Katie Miller