Welcome Home, Carolyn Warlick!
On Sunday evening, February 21, a crowd gathered in front of Bill and Carolyn Warlick’s home to bear witness to the faithfulness of God in bringing Bill and Carolyn through a long and unbelievably challenging time. We were there to praise God for his goodness in the incredible healing He has worked already and for the ongoing healing that He is still working in Carolyn. We were there as the body of Christ, rejoicing together in the goodness of our great God!
The journey started on an ordinary Saturday morning this past November, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The sun was shining and Bill and Carolyn were thinking about all the things on their to-do list. But then suddenly, while eating lunch, Carolyn experienced terrible chest pain, and the next thing they knew, Bill was racing her to the ER. No one could have ever guessed that it would be 85 days before Bill would be able to bring her back home!
What began on that normal Saturday morning this past November was a marathon of anything but normal health events and amazing, miraculous answered prayers. It started with a ruptured esophagus. It was a big hole in a hard-to-reach place, but that was not the worst part––she also tested positive for COVID-19. Bill was told he had to stay home and quarantine and poor Carolyn had to be rushed into emergency surgery and then recover in isolation. Either of these problems would be enough to overwhelm anyone, but Bill (and Carolyn, when she could) turned to prayer. From the beginning, the St. Philip’s family was invited to the Warlicks’ prayer team. With regular daily updates from Bill, we were instructed what to pray for exactly. Clearly, their focus was on God’s supernatural power to heal and provide wisdom for the doctors and nurses and strength and courage to Carolyn and Bill.
The challenges kept coming with multiple infections and complications requiring additional surgeries. There was strain to her system beyond what one should be able to endure. She would have her better days and her worse days, but she kept holding on, and Bill kept us informed, and we kept praying.
In early January, he added this to his evening email: “It is by God's grace that she is still with us, and I know He has a reason and a plan for all of this. So I look to Him for the victory! Love and cherish your loved ones, for we know not what tomorrow brings!”
It was very touch-and-go for a very long time. Through it all, Bill remained at Carolyn’s side, ever the faithful advocate for her with the medical staff, and daily faithfully issuing an email call to prayer for her to their friends and family. And these were no regular emails. Bill’s emails were a testimony to his and Carolyn’s love for and trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. His emails informed us of what was going on medically with Carolyn, equipping us to pray specifically for her needs. But more than that, his emails reminded us exactly Who it is we were praying to: the God of the universe, yet He loves us and knows us intimately and cares for us! We were surely as encouraged and strengthened by Bill’s emails as he and Carolyn were by our prayers.
The Warlick family is a strong and loving family, and they are surrounded by a strong and loving spiritual family. This is what the Church does. It is our human nature to want to be self-sufficient, but when we are, we don’t get to witness the potential of our church family. We surely don’t want to be thrust into a difficult health situation, but one good thing about walking through the valley of death and getting to the other side is being able to look back and see how you made it across. Certainly, the miracle of modern medicine and the amazing doctors and nurses who know how to use the tools of medicine were integral, but also vital was the huge cloud of witnesses storming the gates of heaven calling out for healing from on high.
And what a joyful and victorious celebration of life and the power of prayer it was when we gathered on Sunday! Since Carolyn had spent Christmas day in the hospital, we thought we’d not only welcome her home, but also give her a little taste of the joy of Christmas in February. Members of the St. Philip’s Choir, led by Pat Gould, even brought Christmas song books for everyone! Armed with kazoos, flowers, banners, bells, and balloons––and hearts bursting with joy and gratitude––old friends and new friends, both young and old, made a lot of happy noise as Bill guided a surprised Carolyn to their front porch to soak in the sunshine and the warmth, love, and joy of her faith family as they welcomed her home.
What a privilege to share in the joy and the worship and praise of our God who answered our prayers and brought Carolyn home again!
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing;
Thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness;
That my soul may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to Thee forever.