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Living a Genuine Miracle
A Great Tragedy Transformed Into a Beautiful Miracle
Traveling along lifes roads, you never know exactly what might lie ahead. Sometimes things encountered may feel very bad at the onset, but then eventually turn into life changing experiences that make you forever better and stronger.
In America, November 11 is set aside to honor our military veterans and that is how I observed the special date for over thirty years. Then November 11 took on an added personal meaning for me when, in 1997, it brought a life transforming tragedy. At least tragedy is how I viewed the experience for a lengthy time afterward. Then I came to realize that it really was one of the most supernatural miracles I could actually claim and call my own.
November 11, 1997 began as any ordinary day but included an out-of-town shopping trip with my husband. After completing our shopping mission, on a cold, rainy night, we headed home. Then soon after beginning our journey home, it ended in a terribly unexpected way. We were a few miles outside of Abilene, Texas when, from a cross-over county road, another pick-up truck entered the highway we traveled on without stopping. Our rate of speed was 65mph and the other vehicle too traveled just as fast, which left no time to react in order to avoid the collision. We were hit on the right-front fender just short of the passengers seat where I was sitting. The impact immediately stopped all forward motion and sent us rolling over. After crossing two lanes of traffic and the median, we eventually came to rest on the shoulder of the road opposite our original direction of travel, facing oncoming traffic. Our pick-up truck landed on its cab and we therefore hung upside down, suspended by our seat belts. Relieved we had stopped and he was still alive, my husband called my name, I gave no answer. He viewed my still, lifeless body as blood oozed from many obvious wounds and felt in his heart I was dead. My husband released his seat belt, crawled to my side of the vehicle and cried out to God, asking that He return me back to him.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jarbo/6427598293/
Praying For a Miracle
Before impact, the last thing I remember was having a conversation with my husband about the music we were enjoying together. After that I remember nothing but wonderful peace for what would last for the next three days. My husband filled in my memory gap with the missing details from that night.
The driver of the other vehicle was an eighteen year old who could give no explanation as to why he did not stop. He had not been drinking nor was he under the influence of any other mind altering substance (which was proven by later testing). He was terribly upset when he too viewed the evidence of my demise. My husband had an emotional altercation with him, but still the young man could offer no explanation for causing such a tragedy. My husband returned to praying.
People began stopping to offer assistance and call for emergency help. I continued to show no signs of life. A nurse was present at the scene and she helped my husband attend to me. A man, who stopped to help, offered my husband the use of his mobile phone. When my husband called our home, he talked with our oldest son who believed after the phone call that I was dead and he would never see his mother alive again. He immediately called our preacher and they later headed to Abilene around midnight that night.
My husband never stopped praying to God for a miracle. Then at some point in the midst of all the confusion, God answered his prayers and I began to groan. And then I spoke, saying, “Cut it!” My husband said I talked little but he realized that I wanted to be released from the seat belt. He cut me loose and soon after I was taken away in an ambulance.
Where in the Universe was I? - Feeling No Pain After Such Deadly Trauma--How Could That Be Possible?
I have no memory of the crash, no memory of the chaos after the accident, no memory of the ambulance ride to the hospital, no memory of any pain, I felt nothing bad. However, I did feel the sweetest peace and I know I was not present on earth for a lengthy period of time. Some people believe that enormous peace is felt in these circumstances because of drugs administered for pain, but this was clearly not possible since I received no drugs for a very long time after the accident.
Upon arrival at the hospital, my physical condition was evaluated by several attending physicians and specialists. To accomplish this, it was necessary to cut off all my clothing, including my new leather jacket! After MRI's, x-rays, and observation, I was assessed with the following: I had broken ribs which punctured my right lung. The doctors believed I would need a lung transplant to survive. They also believed I had brain and heart trauma, in addition to other internal bruising and damage. I had glass embedded in my head and cuts and bruises on all visible parts of my body. I had trouble breathing since my right lung was filling rapidly with fluid; therefore, a chest tube was inserted immediately to keep the lung drained. I also have no memory of having my side cut open to insert the chest tube, which is a painful procedure done without deadening the area.
The doctors in charge all unanimously agreed it was a miracle that I survived; they each had seen many people die from a lot less injuries than I had received. I spent the night in ICU. My husband was also injured seriously but slept that night close-by in the ICU waiting area.
I remained in ICU for several days. The nurses thought I was receiving pain medication from a pump devise. However, it was discovered later that the machine was not working; therefore I received no medicine for pain. For the three days, it never felt as though I was present in my body. But with my first memory after the wreck also came a vivid memory of the pain that accompanied it. The first thing I saw was a huge Peace Lily plant sitting by my bed; I then realized I was in the hospital and had no idea why. When I moved, the severe pain stopped me immediately. It was as though I had returned to the damaged body and the pain of it all was clearly felt as well.
