***Today for Worship Wednesday, please welcome our guest writer and Worship Coordinator for Planting Roots, Kayla Atkins. This sweet lady has a heart of gold and a spirit that hungers for Jesus. Recently, she and her family walked through a tragedy that would have shaken even the most steadfast of us. But God! Her story and her faith – even in those desperately hard spaces – has inspired my very soul. I pray that as she shares, you will be drawn in to Jesus and the power of praising Him in the midst of your own storms.
I Will Praise You in This Storm
“Hey buddy, why don’t you just take my phone and go across the street and take pictures for me with your grandma and aunt. But wait for these 2 cars to go by first,” and I hugged my arm around his waist through the car door window as he stood outside of it.
Those were the last words I said to my son on our vacation in Tuscany, Italy before I let him go as he walked away.
Suddenly, I heard a loud crack. I saw a motorcycle skid sideways across the highway and watched as my son was catapulted through the air, landed about 50 feet in front of my rental car and rolled a couple of times into a fetal position.
I can’t describe to anyone the emotions that overtook me in that moment. Confusion at first, then shock, then a fear I never knew I could conceive.
As I jumped out of my car screaming and my daughter was on my tail doing the same, I raced in what felt like slow motion to his side. I screamed his name as his limp body lay there on the concrete. Blood began to pool behind his head and I lifted him into my lap, praying, “Oh, God! Please save my son!” screaming his name over and over and telling him to wake up.
My mom and aunt who’d had their backs turned to us (taking pictures of the scenery) when it happened, raced over and began praying over him as well, crying and believing for a miracle. After what really seemed like an eternity, he made a sound. He moved his arms and right leg.
In that moment, I heard a still small voice whisper “He’s gonna be ok.” I picked him up and moved him behind the car and continued to pray.
My mom, aunt, daughter, son and I were finishing up our final day in Italy on spring break. They’d been visiting us in Germany so we decided to take a quick trip to Italy for a few days.
Our trip had been really fun and we saw all kinds of famous sights. This was our last day before we were to fly home the next morning and now here we were on the side of the road in the middle of the countryside and I didn’t have an answer to anything now.
The first 3 women to approach us, as traffic began stopping, spoke English and one was a nurse! She assessed him, and said “He’s gonna be ok. We’ve called the ambulance. Start singing to him.”
By this point he was moaning and crying; he couldn’t move his left leg and started screaming about not being able to feel his leg, asking if it was broken.
Again, I had no answers. I told him the ambulance and medics were on their way and I just kept singing. We were trying to reach my husband, who was in the states visiting our oldest daughter and new baby. We finally got on the phone with him. He told our son to be strong and brave and he would be by his side as soon as he could get on a plane back home!
In all of the chaos surrounding us, there was a moment of surrender while I was holding him. I said in my heart, “Lord, I know you gave him to us on loan. He belongs to you. But, please, God, let us keep him longer!”
I truly understood in that moment how much my Heavenly Father loved my boy more than I ever could.
The ambulance seemed to take forever, but once they arrived they got him on the stretcher board. He was covered in blood and all scraped up on his face and road rash all over his body. They had to cut his pants off because his leg (the femur) was so swollen and they didn’t want to move him more than they needed to before he had a chance to get X-rays done.
As they were doing vitals, in their broken English, they said his heart rate is good. His blood pressure is great! I thought, “GOOD!! Now what about mine? Can you check me next?”
They also said he would be fine but that his leg was definitely broken. They called for a helicopter and soon we were lifted to Florence children’s hospital to continue treatment and get X-rays and figure out what the rest of our process would be from here on out.
I’ve never walked through a tragedy like this before. Nothing can prepare you for a moment such as that.
But as a woman of faith and a follower of Christ, the first thing I knew to do was pray, and then praise! When the nurse said to sing, the first song that came to mind was “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. There’s just something about that name…” A song my mom sang to me when I was little and grew up learning in church. One that has brought comfort over and over.
Jesus – His Name is peace in the storm.
Jesus – His Name is comfort in the midst of chaos.
When my world was flipped upside down in a split second, I knew I could call on the name of Jesus. I knew I could sing His name.
When the nurse asked me to sing, she knew it would calm my son. However, she may not have realized that at the same time, it would calm my spirit. And no matter the outcome, I chose to praise Him in the moment.
I know we serve a good God. But when my faith was put to the test that day, God showed up and gave me strength where mine failed.
This isn’t a faith that comes from the coattails of my parents or my grandma, although they were my biggest influences in my walk with the Lord. This is a faith that has been developed little by little and has been super messy at times over the years. It is one with deep roots, however, and one found in prayer.
The one thing I have learned over the years as a worshipper and a worship leader is that praise is grounding. It is calming and resets our focus on Who is greater in any and every circumstance.
I will share more again soon. In the meantime, if you find yourself in a place of crazy and chaos and your world is falling apart, Jesus will meet you right where you are in it all.
Say His name. Invite His presence, and worship. He will center your heart.
Worship Coordinator, Planting Roots
Kayla Atkins is a seasoned musician, songwriter, and worship leader. A Kansas native, Kayla was born and raised in a musical family. Since the age of two, she has been no stranger to the stage, touring and singing with her family during her childhood. Since 2008, Kayla and her family have fully adopted full-time military life. Recently, she has joined Planting Roots as the Worship Coordinator. No matter where the military takes her, she continues to pursue any singing and/or ministry opportunity where God leads, and is thoroughly enjoying the ride!