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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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COLUMN: Family prays for a powerful miracle

THE SAYING is true: Life really can change in the blink of an eye. When Kenneth Barbeau got into his truck to drive home from work on June 28, 2013, he never imagined it would be a trip that would drastically alter the course of his life.

The stormy weather and high winds caused a large tree to fall on Barbeau’s truck, trapping him inside. The accident left him with a broken neck and a crushed spinal cord, causing him to be paralyzed from the chest down.

I recently spoke with Kenneth and his wife, Tracy, and was utterly amazed at their strength and their faith. Tracy shared with me how important prayer has been in their lives and of the many miracles they have experienced since the accident.

Originally, doctors told Tracy that Kenneth’s spinal sac was ruptured and that his spinal cord was severed. As the doctors prepared to operate on her husband, she went to the Lord in prayer—begging God that the doctor was wrong and praying that He would bless the surgery.

When the surgeon emerged from the operating room he told Tracy that her prayers had been answered. Kenneth’s spinal cord had not been severed and the spinal sac had not been ruptured. Amazingly, he returned to tell her that he had felt the Lord’s hands guiding him during the surgery.

This was not the first time that the Barbeaus experienced the incredible power of prayer in their lives. After struggling with infertility for six years, they went up to the front of their church to pray. They continued to thank the Lord for their baby and in faith prayed that they would be pregnant by the following Christmas morning.

So strong was their faith that God would answer their prayers for a child, they went as far as to buy a few baby items while they waited for their blessing. On Dec. 25 at 7 a.m. they received their very own Christmas miracle—Tracy was pregnant.

With that blessing, though, came 24-hour morning sickness for two months.

She lost more than 20 pounds and ended up in the emergency room receiving intravenous fluids.

This was another time in the Barbeaus life that the doctors told them to prepare for the worst.

By faith, they refused to believe that God would give them a miracle just to take the child away. They continued to pray for their unborn baby and were blessed with a healthy little miracle, their daughter Summer Grace.

Their faith also got them through what they thought was going to be the most difficult two weeks of their life. In the summer of 2009, Kenneth fell off a roof and broke his back.

Tracy, pregnant with their second daughter, went into premature labor because of the shock of the fall. Unfortunately, their baby did not survive.

Tracy shared, “Now four years later we face this [trial]. Our faith will continue to get us through. It is stronger than ever, but [life is] still hard.”

Because they have seen the incredible power of prayer in their lives, they have hope that God will continue to work miracles in the future. They are currently praying for 100 percent healing in Kenneth’s body. They are petitioning God to restore him to where he was before the accident.

Already, they have seen the beginning of the answer to that prayer. Kenneth now has full use of one hand and partial use of the other. If you have been as inspired by their faith as I have, would you join me in praying for the complete healing of Kenneth’s body?

Also, if you would like to be able to bless this family financially, Fairview Baptist Church and White Oak Equipment are sponsoring a benefit Oyster Roast on March 1 at 3 p.m. Proceeds from the roast will be used to help meet medical expenses, to outfit Kenneth’s car will controls that will enable him to drive and to procure medical equipment that will support his rehabilitation at home. For details, visit

Heather Ablondi is a women’s ministry speaker and author who resides in Fredericksburg. You can contact her through her website,