Written by cycleguy on June 19th, 2012

The Story for this week is TC Avey.  Her blog is called Wisdom of a Fool and you can find it here.  TC is a wife, mother, aspiring writer, and has recently begun publishing a monthly newsletter.  She is also currently doing a blog series on The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer.  I believe you will find some hope in her story.

Walking Through the Valley of Death

I had finished my night shift in a busy ER and was ready for sleep. It had been a good night. At midnight a group of co-workers sang a quick round of “Happy Birthday” to kick start my b-day and nobody died.

Overall, life was good. I went to sleep smiling.

I hadn’t been slumbering long when my phone rang.

It was mom.

The doctors wanted to admit dad for further testing.

Three months later we were celebrating mom’s b-day with a BBQ and sleep over.  So far the doctors had not determined a cause for dad’s deteriorating health. I had my suspicions, a stroke being the “kindest” of the options.

As I watched him, so forlorn, so reserved and quiet, so unlike my dad, I wondered if this was to be his new “norm”.  If so, it was better than all the other things running through my brain.  But I couldn’t help wondering, “God, what’s wrong with my dad?”

That night, I hadn’t been asleep long when I woke to mom screaming.

I dashed from bed to assess the situation.

Dad was having a stroke…or another one.

I looked at my watch, counted the time since he was last seen “normal” and knew we had to get him to a hospital quick! Problem was, the closest hospital was a Forty minute drive and we barely had an hour before the precious window of treatment for stroke patients closed.

Taking command of the situation, I had us racing toward the hospital as I called and gave report. I’m sure the RN on the other end of the line thought I was crazy. I was giving report like I was a paramedic bringing them their next patient.

But when we arrived, they were waiting.

Before they could get him settled, he started having seizures. He had never done that before.

I was dumbstruck.

“God what’s happening to my dad?”

The medical staff stabilized him and transported him Thirty minutes away to a VA hospital where he received care.

Once admitted, I drove home to get a bag.

This time, I was going to stay until we had answers.

I was numb as I made the two hour drive back.  I didn’t even know how to pray.

I had grown cold working in the ER. I had seen good people die and bad people live. I had seen so much pain and suffering and somewhere along the way I had turned my emotions off. In the process I had turned God off as well, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

Not wanting to be lost in my thoughts, I turned on K-Love. I was listening to Third Day, when I heard God speak.

Let me just say it had been a while since I had really spoken with God- even longer since I had heard Him speak to me and never in this fashion, before or since.

“Your dad is going to die. You must help your mom through it.”

That statement should have sent me veering off and crashing head- on into something.

But instead a peace that can only come from a loving God filled my heart.

As I drove, I cried as I came to terms with what God told me.

When I reached the hospital, I knew what I had to do.

I wiped the tears from my eyes before getting out of the car.

As I entered the hospital I took a deep breath and said, “Okay God, it’s you and me. Please help me through this.”

And He did.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” Psalm 26:4 NIV

It’s not too late to tell your story.  Please contact me if you would like to at


67 Comments so far ↓

  1. tcavey says:

    Thank you for allowing me to share and for the nice introduction.

    I enjoy your blog- thank you for being a light in this world!
    God bless.
    Matt 5:16

  2. Jan says:

    What an emotional, powerful testimony….I don’t even have the words. I am sorry about your dad. I am so glad you heard God speak and His word is good, He did as he promised you.
    Thank you for your most personal story.

  3. lindaM says:

    Hi tc,

    I know what you are saying when you recount God speaking to you in a way he has only done the one time.
    I’ve also had God speak to me in a similar way once or twice since 1982. One time when I was in prayer he said one word. Another time I was driving and heard the words ‘the last ticket’. I will have to tell you sometime what that was about.

    These kinds of times are precious to the believer. When doubt comes we say ‘of course God is real, I heard those words’ ‘that wasn’t a dream and I didn’t imagine it’.

    I experienced an angel speak to me one time when I was sitting on my sofa reading the Bible. The angel said ‘hi linda’. I was stunned!
    I couldn’t say a word for about a minute. Then I said ‘hi’ back. That was it. But it’s enough. It tells me that my name is known in heaven. That heaven knows where I live. This sounds like bragging, but it is thrilling, and exciting in my life. God knows where I am! He’s watching me! Hallelujah!!

    • cycleguy says:

      Always good to be reassured God’s eyes are on us.

    • tcavey says:

      Praise God Linda!

      Knowing God knows us is thrilling. It reminds me of the song “I know my redeemer lives” at the end where she sings “I know that I know that I know”.

      Look forward to hearing more about your walk with Christ!

  4. Dan Black says:

    Thank you for sharing your story TC Avey.

    When we lose a loved one, we have the choice to get bitter or endure through the process of grieving.

    I know we have both lost our fathers and so glad we did not get bitter at life or God. I’m sure glad those who have lost a father(or loved one) still has the Father.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for weighing in on this dan and supporting TC. You are right: we can choose to get bitter or endure.

    • tcavey says:

      Thanks Dan for the encouraging words.

