Denise J. Hughes
About the Author

Denise is a lover of words and the Word. She's the author of #DeeperWaters and the Bible study series #WordWriters.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
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Reader Interactions


  1. And all the women who pray for ambulance sirens just exhaled! Denise, this story writes in huge letters the connections that exist among us. We don’t always get to see them, but when God pulled the curtain back for you to see, your faithful sharing has blessed me today!

    • I, too pray when I hear the ambulance. A dear friend told me that the siren does not just mean that someone is in trouble, it means that someone is getting help! Denise, my momma heart clenched, but how wonderful that your daughter has such wonderful friends. I pray that my daughter (now grown-up) and indeed all our daughters, will have loving people who will circle around her in times of need. And I pray that we will be in the circle when we come upon others in need.

      Blessings to all my sisters at a distance,
      ~ Kay Lake

      • I also usually pray when I hear ambulance or fire truck sirens. It’s an encouragement for me to keep doing it.

  2. Denise,
    So good to be reading your post here at (in)courage this morning. How scary that must have been. When our children are in trouble or ill, our momma heart just takes over. Thankful Brynn had such level-minded friends! I am fortunate to have a close group of female friends. We call ourselves the “Perseverance Posse”. We’ve been there for each other through divorce, financial difficulties, wayward children, illness and health scares, surgeries, you name it. It’s so good to know I have hands that will hold mine when I simply can’t breathe on my own. I pray that I have been there for them as much as well. We also rejoice with each other when God’s good blessings flow. I believe that to have friends like these, one must be willing to make the sacrifice to continually reach out to them as well. It’s so easy to get caught up in our busy lives….but when emergency strikes….we all need a friend to hold our hand. Beautiful post!
    Bev xx

  3. Praise God and to Him be the glory now and forever more. I believe that there were many, many prayers lifted up that day as a result of that siren. Those sirens are a call for prayer, indeed. My “siren” prayers include the person receiving the treatment, the driver, the caregivers, the family and friends of them all. I rejoice with you and give thanks to God for all of our friends, especially those who are there for us and pray for us and with us. I am humbled and honored to say I have more than a few in my life. Thank you for sharing your story and your words of encouragement.

  4. Oh, friend…THIS is SO good. It made me remember that time school called me and Rachel had fallen from the monkey bars and “wasn’t moving.” We lived close to her school at the time and I flew there hoping she had only had the breath knocked out of her, pushing away the thoughts of something more debilitating (she was fine).

    Thankful for your Brynn for choosing friends wisely :). And reminding us all how to be a friend, recognizing that we each have something of value to offer.


  5. Love this Denise! Such a sweet message, and testimony of friendship. A reminder that sometimes just holding their hand and being available is all they need. Thank you for sharing this story, I can’t imagine hearing those sirens and then realizing it was your daughter!

  6. I too pray for ambulances and the people they are moving along in their emergency. This was an amazing story about the beauty of friendship. So thankful for this post and this site. Thanks for all you do.

  7. I read this with tears in my eyes and my heart in my throat friend. Everything about this is both terrifying and beautiful. What a story! I’m so grateful for her friends in for a God who surround her with the right people at the right time.

  8. Denise,
    I’m sorry, how frightening for all of you. What a relief that your daughter was okay, with so many hands that God bound together that day.

    Have a blessed day all,


  9. Please pray for me . . . I can’t breathe and desperately need the ambulance of the Holy Spirit, and, sadly, there is no friend to hold my hand. I have become increasingly isolated due to a disability. The medical bills have closed in, the household chores are hovering large, the tension and pain are unbearable. There are nights that I pray that the Lord will allow me to not wake up the next morning. . . And somehow, I am still here. It is hard, so very hard.
    I can no longer attend church, and my sisters there have abandoned me.
    My husband is sweet and Jesus is steadfast and ever faithful.
    But . . . The wolves are howling at the door. . . Just like when I was a child, we have reached a point, because of my medical condition where there is no food in the house, and the storms have required us to get a new roof.
    Please, please pray for us as we are in that INVISIBLE ambulance.
    Pray that we will remain steadfast in trusting our God, and that He works all things for our good and His purposes.
    Thank you for sharing, and allowing me to do the same.

    • Hello Crystal,
      I am praying earnestly that God will provide for your physical and financial needs, as well as your heart’s desire for friendship and a hand to hold. I’m so sorry you’re feeling isolated and lonely- I have been there and it’s so hard. May you and your husband keep leaning into Jesus and trusting him. Sending you a virtual hug and a hand to hold, and will continue to lift you in prayer.

