Holy Spirit Story: Her Name Was Mercedes

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Today’s Holy Spirit Story comes from Christy Day. It is a story both heart-wrenching and hopeful. It tells of the extraordinary character of her and her husband’s son, Christopher. The name means “Christ bearer.” You will quickly and easily see the resemblance. Here it is in her own words and if you are able to listen, in her own voice. 

Her name was Mercedes. That’s all I remember about the first time I met her in the ICU room where my youngest son, Chris, was on a ventilator fighting an infection that was taking his life. She walked quietly in the door and politely asked if I needed the area cleaned and the trash taken out. The room was littered with leftover fast food containers my husband and I had collected through the long hours waiting for some improvement in Christopher’s vital signs. Each day after that she would come in always asking what I needed and going straight to work. She spoke very little but her kind eyes and gentle spirit were comforting to me.

Even though Christopher had been born with a spinal cord defect, he never let it slow him down. “Hotwheels” was a nickname he was given because of his skills using a wheelchair at an early age. When his classmates in elementary school asked insensitive questions such as “What’s wrong with you?” he would proudly answer “Nothing. I was born with a myelomeningocele and an Arnold-Chiari 2 malformation in my brain.” This always impressed his friends.

Nothing stopped Christopher from living life to the fullest. He entered preschool at age three, kindergarten at five, and graduated high school and enrolled in college at eighteen. Just like his brother and sister, he got his driver license at sixteen. When he was six he played Challenger baseball, and in middle school he was part of a competitive swim team. He played wheelchair basketball on a traveling team in high school. He was a percussionist in the marching band. As part of the praise band at church he played bass guitar. His first job was working in the nursery at church in high school. He was very active in youth activities at church. In college, Christopher applied and was accepted to work at Disney World for a semester.

During the last few years of his life he wrote a column for the church newsletter. For almost four years that he spent bedridden in a rehab hospital attempting to heal open wounds, he photographed what he observed out his window and raised money from the sale of his photos to benefit Feed the Children. During the last two years of his life he worked as a scheduler for an appliance company from his bed where he spent his day. Nothing could stop him. His life verse was “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).

God had answered many of my prayers throughout Chris’s lifetime when we thought his life was in danger. Now in March 2018 it seemed God had stopped hearing my prayers for my son. An antibiotic resistant infection had ravaged his body. Nothing the doctors did seemed to offer hope. Months before this, Christopher requested to never be left on a ventilator indefinitely. On March 9 it was time for his dad and me to sign the paperwork that allowed him to be removed from the ventilator and put on hospice care. His body was shutting down. God seemed so distant. However I kept hearing a voice say, “If you love him, you have to let him go.”

Three days later as we watched Christopher slowly fading away, 
his father and I stroked his face and held his hands in ours as we told him how much we loved him. I softly played the Christian songs on my phone’s playlist that had encouraged us all during the last few years. Many prayers were spoken over him.

As I was outlining his face with my finger just as I had when he was a baby to help him go to sleep, there was a familiar face at the door. It was Mercedes. She was now working on a different floor of the hospital. She asked if our trash needed emptying and for some reason I said yes and invited her in. When she saw Christopher she hurriedly went over to me and held me in her arms. She pulled me close and whispered, “Oh mama, mama, mama.” My tears began to flow freely as she held me close. It felt like the arms of God embracing me as our tears mixed together. I turned around and heard my husband say, “He’s gone.” The song softly playing on my phone was Twila Paris singing “How Beautiful.”

“How beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sins and bore them instead . . .

How beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so others may live . . .

How beautiful is the body of Christ.”

The Holy Spirit in Mercedes awakened the Holy Spirit in me and I was reminded he will never leave me nor forsake me. It was March 12, 2018. In a few weeks we would observe Holy Week and celebrate Easter. It was so clear. I finally knew that I knew that I knew what this was all about. God understood the pain of losing a son, yet he knew the rest of the story. His love for us is greater than we can ever imagine. He might even use a cleaning lady named Mercedes to be his messenger of love and hope to a mom with a broken heart.

Wake up, sleeper! We are surrounded by angels, often in the clothing of mortals like Mercedes. How beautiful is the body of Christ. And always pray about with whom you might share a story like today’s. It could be right on time for many. 


Father, we thank you for Christy and Charles and especially for Christopher, the extraordinary Christ-bearer in his life, his suffering, his death, and now in his place in the church eternal. And thank you for Mercedes, the unknowing angel, who embraced a heartbroken mother with the love of Jesus Christ. Thank you for inspiring and empowering us to be such witnesses. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


How were you moved by the Spirit in today’s story? What is stirred by the Spirit in you? 


For our hymn today I would love it if you would take 4:40 and watch and listen to this song referenced in today’s story: “How Beautiful,” by Twila Paris. It is one of my favorite songs. And this rendering of it on Youtube is stunning. You will want to play it again and sing along. And the words are on the screen as it unfolds in case. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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P.S. Holy Spirit Stories Welcome

I would love it if you would send a story of faith from your life we might use on a Saturday in the future. We will be glad to attach your name or a pseudonym or anonymity—it’s up to you. It can be a story of coming to faith, a story of transformation, a story of healing, deliverance, suffering and sufficient grace, family reconciliation, prodigal returns, answered prayer, and so forth. Word count of 500–800 words works well. We can’t guarantee publication, but assure you of our prayerful discernment. You can reply to this email with your story and it will come to me. 

One More Quick One For Today

Let me know if you would be interested in a course I’m praying about teaching in March. It is called HOW TO PRAY AND FAST FOR LIFE AND AWAKENING. I’m trying to assess interest. You can see some info and take the 1-minute, 3-question survey here. 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. Today’s Holy Spirit story was a vivid example of how when one part of the body suffers, the whole body experience’s the pain (1Corinthians 12:26). It was hard to read this without experiencing the depth of grief of losing a love one.

  2. Heartfelt. Moving. Underneath all of the hustle, bustle, business, and evil of life is the love of God. God knew Chisty’s and Chirs’ pain, for He simultaneously experienced the loss of a Son and the Son dying. He knows our pain. And wants to love on us as we read Christy loved on Chris. He wants to lovingly outline our face with His finger like He did Adam when he was but dust. The question is, will we be still enough so He can?

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