I remember waking up Thursday just the same as any other day, except I woke up much earlier. I woke up at 5am. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of waking up that early because I knew that having two kids meant that when I eventually got tired that there would be no way I could actually rest, and my days are long and so 5am was a little bit too early.
But I was awake, And so I did what I usually do when I wake up super early and the kids are still sleeping, I spend some quiet time, just me, my bible, and my Father.
Recently, I have decided to take on the Old Testament. To be honest, I’ve never really read the OT. I’ve skimmed over a few stories, but I’ve spent most of my Christian life hanging around the Gospels and the New Testament. But I want to know everything about who I am and where I come from and so I knew that it was time for me to make the step.
And it’s been good so far. It almost reads like a novel because it keeps you guessing and the suspense is gripping and the story line is one of the best I’ve read.
And so that’s what I did Thursday morning. I spent time reading God’s word and praying.
We were going to go to Bible Study that morning and so after a few hours of quiet time, life went back to normal. I woke the kids up, just as I would any other day. Everything about Thursday was very usual.
My friend, Jessica, came to pick up me and the kids to take us to bible study. As we drove along the road we talked about life and what had been going on in our lives because we hadn’t been able to spend that much time together the past few months, so we were playing catch up.
We talked about my hopes to visit my friends and family back home. She asked if I had thought about flying, where I proceeded to tell her that I was actually really scared of flying. I explained to her that I use to fly with no problems at all, but ever since having kids, it just really scared me.
She asked me why. I told her that when I flew, I had no control over anything. And since I have such a hard time with my control issues I had actually been praying and realized that God was in control and that I just needed to learn how to let Him take over because there’s nothing that I can do in any situation really to control it.
She agreed and I think she was proud of me for realizing that God was always in control because she knew just how hard the struggle was for me.
Eventually, we made it to bible study where we reunited with our old friends. (Since adding pastorate to our weekly church schedules we hadn’t been able to get together much, so this was a treat for us.) Jaxsyn and Adelaide were playing and bible study began.
I remember getting upset with Jaxsyn because he was having a hard time listening. He was being sassy and I was getting frustrated. I kept telling him ‘just wait until we get home’ because as you see, everything about Thursday was usual.
Bible study ended and we chatted for a few more minutes. ‘Ooohing and Aaahing’ over Chelsea’s new baby. Talking about getting together the next time. Making plans to see each other in the next week, because everything was usual.
My friend Kathie was going to give me and kids a ride home. This was how it had been done before. It was usual for her to take us home.
We said our ‘see ya laters’ and we headed to my house.
As I had done with Jesscia, I began to talk about life. We talked about how big Houston was, and how often we felt like we could never escape the city because there seemed to be no boundaries. We talked about pastorate. We talked about the weather. We talked about everything.
We were about 10 minutes away from my house. Both of my kids had fallen asleep in the backseat. It had been sprinkling, but it had stopped. I even remember thinking that Kathie should turn off her windshield wipers because the rain was over.
Then, Kathie’s van went off the road just a little. I had done the same thing a thousand times before. They even prepare you for what to do if this happens in drivers ed. Everything was usual.
So when Kathie said ‘oops’ and I giggled, it was not a big deal. We weren’t afraid. Everything was usual.
But what happened next was not usual. What happened next was not expected. There had been no indication that what happened next would in fact happen next.
When Kathie corrected herself by getting back on to the road for a second I thought everything was fine, but in that second I realized that everything wasn’t.
We began to swerve into the left lane. Thankfully, there were no cars heading towards us. I did not have time to look, but I know there were no other cars because there was no one else involved.
Then she corrected herself again and turned the wheel hard to the right so we could go back into our lane. It was at that moment that I knew we were going to crash. I didn’t realize that it would be so severe, but I knew that it was going to happen.
I didn’t scream. I didn’t react. I remember just sitting there, out of control, but I was completely at peace with it. I was calm. I wasn’t afraid. There I was, in these few seconds, learning the biggest lesson of my Christian life. I was finally letting God be in control. I wasn’t fighting it. I wasn’t trying to do better than God. I had finally ‘let go, and let God’.
What happened next, I don’t remember myself because I blacked out for a little bit. When I came too, the van was on it’s side, Kathie and Jaxsyn were on the ground, still in their seats. Adelaide was quiet, and Jaxsyn looked scared, but they were both looking at me and that was all that mattered.
I saw two gentlemen standing outside of the window asking me if I could get out. I was stuck. The seat belt wouldn’t budge and at that moment, I wasn’t even sure how to unbuckle myself.
Eventually, Kathie unbuckled me and I began to make my way out of the vehicle with the help from the two men. When I got out I saw about 6 people standing there. Someone was on the phone calling 911.
I was confused. I didn’t really understand what was happening. They finally got everyone out. My kids were fine. Jaxsyn had a few scrapes on his leg and a small cut on his toe, but he was okay. And Adelaide Blue was just as she was when I put her in the seat. Not even a scratch. Not one hair moved. She was perfect.
