When Jesus Culture’s Andrew Ehrenzeller had a minor fall during a fishing trip, he didn’t think much of it. Over the next few days, however, the concussion-like symptoms lingered. A trip to the ER revealed a life-threatening truth — his brain was swollen and had two major lesions. Immediately thrust into the rigors of testing, guessing, hoping and praying, Andrew and his wife were also trying to prepare for the birth of their son — in a matter of days. Early tests were inconclusive, but Andrew was well enough to be released and prepare for the birth of his son. Here’s the rest of his remarkable story in his own words…
Liam’s birth was only days away, so the doctors really had no choice but to release me. That was on Wednesday. Liam was going to be born on Friday of the same week, at the same hospital. My wife moved the scheduled C-section back to Monday, April 7, to give us a few extra days to recover. So I came home for the weekend, and we pressed pause on the issues I was facing so we could direct our attention to Liam’s arrival.
Liam Valor was born at noon on April 7, 2014. Kat was a champion and my hero. Liam, he was perfect. The first time I saw him, our eyes met, and I saw heaven right there in front of me in this beautiful baby boy. To try and describe it in detail would only fall short and cheapen the moment. What I can say is that it was truly a spiritual experience.
We spent four days in the maternity ward of Boca Regional. Those days were surreal, emotional. After the week we just had, being surrounded with the sights and sounds of new life was the best medicine. While in the hospital, “Band of Sons,” the first single off my record, was released. The main line from the chorus, Time will tell what you’re really made of… the dust of earth and revival fire, was a prophetic cry to my own heart. While holding our newborn, we had the evidence right there in our hands of God’s faithfulness. Now it was time to go home as a family and begin our new life together.
But the storm hadn’t completely passed.
An hour after we came home from the hospital, I had to abruptly return to the ER under the suspicion that I could possibly have a blood clot. Lying around for two weeks in a hospital can do that to a person I guess. And my doctor was right. So there I was, back in the place where I’d begun, this time sequestered in room 925.
Over the next few days I encountered the love of God in that hospital room like never before. I’ve never really used the word portal to describe an experience with God until this moment. It was as if something opened up over me and the waterfall of God’s presence was washing over me right there in my weakened state. My spirit man was so alive in God. Song after song kept coming to me. All I had to do was catch them. In the span of 48 hours I wrote 14 songs. Death may have been knocking on our door, but the Spirit of the Living God was answering. All I could do was worship. I thanked God for every moment and for every breath. Being faced with our own mortality brings the days of our lives so clearly into focus. We see them for what they really are, gifts from God.
Meanwhile, as I was meeting with God tucked away in the “cleft of the rock” of my hospital room, Jesus Culture was releasing my two latest singles “All On Fire” and “Meet You There.” And I wasn’t angry with God. I was mad at the devil, but I wasn’t angry with God. I just kept remembering what Kat had told me from the beginning, “The only thing the devil is permitted to do is set a stage for God to reveal His glory.” To know that people were enjoying the fruit of my relationship with God and yet unaware of my current condition seemed appropriate. It wasn’t news. It was process. The songs may have been written. The record may have been released, but the testimony was still being written and God was about to reveal His glory here at the very end.
I received a voice mail from a dear friend of our family. He called to tell me about a dream he had the night before. It was an elaborate dream. He was driving somewhere in his car but had to stop because a house was right there in the middle of the street. He couldn’t drive around it so he had to get out of the car, and when he did an old man invited him into the house. While following this old man through the house, a telephone rang. The old man answered and said, “It’s Andrew calling for you Donnie.” Donnie picked up the phone and said, “You’re calling to tell me you’ve been healed, right?” I was on the other end with tears of joy, telling him that God had, indeed, healed me.
While listening to Donnie’s dream on my voicemail, my neurologist entered the room and said, “We’ve scheduled the biopsy for Tuesday morning at 9:00.” The “biopsy” meaning a brain biopsy where they were going to shave my entire head and cut out one of the lesions. After three weeks of treatment, they still were stumped. I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “You’re not going to have that biopsy.” And in that moment I had to make a choice. I had to choose who I was going to believe more.
The day before the scheduled biopsy was April 14, which was actually Passover. Months before, Kat and I decided we want to have Liam circumcised on the eighth day—not for religious reasons but because we’d learned that Vitamin K peaks in a baby’s body on the eighth day and acts as a natural coagulant, which makes the circumcision less painful. Leave it to science to prove that God knows what He’s doing, right? So my wife and son, some close friends, and the medical staff all gathered back down on the third floor in the maternity ward for this special moment. At this point, I hadn’t seen my son since we left the hospital. With me in my gown, guitar in hand, I sang my song of praise over him. As for me and my house we will serve You Lord forever. This was another holy moment for us.
And it was after this that my doctor came back into the room to deliver his latest word. The brain biopsy had officially been called off. The reason being that the last MRI showed such a dramatic decrease in the size of the lesions that they couldn’t even do a biopsy any more. Not only that, but all the swelling was gone. As soon as he left the room, I immediately heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “I told you so.” Lying in bed I just burst into laughter and began to thank God for His great doings. I was released from the hospital a couple of days later and asked to come back in a few weeks for a follow-up visit. A few weeks later I was even better than before. Death had passed over for good this time.
So much more happened during the month of April I don’t have the time or space to put into this article. Can you count the drops of a waterfall? I guess if you could, it wouldn’t be a waterfall. No, you just stand beneath its flow and experience the majesty. God once told a man named Abram to count the stars if he could or even count the grains of sand on the beach. God promised that man long ago his descendants would be just as numerous. God encountered that man and, as a result, his circumstances changed drastically. Even more so, the man Abram was changed and Abraham was born. I can relate to this. As my son Liam was being born, I, too, felt a rebirth happening in my own spirit. God was taking something away from me, but He was giving me something so much greater in return— His promise fulfilled.
Change comes to us all. Sometimes we ask for it. Sometimes we’re ready for it. Other times it comes upon us like a thief in the night. No matter what though, I am more confident than ever that what God is really after is not changing our circumstances but transforming our hearts. And He relentlessly pursues us for the sake of knowing His heart. He is good. He is kind. He promised us heaven and earth if we would only trust and obey Him like a little child, free from the bondage of having to explain everything in order to feel in control. That’s the essence of belief. That’s what Abraham learned. That’s what he became. In the end, knowing God is what truly changes us.
About Andrew Ehrenzeller:
Andrew Ehrenzeller is a worship leader/songwriter from Jesus Culture Music who passionately invites others into relationship with God. A native of Florida, he has been writing and performing since childhood. Growing up near Cape Canaveral, Andrew, his wife, worship leader Mary Kat, and son, Liam Valor, currently reside in South Florida. For more information, go to jesusculture.com, Facebook and Twitter.