Wednesday, five o’clock, for most people in Jackson this time marks the end of a hard workday, but for me it was only halfway to what would lead to the longest day of my life.
Eric, my husband, was going to meet me at the land where we were building our new house. I was driving to Mother’s to pick up our four-year old daughter, Ericka, as she was at that age, as she loved to help with everything.
After picking Ericka up from Mother’s we drove off to “The Land” as we called it. Eric and I were one of four couples, all friends, who came together and bought around a hundred acres of undeveloped woods to build our homes. At this time we were in the process of building our new house.
Halfway listening to Ericka’s stories about her day I began to doubt whether “The Land” is where God wanted us to stay. There had been two brush fires recently, both coming within twenty yards of the house. Was God telling us to move? I questioned this to a co-worker, but her reply was that God had His hand of protection upon us. If He didn’t then the house would’ve been consumed by the brush fires.
As we turned into the gravel driveway I could see Eric and Corey were there. Corey, our 11-year old son, was playing with a friend. Guess he needed a break, as we were at the house site daily for the past six months.
This particular January evening Eric, Ericka, and I were on the second floor doing our normal clean-up duties. Ericka decided to sweep with the wide push broom while Eric vacuumed the dust . . . his chore today as he did whichever Ericka decided not to do at that moment. I was about five feet away in the balcony area picking up scrap 2×4 remnants. As I bent over to grab another piece I heard a “ping” echo below us, as the Shop Vac was not running. Fear gripped me as the only thought that noise could’ve been was a broom handle hitting the concrete slab twelve feet below. Call it a mom’s intuition. After rushing to the end of the balcony I saw Ericka . . . lying unconscious on the floor! Screaming, I flew down the stairs. As I turned the corner Eric was by her side. He vaulted over the balcony to help our baby.
Several attempts were made to try and wake her, but nothing happened. Finally, she opened her eyes though they were both fixed in an upper left position. My thoughts were ‘this is the first sign of head trauma’! Her neck had no control as a newborn. Fear mounted as I could not speak but grabbed Ericka from Eric and held her close to me. He ran to get the car as I rocked her in my arms.
The ride to the hospital seemed like an eternity for us though it was only 20 miles away. Eric tried to call on the cell phone for an escort but it was almost nine p.m.; and they could not find us. He began asking Ericka all sorts of questions to check her mentality and awareness of the surroundings. She would recite her name and answer his questions with a “yes, ma’am” before quickly correcting herself with “I mean ‘yes sir'” in between her cries. At one point she asked Eric to sing “Jesus Loves Me”. As he started I began crying harder. In between a line he broke down and Ericka finished it. Driving into the hospital’s parking lot Eric called 911 back to let them know we arrived (without the escort).
Once at the hospital Ericka began vomiting-another sign of head trauma. Immediately they began IV’s, x-rays, CT scans, etc. to determine any damage to the right side of her head where she landed onto the concrete. We concluded she was pushing the push broom and backed off the edge in between the studs of the wall, which were twelve inches apart. We contacted family and friends, to begin the prayer chain. During her tests, we saw blood coming from the Ericka’s right nostril . . . causing us to panic again.
Minutes seemed like hours, hours like days as they completed one test after another. Finally the doctor came to give us the diagnosis. He said Ericka only had a minor concussion! We were overjoyed! A nurse commented to me “you know, children are so resilient”. Though sometimes true, I explained to her that only God safely carried my baby down twelve feet onto the floor. Soon after, she was released from the hospital.
We praised the Lord for His blessings during the time, which had passed, though we did not know the extent of the miracle and the many who had interceded in prayer for Ericka. Two thirty that morning I called my cousin, Eydie, in Louisiana to give her the news. She said her dad called and left a message on the answering machine, but all he knew was Ericka fell from the second floor. Nothing else was known. Eydie said upon hearing the message she came down with a sharp pain on the right side of her head, but didn’t know why. Together she and her husband prayed in intercession for Ericka, anointing Eydie’s head for the pain. Upon “Amen” of the prayer Eydie’s pain in her head went away instantly. She told me she knew at that moment Ericka would be fine as she felt the heaviness lift away.
Five days later Eric and I went back to the house. We were able to put some of the pieces together . . . measuring over 24 inches wide the push broom had to fall just right to get in between the 12-inch space from one stud to another. Second, in order to hear the broomstick echo on the floor the Shop Vac had to be off. This was no coincidence, as Eric never stops working until the job is done. Also, we went upstairs and saw the rail on the balcony Eric vaulted over, which was cracked horizontally the length of the board. Together we talked about the doctor’s report stating the small of the cartilage on top of Ericka’s right ear cushioned the blow that may have been a part of saving her life. We know it was God.
Also, during this week, we find out that a man (Tonye) from our church held a prayer with his group at work the day following the accident at 2:15pm. That turned out to be the exact hour Ericka vomited for her last time . . . another answer to prayer.
On September 1, 2000, the most unbelievable thing happened . . . I had the kids picture made by a “new” photographer in our area, a couple of months back. She is a super Christian woman who left me a wonderful note with my pictures, explaining how she considered her photography a gift that God has graciously given her and along with this gift she feels that God gives her people not only to photograph, but also to pray for. So after I read the note, I decided to email her a thank you for the note and for some reason decided to share the story of Ericka with her.
Her Response: ” I’m trying really hard to see through teary eyes to reply to this. You won’t believe this but here goes: I was sitting in my office where I used to work when Tonye came in. He started telling me that he wanted me to pray about something. I said “Sure, what is it?” He hung his head to try to conceal the tears in his eyes and started telling me about a precious little girl named Ericka who had just fallen 12 feet to a concrete slab and had been rushed to the hospital with head injuries. I immediately started praying and alerted our entire prayer group by email to ask them to pray also. I never dreamed that I would actually get to see this little miracle, much less get to take her picture. Of course it’s probably a good thing I didn’t know who she was when I was taking her picture because I don’t think I would have been able to quit hugging her long enough to work. This is totally amazing to me. Our God is an awesome God! ”
We believe that not only did God save her life, but also through THE POWER OF PRAYER, she is normal today.
Matthew 18:20 says,
For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. (NKJV)
By: Kristi Griffin
Written by: Elliott Bergeron