Talitha Cumi – Little girl, I say to you, arise. Mark 5:41
Just a year after six-year-old Olivia Fleming was hit by a car while riding her bicycle, her family says the vivacious girl, joyful as ever, is truly a miracle. For them, it was the strength in their faith that helped them through what was decidedly the worst day of their lives, shared Natalie and Chris Fleming during a conversation with Pastor Alex Pappas at Oceans Unite Christian Centre where they turned tragedy into a testimony.
Nearly a year ago, Olivia was racing down the driveway with her sister and ended up rolling out into the street. Her father, Chris, was rounding the corner simultaneously and didn’t see her because of a hedge blocking his view. He struck her with his car.
What happened that horrible day didn’t just happen to Olivia. It affected the entire family. Olivia’s siblings, 9-year-old Hannah, 5-year-old Isaac, and 3-year-old Noah, all witnessed the accident.
“Nobody expects stuff like this to happen to them. We are never guaranteed an easy road, but we are guaranteed that God will be with us, and that’s exactly what happened,” says Natalie, adding that she is not confident they could have come through this ordeal if they hadn’t already had such strong faith.
“It forever changed us. If we hadn’t known God before then, we wouldn’t have been able to fight for her, and it would have destroyed our marriage. Our faith gave us the strength we needed,” she continues.
Olivia was airlifted to St. Mary’s Trauma Center in West Palm Beach. She was in critical condition with a bilateral hematoma in the frontal lobe of her brain with swelling. After performing surgery to relieve intracranial pressure, the doctors told Chris and Natalie all that was left to do was pray.
The children were studying Lazarus during children’s church just before the accident. Natalie says the Lord prepared them for what was to come as she heard her older daughter Hannah praying for Olivia to “come to life like Lazarus.”
Natalie and Chris were surrounded by family and friends from the church when Pastor Alex pulled them aside and told the distraught couple, “You have to stop what you are doing right now, and you have to start to fight for your daughter because we have to believe that God is going to do a miracle.”
“I thought she was gone. It was the most broken I’ve ever been,” recalls Chris until he prayed to the Lord, “My faith isn’t working. I need your faith. My prayers aren’t working. I need your prayers. My thoughts aren’t working. I need your thoughts. Then, the presence of the Holy Spirit came in the room; and when He comes in the room, everything changes. Everything that was dark comes light. My joy was found there. It is hard to describe how dark and broken that place was until the Holy Spirit came, and when He showed up, my sorrow turned into joy. He gave me an absolute faith.”
Natalie and Chris firmly believe that it was through the power of collective prayer that their precious daughter was returned to them whole.
Natalie refused to accept anything less than Olivia returning to them. She brought in shoes for her daughter to wear when she was ready to go home and even had her mother pick up a bicycle because she was certain Olivia would ride a bike again one day.
“The miracle is not only that Ollie is back to her normal self and being as joyful as ever. The miracle is also the peace, the help and the grace that everyone gave us,” shares her aunt Vanessa Tayler.
“I don’t think there’s any question that Olivia is alive, and the fact that she came through the way she is, is a miracle. There’s no doubt that God miraculously healed her. It was nothing short of a supernatural miracle. When we see God step in and do something miraculous, it is one of the most beautiful, powerful things,” she continued.
Olivia came home 18 days after the accident, just in time for Christmas. “When we were at the hospital, she wasn’t walking, she wasn’t talking, and half her body wasn’t moving,” shares Natalie, reflecting that you would never know what had happened to Olivia if it weren’t for her “crazy haircut.”
While the portion of Olivia’s skull that was removed to relieve the brain swelling was replaced with a prosthetic, she’s a happy and active little girl, proof that “the Lord is a miracle-working God. This is something I would never wish on anybody, but it has definitely made us stronger, and we’re able to know that the word of God is true,” adds Natalie.