Brought to you by: Molly Maid of Birmingham, mollymaid.com/birmingham
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
This scripture verse, as well as a song by Bethel Music and Jenn Johnson, “Goodness of God,” have been on repeat in the Franklins’ home in Shelby County for almost two years now.
On August 25, 2018, Drew Franklin woke up to his 31-year-old, typically healthy wife Sara, convulsing in the middle of the night and immediately called 911. She was rushed to the emergency room. Following a number of tests with a neurologist, they were unable to find a root cause of the “tonic-clonic” seizure, which in a number of ways was a blessing, as sometimes tragic circumstances such as tumors or cancer can bring on a sudden onset of seizures.
This was a setback to life as Sara knew it since it is against state law for anyone to drive for six months after any type of seizure activity. She was, at the time, a new mom of a six-month-old baby and a working mom who was determined not to let anyone around her down- whether that was her boss, her husband, her baby, or even extended family and friends. Her life shifted as she was all the sudden needing to rely on others for transportation. A few months later in November, Sara experienced additional seizures, which continued pushing the driving date back. She stepped away from work for the time being since the logistics of getting their son to childcare and herself to work and additional meetings would be tough for the next few months.
Meanwhile, a few weeks later, Sara’s husband Drew, who is also typically a very healthy person, returned from a work trip and mentioned he did not feel well. His arm was numb, and the numbness moved into his face. He also had excruciating, prolonged headache pain. After an urgent care visit, six emergency department visits, a sinus surgery, and two hospital ICU stays later, it was determined that Drew had a very rare brain infection, meningoencephalitis. “There were times when family members tell me now they weren’t sure if he was going to make it out of the hospital alive, but thanks to the many dedicated physicians and team members at UAB – he was sent home after a few weeks on a PICC line of antibiotics that saved his life,” said Sara Franklin. “We are so blessed to have the amazing healthcare professionals available to us right here in Birmingham.”
Due to the stress surrounding her husband’s illness, Sara had another seizure on April 20, 2019. “One thing that resonates with our family as we look on this past year and a half is how thankful we are for our family, our close friends, and especially also our church family at Shades Mountain Baptist Church,” said Drew Franklin. “Our Sunday school class and even people we didn’t know personally from the church were reaching out to us and praying for both of us, giving Sara rides to the hospital, sending us food, collecting items that we needed for our son and more.”
It wasn’t long after Drew was feeling better after being on the antibiotics for the brain infection that a colleague reached out and encouraged Sara to apply for Executive Director of Epilepsy Foundation Alabama (www.epilepsyalabama.org). She received and accepted the job offer a few weeks later. “I couldn’t believe that what I once saw as a tragedy turned into an opportunity to walk with others and encourage them through their own journeys of epilepsy,” said Sara. “There are more than 54,100 people with epilepsy living in our state, many of them below the poverty line, and I want to walk alongside them as they seek to end seizures in their own lives.”
Both Drew and Sara reflect on the past nearly two years and see the Lord’s whispers and confirmation of His plan. “We can all turn our pain into purpose – it’s about recognizing the fact that we aren’t promised an easy life even as followers of Jesus, nor are we guaranteed a certain number of days on this earth,” said Sara. “We are here to glorify God for the number of days we are here, and to point others toward him. He is the one that provides peace, no matter our circumstances. We hope to use this experience from our past year and a half to point others to Jesus Christ.”
As of April 20, 2020, Sara is one-year seizure free. She has been leading efforts across the state and recently held two very successful Walks to END EPILEPSY® in Alabama. The chapter works to continue to provide virtual support and opportunities to stay connected with the community during the coronavirus pandemic. †
If you have a Miracle that you would be willing to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject Line: Miracle Moments or call 205-408-7150.