The Miracle, and the Dream It Enabled

Six months ago Callie’s husband Shawn* came home on hospice with leukemia and an infection of his eye that went into his brain. He was given 4-6 weeks to live and wanted to spend that at home with his wife and ten children, ages 3-16.

When we moved to their town in 2015 Callie’s husband and mine met first – and discovered they’d attended the same seminary in SC at the same time. Soon after their first conversation they introduced Callie and me. As fellow pastors’ wives, moms and athletes, we became fast friends. Some mornings we ran together – or walked when she became pregnant with #10. Other times we crossed paths at the pool where she coached the local high school team, taught her own kids and swam herself a little bit. We sometimes joked about going to Masters Nationals, but neither of us had the slightest hope it would ever happen: my life was full of frequent moves, three small kids and triathlon. Hers was full of homeschooling, coaching and church ministry.

And by late 2018, she was also caring for a beloved husband who doctors declared terminal. But apparently, when many people pray and God chooses to respond, miracles happen. Weeks after he came home on hospice, Shawn found he was improving rather than weakening. His infection was healing. They said he’d never see out of that eye again, but in a few weeks it became as good as the other. And tests showed the infection had shrunk drastically and the rest of his cancer completely in remission. In December, he returned to a full work schedule.

Meanwhile in November, we’d moved outside of Phoenix, within a mile of a robust Masters swim program. For the first time in my life, I joined…then discovered that we’d be in the area for Masters Nationals. An idea was born.

When I shared it with Callie, she replied immediately – and incredulously. Of course she wanted to stay with us and compete in Nationals…if only they could afford it, and if only there was a public pool in her rural town that was open all year. But ten kids, medical bills, a pastors salary, full-time nursing school to prepare to support a family if necessary and summer-only pools don’t really support swimming dreams. Thankfully a donor bridged the financial gap, a family friend began to help with the kids and friends at the local Air Force base teamed together to get her on base to practice at their indoor pool.

I’ve never seen anyone train harder! Some weeks, she swam more miles than I ran, simply so that she "wouldn’t embarrass myself." She’s spurred me to swim more and faster, even from afar. As a result, not only did we both have a great time, but we also both bested our goals in nearly every event. She even placed in two of hers – and contributed to the top Regional Team in the event.

The joke we shared in 2016 had become a distant dream stored on some dusty shelf in the back of our minds – and now it has transformed into a treasured memory, thanks to many folks for pitching in and to God for miracles.

*Not their real names.


One response to “The Miracle, and the Dream It Enabled”

  1. […] the pinnacle of our time here in Phoenix in the form of a visit from old friends. Read more of the amazing miracle God is working in their life on Donna’s […]

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