Life can take some pretty hard turns. Unless you are strapped down, ejection is eminent. On October 28th 2016 our family hit an unseen turn and we would find out how well we were strapped in. Some of you know our story, others even followed my posts on Caring Bridge. It was there that I recorded, as best I could, the events, effects, and emotions of that horrible day. Those of you who have not heard our story, continue to follow the upcoming blogs. You will learn more about my family and how we survived the past year and hopefully everyone will learn something about God, life and what we do when life gives us severe spiritual and emotional whiplash.
My daughters, Emma and Olivia, were in a horrific, life threatening, car accident. Emma was hospitalized for 5 days with a severe concussion and other minor injuries. Olivia was a different story. Olivia was given a 5% chance to live and suffered a massive head injury. The injury resulted in Olivia’s life taking an abrupt turn and embarking on a journey that was, and still is, life changing. In the first few days, we sat shell shocked – overwhelmed with fear, pain and the deep soul ache of dying dreams. Each ticking minute can wreak ghastly damage on the psyche when a parent sits imaging all of the worst possible outcomes. Several times I vomited from grief.
Days turned into weeks and God brought Olivia through the darkest of days. Yet, we wondered, when she came out of the coma, what would remain. Would we still have a child who remotely resembled the daughter we once knew? Doctors prepared us for the worst and, in my heart, I braced myself. She might be blind, she may not know us, she could never walk again, all possibilities we prepared for.
When Olivia began to wake, God had other plans that what my mind imagined. Olivia would have to relearn everything, and I mean everything – walking, talking, swallowing and tying her shoes. The injury was massive and had systemic impact. Yet, everyday God would move her one step further. She began to overcome odds that sometimes even left nurses in tears. The rehab brought on great victories, but it also ushered in a new kind of pain. Watching my child endure something so hard led me to places of doubt and anger with God. The turn Olivia’s life, our life, had taken, the sudden jerk of the wheel, felt cruel.
Part of my healing process involves writing, sharing with all of you how God has taught me to navigate those hard turns. I’ve learned how to walk with both of my girls who each dealt with very different effects from the wreck. Emma’s wounds were emotional, Olivia’s more physical and the rest of us were just hurting. Over the next few weeks I am going to blog about my journey through tragedy.
What did I learn? Other than bad memories and the incredible depth of pain the human soul can journey, what could I take away? By the loving kindness of God, I learned a lifetime of truths which brought scripture alive. Biblical words which I have taught, preached and studied went from a nice idea or a cute lesson to cold, hard facts that build a foundation of faith. These are the topics God has led me to share about navigating the hard turns in life:
- The imagination: Capturing our thoughts and holding strong when life feels out of control.
- A Fallen World: Understanding that this world is not what we live for.
- Failing Faith: Navigating life when I just don’t feel like I have enough faith.
- The Death of Dreams: Truly learning that God has a plan.
- Minute by minute: Accepting God’s care for us daily
- Talking to God: When I cannot speak and have no words, what do I say?
- Reliant Maturity: Learning that spiritual maturity means I need others.
- Be Present: Not escaping the pain.
- Accepting the grind: Settling in for a long process.
- Rest: Understanding the real truth behind Sabbath.
- Celebrating: Thankful for small wins in life.
- Changed forever: Giving God glory and living differently.
I hope you will join me here on Punch and Press as I unpack some of the truths which have become so real to me this last year.