And then my friend got out. Everyone was fine. The ambulance was on their way and no one could understand or explain how it was that we were all standing there.
But that’s what we were doing. We were just standing there, on the side of the road, truly unaware of what had just happened.
I called my husband and very calmly let him know that we had been in an accident. I received a text from my mom who asked me to send a video of the kids. (She’s not met my daughter and so since we live so far away we do this on a daily basis.) I told her that I had been in an accident. I still didn’t understand how terrible it actually was, and I didn’t even explain to my husband or my mother just how bad it was.
I mean, of course, I saw what the car looked like. I saw the glass, the dents. I saw the looks on the bystanders who couldn’t believe what happened. But I kept it together. I was a mother first. And so I put on my brave face. And everything was fine.
As time passed, I began to hurt more and more. I was stiff. I am stiff. Bruises and bumps are slowly starting to creep out. But I’m alive. My friend is alive. And my kids are alive. Praise God.
I didn’t actually know what happened and for most of the day I just couldn’t understand, but I talked to a lady who saw it happen. From what I heard, what she described, I shouldn’t be here. We shouldn’t be here.
It was God. It was God teaching me a lesson that I had struggled with for so long. It was Him showing me that He was in charge. Because no matter what I did in that car, if I had actually reacted, there was still nothing that I could have done. Nothing. I was completely helpless.
And this is a true testimony to the fact that we don’t understand God’s plans, and we can’t. Because had anyone presented me with this lesson before it happened, I would have begged for this not to happen this way, but at the same time, I would not have learned the lesson God was trying so hard to teach me.
When the wrecker crew got out there, the lady that had told me what exactly happened said that they asked if anyone was left in the vehicle. They said no. They asked if anyone was hurt. They said no, ‘they all walked away from it’. Then the wrecker crew noticed that our bibles were just sitting in the car. Unharmed. Almost like they didn’t move. It was at that moment that they knew what we had known all along, that it was because of God we were alive.
It still hasn’t really hit me what happened. And I even feel a little guilty because I haven’t been as grateful or as thankful to be alive as I should be. It is not like I am disregarding the fact, but I don’t deal well with asking for help, or taking it easy. I credit this behavior to my issues with control and not wanting to look like a sissy, but I still have my weak moments since the accident.
Even though I wasn’t behind the wheel when the accident occurred, I have no desire to drive. I tried once, yesterday, it lasted for approximately 8 minutes before I asked to switch seats with my husband. I find myself nervous everywhere. Because Thursday was so typical, I feel that it could happen again at any moment. And that’s the thing, it could.
Even as I write this, recalling what happened, I’m nervous and scared. I can’t stop crying. I haven’t really come to terms with what has happened. I put on a brave face and I try not to let anything bother me, but it doesn’t make it better.
Poor Justin has had to deal the most with this. The anger from the pain medication, the emotional wreck that I have become in the car. The other night we were driving on a two lane road just as we usually do, but a Fire Truck was coming in our direction and was in our lane just a little bit, and so Justin veered off the road just a little bit and it felt just like it had that day. I could feel it in my feet, the roughness of the side of the road. It was at that moment that I panicked.
I had never experienced a panic attack before, but there it was in full force. I couldn’t breathe. It was like the breath had been stolen from my lungs. I cried uncontrollably. I shook. I had finally experienced everything that I didn’t experience on Thursday. That’s when I knew, when I finally realized, that this was really bad, and even though we all walked away, essentially just as we were when we got in the car, I knew, that myself, at least, was not the same person, nor would I ever be the same person again.
As things start to get back to ‘normal’ for me, I can’t help but to think that I was glad this happened. A friend of mine was offering words of encouragement to me and said ‘it just sounds like you’ve had the worst week of your life’. I thought about it for a second, and then I realized that she was wrong. This wasn’t the worst week of my life, this was the best.
I think we forget just how precious life is. I know that when I go to bed at night, I don’t pray for another day because I just assume that it’s not my time to go, but that’s not right. It could be our time any time He decides.
This week also reminded me that no matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I struggle, He is in control and there is absolutely nothing, NOTHING, I can do to change that. And while that idea used to scare the hell out of me, it doesn’t anymore because I know that God loves me and He wouldn’t do anything to me that would hurt me.
While my body still reacts to the accident and the trauma, my heart and spirit have been healed because of the accident and the trauma. Not to mention, that story of mine that I hope to share, well, He just keeps adding chapters, doesn’t He?
So friends, even though you weren’t in the car with us, it is my prayer to God that you learn from my story, that no matter how much you prepare, no matter how much you think you are controlling, you’re not. I am thankful that the Lord gave me a wake up call and that it’s not too late for me, and I just hope that through my story, you realize the same thing because life truly is a precious gift.