Sometimes life can change in a moment. For the Carroll family, that moment came on Monday, July 15, in the form of an 18-wheeler crashing into the rear of their van on the highway. Thus began the family's greatest test of faith—and the clearest example of God's miraculous power.
Nikki Carroll began immediately assessing her children. Their 10-month-old was dangling in his car seat, pressed between the door and the seat. Their 3-year-old girl's head was millimeters away from being crushed, and their 4-year-old son was covered in glass, bleeding from his neck. Right away, she knew something was wrong with their oldest son, Cadyn. He was slumped over and unresponsive, and for a moment Nikki thought he was gone.
God didn't wait to show His faithfulness. A paramedic and a nurse were nearby, as well as a pastor. They diligently helped the family until the ambulances arrived. Complete strangers ran to embrace the children, wrapping them up and treating them like they were their own. Nikki's husband, Grant, suffered a head wound and was laying on the glass-covered highway, pale and in shock. Although the scene was chaotic, Nikki embraced the truck driver in forgiveness and prayed with him, all while her son's fate was unknown.
Everyone was rushed to the nearest hospital, where most of the family was discharged in a few hours with minor injuries. Given the nature of the accident, that alone is miraculous. The state trooper on the scene said no one should have walked away.
Cadyn, however, was intubated and sent to the intensive care unit, still unresponsive.
The next several days were a roller coaster of emotions, punctuated by the news that Cadyn had sustained an injury called shear damage, or DAI (diffuse axonal injury). When the neurologist delivered the diagnosis, he warned Nikki not to research it on the Internet because the statistics are terrifying. Ninety percent of people with shear damage either die or fall into a vegetative state. Those who do wake up are severely impaired for life. There was absolutely nothing medicine could do. It would take a miracle for Cadyn to recover.
Family, friends and church members rallied to pray, but the prayers didn't stop there. Cadyn's story spread through social media, and soon people from across the country and the world were praying for his healing.
Grant shares about the war of faith that waged in their hearts.
"We always knew God could miraculously heal people, but knowing something and experiencing something are two very different things," he says. "All we could do was pray in the name of Jesus and trust that His power is real."
That Saturday, July 20, Cadyn opened his eyes, setting off a recovery that shocked doctors and proved the power of faith in Christ. As Cadyn progressed, doctors warned his parents that he might plateau and that his recovery would be long and arduous. But Cadyn seemed to defy them on every point. First, he began writing, penning a letter to the truck driver that simply said, "I forgive you." His left side was paralyzed, but soon it began to move.
Cadyn began to walk that afternoon. He spoke just moments after doctors said he wouldn't for months. They said he would have a feeding tube for weeks, and he pulled it out himself the next night. The original prognosis was that Cadyn would be in the ICU for many weeks and then go through inpatient rehab for many months. Exactly two weeks after the accident, July 29, Cadyn walked out of the hospital.
The miraculous recovery continued once Cadyn returned home, and now he is almost fully recovered, all within a month from the accident.
Cadyn told his parents he saw angels in his hospital room—three, to be exact—and that there were more angels at the accident scene. He also says he heard Jesus speak to him in his heart, saying He was going to protect Cadyn.
Nikki shares more of Cadyn's words.
"One of Cadyn's life ambitions is to be a pastor and tell people about Jesus," she says. "He said the devil tried to kill him because he's special to God, but the devil couldn't kill him, just make him weak for a little bit."
One of the doctors thanked Cadyn before he left the hospital, saying, "Thank you for showing me what a miracle looks like."