Only days earlier, at a church in Grand Ridge, folks passed a cloth around the congregation. Locals gathered to take turns crying into the fabric, whispering prayers.

Sneads, Florida—a place that’s more farmland than town. Here, men still hunt with dogs, and young women know how to make chicken and dumplings from scratch.

This is a spot where kids still grow up barefoot on dirt roads. Where the biggest dangers facing local children are snagging feet on fishing hooks.

Georgie became a woman here. She started dating Trey at age fourteen. He was fifteen.

Their romance was the kind you don’t often see. The sort of teenage-love that adults warn won’t last six minutes. Trey and Georgie dated for six years.

Then, on one pretty October day, they visited the courthouse and said vows. They got straight to work, building a family. They started with Blakely Glen.

Parenthood agreed with them. The sleepless nights, the changing of diapers every nine seconds. Georgie got pregnant again.

Brenna Grace.

“She’s always wanted a big family,” says Georgie’s sister. “Lots of kids, spaced close together. She was so excited.”

But there was a problem. Georgie’s mother rushed her to the hospital. It was an emergency C-section.

Brenna Grace came into this world two months early, tipping the scale at four pounds. It wasn’t good. Bleeding on the brain. One collapsed lung. Jaundice.

They took Brenna Grace to UAB. The family has slept in waiting-room chairs, skipped meals, and survived on hospital coffee. To say it’s been hard would be an understatement.

That was seven days ago.

But this story isn’t about Brenna Grace. It’s not even about Georgie or Trey. This is about ordinary people.

In only seven days, ordinary prayers have reached across city lines, and into rural parts. Prayers have spread outward through the Panhandle and upward through Alabama—one steeple at a time. One ordinary person to another.

Communities pulled together. Some have donated money. Others are organizing suppers. There have been enough prayers to suffocate low-flying birds.

Then.

It happened overnight. One morning, doctors discovered Brenna Grace’s lung was no longer collapsed. Her jaundice had disappeared. She was able to drink milk. Her color was better.

There is still a long road ahead. But doctors can’t explain the change.

Neither can I.

But Georgie’s friends don’t mind explaining it. Only days earlier, at a church in Grand Ridge, folks passed a cloth around the congregation. Locals gathered to take turns crying into the fabric, whispering prayers.

Small towns.

When the cloth couldn’t absorb any more saltwater, they delivered it to the family. It hangs on Brenna Grace’s incubator with Scotch tape right now.

To untrained eyes, it looks like a prayer cloth. But it’s not.

It’s I-Love-Yous from people who call each other “neighbor.” It is tears from old grade-school teachers, insurance salesman, deputies, aunts, cashiers, and janitors. And no matter what you believe, it’s downright other-worldly. And it’s working.

This is Jackson County. It may be small.

But people here don’t mind telling mountains to get out of their way.

Get well, Brenna Grace.

23 comments

  1. Gary - April 13, 2017 10:34 am

    Sean,
    I’m an old man. I grew up in the piney woods southwest of Andalusia on a dirt road off the Brewton Road (US 29). I lived among such folks and they gave me the foundation upon which I stand to this day. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
    They gave me a love for my Lord, my family, my friends, my classmates, my state and my country. We prayed and said the pledge of allegiance in school. We cheered for our football team and prayed when friend or family had rough times. We even prayed for complete strangers who were undergoing one of life’s trials. Just like Brenna Grace… I just prayed for her. We each need to know that the Lord meets us in the stillness of our souls.
    Gary (The Olde Man)

    Reply
    • Sharon Nader - June 11, 2017 8:03 pm

      I thoroughly enjoyed this. I sleep with my prayer blanket that many women prayed over. God will heal. And I enjoyed the reply from the Olde Man as well! God bless!

      Reply
  2. Donna Smith - April 13, 2017 12:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Sean. You see, I have a 19 year old that came into the world at 27 weeks weighing 1lb 9.5 ozs. She too was prayed for and over by ordinary people all over my state of Louisiana. She is living proof that prayers are answered.

    Reply
  3. Judy - April 13, 2017 1:06 pm

    WOW!!! Thank you, God!

    Reply
  4. Lee Reed - April 13, 2017 2:37 pm

    Amazon has a number of Sean’s novels and short stories available in paperback and on Kindle. If you like his blogs, you might try them. Sean, your blogs are so well received, why don’t you publish them in book form, grouped into sections, each section with an introduction. I’ll bet your admiring blog readers would go for that. Good work!

    Reply
  5. destiny clayton - April 13, 2017 4:25 pm

    i am so sorry i am praying for the family .

    Reply
  6. James Godwin - April 13, 2017 5:09 pm

    Sean,
    Your readers need a cloth to cry in and pass around. We have plenty of tears to share.

    Reply
  7. Olivia Grizle - April 13, 2017 6:01 pm

    Your stories are amazing. I love reading them each day. Praise the Lord for what He has done and will continue to do for this little one. Prayer works. I have stories I could tell about prayer and do tell. God bless you.