      • Trina,
        Thank you for your virtual hug and kind words. I covet your prayers and pray that God will bless you abundantly for taking the time to lift my name before his throne – and send loving words my way. Thank you so much.
        – Crystal

    • Crystal,
      I’m praying for you along with Trina. I, too, have a chronic illness which has disabled me so I cannot go to church, or to meet with friends face to face. As I read this story, this beautiful story, of friends holding the hand of one who couldn’t breathe, I found myself struggling to breathe through sobs. I rejoice with Brynn and the gift the Lord gave her that day in friendship. And, I grieve for the losses of friendships you and I have experienced, because the suffering/need is less visible and more long term. I have forgiven in my heart those friends who didn’t persevere in maintaining contact. But, I also pray that somehow someway the Lord will cultivate these “suffer with those who suffer” friends in your life and in mine.

      I pray for this with a changing perspective. Rather than it be because “I” need the “one anothers”, but because “we” need the “one anothers” as God designed the church to function. In other words, those who don’t have disability as we do need us as much as we need them. The passage of Scripture which has helped me most into this transformed view is 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

      I have just used this passage to pray for you and I and anyone else here who loves God through faith in Jesus Christ, and is disabled, unable to go to church. I have asked the Lord to stir up the hearts of those who are “more presentable” (i.e. visible) to seek out those of us who are “less presentable” (i.e. invisible). I also ask Him to give you and I and all other “invisible” ones for the courage to reach out asking for help even if we have asked again and again without response. I pray He will make a way for us to have contact whether by phone, computer, or visits (depending on individual situations). I pray regularly for this with hopeful expectation, not because I expect others to respond perfectly, but because this is God’s design of the church and my hope is in Him to do what only He can empower the church to do! Keep firm in faith, dear Crystal, as I aim for this firm faith, too!!

      • Diana,
        So wonderfully and cheerfully and expectantly put!
        Yes, we must trust Him in our invisibility to make us visible. And to reveal our purpose.
        I am praying for you as well tonight!
        – Crystal

      • Thank you, Brenda, so very much. He alone can supply our every need. I pray for your need tonight whatever it might be, in Jesus name!

    • Praying for you and your lovely hubby in this trying time. Praying that the sisters who have been thinking “I should call..” will do so immediately and that you will feel Jesus’ embrace in every call, reply, email and visit. Pray unceasingly.. And may His peace cover you, comfort you and clothe you. I am praying too that your purpose at this point of your life be revealed sooner rather than later. Thank you Lord for this life, amen!

      • Thank you, Thalia. For your encouragement and prayer! And your reminder that though I may feel invisible God still has a purpose for me and that this life is precious regardless of our circumstances.

    • Crystal ,
      I extend my hand to you and I am holding on to you in prayer and understanding. I too have a disability, am divorced, live alone and know some of what you are going through. I am lifting you and your family up in prayer and believing that our Father will meet every need you have.

      • Thank you, Kathleen for your prayers- and I pray God will meet your every need as well. Particularly any emotional need you may have. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to a stranger hurting.
        God bless you.

    • Crystal,

      Praying for you sweet sister! May God send friends your way. I pray healing will come also. Know that you are in my prayers and I am holding your hand.

    • Crystal-friend, please count on me to pray for you daily as God reveals His plan to bring you through this time of pain, isolation and crushing financial burdens. He will not only bring you through this time with your needs being met in surprising ways, He will also cause your faith story to encourage others on similar journeys. So much of your story resonated with me. I, too, prayed countless nights over the last five years that God would not let me awaken to struggle another day. A medical disability forced me to take early retirement from a career I loved. My family struggled with my decision as they knew the uphill battle I faced to obtain Social Security disability benefits and I was the sole income provider. Through it all, God cared, remained steadfastly by my side and He provided in ways and through His people that I could never have imagined. He has people and resources ready for you, Crystal. {{hugs}}

  10. Denise,
    This is so beautiful! And how wonderful that those girls each had something they knew how to do!

    I prayed at the sound of sirens for a number of years and then years back, back when I was a lot younger, and drove a car, and was part of a prayer team at church, God told me as I was praying for the sirens that He wanted me to begin praying for the first responders by name. I rolled that around in my mind as I drove to church for our women’s prayer team meeting.

    After the meeting closed I told the wife of our team leader what God said. She took my hand and said “He has given you His desire; how will you respond?” On my way from there to where I live I pass one police station and two fire stations.

    When I got to the police station I picked up the legal pad I had with me and went inside. The officer at the desk came to the small window and asked how he could help me so I told him that I am a part of a prayer ministry and that when I was praying that morning for the sirens and all involved God had told me that He wanted me to pray for the responders by name.

    He reached under the glass and took that pad and went to his desk; listed all the first responders and their ranks and handed it back and said “Thank you!” The first fire station was next door. The Chief was working at his desk and the same thing happened. He handed that legal pad back to me and said, “Ma’am, I thank you, for ALL of us.”

