I remember two years after Queena had been discharged from HealthSouth Inpatient Rehab. We had been through so many doctor’s appointments, rehabs, therapy sessions, and occupational therapy with Queena. We had done it all. But she had no improvement.
One day, I talked with a friend about how frustrated I was. I asked her if I needed to change my prayer to please Jesus? Maybe He needs something else from me?
She said, “Vanna, do you think you are going to give up your dream to please Him?”
“My dream?” I asked in confusion.
“Yes, your dream. Like you dreamed Queena would have a recovery and go to college?” she questioned.
I was thinking, no way. I’m not going to give up that dream for Queena. I kept thinking and thinking many nights and I kept asking Jesus, is that the reason He didn’t put His hands on Queena? Did He really want us to give up our “life dream?”
A few weeks later, while asleep, I dreamed I was standing by a very dark and long tunnel. I couldn’t see where the end was. I was so scared and didn’t want go in there myself. Then one man came to stand next to me. He wore a white long gown, and was tall and skinny. His eyes so peaceful like I have never seen in a human. I asked him, “Do you know if another road is better than this? This tunnel looks so scary and dark. I can’t go through this…” He looked at me said in calmer voice than I ever heard in a human, “Yes, this is the only way you need to use to go through this tunnel. You don’t have another easy road to go…” Then he spread His left arm out next to me said, “But, if you hold my hand, I will take you through this…” I trusted Him right away or because I had no choice. I held His hand, and walked slowly into that dark tunnel without being nervous or scared…
In the morning when I woke up, I remembered exactly the dream. I ran to Queena’s room and looked up to Jesus’s picture. It had been the gift from a Pastor, who gave it to Queena, when she had just gotten home after six months in the hospital and rehab. Oh my gosh, the man in my dream looked exactly like the one in this picture. I thought again about what my friend told me.
The next day, she emailed me asking, “Do you have the little red book titled Jesus Calling? The devotional for today reminds me so much of you. It starts with ‘Keep walking along the path I have chosen for you.’ It seems so much the way you described your dream with Jesus holding your hand.”
I thought “Oh, I remember someone had given that audio book to Queena for her last birthday.” I planned that we would listen to that sometime later.
So confused about my dream, I reached to the bible and opened it. And, guess what? This bible verse stood out right by my eyes:
“Forget yourself, carry your cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).
I decided to take His hands even though it meant letting go of what we were holding on to and give up my dream. I told Queena, “Okay, Queena, I am not going to pray for you to go to University of Florida anymore. Jesus is the One to decide your future and I trust in Him and I want follow Him!” Queena looked at me with her sad eyes, like she wanted to say, “Really, mom? I couldn’t wait to get there, but…I don’t need go to UF. I don’t have to be a Gator. I would rather be with Jesus”
Queena can’t see, but she can hear and understand very well. Praise God for her long term memory not being destroyed. She has been listening to a lot of “college level” audiobooks. Every time anyone asked me what Queena would like for her birthday or Christmas, then I said audiobook. Because those are so useful as she is bed and wheelchair bound.
She usually listened to audiobooks at home, but this time somehow I decided to put the Jesus Calling audio book in her van’s CD player, for her to listen while I was driving her back and forth from her therapy.
I remember on August 10, 2014, I texted Amy (my niece), “I am tired and depressed because Queena is not getting better fast enough. But I guess there is nothing I can do. I wish it never happened and she was going to graduate with her MBA by this year.”
Amy replied, “Everything has to take it’s time, something like this can’t be rushed. Even though by this time Queena could have gotten her MBA, she still made a difference in someone else’s life–in the world, and inspired everybody. Somebody that has a masters degree or any degree can’t do what Queena did. God has chosen her to reach out and light up lives! You did everything you could and you did great and wonderful! It just takes time.”
Boom! A wake up call for me. I was crying, running to the van, looking for an audiobook “Jesus Calling”. I turned it on, and it was really a calling, “Come to Me with your plans held in obedience, Worship me in Spirit and in truth, allowing My glory to permeate your entire being. Trust Me enough to let Me guide you through the day, accomplishing My purpose in My timing. Subordinate your many plans to My Master Plan. I am sovereign over every aspect of your life!” I felt God wanted me to surrender myself unto Him, and make full proof of that calling.
As I continued listening, “I am the light of the world – whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life” (John 8:12). It is astounding that Jesus calls himself the light of the world and, in Mathew 5:14-16, Jesus also declares that we are the light of the world! He encourages us to let our light – our good deeds – shine before others so that they may glorify our Father in heaven.
Are there some ways I can be the light of the world? I really want to show glory to God with all the blessings and miracles to Queena and our family, but by what? I’m too small and insignificant. I don’t know how to talk, if so, with my broken English nobody understands what I’m saying. But then I figured out, I can write Queena’s journey to show people how amazing is God.
God is calling. I learned every little thing I do may make a difference. No matter how small it seems, it could be huge to someone else.
Three years ago, I started to sit down in my garage and write. No matter the weather, very hot… very cold… or huge storm. Day and night I remained, nonstop writing every time I had a chance to take a break from Queena. It was very difficult to relive that night. There was so much emotion for me to recall the night of the call–exactly what happened from my point of view, and resetting the scene of that dreadful night–my first reaction and response, and the journey Queena has gone through. There were lots of tears. I felt like I had two Queenas. There was the one before and the one now. I really missed my Queena from before the attack, but I am also so proud of Queena today. She has inspired adults and children all over the world, and become an internationally known symbol of hope and inspiration.
I wrote this book about my daughter because I want to give glory to God for all His grace and mercy. I want to write down the truth of His nature. I want to share with the world about His goodness and grace in our lives with beautiful ease. I want to share with hearts of love and humility for others.
Through our experience, He has sent me love from around the world, love from an extraordinary, wonderful community of supporters. Their love has been just so amazing and helped us to have strength. All these blessings are from above. I think if not for God, we may have all fallen apart long ago. This book is appropriate for all ages from parents to teenagers, from teachers to students.
Through the Holy Spirit, I am ready to share my words — and live a Godly life to testify to the world! If I can leave one impression, it is that God’s love is the same for everyone, but you must believe to receive.