Each year the students of Chris Blake’s sophomore-level editing class at Union College produce the February issue of OUTLOOK. Since our overall theme for 2014 is discipleship, we asked the students to share, through their own experiences, what discipleship means to them.
The following article was written by Mandy Mekelburg, a junior communication major from Loma Linda, California.
To view the print version (designed by Melissa Ratter) see page 12 of the February 2014 issue, available at outlookmag.org/print-issues.
I opened my eyes as the walls stopped shaking. Oh no! Please, God no! Don’t let it be what I think. Leaping out of bed, I peeked out the door. My eyes took a moment to adjust to the hallway blanketed in black. I inched down the cramped corridor, the floor groaning with every step I took.
For two weeks during Christmas vacation, my family journeyed across the nation to visit family. The last two days, we spent in Tennessee, visiting my great aunt and grandma. I slept in a little room in the back of my grandma’s trailer home that stored itchy blankets, photos of my grandfather, and a futon as comfortable as rocks. That night, I tossed back and forth, sleep evading me. At 5:30 am, I heard the crash that made my stomach clench. I knew what had happened.
I tiptoed down the hall and whispered again, “Grandma?” Then I found her, crumpled up in the corner by the bathroom. My heart pounded. “Grandma, please say something,” I begged.
“I can’t get up,” her frail voice replied.
Relief spread through my body. I told her I needed to get help. She nodded slowly, and yet I felt like she didn’t comprehend. I rushed through the tiny trailer to wake up my parents.
It took some nudging, but my mom finally woke up.
“Mom, Grandma fell!”
As Mom scrambled out of bed, my dad woke up and I explained the situation. We ran to the corner where she lay, turning on every light. The small house felt even smaller. My parents crouched over Grandma, contemplating our next move.
“Mandy, you need to call 911 and tell them what happened,” Mom instructed.
Her calm voice seemed out of place.
“My grandma fell. We don’t know what to do. We need an ambulance now,” all the words tumbled out in a whirl.
“Okay Sweetie, you need to slow down and tell me what happened.”
I took a deep breath and tried again, stumbling over the words. My voice trembled as I explained the situation and relayed the address.
Time dragged from the moment I hung up to when the ambulance and fire truck arrived. Five men toting medical equipment trooped into the house. I curled myself into a ball on the couch, unable to watch as they picked my grandma up and placed her on the gurney.
My parents came in, sat next to me, and gave me a big hug.
“It looks like Grandma broke her hip,” my dad said gently. “We’re going to change and go wait at the hospital. Do you want to stay here or come with us?”
“Come,” I answered. “I can’t be alone right now.”
“Mandy,” my mom said, “We know this seems like a bad thing, but this truly is a blessing.”
I looked at my mom like she had gone insane. “A blessing? How could God let this happen?”
“Well, think of it this way. We were supposed to leave today. If Grandma had fallen after we left, so much worse could have happened. None of her neighbors knew when she was coming home from Florida, and if we weren’t here things might have ended differently.”
I processed what she said. It dawned on me. God knew every circumstance. He knew my grandma’s condition. He knew our plans to visit, and He knew the role I would play in keeping Grandma safe.
As I was growing up, people reminded me that God has a plan for my life. Until that moment, I thought He held a blueprint, making sure my life followed a step-by-step construction. The morning my grandmother fell, my thought process changed.
God picked a destination for me, but I have more than one way to get there. I just need to trust that God continues to lead me to the same destination, despite the roadblocks. That day, I learned regardless of the worst times, God can show me how He works to bless me. My job is trusting in the midst of the fall.