      When I lost my earthly father a whole new understanding of God the Father was revealed to me. I had not fully realized until then all that God wanted to do for me and with me. He wants to be our father in every way an earthly one does but He has more give those who trust in Him. He is not limited as our earthly fathers are and He will never let us down- even if He doesn’t always give us our way! Like and earthly father, He disciplines us as well as loves us.

  5. What an incredible story of the grace God gave you in that time. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Zee says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, TC.

    That’s one of the things I wondered about the possibility of working at ER – how one gets used to it… Life, death, everything in between.

    • tcavey says:

      Oh Zee,
      The stories I could tell you. Let me just say ALL medical personnel, firemen, police officers and military need our prayers. Satan has his hands all over those who see the worst in this world. From my experience even the most spiritual struggle. Where does that leave those who don’t know Christ? Not in a good place- though many are deceived.

      • cycleguy says:

        as a pastor I have seen some things but not nearly anything you have TC. I do respect all the safety personnel. We have a couple firefighters in the church.

        • tcavey says:

          I admire and respect your job- it is often thankless and it’s 24/7- no time off! You have pressures I would never dream of facing.

          It’s been almost 2 years since I worked in the medical field and I am so thankful for the experience and that for now, it is behind me (praying it stays that way).

      • Zee says:

        By the way, thanks also for encouragement. My mom and I lately been switching roles as well in a way – I mean, usually moms are expected to be strong for kids, but there are times when we have to be strong for them (just like you were in the situation with your dad)… Thankfully, no one is dying here, but it still is stressful. So thanks.

  7. Eileen says:

    What a beautiful post! And timely for me to read. My dad had a stroke 4 weeks ago. Just got back to NC from AZ last night from visiting him. He is still bed ridden and not sure how much mobility he will get back. I love how God’s voice brought peace to you during this season. We serve an incredible God!

    • cycleguy says:

      I thought about you this morning eileen. Funny thing: this has been ready to go for two weeks and has been in the cue to post. amazing how God works.

      • Eileen says:

        Thanks, Bill. It’s crazy how often it happens too. I read the posts I needed to hear that day.

        • tcavey says:

          I’m sorry to hear about your dad Eileen. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family. I don’t know you, but please feel free to email me if you ever need someone to talk to.

          I’ve often experienced God speaking to me through blogs- it’s truly amazing how awesome our God is!

  8. Robin says:

    oh this caught me off guard and sent me right into a bit of crying…I believe God prepares us in subtle and not-so-subtle ways when someone we love is going to be taken. He did that w/ my little brother and my mom, He knows what we can handle and He knows just how to speak to us…
    I’m going to look at TC’s blog…thank you Bill for these stories and thank you TC for sharing yours …xo

    • cycleguy says:

      Imagine this would do that Robin since your mother’s death is not that long ago. You’re welcome. It has been a great journey for me to offer these posts.

    • tcavey says:

      My heart goes out to you Robin. It has been since Oct 2008 since my dad passed and I am just now in a place where I can share about the experience, though it does still bring back painful memories.

      I pray you find my blog a blessing to you and that God comforts you as only He can.

      I can honestly say that if God had not told me that on my drive to the hospital I would not have known what to do. I would have tried aggressive treatment that would have only caused more pain for all involved. God helped us all by speaking to me that day and God is continuing to help others through it!

  9. Wow TC! I nearly cried (at work) reading this powerful story. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • cycleguy says:

      It is heart-wrenching Jay. Thanks for being “man enough” to admit your sensitivity. 🙂

    • tcavey says:

      Thank you Jay for reading and commenting. It humbles and blesses me that this testimony touches so many. It has only been recently that I have been able to speak about this heart wrenching experience- but we have all lost loved ones and God wants me to share the hope that can come in the midst of a storm if we know Him as Savior.

      I didn’t deserve for God to speak to me as He did, but none of us deserve grace…that’s the beauty of it.

      Have a great day at work, promise to cause no more tears today- maybe 🙂

  10. TC, I can’t tell you how much your testimony touched me. Nobody knows what you have gone through until you go through it. You made some major adjustments and God showed you what you needed to do and what to expect. That shows growth and maturity from you in order to comfort your mom. Times like these stretch our faith and make us stronger. It’s a blessing.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for visiting Lincoln. I am sure TC appreciates it. You are right in that they stretch our faith.

    • tcavey says:

      Thank you for your kind words Lincoln. I have to say it was stretching like I’ve never experienced before. Talk about learning selflessness. Putting my mom above my own grief was not easy- satan kept trying to get my focus on my pain, but that was not what God told me to do. It is only by His grace I managed, but it was not always pretty.

  11. floyd says:

    Touching testimony TC. Your deep sense of faith provides a foundation that speaks vividly to us; the readers.

    It seems that God was preparing you for the task He knew was going to be before you. He is perfect…

    Thanks for sharing something so special and personal… they are always the most comforting and encouraging of words.

    • cycleguy says:

      I like this Floyd…preparing you for the task ahead. God never lets us flounder.

      • tcavey says:

        I went into nursing as my second career not really sure why. When my father was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer I knew.
        I truly believe all my nursing experience was leading me to this point in my life.

