Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Watching Her Daughter Fight for Life

Episode Resources

Check out the Barricks' website—Hope Out Loud.

Watch Jen's Adoration of Jesus.

Leslie Basham: Linda Barrick’s daughter was in a coma after a serious car accident. She remembers hearing her daughter talking to God.

Linda Barrick: “Lord, should I go or should I stay? What would You have me do?”  Then she was rolling around some more, and she’s saying, “Okay, Lord, I’ll do it.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Forgiveness, for May 21, 2018.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Well, I am so excited to introduce to you two women today who are new to Revive Our Hearts, but not new to this ministry. I’m eager for you over the next several days to hear their story, which I know is going to touch you deeply as it has touched many thousands of people.

Linda Barrick and I actually go back a long way.

Linda: Yes.

Nancy: Her dad, Dr. Ed Hindson, was involved with the founding of Life Action Ministry, our parent ministry, from the very earliest days. And Linda was just telling me that when she was an infant, she traveled with her parents on one of the Life Action’s road teams, going and doing revival ministry—her parents were—in local churches.

When I went to serve at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, after college, Linda was in probably upper elementary school at that time. I got to know her family. Her parents were at our wedding more recently. And so our lives have kind of intersected at different places.

But Linda Barrick is here with her daughter Jen Barrick. Hi, Jen.

Jen Barrick: Hi.

Nancy: They have an amazing story of God’s amazing grace. I know it’s going to touch you. You might want to get some Kleenex ready because there are parts of this story that you'll be going, “Oh, wow! I just can’t imagine walking through that.” But God is writing the script for our lives, and we’re going to see that.

So Linda and Jen, thank you so much for flying from Lynchburg, Virginia, to be with us here today to talk about God’s story in your lives.

Linda: Thank you for having us.

Jen: Yes, thank you.

Nancy: And, Linda, you’ve written a book telling this story. I just want to say from the outset that we’re going to make this available to our listeners. I know many of them will want to read more than what we can cover here. It’s called, Miracle for Jen.

It’s a true story by Linda Barrick. The subtitle is: A Tragic Accident, a Mother’s Desperate Prayer, and Heaven’s Extraordinary Answer. In fact, Joni Eareckson Tada has written a forward. I know you ladies have connected with Joni, and she loves you, and you love her. We love Joni here at Revive Our Hearts, so that’s another connection we have.

We’ll be telling you at the end of the program how you can get a copy of Miracle for Jen. We’ll be glad to send it to you. If you send a donation of any amount to help support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, then this book will be our way of saying, “Thank you for your gift to this ministry.”

Well, Jen, you were in high school—fifteen years old. You and your family were actively involved at Thomas Road Baptist Church. You were a student at Liberty Christian Academy, and you were involved in a high school choir concert.

Jen: Yes.

Nancy: Tell us what you remember about that Sunday night in November 2006.

Jen: November 5 was such an amazing day. My brother had just won a baseball tournament. So he and my dad were rushing home that night to see me singing in my first choir concert with my high school choir. I was a sophomore.

It was such a powerful night. We were singing the song, “Lord, You’re Holy,” and that is one of my favorite songs. It was just such a worshipful night. My grandpa spoke that night on the book of Revelation, and he ended the sermon by closing his Bible and shouting, “We win!” A lot of decisions were made.

We were actually going home that night to have a party at our house. We had invited some friends and family over. What we didn’t know is that a mile from our home, there was a drunk driver who was running from the police. He hit us head on going eighty miles an hour.

So in one second, our lives were completely changed.

Nancy: Changed forever.

Linda, in the book Miracle for Jen where you tell the story, you call this young man “Carl.”

Linda: Yes.

Nancy: That’s not his real name, but we’ll call him that.

Linda: Okay.

Nancy: As you think back about that evening, what are your recollections?

Linda: Well, I remember waking up, and my face is just smashed up against the windshield, and there’s crushed glass everywhere, and I can’t move. I can’t figure out how I got there because I was just watching Jen sing in the choir concert. I thought I was in a bad dream. Have you ever been in a dream where you just want to wake up?

I started saying out loud, “Is this real, or is this a dream?”

My son Josh was eleven at the time, and he was sitting right behind me. We were in a Sienna van, and my husband, Andy, was driving. I was next to Andy, and Jen and Josh were behind us. Josh was awake, and he said, “Mom, it’s real.”

