Sometimes the Lord is all you have, and He is enough

Editor’s note: The Lancaster family—Dane and his parents, Diran and Kellie—recently shared the story of how Jesus has worked miraculously through a tragic event that impacted each of their lives. They are members of First Baptist Church in Bowie. 

Dane Lancaster: My passion in life is calf roping. When I gave my heart to the Lord when I was 8 years old, I prayed He would give me ways to honor Him through what I loved. I really thought that someday I would be a world champion calf roper. I’d say as they interviewed me on TV, “First I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing me with this world championship.” But God had a different purpose in mind. 

When I was 11 years old [in May 2014] at a junior calf roping in Shawnee, Okla., I suffered a traumatic brain injury. A part of the barrier rope swung back and tripped my horse so that he flipped over and crushed me. I had multiple brain bleeds and a dissected carotid artery. I broke every bone in my face, fractured the base of my skull, and crushed the small bones of my right ear. Ninety percent of people who’ve had this injury don’t live.

I had to learn how to walk, talk, and eat all over again. My parents were told that speaking would be the hardest thing for me to overcome and that it was probable that I would never speak. The day they told my parents this news, my dad stayed awake praying over me all night long. The very next day in therapy, the therapist asked me, “Dane, what color is your horse?” I answered her saying, “Brown.” My speech came back like a flood after that.

(From left) Pierce, Diran, Kellie, and Dane Lancaster

Kellie Lancaster: The day Dane started speaking we were so overwhelmed because it was a miracle. We kept talking to him and talking to him. It was the evening and he was getting tired, and his dad said, “I know you’re tired, and I’m sorry I keep asking you all these questions. I’ve just missed your voice so much.” He said, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Dane said, just so matter of fact, “Yes sir, go saddle my horse.”

It was the hardest and most blessed time in our lives. It sounds like a paradox, but Natalie Grant sings a song called “Held.” That’s what we were, we were held. It’s a place where the road meets the rubber and you have an opportunity to either trust the Lord in what He says and who He is, or you don’t. For us, it was not an option to do anything else. Not that it was easy.

Diran Lancaster: You learn the importance of your daily walk with the Lord. You learn the importance of your church home and your church fellowship. I don’t know how people walk through something like that without those people, without those prayers, without those meals … you come home and your yard’s mowed. The Lord will often require your words from you. We sit in the safety of our church pew, and we sing songs praising God. We call him “the God who heals.” That’s easy when you’re sitting in a church pew, but sometimes the Lord has you in an ICU with your child requiring that you have faith. It’s all you have. It’s all you have.

Kellie: [The doctors] didn’t want him back on a horse. But for Dane, his motivation to work so hard to overcome unbelievable odds—he was paralyzed on one side—was to get back on a horse and rope. So we convinced the doctors that he could do equine therapy. After two weeks, they said, “Why are you even here? He can do all this.” We went home to our own arena, put him in a helmet, and he started riding. He returned to rodeo about 13 months after his injury. 

Diran: Last year he finished No. 3 in the Ultimate Calf Roping all-world standings.

Dane: It’s humbling to consider that we were told I would never speak, but God now uses my voice to tell others about a miracle-working God. The Lord has allowed me to return to calf roping. I rodeo competitively, train horses, and I teach other people how to rope and ride. I feel God’s calling to ministry, especially in evangelism. I’ll be starting at [Texas Baptist College] this fall. I know God has called me for a purpose, that He saved my life as an answer to my prayer that He would allow me to glorify His name as a calf roper.

Diran: You raise your children in the church knowing they’re going to face uncertain times. When Dane faced uncertain times, he clung to everything he had been taught in the church. He believed everything. Everything he said he believed in Vacation Bible School, when you think the worst thing that’s going to happen is that you have a bad day or something, he just clung to all of it. It was a real testament to him and his faith. Many times, as a dad, I’ve been in awe of Dane’s faith.

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