2017 was quite possibly the worst year of my life. I tell the story on my Podcast (click here to hear it). 1999 was likely the worst year of Kacey Ruegsegger Johnson’s as she was shot in the library during the Columbine massacre. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the attack and the release of Kacey’s book, detailing what happened to her that awful day. To compare our (or anyone’s) ‘worst year’ isn’t even possible because each of us has our own personal story. But, one thing I could compare… and it gave me chills… was the experience we both shared as we felt (literally) the hand of God.

In her book, Kacey describes feeling a hand on her back as she crouched and hid underneath a desk in the Columbine library. She was so certain she felt an actual hand that she actually turned around to see who was behind her. There was no one there. But she felt the hand — which she believes was the hand of God, protecting her in that terrifying moment.

I had my very own experience so incredibly similar to Kacey’s. I shared this on Facebook shortly after it happened. I felt compelled to share it again after reading her story. It’s something I’ll never be able to ‘shake’. It was so REAL. It gave me hope, comfort and healing at my lowest point.


Something amazing happened a couple of weeks ago. Actually, beyond amazing. Miraculous. And, I don't have any other explanation for it other than that I felt (literally) the hands of God.

Let me back up a sec.

I'm a Christian. So, I'm a believer. But, I'll be perfectly honest with you. I have all of it in my heart, but I'm not extremely outward about it. I can't quote Bible verses. I don't go to church on a regular basis. I am not one to push my beliefs on anyone else. I feel everyone has the right to feel how they want to feel about faith. I don't know if that makes me right, wrong, perfectly normal or hypocritical, but it's my truth.

So, for me to say something like, 'I felt (literally) the hands of God' -- it's not something that would normally come out of my mouth.

But, I did.

At the end of February, I had a cyst removed from my ovary (the doctor actually ended up removing my entire ovary). Excruciating pain two days later led to an emergency surgery to repair the bowel perforation that shouldn't have happened. Temporary colostomy. A few weeks later, a bowel obstruction. A few weeks after that... another bowel obstruction.

I felt like a rag doll who had been beaten against a wall over and over and over. Pain, weight loss, anxiety, lengthy hospital stays, time away from my children, husband, job... without a doubt the worst experience of my entire life. (A part of my intestine decided to wrap itself around the colostomy. No wonder I had horrible side pain every single day! Digestion was disastrous. This led to the two back-to-back bowel obstructions.) I was done. Just D.O.N.E. I had tried to remain positive, hopeful and strong from day one of the never-ending nightmare. But, by that point -- I just wasn't so sure I had anything left.

Four days into my hospital stay, my surgeon came by with less-than-optimistic news. He said I was likely looking at another surgery, not to reverse my colostomy -- but to fix the intestine that had wrapped itself around it. A big deal. A huge deal. Another major surgery that yes, would fix one problem -- but would push back my colostomy reversal for several more months. Extend the misery. Would push me back to square one.
Why, God? Why me? Why?

I was so mad. I felt defeated. I was upset. I felt it was so unfair. Yet, I knew in my heart that there were (are) people dealing with so, so much worse. Believe me, I get that. But, this was my low point and I was angry. Angry that I was even in the situation I was in by no fault of my own. But, in pain! The surgery would at least (hopefully) relieve that.

The doctor left. I pulled up the covers, turned off the light and shut my eyes.

4 a.m.

I woke from a sound sleep and just started to talk to God. I can't even say I was praying because that's not really what it was. I was demanding. I was yelling (silently). I begged. I said, 'you made the blind see... you healed the sick... this is what you DO!'

'Heal ME. God, HEAL... ME. Fix me.'

And at that exact moment, I felt hands on my belly. I mean, I FELT hands. On my belly.

Look, I know some will read this and think, 'exactly how much Morphine was running through your veins?' And, I hear you! But, I'll also tell you -- nada. Zip. I wasn't even connected to an IV that night.

I. Felt. Hands. On. My. Belly.

And, I believe they were God's hands.

It's my only explanation for how the next morning I woke up and my side pain was totally gone. My surgeon came in and poked around on my abdomen and I'm pretty sure even he couldn't believe how my hard, distended, sore belly was now soft. He even made the remark, 'answered prayers'.

What an unusual thing for a doctor to even say! Was he praying for me?

I was discharged later that afternoon. I have felt better than I have in months ever since. I'm also knocking on every piece of wood around me right now.

I know that anything can happen. I know that I'm taking life one day at a time. My reversal surgery will happen in just a few more weeks. In the meantime, I'm controlling what I can by watching my diet, getting physically stronger and trying to stay mentally calm. But, along this journey, I have come to realize that I'm SO not in charge!

I haven't been able to 'shake' what happened that dark, very early morning. It was powerful. The most powerful thing that has ever happened to me... right in the middle of the worst thing that's ever happened to me.

I am grateful.

Jennifer Waldman