Lindy Boone Michaelis, daughter of Pat Boone and author of Heaven Hears, experienced a life-changing event. “On June 19th, 2001 I was sleeping soundly on vacation with my husband and my son and all was well with the world. A phone call in the dark woke me up. My sister Debbie told me that my son Ryan had stepped on a skylight on the roof of his apartment building and he had fallen three stories down to concrete. He was in UCLA Medical Center being operated on with a skull fracture. I was in Spain.”
Larry King invited Lindy to ask for prayer on his show. “Larry heard about Ryan’s accident and asked us on the show.” He knew my dad would want prayer wherever we can reach out and have people praying. I did not think I could go out on television. I was this open wound. But I said, ‘Daddy, I don’t think I can.’ After some thought, I realized Ryan loved the Lord. He would want me to be able to go on public television and still proclaim our trust, where we were putting our trust in our faith.”
Lindy did not think she could ever smile again. “Do not focus on what you do not have but thank God for what you do have. A lot of times I tell people if I focus on Ryan on June 18th the way he was the day before the accident I could really drift down into sadness. Instead, I choose to think about where he was on June 20th, the day after his accident and I compare him now to where he was. I thank God, thank God when I see what has come back. Look at what he is doing now that he could not do before.” Lindy would give these words of hope to the Boston victims: “Dig deep and tune in towards God. Do not turn away from him and become bitter because that is your greatest hope. So press in and bear down and get as close to God. Our journey was different than other's journey will be. Some may be better; some may be not as good. But the sustaining power to get through it is just holding onto the Lord, holding onto the word, looking into the scripture. The scripture became my lifeline. It became my medicine. It became my vital need of every day.”
Of her experience with Ryan she reveals, “I went to the word asking God specifically to teach me. What am I supposed to learn? What is my lesson? I was focusing on resisting fear and building faith and exercising faith over fear, hope over despair. I was sustained by my family and other people sending me things that I needed in the nick of time. I prayed to God for encouragement when I felt like I need a little something to show me you are still with me. And always encouragement came. I believe you turn in, you tune in, you press in, and you listen. The encouragement comes.”
Lindy’s pastor is Rick Warren. Rick and Kay Warren’s son recently took his own life. Asked if it is harder to suffer when you are famous, Lindy reflected, “At a time like this, you do want privacy. Rick and Kay are handling this with amazing grace. And they are kind of secluding themselves. He is taking about three months off of preaching and I think that is good. The two of them still reach out to all the people who love them, and they are still sharing their trust in the Lord. They are demonstrating through their grief and through their pain what to do in times like this. Find the verses that you can stand on and just say them and believe them and have them come out of your mouth and have them expressed. That is the sure foundation that we have to stand on when everything else in our world is shaking.”
In writing her book, Lindy discovered this, “I read my book, and I almost look a little schizophrenic. One day I feel like I am appearing to be strong in faith and another day I feel like I am just crumbling. I do not want people to come away with any kind of impression that it takes an extraordinary amount of faith that your loved one is going to get better and you better muster that up because if you falter at all, it is all lost. I was quite on a rollercoaster. And as I read it back and I looked at it, I thought wow. One moment I am in the pits, sad, just trying to keep my head above water. The next moment I am just praising God and rejoicing and feeling full of faith. That is the human experience. Even in my despair I was making opportunities for faith building. I might have been having a really bad day but I was listening to some good testimony of some healing. Or I might be listening to music of worship to God. And that is what lifted me out. That is why I did not stay in those pits.”
All proceeds of Lindy’s book benefit Ryan’s Reach foundation, and she hopes to help others with brain injury along the road to recovery. You can find out more at www.ryansreach.com. Lindy explained “in order to get to the high places and dwell with the good shepherd, you have to take the hand of your companion.” This book will be a good companion for anyone suffering in sorrow.
Read more on Gayle’s Beliefnet blog.
Gayle Trotter is a writer and blogger whose work regularly appears in the online editions of the Washington Post, the Daily Caller and First Things.