Having Vision Bigger Than Circumstances
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“It was a Sunday morning. I was sleeping and my phone rang and it was one of JB's coworkers and she was like, ‘Hey, I was just calling to check on JB.’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’" Brandie Jones had no idea what had happened in the early hours that day in December, 2016. “She's like, ‘the accident.’ She said, ‘I heard JB got in an accident.' I was like, ‘I think you're confused.’ And she was like, ‘Maybe I am.'"
Unfortunately, her friend was not. Brandie’s husband, JB, a high school basketball coach, was driving home from his night job at a residential facility when he nodded off and crashed his car into a ditch. Brandie had few details. “Once I got to the hospital, I found out they had my number written down wrong, so that's why they couldn't get ahold of me,” she says. “I was praying, that was always my first reaction, ‘God, that Your will be done, whatever that is. However, that, however this turns out, like Your will be done. And let us find peace and comfort and rest in that.'”
At the hospital she learned JB had suffered multiple injuries, the worst being fractured C5 and C6 vertebrae. “I'm not a reactor. For me, I'm going to stay calm until I have a reason not to," Brandie says. “So in my head, I still don't have a reason. Yes, I have a reason because my husband is in a car accident, it's not bad in my head until somebody tells me, ‘This is bad.’”
JB, a former college basketball star and Southern Illinois hall of famer, was conscious, but scared. “I barely could move, couldn't do nothing. Just was laying there. At that time I was just thinking about if I was gonna ever walk again, thinking, ‘Will my feeling ever come back?’”
Within hours, doctors were performing surgery to repair JB’s spinal chord. “I knew it was severe, but because I'm in the medical field, I still think everything could be okay,” Brandie says. “And because my faith, like my faith is huge. And so, I was like until God tells me this is a real problem, everything's gonna be okay."
The surgery was successful, but doctors were not offering up much hope that JB would ever walk again. Brandie believed otherwise. “The doctors and the therapists, they said, ‘We have to teach you guys a new normal. Your life is about to be changed and different. And so we're gonna have to teach him how to do everything over again with, with equipment.’ And I said, ‘Okay, that makes complete sense.’ And when they would leave out the room, I would tell him, ‘This is not our new normal until God tells us this is our new normal.’”
After several days in ICU, JB was moved to a rehab facility still unable to move below his neck. By then, Brandie had gotten the word out to their family and the community to pray for their friend and beloved coach. Brandie told him, “We're gonna do everything we can do. Because the only thing you can do is use your mind. I need you to picture yourself opening and closing your hand, flexing and extending your ankles and your wrist. I need you to picture yourself doing, doing that, grabbing hold of something. And I need you to picture yourself lifting up your arm. And I would do the motion for him.”
She also knew he faced more than a physical challenge and posted a prayer board in his room. “People would come and they would write whatever they want. I’d say, ‘You can write scripture, you can write a little note, you can write a joke, whatever you wanna write,” she says. “So I would tell him, 'Hey, we have to speak our words, right? They're important. Power lies in the tongue.'”
By now, JB also believed for his healing, speaking words of hope and pushing himself to the limit in physical therapy. “I told 'em I was gonna walk out of there,” he recalls. “They didn't believe me. I think they think I was a little out of my mind.”
After two weeks of prayer and physical therapy, JB turned the corner. “In my mind I'm still trying to move, but nothing was moving,” he says. “And then one day something moved and so that gave me encouragement.”
It didn’t stop there. JB began moving his hands and then his feet. Two weeks later, he stood up. After 30 days in rehab, he walked out on his own, just as he had predicted.
“I knew what the doctors and the therapists thought as far as, ‘This isn't supposed to happen. I never told him that this stuff wasn't supposed to happen. I was like, ‘God isn't telling me that, so let's just expect greatness and goodness.’ And so, that's what we did.”
“They were super surprised. My physical therapist, she was just amazed of how far I had came along,” JB says. “The doctor who did my neck surgery, it just blew his mind. Like he was super shocked.”
Today, JB is back to coaching basketball and has nearly all of his mobility back. “When you really think about it, it's nothing but a miracle. I mean, it has to be the power of God to do this,” JB says. “I can see God using this to minister to others and showing them not to give up,” Brandie adds. “Don't give up even when it seems like it's hopeless, even when the doctors and therapists are saying, ‘there's no way.’”
“I don't know how strong your faith is in God, but if you do believe in Him, He can heal you and work it out for you,” JB says. “I'm more thankful every day, um, thankful that I can move, thankful I could hear. I always thank Him and try to live for Him and try to do things right and just understand that He’s got a plan. And sometimes, my plan might not be His plan, but if it's His plan and I believe Him, okay. Whatever His plan is, I'm all right with that.”
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