    Reply
  8. Debbie Galladora - April 13, 2017 7:47 pm

    A perfect story for Easter week

    Reply
  9. Angie Trawick - April 13, 2017 8:18 pm

    Sean,
    I love reading your posts! My mom introduced you to me about a month ago. I grew up in Slocomb, Alabama. Went to college at Auburn. Now me and my family live just west of Fort Worth, TX in a small town called Aledo. I really like it here, but it will never be like home in Slocomb. Reading your posts, reminds me of the sweet things I love about the Deep South. The love, the soul of the people, and many more things.
    This morning, I met with a group of moms for a time of prayer. We all have seniors in high school and Lord knows we need all of His help right now!
    Keep writing and come visit us anytime in Texas!
    Sincerely,
    Angie

    Reply
  10. Barbara Parker - April 13, 2017 8:23 pm

    Please give my email address or phone # 205-541-2987 to Georgia and Trey.
    I live nearby and would be blessed to bring them meals, $ for gas – whatever.
    I am a Christian (church of Christ) so they do not have to be afraid. I just want to help. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. Michelle Kibodeaux - April 13, 2017 10:54 pm

    Oooooh my goodness. Chill bumps. Thanks.

    Reply
  12. Rachel - April 14, 2017 12:45 am

    Glory to God for the miracle of His works in this child and thank you for sharing this testimony. I, too, experienced a complication with my second child and we ended up at UAB Women and Infants and Children’s Hospital. She had surgery immediately following her birth Her surgeon and the medical staff were amazed at her recovery.

    The ONLY explanation for these children is we were able to witness a miracle before our very eyes and now it’s my honor to share our story, as well. We are from a rural community in South Alabama and during my pregnancy when I discovered my daughter was in danger our church, community, family and friends began praying and much like for Brenna Grace, word of our need for spiritual healing spread like wildfire. We all were covered in prayers and felt the power of the Holy Spirit.

    I would like to ask a special prayer for this family and the extreme hardship they are facing having a first-born child while facing this traumatic and stressful situation with BG. Our son was 4 when our daughter was born and we had never spent more than one weekend apart. Suddenly, we were thrust into two different worlds as we lived in the NICU at Children’s Hospital and he stayed with his grandparents. That time in the NICU was essential for her healing but I was devastated to be separated from my son. We made arrangements to have him visit as often as possible but ultimately it was the most difficult time I have ever faced and it will certainly be for this family. Pray for their strength and for their first born, as well. The separation from that child (however brief) while their time is devoted to the healing of Breanna Grace could ultimately be the hardest thing they go through. God will see each of them through this and they will grow as a family in ways they never imagined. Do not ever lose sight of the goal – to bring glory and honor to our Lord Jesus.

    Reply
  13. Michael Hawke - April 14, 2017 2:40 am

    I haven’t been able to delete any of these emails since I started reading them.

    Reply
  14. Mary Ellen Hall - April 14, 2017 2:45 am

    ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL-BROUGHT TEARS TO MY EYES!!😢

    Reply
  15. Deanna J - June 11, 2017 1:50 pm

    God is great! God is Good! Praise God!

    Reply
  16. Donna Schoditsch - June 11, 2017 3:32 pm

    You make my heart sing every day Sean Dietrich. Your words are about the real world, the one that matters, and the folks who inhabit it, and the love and life we share. Thank you, and God Bless you. Our God of Love answers prayers every day. Blessings on this dear little family you wrote of in this story, I hope they are all finding wholeness now.

    Reply
  17. Rebecca - June 11, 2017 3:54 pm

    Absolutely wonderful and uplifting.

    Reply
  18. Ben Smith - June 11, 2017 4:15 pm

    Awesome. There’s some great people left in this world and our God has blessed use all.

    Reply
  19. Barbara Branaman known as Nunu to all my grands. - June 11, 2017 8:45 pm

    June 11,2017.. Thank you for your beautiful story about Brenna Grace. Brenna Grace is my great-grandchild #7. As of now they are still at UAB. Brenna has struggled very hard to come as far as she has. This past week they were very excited to take her oxygen off. A huge step towards coming home. It only lasted an hour or so and they had to put it back. She still needs every ones prayers. Her mom and dad, Georgie and Trey, need prayers and support. Georgie doesn’t get to see Blakey nearly enough. Trey is working and driving back and fore on a regular basis. Please, continued prayers for this family. It has been over two months. Thank you, and God Bless.

    Reply
  20. Regina Peavy - June 12, 2017 2:46 am

    Tears & prayers…💜

    Reply
  21. Nancy Derse - June 12, 2017 3:24 am

    Loved this story. I grew up inGrand Ridge and the folks there a good people. Inow live in Cottondale. I didnt move far from home. I was given a prayer cloth when I had breast cancer surgery about 15 years ago. A lovely. Christian woman understood how frightened I was. She believed in the power of prayer. I do too. I hsve been cancer free for 15 years. I know God is good and is still in business. God Bless You0

    Reply
  22. Mindy - June 12, 2017 4:51 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I am the mother of one of those babies.
    Our church anointed, cried and prayed over ultrasound pictures that showed deformities, brain and heart defects. Two weeks later the ultrasounds were repeated and all the doctor could find was a perfect baby girl.
    She’s eight years old now, perfectly healthy and beautiful – with a genius I.Q.
    Sometimes God knows better than the doctors and honors the humble prayers of His loving servants!
    Thank you for your writing. You make me even more proud of my upbringing.

    Reply

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