We just started crying out to Jesus, and we were saying, “Lord, come to our rescue.” And, “God, have mercy on us.” We were just praying from the depths of our heart. And we were trying to wake Jen up. We couldn’t get her to wake up. She was laying limp over her seatbelt.

My husband, Andy, looked to me at the moment like he was completely crushed in half. He wasn’t. He had a lot of damage to his pelvic area. It took them an hour and a half to cut Andy and I out of the van. And actually, the first responder, the EMT is a friend of ours. She said, “Linda, that metal was just morphed around your body within inches. You could just see your figure outlined in the metal.”

So it was almost as if angels wrapped around us and protected our bodies. We should have all died that night, and somehow God reached down and said, “Not yet. Not yet for the Barrick family. My purpose and My plan for them on this earth is not done.” But it’s been hard.

Nancy: Let me take you to the accident that night. I don’t know what it’s like. It can’t be easy for you reliving this as you often do when you’re out speaking, and Jen doesn’t remember the accident.

Linda: You’re right. She doesn’t.

Nancy: What was it like for you as a mom? You’re pinned under the windshield, and you can’t move, and you can’t help your two kids behind you.

Linda: Right.

Nancy: What’s going through your mind?

Linda: Well, as a mom, when your kids are hurt, you want to hug them, and you want to touch them. The power of touch is huge. And I’m just thinking right now, I couldn’t get to my kids. I couldn’t touch them. Our injuries were so severe. We were scattered to four different hospitals within hours of each other. And actually, my son, Josh, they brought him to the Lynchburg General Hospital. I think it was Tim Clinton, a friend of ours who's a psychologist, and he said, “Josh needs to see his mom.”

We were both in neck braces, so we couldn’t see each other, but we touched fingers. I just said to him, “Josh, you know God’s with you. It’s going to be okay.”

But I have that memory of being able to touch his hand even though I couldn’t see him.

I was in the hospital for sixteen days before I could see Jen or my husband Andy.

Nancy: Who were in other hospitals.

Linda: Yes. Other hospitals.

Nancy: And not really close.

Linda: No—a couple of hours away. So the only thing I could do was pray, and there’s such power in prayer. My friends say I made them pray all night long. I would just say, “Get on your knees and pray.” There were hundreds of women in that Lynchburg hospital, hundreds of men and women, and I would just say, “Go tell them to get on their knees.”

I was doing all these Bible studies on prayer right before the wreck happened, and just the posture of being on your knees. So that’s what was coming out of me. That first night, even though I was on morphine, I wouldn’t let anyone sleep all night long. We had to pray.

Nancy: On your knees.

Linda: On our knees. I was begging God for revival. I just felt like if God allowed this, He was going to do something huge. We were begging God for revival in our church and Jen’s school. And, of course, I didn’t know how injured Jen was, and I didn’t think for one minute that she was going to die, but she actually had a classical scale of three at the car wreck, and dead people are a three. So doctors—no one thought that Jen would live.

Nancy: So it was more serious than you realized.

Linda: Yes. It was way more serious than I realized.

I will tell this one miracle that God did. In the wreck, when I’m waking up, and I’m crushed, I turn and see Jen’s face. To me, it’s glowing like an angel, and there’s just a cut above her left eye. There’s just a little blood trickle above her left eye. And so those sixteen days when I’m praying and begging God to spare her life, I’m picturing this picture, like she looked like an angel.

Well, a year later, when we had a celebration at our church, the EMT that was there the night of the wreck is talking about Jen’s face and how horrific it was and that she needed to go to counseling afterward. Everyone, just the blood, and the brain sticking out and all of that.

And I said to her (her name’s Christie Van), “Christie, that’s not what I saw. I saw her glowing and just a little gash above her left eye.”

And Josh, my son, who was seated right next to Jen, so I know he saw her, whether I really could turn around and totally see her. But he was right next to her, and he said, “Mom, I saw the same thing you saw.”

And God protected us in that moment. He didn’t let us see how bad Jen was injured. Our God can do anything.

I just remember quoting Scripture. You know, when you hide God’s Word in your heart, and then you’re squeezed, that’s what comes out of you in those moments.

Nancy: So you’re in the hospital for sixteen days. What are you dealing with physically? I read this in your book, but I want our listeners to get a feel of what you were up against. This was not an easy journey for you, much less what was to come as you entered into Jen’s story.

