My name is Chris Waters. I was born in North Carolina, and lived with my family in the rural area, so we were on farms.
The first time that my life was truly touched by God and changed was actually when I was born. The story that has come to me from my mother and my family was that as a young woman she was having some difficulties in delivery. My father was in Korea. They flew him in, saying this was a difficult situation
Actually I ended up being born perfectly fine – and the first baby born of that next year! And so it stands as one of those testimonies of “that which is meant to harm us actually will be used for the good.”
There was another event in my life that presented some harsh reality and difficult moments for my family as well as for me – and that’s when I was about four, playing in the back yard on the farm. My cousin and I were filling up some Coke bottles with water, but under the spigot was a glass jar. It was a huge jar that candies used to come in at my grandfather’s store. The reason it was there was, there was a broken out curvature in it so that the chickens would drink water from it.
As a four-year-old, we were standing there, filling up Coke bottles and running and pouring the water in little holes we were making in the ground. Under that shed everything was getting very wet and slimy and such, and I fell. And my right hand went right down on that cut-out of that huge jar.
Needless to say, as a little person, it just cut everything in my hand. My mother and my grandmother came from the house and grabbed me, wrapped my hand up with a hand towel and started driving very fast.
We got to our doctor, which was a country doctor about 12 miles away. He rebandaged my hand, and told my mother to drive as fast as she could to Roanoke Rapids, which was another 25 miles away.
We get to the emergency room, and they’re telling her, well, first of all, this is the worst case scenario and they can’t do anything and they probably need to amputate my hand. They didn’t expect me to even live because of the infection.
At that point in time, my mother and my grandmother were saying “No.” And it was their faith, it was the Spirit moving in them, out of their terror. So truly the Spirit was moving in them as they were saying, “This may be the situation, but no, we’re not doing that. She will be fine. Just do what you can do.”
And of course the doctor talked to another doctor over the phone. This doctor was in Duke Medical Center. The doctor in Roanoke Rapids, with the help of the doctor over the phone at Duke, reattached ligaments and vessels. They packed my hand with some dissolving material, put antiseptic in it, but again said, “Even if this limb survives this, it will be useless. Or, she will just die from all this infection.”
Today, I have my hand! My hand writing’s not too great, but . . . We do look at is as a family. We were a family of faith there in North Carolina. And we do recognize that that was God’s work.
I was raised in the Methodist Church as a young person, and we were always people of faith. Not a terribly religious life, but attending church. There isn’t the richness, when I look back on it. There is an awareness and a confession that Jesus is the Savior.
When I was 12, I was actually baptized and joined the Presbyterian Church.
I can’t bear witness to some of the more difficult challenges that people have had, yet I think our stories are all the same because we are all looking for an answer of what we need. So it may not be as destructive as drugs and alcohol, but other challenges we have I think are the same. You’re still trying to collect and gather and experience in the physical world what you think is an answer to an emptiness. You’re seeking. You’re needing and you’re seeking. And the answer is God.
I graduated high school, and I ended up leaving home. I literally arrived on the doorstep of college with no money and no grand idea of who I wanted to be and what I was going to do in the world. I went to school as a history major, tried some other courses, decided none of that was making me excited about anything.
I was in a sorority and some of the young women in my sorority – I said, “What is it you do?” And they said, “Well, we’re in a program to become speech-language pathologists.” And I’d never heard of speech-language pathologists. So they said, “Well you should come over to the clinic.”
So I did, and it was so profound. It was a knowing. It was just to the core of my being. And really what that was was the Holy Spirit touching me and saying, “This is what you do.”
And that is the most awesome experience, and when you have those moments there just aren’t words for it because it’s just so awesome.
I fully have come to understand and recognize that I’m here for a purpose. I’m here for His work.
I work with children with autism. I work with children challenged with communication disorders, and the work that we do everyday is so beyond me. It’s all in His glory.
I think the only thing I can say is, truly, “Thank you God for my life. Thank you for choosing me to be your child, to do your work.”
So it’s truly just, “Thank you, Lord.”