Answered Prayers – The Story Of Jen Barrick
In an instant, a night of sweet celebration turned to sustained sorrow for the Barrick family after a drunk driver crashed into them as they headed home after a Wednesday night church service.
Jen Barrick, who was 15 at the time, had just performed at the Thomas Road Baptist Church evening service with her high school choir Nov. 5, 2006. Her mother had invited guests from out of town and friends in their community to come over to their home afterwards to celebrate the milestone. Honor turned to horror quickly, though, as the Barricks never made it home that night.
Andy, Linda, Jen and Josh Barrick were traveling on Waterlick Road on their way back to their house when a drunk driver, traveling 80 mph without headlights on, struck the family van. The impact of the accident left the drunk driver’s engine in the middle of the road and the Barrick family in critical condition.
“Jen was a Glasgow three (coma, the deepest level) at the car wreck, and dead people are a three, and no one thought she would live through the night,” Linda said.
By the end of the night, all four members of the family had been taken by helicopter to three different hospitals. The worries for their family members only added to the fear of the night.
Jen’s grandfather Ed Hindson, dean emeritus in the School of Divinity at Liberty, remembered Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. calling the Hindsons personally to ask if they were already at the scene of the accident and informed them that Linda and Jen were being taken to a hospital in Lynchburg.
“My wife took the call, and she couldn’t talk to him. As soon as she heard his voice, she knew it wasn’t good, so she handed me the phone,” Hindson said.
Falwell prayed with 11-year-old Josh and Linda that night and even prayed over Jen for healing and a miracle. Hindson remembered an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness as he saw Jen lying in her hospital bed that first night.
“I felt helpless. I think that was the first initial response. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t touch her. You can’t help her. You have to leave her in the hands of the doctors,” Hindson said.
I felt helpless. I think that was the first initial response. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t touch her. You can’t help her. You have to leave her in the hands of the doctors.Dr. Ed Hindson, Jen Barrick’s grandfather and dean emeritus in the School of Divinity
As impossible as it felt to live through at times, Hindson recalls Linda rallying people even from her hospital bed to pray for Jen and their family. Through holidays spent in the hospital and weeks without hearing her daughter’s voice, Linda had hope.
The Liberty community and their church family at Thomas Road Baptist wrapped around the Barricks and did anything they could to help care for the family and make their recovery easier. Some even drove friends and family to the University of Virginia every day to see Jen when both Andy and Linda were in wheelchairs.
Jen, due to a fractured skull and a severe brain injury, remained in a coma for five weeks. Linda remembered watching Jen struggle one night to fight against her feeding tube as pained moans left her mouth. The Barricks tried to calm her to no avail until, suddenly, Jen spoke.
“One day, she starts talking to Jesus, and it is this uninjured voice, we can understand her. It sounds like the old Jen, and the only time we could understand her is when she was talking to God,” Linda said.
The Barricks described Jen as being “in God’s throne room” at that time because it was as if she was never truly awake, nor asleep. Jen rolled in her hospital bed talking to God, asking for words to describe Him to other people. She often quoted Bible verses and sang worship songs, remembering every word, even when she couldn’t remember how to do simple math.
Now 15 years after the accident, Jen and the entire family are leaps and bounds from where they were after the crash. While Jen’s brain injury will always be a physical part of her life, Jen speaks to crowds about the hope she has in God and her family finds immense comfort in seeing the vibrant, joyous person she is now.
“What we have seen, is in her brokenness, the Holy Spirit is not disabled, and the Holy Spirit helps her do things every day that she is not capable of,” Linda said.
As the entire family healed both physically and emotionally over the years that followed, they found a way to share Jen’s desire to describe God to other people. It is the heart of their ministry. Jen prays over congregations and lives every day as a testimony to the power of prayer and hope that if God can do that for her, He can do anything for anyone.
The family reaches countless people through their non-profit organization Hope Out Loud. Hope Out Loud focuses on sharing the miracles God has done for the Barricks and so many others. The family travels all over the country and plans to speak in Romania and Bolivia.
Another way the Barricks showcase just how integral God has been in Jen’s healing is through a book Linda wrote in 2013 called “Miracle for Jen: A Tragic Accident, a Mother’s Desperate Prayer, and Heaven’s Extraordinary Answer.” The book details the true horror of the night of the accident and the weeks following but also explains how much healing and hope exists in their story.
According to Linda Barrick, 21,000 people have made a salvation decision since Hope Out Loud began in August 2012. Linda encourages anyone interested in hearing about the miracles God is doing through their ministry to check out their website hopeoutloud.com or their YouTube channel of the same name.