Linda: Well, my whole left side was crushed. I had multiple ribs that were broken—I think seven on my left side. My left lung collapsed, and my left foot was crushed, and my left arm. So it was very serious.

But my husband, Andy, was even more serious than me. The doctors thought that he might not live as well. His whole pelvic area was crushed. It was days later before they could do surgery, and he had three plates and twelve screws.

So we had several of us in wheelchairs for a while.

Nancy: Were you able to communicate with him during those days?

Linda: Our cell phones were shattered in the wreck, but someone got us a new cell phone that only Andy and I had the number, so we could talk to each other, and no one else could really get to us or call us. I had a friend that would keep a schedule that would have someone with Jen around the clock in the hospital. An army of church people came to our aid.

Nancy: And not just for a few days or weeks.

Linda: Months.

Nancy: For months and, really, years.

I remember when that accident first happened. We got the word up here in Michigan, here at Life Action: “Linda and Jen—the whole Barrick family has been in a serious accident.” People all around the world were praying.

Linda: Yes.

Nancy: And, Jen, you had no idea that any of this was going on, but as you look back on it now . . . You’ve been told about the story. In fact, you just read Miracle for Jen in recent months.

Jen: Yes, I did.

Nancy: What is your thinking now that you know how many people were praying and this army of volunteers—how does that make you feel?

Jen: Oh, yes, it was definitely a whole army of people that came to our aid and just how God sustained us and just how prayer filled us with strength. It just puts me in so much awe of our Lord and just for the friends. I’m just so thankful—forever thankful—for all they invested and just truly how they made such a difference.

Nancy: As I’m listening to this conversation right now, I’m thinking about some of our listeners who have children who may not be in a physical crisis but who are in a spiritual crisis. They’re spiritually comatose or spiritually dead. These parents have no way of reaching those children or communicating with them in a way that, physically, your parents couldn’t communicate with you while you were in that coma for those weeks.

Spiritually, some of these kids, it’s like they’re in a coma. And yet, to know that people were praying during that time. God was listening. God was working in everybody’s hearts—the family, the people who were praying. There were a lot of people who got involved in this journey. But how, in time, God answered the prayers of those people that you couldn’t even hear, Jen, at the time.

Jen: Yes.

Nancy: I’m thinking how many parents right now, moms and grandmoms listening who are crying out to God on behalf of their children or their grandchildren. The kids don’t know it. They can’t hear it, or they’re deaf to it. They’re totally unaware. Or maybe they’re like that prodigal, they’re out in a far country. But God is hearing. God is listening.

Linda: The fact that you just brought that point up . . . My friend Leanne came in from Ohio. She was with Jen, I think it was on day two or three, when they thought she was going to die. She lay prostrate, just flat on her face on the floor, all night, praying. She had God’s Word open right above Jen’s head. She prayed all night begging God to spare Jen’s life.

When she got home, she said God had just changed her. It’s like she remembered everything she’d learned about God as a child. And what God said to her was, “Leanne, there are people that you know that are spiritually dead, and they are dying and going to hell. You need to pray for them like you were praying for Me to save Jen’s life.”

It transformed her in a way that was so powerful. She was just on fire—on fire for Jesus—so much so that she would characterize it as “BJ and AJ”—before Jen and after Jen. One day I just said to her, “Leanne, Jen wasn’t even awake. What happened in that room?”

And she said, “It was just the Lord and I. We just had . . . God’s presence was so powerful in Jen’s room.”

Nancy: It reminds me of what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter 1, where he says—and I’m paraphrasing here, but he said, “Our sufferings are for your sake, for your salvation, for your comfort, but also to become a means through which God can do a work in the lives of others.”

And when all that’s happening, when you’re in the middle of it, there’s no way to see or know or figure out what all God is doing. In fact, you won’t know all of that in this story until heaven. Right?

Linda: Right.

Nancy: You’ve seen a lot over the last ten years about what God has done through this, but at the time, you’re lying there with your family in four separate hospitals, hanging between life and death, and you can’t see what God is doing in you, in those people who are praying, in those people who are doing that vigil, and all the women and families that over these years since that have been impacted by your story.

But God is the one writing the script.

Linda: Yes.

Jen: Yes.

Nancy: He sees, and He knows, even when we can’t see that.

So tell us just . . . I want to unpack a little bit more of the story so our listeners really feel . . .

Linda: Okay.

