Ten Minutes with God
A little time with the Father reaps great things for His kingdom.
by Mikki Loomis as told to Barbara J. Guardino
I awoke from a deep coma to the gray, filtered light of a strange room. Tubes and machines surrounded my body. I was semi-paralyzed on the left side. Half of my face was numb, as well as my tongue, my voice box — even my lungs. I couldn’t eat, breathe, or swallow by myself.
My memory was wiped clean by merciless blows to my head when it smashed against the twisted metal of my Chevy Cavalier. As I slowly awakened, I realized I had forgotten my past; I didn’t have a present for more than ten minutes. In this state, I had no idea what the future would hold.
My life changed forever that spring morning, 1985, in Eugene, Oregon. The gentle yet competitive, athletic young woman I once was, died. In her place lay a confused, brain-injured child.
I couldn’t remember Jesus. Somehow I sensed God who created the world and could do anything. But He didn’t save me from this brutal automobile accident. That ticked me off!
Family and friends declared, “It’s such a miracle that you’re alive. You were supposed to die!”
I glanced down at my mangled body. I’d rather die than be like this the rest of my life.
Making of a champ
A woman who stood at my bedside the night I awoke strained to hear the first words I uttered: “Call Tandi.”
Tandi Byrne is my sister, my friend, my roller skating coach — my hero. She propelled me into the title of champion at age seventeen. Under Tandi’s strict coaching, I won the Oregon State “A” Sophomore age group championship.
I turned professional and taught roller skating at Big Wheel in Eugene. I have no memory of those glorious days, but one core lesson helped me through my rehabilitation: Persevere and reap the rewards.
Tandi didn’t just coach me. She also supported my desire to marry the man of my dreams, although she had reservations about him. She stood by me as my fiancé and I planned the ceremony. And she remained by my side the day he called off the wedding.
I sat home and cried and fasted for days in an effort to understand and forgive him.
The day I was scheduled to return to work, thoughts of my rejection overwhelmed me. Tandi begged me to eat something that morning, but I was too upset to eat. Distracted and hungry, I drove through a red light. Colliding with another vehicle, my car flew about sixty feet.
I fell into a coma, and doctors said I would never awaken. Grieving family sent me to a rest home where I was expected to live out the rest of my life.
But God had other plans for me.
Three weeks later, He began waking me up in the hospital. I was transferred to another hospital for rehabilitation, where learned to sit, hold my head up, and crawl into a wheelchair.
After learning the basics, I went home for eight months. My mom bathed me, and Tandi changed my diapers. I was like an infant, except that I’d look in the mirror and know I wasn’t a baby.
I threw tantrums and couldn’t understand why others stripped me of my independence. I fought Tandi and Mom as they struggled to get me out of bed. I fought them again when they put me back to bed.
Walking in secret
Eight months later, doctors sent me to a foster home — the next step of rehabilitation. I met people with different levels of disabilities. What am I doing here with all these sick people? I wondered. At the same time, this new home spelled freedom for me because I was no longer in an over-protective environment.
But the care providers refused to let me walk by myself. Angry, I decided to learn to walk in secret.
Closing my door, I parked the wheelchair three feet from my bed. I walked three feet, fell onto the bed, then walked back to the wheelchair. One time I walked to the closet and fell, and couldn’t get back up.
Nobody could hear my whispers for help, so I lay in the closet and cried myself to sleep. When I awoke, I thought, OK, I’ll give this one more shot.
I dragged myself across the room and pulled my body onto the edge of the bed. God gave me the arm strength; I didn’t have it on my own.
My stubborn persistence paid off. People began calling me a walking miracle. This is nothing, I thought. I’m going to run races someday.
I took long walks alone, wobbling down the street. People yelled out their car windows, “Hey, sober up or go home!” These slurs didn’t bother me, because I was walking. To me, that was more than a miracle.
Anger at God
Despite my successes, I fought depression and was angry with God.
My friends at church prayed faithfully for my complete recovery. Although they attributed my recovery to God, I thought, I’m not giving You any credit for this, God! You wouldn’t let me die, so I’m not talking to You!
I finally relented, OK, Lord, I’ll forgive You. I proceeded to tell Him the way it would be: I’d give Him ten minutes each night. No more.
Those ten minutes transformed my life. My depression lifted and contentment overtook me. I imagined myself crawling onto God’s lap and could almost feel my head resting on His chest. “I accept and receive you just as you are,” He told me.
I responded, “But nobody else does. They want me to get better, and I need somebody to love me the way I am.”
I looked forward to those ten minutes each night, but when time was up, it was up.
Later, I decided I’d give God fifteen minutes, then an hour. At last I thought, This is ridiculous. “OK,” I prayed, “I’ll give You the whole day.”
He took my whole days that were hell to me, and made them wonderful — glorious! I witnessed to people at my apartment building. My speech impediment forced them to pay attention. And they came to faith in Christ.
Seeking God’s will
Even as my body, mind, and soul continued to gain strength, my injury-induced rebellion led me to defy common sense. I decided to return to school and signed up for a class at Eugene Bible College.
One teacher said, “If you don’t know God’s will for your life, go home and ask Him.” So I went home and asked.
The next day during an assembly, I noticed a classmate with polio. God nudged me to go to him and pray for him. I responded, I’m not going down there in front of all these people. I couldn’t walk down the aisle anyway because it would take me an hour to get there, and the guy would be gone.
I decided to pray for him where I was sitting. For the first time in my life, I prayed for someone to be healed.
When I saw this classmate the next day, he was beaming. He told me he went to bed sick the night before and woke up this morning, healed! I realized God had given me a gift of healing prayer.
In the following years, I prayed for a man who was supposed to die in six months and a man with leukemia. Both were healed. I visited a woman who had been in a coma for several years. After a number of visits, I said to her, “If you want to receive Jesus, squeeze my hand.”
She did – twice. Shortly afterward, she died.
I will never roller skate again or compete athletically, but that’s OK. God has given me a new purpose and work. He’s given me wisdom that many people don’t have, because I’ve walked through fires they’ve never walked through.
I trust in His Word that my healing will one day be complete. In the meantime, I will faithfully use the gift He’s given me to touch the lives of others.