My name is Chanda Crutcher, and I am on the pastoral staff of Restoration (Huntsville Foursquare Church) in Madison, Ala.
My ministry service includes Dramatic Arts Missions. Also, as Restoration’s missional pastor, I support a new church plant, Refuge Church, in Huntsville.
My life was one big search for significance prior to July 2010. As the president/CEO of a geriatric care management firm—and the married mother of four children and a newborn—my life was spinning out of control.
One day, Darrell, my husband of 13 years, jumped out of bed before the rest of us to head to a local high school to assist with summer football training. This was his summer routine; he’d wake up early, be at the school by 6 or 7 a.m., returning home by 1 p.m. Some of my work could be done at home, so I would stay home with the kids in the mornings. When Darrell would return, it would be my turn to go to the office.
My assistant only booked summer appointments for me after 2 p.m. so that I would have plenty of time to get Darrell situated with the kids and head into work. That afternoon, I had a 2 p.m. appointment with a client plus an unscheduled walk-in.
Darrell was running late that day and didn’t arrive home till 1:45 p.m. I had just 15 minutes to drive to the office and greet the two clients who would inevitably be standing there when I arrived. I was angry.
Hearing Darrel’s car pull into the driveway, I couldn’t get out the door fast enough. Within minutes I was in my car, on my cell phone and backing out of my driveway. I arrived at work about 20 minutes later and, sure enough, found both clients waiting. I jumped out of the car and ran in to get started, feeling like I was already outnumbered as I hustled in the office door.
I found my 2 p.m. appointment in the reception area, while another client and a concerned neighbor were in the conference room. For about 40 minutes, I ran around not fully engaging anything or anyone. Finally, things slowed up enough for me to escort the pastor I was meeting with (now the pastor of the church plant that I support) upstairs so that our meeting could begin, late.
I was still on the staircase when it suddenly hit me—my baby, my precious Ckingston—was still in my car! In my haste and anger, I had left my 4-month-old son strapped in his car seat, in July, in 90-degree heat, with the windows up!
Murderer! rang in my head. Heart plunging, I was turning in circles. Panicked and shaking, I held my head and prepared to go outside. My insides felt like they were physically ripping apart. I had killed my baby. I yelled back at the pastor to pray for my baby as I ran toward the door, steeling myself to move toward the car, prepared to see the lifeless body of my son inside. I knew that Ckingston was gone. And it was all my fault.
But God’s presence was so profound in the parking lot of my office. I knew immediately, and even more so upon confirmation from the ER physician, that we had witnessed a miracle, and that my life would never be the same. Ckingston was perfectly fine. God had saved my son!
I constantly reflect back with amazement on that day, from the nightmare that began it to the miracle that ended it. One seemingly mundane summer day, in less than an hour, became a supernatural experience that has forever transformed my life, my marriage and my commitment to serve God with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my strength. I will serve Him with all my being and all my doing. I am not a murderer because my Savior came that I might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Huey Hudson, the senior pastor of Restoration—and also my father—loved me through the process of forgiving myself and working through my brokenness as I handled kingdom business with a newfound unquenchable passion. My church family helped me to bridge the most traumatic event of my life to preaching the Word of God around the world.
Ckingston’s life was saved that day, and so was mine. I refuse to keep it to myself.