Nancy: So you’re healing slowly, Linda.

Linda: Right.

Nancy: You’ve got this mother’s heart. Was Josh the first one to get out of the hospital? Is that right?

Linda: He was the first one out, so he came to visit me. And again, the power of that touch—just having someone in my immediate family. I had the touch of my friends, all the women that had come to Bible study at my house for years, just cared for me. They bathed me. They did everything for me for months. But you long to have the touch of your husband or your children or your parents.

Josh would come to see me.

Nancy: So after just a little more than a couple of weeks and you’re released from the hospital, but you’ve still got a lot of healing to do.

Linda: Yes. I couldn’t get myself dressed. I couldn’t shower. I couldn’t use my whole left side. And a different friend would come to the house and bathe and dress me every day, and they would drive me an hour and a half to the UVA hospital to see Jennifer.

Nancy: Each way; each day.

Linda: Yes. And when we would get home, a friend had prepared a meal. About 7 or 8 o’clock at night, we’d have a home-cooked meal on our doorstep.

Nancy: So tell us about the first time you saw Jen in that hospital—still in a coma. Right?

Linda: Yes. The first time I saw Jen, it was the day she was being taken out of ICU, and she was being moved into rehab. I’m sitting in a room waiting for her. I’ll never forget this little lady comes in, who’s the janitor, and she says to me, “I’ve seen Jen. She’s in the hallway, and God’s in that girl.”

I looked at her, and I said, “Well, Jen’s not talking. How do you know God’s in that girl? She’s still asleep in a coma.”

And she’s like, “God just told me He’s in that girl, and it’s going to be okay.”

I clung to that hope—because no doctor would give us hope. So the one little, I think her name was Christine. I can still picture her sweet face and just how God sent her to me to give me hope that she was going to wake up.

So I sat by her bed day after day—different friends would drive me—just waiting and praying and begging God to wake her up.

Jennifer had been in a coma five weeks. And then little by little, she would start to move a little bit. We’d see maybe half an eye open just for ten minutes, and we’d get all excited. Then she started thrashing uncontrollably. They actually added a tent on top of her bed, and it was zipped up to keep her from falling on the ground. She would thrash and moan in bed.

It was heartwrenching to watch, and yet I just thought, She’s going to wake up, and she’s going to know who I am. I didn’t understand what brain injury was.

Nancy: So on the one hand, you’re thrilled she’s alive

Linda: Yes.

Nancy: But you know this is going to be a long, hard road.

Linda: It is going to be a long, hard road.

And I’ll never forget, every night my friends would have to drive me home.

Nancy: An hour and a half.

Linda: An hour and a half. My husband and I couldn’t fit in the same vehicle because of all our injuries and our limps. We had to stay stretched out in the wheelchairs. So his parents would drive him every day the same hour and a half, and we would meet back at the house.

And we’re in beds—hospital beds—side by side at my in-laws’. I’m watching Andy being in so much pain, and I can’t help him. And I’m watching his mom rub his feet and give him his pills. And my son, Josh, would tape my pills to my little hospital bed with water because it’s very hard to get your wheelchair in and out of the bathroom. Sometimes I would try to hop on one foot.

And I kept my cell phone in that bed, and one night at 4 a.m., my friend Tammy, who was with Jen (actually, it was Jen’s boyfriend’s mom) called, and I answered. And she said, “Linda . . .”

Nancy: She was staying with Jen that night?

Linda: She was staying with Jen. A different friend stayed with Jen all night because, with the thrashing, she could hurt herself.

Nancy: So every night somebody was there.

Linda: Yes, every night. It had to be someone that Jen knew their voice because she was totally blind. She couldn’t see anything.

And Tammy called, and she just said, “Linda, Jennifer has been praying and talking to Jesus for forty-five minutes.”

Nancy: At that point you hadn’t heard her say anything?

Linda: Well, we had heard her say, like, moans and slurs, but you couldn’t understand her. It was just moaning in pain. One time I was trying to sing “Jesus Loves Me” to her. She was trying to mouth on the third word, and in that moment, I leap out of my wheelchair. I’m forgetting I can’t walk, and I fall flat on the floor. She couldn’t really speak, but she was trying to mouth every third word of “Jesus Loves Me,” and then she falls back asleep. So we hadn’t heard her voice. Anything we heard was a moan.

