more prayers than you've ever prayed before...

For years, I have asked questions about religion, but I have never questioned the power of prayer. I find that as I get older, I pray for good health for family and friends, and I find that a lot of my prayers begin with “thank You.” Thank You for a person or a special moment with my family. I have been fortunate to have grown up with healthy family and friends. So, what happens when you are suddenly faced with a bizarre freak accident that needs more prayers than you’ve ever prayed before?

My mother-in-law, Ginger, is one of a kind. I know that there are plenty of people who speak poorly of their mother-in-law, but I honestly cannot say one bad thing about this woman. She raised four amazing boys into amazing men and has been nothing but welcoming and helpful for the past 16 years that I have been part of her family. She runs, bikes and swims daily and is often referred to as “super Grandma” for all the activities she does with her ten grandkids. 

In August, while babysitting my niece and nephew, she was swinging in the backyard with my niece. A large branch holding the swing, gave way and the branch landed on her head.  

In the 16 years I have been part of the family, I have never seen one of their next door neighbors. That neighbor never takes off work on Friday. The accident happened on a Friday. The neighbor was not only home on this particular Friday, but heard the sound of the branch, ran over, and called 9-1-1 upon seeing my mother-in-law unconscious. She then asked my niece for “Grandma’s phone”. My mother-in-law is the only person I know who does not have a locked screen access code. Her phone opened right up, and the neighbor was able to get in touch with my sister-in-law who then rallied the rest of the family. As a family, we will forever be grateful to the neighbor’s quick thinking and calmness during a terrifying situation.

i hate hospitals...

Driving home from work, I remember looking up into the sky and saying, “We need some help right now please.” I knew I was speaking to God, but also to my mother-in-law’s parents and brother who have passed. Selfishly, I remember thinking, “I’m not done making memories with this woman.”

I hate hospitals, but I knew I had to be there for my husband and father-in-law. I was able to go into the hospital room and see Ginger. She was really banged up with blood still in her hair, bruises and she was using a straw, like they give you at the dentist’s office, to suck out all the draining blood. We were told she was stable but was scheduled for brain surgery later that night. My husband stayed with his brothers and dad to wait for the surgery. I went home to take care of our kids.

a special rosary...

I put on my mom hat. I had anxious energy that I channeled into getting them through the showers and then cozying up together to read before bed. When both kids were asleep, I walked downstairs and began to pace. Suddenly, I burst into tears. I felt so helpless. I then thought of a special rosary given to me by my Grandpa. It was a rosary I thought I had lost until a few months ago. I went upstairs and pulled it out. I had to look up how to say the rosary and sat quietly praying. In between prayers, I prayed for specific family members and the doctors and nurses. I felt a sense of calm and that I was doing something far greater than worrying. I went from feeling helpless to feeling hopeful.

believe in the power of prayer...

The day of the accident and the days that followed, I reached out to my coworkers and family members and asked them to pray too. The amount of people who told me that they told someone else to pray was a beautiful and powerful ripple effect. My own mother, who loves Ginger like I do, told me she has never prayed so hard as she did the night she was in surgery.

We already have a close family, but the closeness that was felt between the brothers, wives and cousins was noticeably strong during that emotional weekend. We were better because we were all together. Even now, more than two months after the accident, I get teary thinking about this terrifying moment that could have been so much worse. I know God was watching over her and has helped with her recovery. I will always continue to ask questions about religion, but I will always believe in the power of prayer. Today, I am sending love and prayers to all of you readers.

So, how is Ginger doing now on her road to recovery? She’s doing exactly how we all hoped! She’s treating this like another one of her bike rides or long runs: one mile at a time, resting when needed, fueling her body, surrounding herself with the people who love her most to cheer her on and is absolutely winning her race.

christina dankert

Christina is a wife, mother, teacher and children's book author that resides in Ohio. She finds genuine joy in her family - hearing her children's big belly laughs and watching her husband's laugh lines grow as the years pass. More from Christina can be found at

Images provided by Carly Kristin Photography and Christina Dankert.

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