We love you with the love of the Lord
Yes, we love you with the love of the Lord
We see in you the glory of our King
And we love you with the love of the Lord.
Malori Maddox’s return to Lubbock was met with joyful praise and song from her church family and friends in the community. Within a week of her final surgery, and two months after her initial brain bleed, Malori was walking down the aisle of Greenlawn Church of Christ, surrounded by voices singing “We Love You with the Love of the Lord.”
A Few Friends
After leaving Zale Lipshy University Hospital in Dallas, the Maddoxes traveled to Wichita Falls to thank Malori’s first neurosurgeon, Dr. Yogish Kamath, and the nursing staff at Kell West Regional Hospital. The family hugged and thanked the nurses who had rushed to save Malori’s life during her near-fatal bleed. They promised to stay in touch before heading back home.
Some of their friends from church, including Zach Galbraith, a college ministry deacon at Greenlawn, encouraged the Maddoxes to stop at the church when they arrived in Lubbock. Malori assured her family that she felt up to visiting a few friends on the way home, so the family headed for the church.
They were told to park under the awning so they could be escorted into the auditorium. The parking lot was packed full of cars and the auditorium was packed full of people. Kids held signs painted with encouragement. Their extended family was there, along with Malori’s Lubbock Christian University volleyball teammates. The voices lifted a song of praise. Both Malori and her mom Sarah began to cry. Dad Marray said a few words of thanks on behalf of the family.
Malori was finally home.
The Pray for Malori Page
Zach had done mission work in Rwanda with Malori. On the night of Malori’s brain bleed, he stayed up to update the missionaries in Rwanda of her condition.
A Facebook page called “Pray for Malori” was started by family friends Carly and Jarrod Shelton. To start, Zach sent
update posts to the two of them every time he heard a development in Malori’s health. Eventually, they gave him access to post directly to the page.
At first, it served as a means to get the news out. Malori’s parents were so overwhelmed with messages and questions, they updated their close friends and relied on them to help keep the community informed. Zach was not a big fan of Facebook, but he knew he could serve the Maddoxes by running the page so they could focus all their energy on their recovering daughter.
Zach wasn’t looking to be the “Facebook guy,” he was just looking to help, but it turned out to be a great outlet.
Within a week, the “Pray for Malori” page had more than 1,000 followers.
His goal was to make the page prayer oriented. In addition to updates, he regularly shared prayer requests.
Once Malori was moved to Zale Lipshy, Zach traveled to Dallas to be with the Maddox family. When he wasn’t updating Facebook, Zach would sneak into Malori’s room to hold her hand and pray with the family.
Before her final surgery, Zach started a prayer chain on Facebook, asking followers to commit to praying during a specific time slot over the course of the most crucial 72 hours during the removal of Malori’s AVM. He noticed a significant difference in the unity and focus of the community while he ran the page.
He helped run the page until January when Sarah fully took over posting.
Return to the Rip
Several weeks after her return home, Malori visited the Rip Griffin Center to watch her boyfriend, Tyler Rogers, play for the LCU men’s basketball team. During halftime, her family was invited onto the court.
The crowd stood in applause as the Maddoxes walked down. Malori had the long half of hair pulled into a ponytail, though it was starting to grow back where it had been shaved for surgery.
Becca Walters, associate athletic director at LCU, and Ashton Bell, then-president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), presented a check for $8,909.08 from the LCU Athletics family.
During Malori’s absence, she was never far from the thoughts of those at home. LCU Athletics designed and sold #PrayforMalori t-shirts as a fundraiser.
The money was raised through t-shirt sales to help cover Malori’s medical bills.
After the presentation, the volleyball team rushed onto the court to take photos and shower Malori with smiles, hugs, and love.
Speaking in Chapel
Malori addressed the student body at LCU at chapel in March.
Tyler introduced her and summarized her story for the student body.
"I remember sitting in her room in Dallas. She had her head shaved, staples from the top of her forehead all the way behind her ear. I heard the breathing tube, the beep and the air being pushing into her lungs. Of the thoughts that were going through my head, I would never have guessed that in four months Malori would be writing her own speech and getting ready to stand up and brag on God,” Tyler said as he welcomed her to the stage.
“Now, she’s a little behind on chapel credits,” he added.
When Malori stepped up to the podium, the roar of welcoming cheers and applause was deafening.
As the audience stood in ovation, she couldn’t help but smile. “Y’all are crazy,” she protested. “Wow, all of that applause is for y’all, not me.”
Her hair was cut short so it could grow back out all at one length. Her outfit was far from the hospital gown she’d been wearing four months prior. Her smile brightened the room.
Though she warned the crowd that she was no public speaker and wasn’t a fan of attention, she said she couldn’t pass up the chance to thank her LCU family and brag on God.
“I remember laying in my hospital bed and thinking, ‘I bet someone is going to make me talk about this in chapel.’ So the first thing Josh said to me when I saw him at church was, ‘hey, do you mind speaking in chapel?’ I was like, ‘sure!’ I’ve got short-term memory loss, and I’m barely literate, but I’ll try my best!”
She went on to repeatedly praise the students for the amount of support and prayers they’d extended to her over her months in the hospital. She couldn’t say thank you enough.
Normalcy had been taken from her in November, but God had preserved her life. She’d felt surrounded by angels in the hospital.
Despite the standing ovation she’d received, Malori hardly spoke about herself, except to mention a few things from that fateful day in November.
Instead, she turned the focus of chapel outward. She gave glory to God first and foremost, reading scripture and giving testimony to His greatness. She expressed thanks to her Lady Chaps volleyball team and Coach Jennifer Lawrence (or “Mom #2, » as Malori called her). She bragged on the men’s basketball team for the service they’d showed her. She praised the students who had initially gathered at the fountain, and then put up with countless emailed prayer requests over the next few months.
“Only at LCU could a tragedy like this be turned into triumph,” Malori explained, quoting one of Marray’s mantras as they weathered the storm.
Her attitude was consistently grateful and humble.
“If God would perform a miracle in lil ol’ me,” Malori said, “I’m the most unworthy person for God to work through. So if God can do something powerful through me, how much more could He do through all of you guys? It’s an honor that He chose me to display His power.”
A little more than a year ago, LCU volleyball player Malori Maddox almost died in Wichita Falls after suffering a massive brain bleed. Her story has been told in various media, but the Maddox family wanted to make sure it was told as God’s story. The family spent a number of hours meeting with LCU’s Marketing and Communications Department to tell this story in a way that would further God’s Kingdom. Each chapter is written in narrative, much like a novel. Accompanying each chapter are devotional questions and prayer recommendations (see below) for readers to use based on the chapter’s theme. Each chapter will appear on LCU’s website every week, except for the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
By Chris Palmer, Green Lawn Church of Christ University Ministry