    • tcavey says:

      That I was able to write this is because of you Floyd- thank you for encouraging me to open up and share.

      Thank you for being a huge source of encouragement and support. God bless you.

  12. What a wonderful testimony to the glory of God, our♥ Father. Thank you, TC, for sharing it with us.
    Walk daily with God at your side!

    Ed. ♥

  13. Susan says:

    Thank you, TC, for sharing yourself today. It’s hard losing one’s dad, and I shed some tears for you. My dad went home in 2001, and my life changed.

    • cycleguy says:

      I have not lost my dad (except for being AWOL) but I did lose my mother in 2004.

      • tcavey says:

        I’m sorry for your loss. Can’t imagine loosing my mother- she’s my best friend!

      • Susan says:

        That is hard, too. Both having your dad AWOL, and losing your mother. My mother died from Alzheimer Disease and pneumonia in 2010.

        • tcavey says:

          Susan, I think I confused you with another Susan- I’m sorry.
          I’m sorry too for your loss of both parents- I can’t imagine. My heart goes out to you.
          And I still can’t wait to meet you someday- this side or the next 🙂
          God’s blessings be upon you.

    • tcavey says:

      Thank you for your kindness Susan. I pray God’s blessings upon you.You are such a wonderful blogging friend! Look forward to someday meeting you in person.

  14. Brandy says:

    How powerful! What an amazing God! He was with you and He is with you! He got your back girl! 🙂

  15. Wow, thanks for sharing such a personal story, TC. I’m heartened by your courage in the midst of the storm.

    • cycleguy says:

      her story does show courage Loren.

    • tcavey says:

      Thanks Loren, I can tell you it didn’t (and still doesn’t) feel like courage- I was terrified, overwhelmed and desperately wanting to deny the truth.
      I’m so glad God held me close and walk me through, otherwise I would not have made it.

      Thank you for your kind words.

  16. TC – wow, what a powerful experience in your journey. I’m so glad you shared it.

    Something stood out from what you wrote. Once you heard the words of your Dad’s condition you said 2 things: peace of God and tears.

    This is so critical to remember. Just because God is there doesn’t mean we’ll lack emotion and be able to instantly say “praise the Lord”. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. There will be tears. But thank God, there will be peace as well.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for taking the time to come by Scott and comment. i am sure it was a good encouragement to her to read your words. Hope you are doing well.

    • tcavey says:

      Thank you Scott for reading, it means a great deal to me!

      Yes, so often people think being Christian means a 24/7 joy ride- man do they have it confused!

      All our testimony’s speak of God’s love, compassion, grace and involvement in our daily lives as we walk through this world’s ups and downs.
      But how can the world know that if we don’t share?

  17. TC, what a sad yet moving testimony of God’s presence in the middle of unimaginable situations. So glad you knew what to do and how to react. But also glad God was so close and personal at that time. I’ve had an experience similar to that with my Grandpa, and I’ll never forget God’s reaching down to comfort me before he even died. Thanks so much for sharing your heart!

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for commenting to TC Heather. I do agree with you. It is something to never forget how God reaches down when we need Him.

    • tcavey says:

      Thanks Heather for reading and commenting. I appreciate your support.

      Isn’t God amazing? He really does love us and doesn’t like to see us hurt- but He won’t prevent all pain, only help us through it.

      When I start to have doubts I remember that God spoke to me, He helped me then and He helps me still!

      Thank you for sharing part of your experience with God.

  18. Wow TC what a journey. Am blessed by your faith and trust in God in that hour.

    When my dad started getting sick a few yrs ago, God spoke to him, told him he was going home. He tried to let us know this but we rebuked him and prayed against ‘such confesions”. He went ti be with the lord in few short months. It was the hardest time of my life.

    Loss us never easy but somehow, He walks us through it. He knows grief well. He lost a son too.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for commenting Ngina. All I can say is “who can know the mind of God?”

    • tcavey says:

      I’m sorry for your loss Ngina. You’re right, it’s never easy to loss those we love- even if they are in God’s hands.

      I pray satan doesn’t cause you unnecessary guilt over praying “against ‘such confessions'”. You didn’t want to lose your dad- God does understand that pain. Like you said, He lost His son!

      I know my family had a hard time accepting that I wasn’t praying for dad’s healing. They couldn’t accept that, they thought I was giving up. It was a really trying time for me. I felt the whole world was against me but I held strong knowing I was following God’s directive. He helped me realize their pain and need to hold on to dad.

      Oh the Grace of our Lord!

      • cycleguy says:

        I ditto that comment on unnecessary guilt.

      • Thank you TC. We just had blind faith about dad’s recovery..that he would get better. So my biggest problem after he passed was not guilt but shock…that he still died even after we ‘believed’ for life 🙂

        As you said, He understands that kind of grief …so in the end, my not getting what u wanted and believed for changed my relationship with God for the better. I learned , painfully, agonizingly so, to trust him even when I do not understand. Some lessons, tho hard to learn are si precious.

        I can only imagine how it must have been for you! That was a hard time! Am blessed you found grace to Di and be what he put in your heart to be and do.

        Yes indeed, his precious grace!