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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)

TITLE: Night Watch
By Kristen Hester


Her eyes were heavy, but she barely even blinked as she stared at the numbers on the hospital monitor. She was vaguely aware that her feet were cold, the bench she lay on was too narrow, and her stomach was empty, but none of it mattered. The only thing that mattered was the blinking numbers on the monitor measuring the pressure in her ten-year-old son’s brain. Blue gauze concealed forty stitches and numerous staples. A white stick protruded shockingly out of a hole in his head. Tubes and wires snaked out of his nose, his mouth, his arms, even his groin.

“His brain pressure is at 14 right now,” the doctor had reported after he removed a massive blood clot from her son’s head. “That’s good. We need to keep it under 20. The next 72 hours are critical.”

So she stared at the numbers.





Nurse and doctor stared at the numbers, whispering, consulting and planning. The doctor spoke gibberish to the nurse. She nodded then adjusted buttons and shot liquid with a fat syringe into one of the many tubes hanging from the small, lifeless form.

She wasn’t medical, but she wanted to question the nurse’s every action.

Are you sure that’s the right IV? Did you check that dosage? Why is that beeping?

Hours passed as she stared at the glowing digits. Sometimes her body would betray her and her eyes would shut, only to be awakened to the nightmare by an alarm indicating her son’s brain and life were in danger.


She felt the form at the other end of the bench shift. Her eyes never left the monitor, but she was comforted to know someone shared her sorrow. His presence gave her courage to ask the question she’d been afraid to vocalize.

“Do you see kids in this situation recover?” She was hoping for some reassurance.

“It’s possible,” the scrub-clad brunette stated as if discussing the chances the local weatherman would get the forecast correct. “But anything’s possible.”

It wasn’t the answer she had expected. Her body went cold, but she didn’t move a muscle. She couldn’t meet her husband’s eyes, so she continued the tortuous task of staring at the numbers, listening to the alarms, and praying, pleading, begging God.

Lord, please.... Lord, please... Lord, please...

Only occasionally would she glance at her son. The respirator forced his chest to move up and down in an unnatural way. The thick tube down his throat displaced his tongue, which now hung out his mouth over cracked lips. Numerous bruises on his thin arms, hands and feet reminded her of the struggle his stubborn veins had given the IVs. The numbers were horrible, but the sight of her still and silent son was worse.

She tried to stay focused on praying, but her mind was weak.

I don’t know his favorite song, so if he dies I won’t know what song to play at his funereal?

Lord, please let me talk to him one more time to say I’m sorry for being frustrated with him yesterday.

All the hours I spent helping him overcome dyslexia will be in vain if he’s brain damaged.

A transport team arrived with the morning to take him for another cat-scan. He’d lived through the first, most crucial 12 hours. As they wheeled him out, she began to follow but suddenly felt an onslaught of emotions that she’d denied since the words, “We’ve called life-flight.” Quickly she turned and shut the bathroom door just as the sobs escaped.

When she opened the door, she was alone in the hospital room. She walked with her head down to the waiting room. She heard a familiar voice call her name.

She looked up to see three friends from her church. They had left their small town at dawn and driven two hours to offer comfort. They wrapped their arms around her. They were hurting for her, with her. They held her hands and they prayed, interceded for her.

“Lord, you are in control. You are sovereign. You have the power to heal this child. We ask you to bring him complete and total healing.”

She held tight to her friends. She held tight to her God. He was in control. He loved her son, too, and he knew what it was like to lose a child. No matter the outcome, God reigned. She released her sorrow to Him and felt His peace and His presence.

He’s yours Lord.

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This article has been read 628 times
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Verna Cole Mitchell 03/21/09
Somehow this story seems to real to be fiction. Beatifully told. I love your MC's submission to all in God's will.
Emily Gibson03/22/09
This must be a real life story given the detail you've included. That makes it all that much more touching and meaningful, relinquishing control to God's sovereign reign over our lives. Brilliantly done.
Jim McWhinnie 03/23/09
Riveting account of a dramatic moment in our humanity.

Exquisitely crafted.

I was there, wanting to embrace everyone there with the comfort of the God who weeps with us.
Jan Ackerson 03/24/09
Now that we know this was very real to you as you wrote it, that adds such a wonderful level of poignancy. Such good writing, Kristen!
Joanne Sher 03/24/09
WOW, Kristen. I don't know what else to say. So real (for obvious reasons!). I was there.
Sheri Gordon03/24/09
Your writing of this is so compelling. I had goosebumps from the beginning, and felt like I was watching it all unfold. Thank you for letting us share this intimate moment with you. Absolutely amazing.
Bryan Ridenour03/24/09
Riveting story. I will now have to do follow-up to see how this story turned out. Thanks for sharing.
Diana Dart 03/24/09
Incredible. So well written, succinct yet full of emotion. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Chely Roach03/24/09
Oh my...this was an emotional punch, and I'm only the reader. I can only imagine the tears shed while writing this. Touching and sad...and so very well written.
Karlene Jacobsen03/24/09
This hits close to home for me. I remember those nights in the hospital room of my newborn.

What a tremendous testimony you'll have to share with others to God's faithfulness and love.
Mona Purvis03/24/09
Special, special sharing of your heart/love/life/faith/
maternal spirit.

You did it so well.

Allison Egley 03/24/09
Wow. This is excellent. I can't add to what the others have said. So glad I know the outcome!!
Dee Yoder 03/24/09
Even though I KNEW the happy ending, just reading what your son, you and your family went through brought tears, Kristen. So glad to know that God intervened and brought about a miracle. You're very courageous and sweet to share this moment of faith. Touching and inspiring.
Norma-Anne Hough03/25/09
Beautiful and moving. You are very brave to have bared your soul so well.
Dianne Janak03/25/09
Oh, does this ever minister to me at this moment in time, as it will anyone in a life and death crises. What a beautiful reminder to all of us that in showing up to others, we bring in God's Kingdom to the very core of this world's suffering and agony! So happy for you and your family that this had a wonderful ending. GOD IS GOOD..
Sara Harricharan 03/25/09
Oh my. WOW. Knowing that this is real adds a whole new layer to it, just wow. Very intense and extremely powerful, the emotions that just spill over from this piece. Gave me goosebumps.
Jim McWhinnie 03/31/09
Poignant and powerful. How often I must be reminded how much pain must be in God's loving heart. Yet love overwhelms the fear of such heartache coming our way.

At your story's close, I found myself in prayer.
Joshua Janoski04/20/09
Wow. I knew your family was going through this kind of struggle, but I was not aware of the magnitude of the situation unti lI read this.

This must have been tough to write, but you drew me into the hospital room with you, and I found myself praying and believing for your son. Praise God for His love and ability to carry us through even the darkest nights.