By: Joy Wilder

My sister-in-law’s shouts shattered my quiet:  “Your baby’s drowned!  Your baby’s drowned!”  My mind fumbled around trying to make sense of the words.  My three-month-old baby was playing happily at my feet.  “Harper’s drowned!”  Harper, my two-year-old…

My body launched into fast forward, my mind moved in slow motion and my heart just desperately wanted to hit rewind.  Moments later, I was performing CPR on Harper.  She lay lifeless, lips blue and stomach so full of water that she looked pregnant.  She hovered on that fine line of life and death and I had no idea on which side she stood.  Out of nowhere, a paramedic whisked her into an ambulance. Without thinking my fingers dialed Pastor Dennis who immediately declared life and miracles through my sobs.

Minutes later a text confirmed security camera footage showing that Harper had been under water for 13 minutes.  Once in the ambulance it was around another five minutes before she really got oxygen.  The E.R. worked at a low-level frenzy, prepping our lifeless Harper to board a helicopter.  The cold, fluorescent lights shone down on us as a doctor explained that similar situations had happened in the past in which false hope had been given to families. In the gentlest way one could say such a thing, he gravely explained that Harper would very likely be brain damaged–possibly brain dead–for the rest of her life.

Brain dead. Those two words reverberated through my mind and simply bounced off like my brain was a high-end Teflon skillet.  They were immediately replaced with this: “Oh no she’s not!  Not my kid. I don’t need your false hope, I’ve got Jesus.  We write how this story ends.” The Holy Spirit had clearly taken over my mind.

The next ten days of Harper’s Miracle was no Cancun vacation, but ironically they were much easier than I could have ever imagined (Philippians 4:6-7).  There is no secret sauce to surviving a crushing, faith-testing disaster like this, but I can simply offer you how I managed to access a supernatural grace through it.

First, know God’s Word.  The only force powerful enough to overcome death is the power of Christ Jesus and one of the best ways to access that life-giving power is by learning the Word of God.  The Bible tells us, “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing from the Word of God,”  (Romans 10:17 KJV).  The Word of God can actually change your thinking as Romans 12:2 says it can renew our minds!  Every time we read, pray and memorize the Word, we’re investing in our personal faith account.  We’re preparing for a run on the bank when we face a situation in need of a miracle.  My husband and I declared key Scriptures constantly, led others via social media to declare them with us and plastered her hospital room with the truth we were declaring.

Another key element in accessing supernatural grace is being connected to a local church.  My first call was to our Senior Pastor, Pastor Dennis, whose prayers laid a rock deep inside my spirit that grounded me for the spiritual battle that ensued.  Our local church surrounded us with prayer and support.  The Bible promises us that “planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.  They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green,” (Psalms 32:13-15).  We claimed that promise for Harper, as our family is planted in the house of the Lord. Our church equipped us with the knowledge and discipline we needed to have the personal faith to believe for this miracle.  Weekly messages and small groups at your local church – they’re so key.  And, it was in our church’s women’s conference the year prior that I believe God equipped me specifically by hearing Dr. Dee Dee Freeman’s story of her husband’s miraculous escape from death.  Being planted in the local church is like taking your personal faith from a Denny’s Grand Slam to a dinner at the Ritz.

When faced with the choice to rise up or to rewind in futility, ladies, we must rise.  We must choose to let the God Spirit live deep inside each of us so that when we are called to rise up and fight, we can do it with confidence.  Even if you are not a mother in the traditional sense, each of us have been given authority over things that God has called and privileged us to steward – relationships, marriages, organizations, businesses, creative ideas.  When these things that God has entrusted to us seem lost, dead and hopeless, it is then that we, the Daughters of the King, must rise.  Get in the kitchen and cook up some of your own secret sauce: declare God’s Word, release your faith, partner with your church and be willing to allow God to gain glory through your miracle story.

I thank God every day that just ten days after Harper drowned we were discharged from the hospital with a clean bill of health.  Doctors wouldn’t have even believed she had drowned had it not been for security camera footage.  Harper’s Miracle has become, in a way, all of our miracle.  To believe that resurrections do happen, that miracles are hovering over each of us, and that with just an ounce of faith we get to write the end of our OWN story.



1D4A8894printJoy Wilder, the co-founder and owner of Toddlers on the Hill Montessori school, has always been passionate about building community. As a mom, she organizes playgroups, babysitting co-ops, trunk shows and more. Joy serves as campus pastor at Capital City Church in Kingstowne, where she works to help build up the church community with her husband, Hunter. She’s a gym nut, a Settlers addict, and, most importantly, mom to three beautiful daughters.

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