Bad things happen to us sometimes
Life has a way of throwing things at you when you least expect it. While good things happening are always welcomed, the thought of anything negative happening to us can be paralyzing. I’ve had my share of disastrous experiences but nothing could have prepared me for the challenge I’d face after surviving a horrific car accident.
January 27, 2020, is a day I’ll never forget. For some reason that entire day I felt like listening to worship music and thanking God for all he’d done for me at that point. After leaving work with my twin sister and three young children, my sister and I kept talking about how blessed and grateful we were. We headed to the grocery stores to pick up some much-needed groceries. I got some stuff for my friend who had pneumonia and I also saw a jobless single mom that I’d helped from time to time and bought her a few things as well. I was happy to be in a position to give than a position of need.
We can be in need within the blink of an eye
On the way to deliver the things I had gotten for my friend, once again my sister and I thanked God for everything and I do mean everything. We thanked him for our family, the food we had just bought, for the car I was driving, for the ability to give to others as much as we could. The entire drive was filled with praise. There was a level of peace that we felt.
About nineteen minutes into our drive, police cars went blazing down the street. We were in the right lane about two minutes away from our turn. A van that was all the way on the left lane slowly came over, slowed down, then stopped in front of us. We sat there for a couple of seconds before we heard what sounded like an explosion. At first, I felt disoriented. Everything looked hazy and I could see white and red around us. A few seconds later, another explosion. I had come to the realization that we were rear-ended and the impact caused us to then hit the van in front of us. My sister went into a panic and after I hopped out of the car and couldn’t get my kids’ doors open, I started screaming and calling on God. I thought to myself that there was no way God could allow us to be seriously hurt or worse, not after how much we were thanking him for everything, including life.
Fear began to creep in
I knew at least one of my kids was hurt because she was bleeding. She was behind me on the drivers side. When we were hit she flew foward hitting her face against the back of my seat. I rushed to remove my four-year-old from her car seat. As I did this, a man tried to open the back passenger door to free my one-year-old son. I saw his attempt fail, then he frantically tried to break the glass, which he also wasn’t able to do. Another man came to the passenger side and waited for me to pass him my oldest. My three-year-old daughter, who was in the center of the backseat was next to get handed off to a complete stranger. My son was the last one to be freed from his car seat and once I got him out I ran around the front of the car into a ditch next to the crash.
I couldn’t believe what was happening
There were so many people there helping us, giving us blankets, praying for us. The driver that we hit after being rear-ended was an EMT in training and he came over and checked all of my children. The cops and ambulance were there in no time. Part of me thinks that they might have been some of the crew that was already on their way to another emergency.
While being rushed to the ambulance, I saw the back of my car and thought, Thank you, God! The trunk was gone and the backseat was so close to the front seat. I later found out that the backseat was pushed at least eight inches forward. The EMTs were shocked that we were alive, even conscious.
At the hospital, my three kids and I were all in a room together. My sister was rushed to the adult side of the hospital in an entirely separate building. Our bosses were at her side in less than thirty minutes. My coworker and friend, who we were taking food to, drove her beat-up car that hardly ever worked to the hospital to see us. She was there in about fifteen minutes. She looked weak from fighting off pneumonia but hey, she was in the right place if she thought she’d pass out.
I believe in miracles
Going through something like that, you’d think it would be discouraging but it wasn’t. I believed, through faith, that we were going to be okay both physically and mentally. Almost instantly we were seeing blessings come. My boss bought us some groceries the day after the crash. Thirty minutes later my friend, who lived near us, brought us a care basket, and later that night we got food from the outreach center my sister volunteers at. We never lacked a ride to get important things done because someone was always offering to take us wherever we needed to go. My cousin even lent me her second car. We were never in true need.
I feel that every bad thing can be turned into a blessing. We got to see how valued we were by the people around us and by strangers. One of the men that helped us even said he thought about not stopping, which people around here normally never stop to help victims of an accident. I believe the prayers of my sister who had jumped out of the car and dropped onto the grass to pray redirected him. I don’t think I’d be able to process the trauma of the accident, the loss of my vehicle, or the realness of mortality if not for my faith.
In every situation, I pray and believe that all things are working out for my good. I don’t worry or let fear affect my beliefs. Faith has really been my coping mechanism and the only way I stay so optimistic even when things seem impossible. I can look back on my life and see how believing in good outcomes instead of being fearful has helped me to truly overcome all the negative experiences I’ve had. It’s not easy sometimes but I stand on a firm foundation of believing that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. If I have nothing else, my faith will be enough to carry me through anything. I believe in miracles and the goodness of God.
My confidence is sure
Whenever I feel mentally exhausted, because that does happen, I put on worship music and dance around with my kids and sister. I create joy in situations where there is none because weeping may last the night but joy comes in the morning(Psalm 30:5). I grip on to that hope. I’ve learned that even if I can’t control the chaos around me, I can control how I react to it.
The same way grapes are crushed for wine or olives are crushed for olive oil, I believe the moments where we are crushed is not the end but the beginning of a new and beautiful us. I’ve learned to find strength in times where I’m expected to be weak and frail. Giving up or caving into the pain of this world is not an option for me. Not because I think I’m undeserving of going through it but because I know that I’m not the first or the last and I’m going to make it out.
There’s a certain level of confidence I have because of my faith. It’s not arrogance or a sense of entitlement. I genuinely believe in either a reason for things happening or a miraculous outcome from such events. It’s not easy to always see the bright sides of things but it is possible to. Everyone faces challenges and hardships in their lives, some more than others. Having a positive and optimistic outlook on life through faith is my driving force.
People always ask me how I manage to keep going and I simply say, “God.” Even the people that believe in God wonder, “That‘s it? There has to be something more.” With all the things I’ve been through it seems unfathomable to some that faith is the only thing I rely on to fight depression, anxiety, insecurities, and even hurt. Believe me, it’s a mental battle as much as it is a spiritual one.
I stand firm like a stubborn child who refuses to drink out of the wrong colored cup because I know sitting and wallowing in pain and sadness is the wrong cup to drink out of. Instead, I choose to be happy despite my circumstances. I choose to celebrate all the good I’ve been blessed with and overlook the bad. Sure, I have to fight the thoughts that say I shouldn’t be happy right now, that I shouldn’t rejoice. But I rebuke those thoughts and smile anyway; I press on. I have gained immense strength from a faith that says I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me(Philippians 4:13). That is all I need to know that I can and will make it through every difficult situation.
As always, Hugs and Love!