My Son’s Accident
Although I usually post on organizing I wanted to share a personal story. It’s the story of my 15-year-old son’s traumatic accident where he suffered a C5-C6 spinal cord injury and became a quadriplegic. This was the most challenging thing our family has ever had to face.
So much was taken from him the night of the accident but, focusing on the positive, he has been blessed with significant recovery. We had the support of our families, the community, our church, and people we met along the way. Our family saw good we never would have known. God walked with us through the good and bad and we grew individually and as a family.
I’m breaking the story into 4 parts.
Part 1: God Prepared Me
Life has always been fairly easy. Aside from grandparents, I haven’t had to face the death of a loved one. My kids are healthy. We haven’t faced disease or illness in our family. My husband has never lost his job. We’ve moved once because we chose to and it was just across town. We’ve always had an average income but we are both frugal and we’ve stayed out of debt. We have amazing families that all get along.
My husband and I started attending our church together once we got engaged in 1994. We were married in 1995 and a few years later we started serving in the youth group ministry as adult leaders. We served in the youth group until 2004 after we had our 4th child. Through the years, I attended women’s ministry events and bible studies at our church, led small group bible studies, and served on the women’s ministry planning team. Chad and I have also been involved in the AWANA ministry serving in a couple different age groups.
Our four kids grew up in our church.
I loved my life. It was good.
Drifting and cynical
I’m not sure when it started but one day I realized I was drifting. Not away from my faith but I wasn’t passionate anymore. I was cynical. ‘Pray and read your Bible’ were the answers to everything. And I was the worst at praying and reading my Bible. I was sick of that answer. I had no desire. It just seemed like it didn’t make a difference. Life was fine. I was busy raising a family, organizing and serving. I was not close to the Lord and rarely thought about praying or spending time with Him.
And I always felt terrible about it.
I started organizing clients while my children were at school so I quit attending a weekly Bible study. I am terrible at routines and had never developed the discipline to keep up a consistent quiet time.
But, deep down I always wanted to be closer to the Lord.
God pursued me
(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Read my full disclosure here.)
One day my daughter and I were organizing the book shelf trying to make room as we finished a part of our basement. She held up every book and asked me, “Keep or Donate?” We came across one book called The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by John Eldredge and Brent Curtis. Inside the cover, I saw that my husband’s friend had given it to him. I don’t remember ever seeing this book before. Because of my strong desire to read it I set it aside.
I am so thankful that God continues to pursue me. Even when I don’t seek Him.
I feel like that day He reached His hand out and gave me that book, gently saying, “I love you more than you know (or feel) and I want you to know Me.” Thinking back, it was a precious moment in my life. Amid my cynicism and avoidance of Christian jargon and typical church stuff, HE pursued me. HE was drawing me to Himself. HE was preparing me.
I devoured that book. It spoke to me and how I was feeling. After I finished reading it I ordered the Sacred Romance Workbook and Journal and started through the book again. Finally, I was seeing the big picture. Eldredge and Curtis explain that, “The Sacred Romance is the story of our lives; It’s God’s story. It is His invitation to experience His unfathomable love for us.”
It caught my attention
“Having so long been out of touch with our deepest longing, we fail to recognize the voice and the One who is calling to us through it. Frustrated by our heart’s continuing sabotage of a dutiful Christian life, some of us silence the voice by locking our heart away in the attic, feeding it only the bread and water of duty and obligation until it is almost dead, the voice now small and weak. But sometime in the night, when our defenses are down, we still hear it call to us, oh so faintly – a distant whisper. Come morning, the new day’s activities scream for our attention, the sound of the cry is gone…”
“Most Christians have lost the life of their heart and with it, their romance with God…It is possible to recover the lost life of our heart and with it the intimacy, beauty, and adventure of life with God. To do so we must leave what is familiar and comfortable – perhaps even parts of the religion in which we have come to trust – and take a journey. This journey first takes us on a search for the lost life of our heart.”
I liked this book so much I asked a few friends if they wanted to read it with me. So, we started through it together.
I have always been so hard on myself, never feeling like I do enough. I want to work out more, eat better, clean more routinely, pray more, serve more, be more efficient, be a better wife and mother… Rarely do I feel enough. It’s not that I feel worthless, it’s more about not being disciplined. I could be more successful in these areas of my life if I would just be more disciplined.
Never enough and it’s exhausting.
Reading this helped me give all of it to the Lord.
I wanted to read another book of by the same author. After an organizing client one day, I drove to a half price book store. I went in and looked at what John Eldredge books they had. Walking with God: How to Hear His Voice was what I chose and I loved it, too. The way he practiced prayer was so different than anything I had ever been taught.
I will trust in You.
I’m not much of a music person but during that time I tried to listen to more music. I fell in love with the song Trust In You by Lauren Daigle. (This is the album.) It became my anthem during this mini revival time. I’ve bolded the words that meant the most to me.
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I try to win this war
I confess, my hands are weary, I need Your rest
Mighty warrior, king of the fight
No matter what I face You’re by my side
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So let all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foudation
The rock on which I stand
Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go
You’ve not already stood
I was singing the words “I will trust in You” BEFORE anything bad happened. I was choosing to trust Him no matter what I faced in my future.
During this time, I wanted to memorize Scripture. Immediately one woman from our church came to my mind. This is going to sound so weird, but I felt like I was supposed to call her.
I’m not really one for calling people up and have never been too interested in having a mentor. It’s funny, but I just had this conversation with a friend about how she really wanted to find an “older woman mentor.” I specifically told her I was not interested.
But, now, I am feeling like I’m supposed to call this woman.
Who you hang around with is who you’ll become. Is that how the saying goes? Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future? Anyway, I obeyed the voice and called this woman. I couldn’t even leave her a message without crying! My heart was softening and it felt good to hear and obey God.
She called me back immediately, thinking she had done something terribly wrong after hearing my crying message. I told her my story and she and I began to meet at a walking trail. She challenged me in my Scripture reading, we shared our prayer requests, and quoted the Scripture we were memorizing.
Life was better
We walked. I worked on memorizing Psalm 103. My friends and I were continuing through the book and study guide together. My heart started awakening to the romance God was calling me to.
New Year’s Day, 2016, I wrote in my journal:
“My heart was awakened this last year to how much my Heavenly Father loves me. God pursued me, showed me a book on my own book shelf, and led me into a deeper relationship with Him.
He is a good, good Father.
His heart towards me is GOOD.
So, Lord, I give 2016 to you.
Keep pursuing me.
You know what tomorrow brings.”
Part 2: Tragedy
On January 8, 2016, after a Friday night basketball game, my son and two friends were heading back to our house to spend the night. They were taking longer than I thought they should. I checked the “Find my iPhone” app and knew exactly where they were. I told my husband, after checking it a few minutes later and seeing that they were in the same place, “Either they have been in an accident or something else is up. Do you think we should go check?”
Less than 30 seconds later my phone rang.
“You son has been in an accident. He is okay. I am here with him now.”
I grabbed the keys and we left immediately to go to him at the scene of the accident.