And this night Tammy calls, and Jen had just been praising God, and saying, “Lord, You are so good. You are so faithful. You are glorious.” And really, she was saying all those words in the song, “Lord, You’re holy. You’re wonderful. You’re glorious. You’re holy. You’re righteous.”

Nancy: For forty-five minutes.

Linda: For forty-five minutes. So that next morning my friend Pam comes to dress me, and I’m saying, “Skip the shower today. We are going to the hospital to see Jen.”

And so we get there, and she’s on her face. She’d been asleep. Again, we’re just waiting for her to wake up, and she’s thrashing back and forth, and she’s getting all wound up in her feeding tube. She is having a two-way conversation with God, and we can understand her.

She’s saying, “Lord, should I go or should I stay? What would You have me do?” Then she’s rolling around some more, and she’s saying, “Okay, Lord, I’ll do it, but there aren’t words to describe You. You’ll have to write it down.”

It was so powerful that my friends with me that day got flat on their face on that hospital floor. They thought Jen was going to heaven right then, but I knew in my heart she was going to live. It was as if God was giving her a plan for her life. I even wrote it on a sticky note—I would carry sticky notes with me. She even said, “Lord, I didn’t see You in the first picture, but I see You in this one, and thank You for keeping my plan simple.”

And once she’d be done praying and talking to Jesus, we couldn’t understand her again. The only time she made sense, and it was an uninjured voice, when she was talking to Jesus. It just gave us a glimpse . . . Our ministry that we have now is called “Hope Out Loud.” God was giving us hope out loud through Jen through the power of the Holy Spirit that was alive inside of her.

Nancy: Well, it’s clear that the Lord was involved, has been involved in this story from day one. And actually, before that, before the creation of the earth God had written this script and was preparing both of you for a story you never would have written for yourselves. 

Linda: No.

Nancy: But the Lord has written it. He’s still writing it.

Linda: Yes.

Nancy: We’re going to come back in the next Revive Our Hearts program and just tell how that story unfolded and pick up, Jen, when you can remember what was happening.

But I just hope even what you’ve heard thus far has been a word of hope out loud for you as you’re listening and you’re thinking about some impossible situation, some burden you’re carrying for a member of your family. It seems hopeless. It doesn’t seem like there’s any chance of the miracle happening that you need and you’re longing for.

Jen and Linda’s story, the Barrick family’s story, is hope through Christ.

Now, your story will not look like theirs. Theirs isn’t finished, and yours isn’t finished either. You can read more about this story in the book that Linda has written called Miracle for Jen. It’s spellbinding. I read it in just a couple of days over this past weekend.

And it’s made me so grateful, Jen and Linda, for your willingness to embrace a story that you couldn’t see the outcome. You didn’t know where God was leading it. But in the midst of it all, you offered up a sacrifice of thanksgiving. And to see now how God is bringing beauty out of ashes and giving joy where there was grieving, and using you ladies as an instrument of blessing and to make you fruitful in the lives of other women. It’s a beautiful thing.

So we’ll be glad to send you that book when you make a donation of any amount to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. Leslie will tell you how you can do that.

But I want to encourage you to join us tomorrow and perhaps tell some others who might want to hear about this story—the miracle working power of God through Jen and Linda Barrick. Please join us again tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Leslie: I know our listeners have been caught up in this story from Jen and Linda Barrick.

We’d like to send you a copy of the book Nancy’s been telling you about so you can get even more out of this story. It’s called Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick. We’d like to send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size.

Nancy, I hope these books will fly out of the warehouse.

Nancy: Yes, I do, too, Leslie, because this is a book that’s going to encourage your faith and show you how to lean on the Lord when tragedy touches your life.

And your support will make sure you can continue hearing the Revive Our Hearts program.

Now, this month, we’ve been asking the Lord to provide at least $680,000 in donations. The month of May marks our transition from one budget cycle to the next. And to wrap up our fiscal year in a strong position, we really need to hear from you.

So would you ask the Lord how He would want you to be involved in helping to meet this need? And then, however the Lord prompts your heart, if you want to make a donation, give us a call at 1–800–569–5959. Be sure to ask for the book Miracle for Jen when you make your donation, or you can make your gift at ReviveOurHearts.com and have a chance to request the book there as well.

Thank you so much for your part in helping Revive Our Hearts call women to greater freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

Leslie: Tomorrow, Linda and Jen will be back to tell us how a terrible car accident began to be used to give God glory. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.