    The next fire station is “my own”. In the years since they have taken me to the ER a few times and have been glad to see me when I took bags of fresh baked cookies to them because I love them. That day the Chief simply picked up their roster, put it into the copier and then handed it to me with his thanks, and the guys who had gathered all thanked me. I’m mostly at home now and seeing various doctors so I’m praying when the sirens sound, but now I know how much it matters to all of us.

  11. Gracious. So glad Brynn is okay. I pray when I hear sirens too, and then stop to count where all my people are. Ever since the days when my boys started driving, those sirens bring a whole new level of tension for me. And faith…a whole new level of faith. — Ya know, we’ve moved so much that I feel like I have a million friends in a bunch of states, but lately I’ve been feeling like I need friendship on a deeper level. Lately, the busyness of life has kept me more isolated — I suppose as a means of survival. But, as these words suggest…friendship is a means of survival in itself. I need to plug back in some. Thanks for sharing, Denise.

  12. It’s so true — Together, we can be like my daughter’s friends, who each did the one thing they knew how to do. And if we feel like we don’t have the experience or the words needed for a particular occasion, that’s okay too. —

    It’s so easy to fall into the “I should have done more or done that or whatever…” Thanks for the reminder that helping in whatever way we’re able to is good enough. Everyone has different skills and abilities. I’ve even written about it myself on my blog (Are You Emotionally Ready for the Unexpected), yet I needed the reminder. ***Thanks.

  13. Denise,
    Beautiful, timely post. Just this week my daughter had to have emergency surgery in Guatemala. Thank God that He is always watching over us and He placed people around my daughter to care for her, just like He did for you.

  14. All the wonderful God gifts we’re given through His Spirit to share around with all His children. More gifts than we can ever know. So glad to hear your daughter is all right!

  15. This is so beautifully written band the responses so genuine. We are here for each other and must be faithful in prayer for sirens and for the silent sufferers. Friendship is fragile and needs support of all kinds. Love this piece!

  16. God was lining up angels that day. But when will people, grown ups and children ever learn about choking on things? I read about a girl who 9 yr. old who swallowed a piece of a fidget spinner, her mother noticed her in the back seat and was close to the hospital, the doctor had been looking at them and had a course on the specific procedure. Me? I once saw a 3 yr old choked on candy I gave him but he was alright and have never forgotten the horror story of a man who ran three blocks with his son to the fire station, he died, choked on a balloon. So when my great nephew got a balloon from school I told him to leave it in his book bag, he’s 7, when I looked back, he was chewing a pink balloon like gum, and fortunately, we were at the library,soI took out the key knowing he’d probably unbuckle and lock me out and swung the van door open to get him. I pray for ambulances and sirens also, but you’d expect it to be someone you know do you? And just the other day, my 5 yr. old great niece swallowed a peanut M&M whole, since she was talking to me I ttold her it would melt and had her drink something. These stories need to get told and maybe someone will think twice about throwing their head back and catching popcorn. So glad you daughter is okay.

  17. Denise,

    So glad your daughter is doing well. God is always looking down on us & sending angles to help. We all need angels to help us out now and then. God wants us in community. We should all do our part to help others in times of need. It could be simply praying for someone, taking meals/food, or just sending encouraging words to help. Do what we can as often as we can.

    Blessings 🙂

  18. So thankful your daughter is OK!! Loved how sirens prompted you to pray for “whoever” and then God revealed the who. I have friends who are firefighters and EMT/paramedics and stories are endless of how drivers fail to yield right of way to emergency vehicles. So when I hear sirens I ask God to help the person in need and give safe travel to those rushing to bring help.

  19. Oh man was this encouraging. I am going to message this to my friends. I work at a nonprofit for women in recovery and I think that they could identify with this. We all have something that we bring to the table and there are some of us who are terrible 911 callers and some of us who aren’t as great at hand holding sometimes, but we can all help in our own way. I love that about pure friendship. It’s beautiful really. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Please. I need a friend very much…a dedicated pen pal. Remember those? I am in a hard alone place. I have never had to depend on anyone. I’m a fighter. (It’s a long story) But this recent issue has me totally dependant on others and family. I dont like it and I have no one near me to talk to. I’ve had to move in with my son and his family to care for me. All my life I have taken care of others and I’m not handling being in this position very well. I cannot work at present. No place of my own anymore. I hate It.

  21. I’ve been on both sides, being the girlfriend, and needing one. I am 35 and single. I’m also a retired critical care nurse. This has enabled me to be there for my friends who call me first when they have a health issue or a question about one. My cousin who is only a year older recently had ovarian cancer and went through chemo, and I tried to be there when she had questions about meds, side effects and just plain comfort. I also struggle with PTSD and have needed my girlfriend’s support when flashbacks kept me from sleeping and depression threatened to keep me in a pit of no return and self-destructive patterns became addictions. God has worked miracles in my life through the hands of my girlfriends. Praise God for my sisters in Christ.