"It could have torn our family apart and it made us all stronger. It made us all come together. It made us acknowledge verbally what was most important," remembers Susan Brooks.
The year 2005 was supposed to be another happy chapter in the life of Adam and Susan Brooks. Already the parents of a one son, in January that year Susan found out she was pregnant again. The same day she learned she was pregnant, she began to experience strange symptoms. First nausea, then unexplained spots on her body, painful to even touch... then severe, painful muscle spasms. Doctors thought it was just caused by the pregnancy.
"We just kept relying on the doctors, that what they said was right and that once we got through the nine months everything would return to normal," remembers Susan, "so I think there was a disbelief between the two of us."
Susan began to lose weight instead of gain, and still doctors did not know why. A month early their new son, Hayes, was born. But the problems did not end. Two days after coming home, paralysis starting moving from Susan's toes up to her chest.
"I mean, I'm serious," says Susan, "straight from working typical mom, walking into the hospital, having the complications, having the baby, becoming completely going paralyzed and into a wheelchair."
The family found itself torn. Hayes had complications from his early birth and was sent to a hospital in Dallas. Susan, was back at Mother Frances, paralyzed and experience more fear than anytime in her life. But that is when she believes the power of prayer began to work.
"Something happened that changed me that week that I was at the hospital before I moved on to rehab center," says Susan. "When I was at my lowest point, my most vulnerable point, my most alone point, I became stronger than I've ever been. I was happier. I had so much unexplainable joy. There was so much evidence that there was a higher power involved, that Christ was going to carry me through this. It was undeniable. That it gets me emotional now to talk about, but it made me incredibly full of joy."
Susan spent more than a month at Health South Rehab in Tyler. Through all the tests and exercises, doctors never really figured out what happened, except to discover lesions had formed on Susan's spine. Once Susan came Adam put away the wheel chair and walkers. Susan began to slowly walk again but now her vision, again with no explanation, started to fail.
Regardless, this family now understood the faith they had always believed in was working and giving away the control of their lives to the power of prayer was not a bad thing at all.
"That book right there," Adam pointed at a scrapbook on the coffee table, "One of Susan's friends had sent that to her. We got it when we got home. It ended up being these complete strangers from Fort Worth and Dallas and all it was was prayers from people we never knew. And that's the point that I realized I hadn't been doing any of this at all its been family, very close friends and total strangers praying for us."
"And it's the first time I have ultimately given it all over to Him, handed it to Him and I was happier than I've ever been," says Susan. "And it's hard to say I was paralyzed and I was sick and I was losing my sight and I was the happiest I have ever been, but it's true. Because I finally gave Him everything."
"I read this while all this was going on from C.S. Lewis, 'One of the most frustrating things is what is the best for you according to God and what is best for you according to us, most of the time are not the same thing.' And understanding that, and grasping that and believing that that's when you can finally go, 'Whatever is going to happen is going to happen,'" says Adam.
"You're not promised anything," Susan points out. "We're not promised anything, nobody is promised for our lives to be perfect. If you don't find something solid to pick you up when they are not (perfect) you're in trouble."
Clint Yeatts reporting, email@example.com