I believe that the three-day period from when the accident happened to the returning of my memory was time I spent in the presence of Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. With doctor verification, it would have been unlikely that I would return to a healthy state and live physically functional again with the damage I had endured. I needed supernatural healing to repair my lung, to mend my head (which crashed into the passenger window of the truck and broke it entirely out), to regulate my heart, and to enable me to walk normally again. The necessary supernatural healing restored me to a point where the physicians could take over and finish the remainder, which then was within their ability level to treat. Even at this point, I hurt unbearably on many occasions, especially when I had to do physical therapy. I remained in the hospital for eight days and then was able to go home to continue healing and recovering. When released to leave, I was handed the new clothes I wore on the day of the wreck all cut to shreds and stuffed into a plastic bag. It took me a while to understand why this happened to my clothes since I still had not totally comprehended what had actually taken place.
A Beautiful Peace Lily
When my body and spirit reunited, my memory also returned. The first thing I remember was seeing a huge, beautiful peace lily plant sitting on a shelf by my bed. I also saw a couple of smaller peace lilies and several arrangements of flowers. That moment of returned memory also included the first moment I felt the terrible physical pain from all the injuries. This happened about three days after the accident occurred.
Peace lilies are gorgeous plants with deep green foliage blooming with big white unique shaped flowers that add beauty to any indoor environment.
They are also known as "closet plants" because they do not like direct sunlight.
Continuing to Heal at Home
The first night home was one I will never forget. It was wonderful to be with my children again and just to enjoy the matchless comforting feeling of being home. But the pain was unquenchable even when I had taken the maximum dosage of medication to ease it. Eventually, this condition improved and slowly with time, healing happened.
One of the most vital parts of healing I would learn was that of touch. At first my husband was afraid to hug me because he thought I was too fragile to even be held. But when I asked him to touch me again, his hugs were like magic medicine. He was amazed at how quickly it improved my condition. We found renewed proof in the healing power of touch and that it works its magic the same for adults as for children and babies. Never underestimate the healing power of a simple touch.
The continual support I received from my husband and children contributed positively to my healing period which overall took about six months before I resumed any form of normal activity. At my checkup visit, my doctor told me he was still amazed that I was alive and had overcome such a deadly experience. He was amazed that my lung had miraculously healed and no lung transplant was needed. He even told me that I was unrecognizable compared to the person he saw at the hospital a short time prior. He gave God the glory for my renewed physical state and declared that he too had witnessed a true miracle in my life.
Photos of Our "New" Chevy Truck After the Wreck - It was many weeks after the accident before I finally grasped the reality of what had happened. This was accomClick thumbnail to view full-size
Living Inside the Bubble of God's Protection
This picture of a tree inside a bubble portrays my feeling of "inside the bubble." After the wreck, I have envisioned myself and my family protected inside an invisible shield provided by a protective bubble. It gives a tangible image of knowing God is protecting always.
The time of the accident was when I felt God’s presence and protection most powerfully. During that time I felt as though I was shielded inside an invisible layer of protection, which I refer to as God’s invisible bubble. This thought gives tangible meaning to living under the shelter of His wing and since the wreck I have desired, and pray often to remain inside “The Bubble.”
Relationship Not Religion
There is a great difference between enjoying a relationship with God as your Father and Creator, and living in religious bondage under the law. With God, I experience relationship, NOT religion.
Life Principles Bible by Charles Stanley
I grow in my personal relationship with God daily by reading His word. This is one of my favorite Bibles, given to me for Christmas one year by my youngest son.
This Bible is full of easy to understand examples. It shares wisdom and help for the questions we all encounter in daily circumstances.
Augustus said to God, "You made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in You."— Augustus, founder of the Roman Empire & 1st Roman Emperor from 27 BC to 14 AD
The Anchor Holds will touch your soul.
The Anchor Holds
I found special healing in music. These few songs still take me back to that miracle time in my life. I know without a doubt that The Anchor in my life is my relationship with God and His love that I experience and feel every day. The Christian song, "The Anchor Holds" has great meaning to me personally and a universal message of hope for all.
Inspiring Music Brings Healing
Taking My Time by Ashton, Becker, & Dente
After the wreck, I felt great peace with life and I knew that God sent me back to earth because He has a plan and a purpose for me to accomplish. The song, "Taking My Time" by Ashton, Becker, & Dente continues to speak to me. In words, it tells how I feel about life on earth in a renewed way. I know I am going home-to heaven-and there's no hurry & and no worry about missing out on things of the world. It is extremely comforting to know that the Lord knows just where each day goes and He will never leave me behind. And as far as material wealth and treasure go-I won't be bringing a single thing (with me after I die) that my heart can't carry inside. I rest assured that I am going home and I am only taking my time. My life got much richer after the wreck. Love is deeper, life is more peaceful, and time is not so fast-because the death-to-life experience strengthened my trust in God. And that diminishes fear and anxiety and increases love, peace, and happiness.
Music for Healing & Inspiration
Rodney Griffin's My Name is Lazarus
I thank God often for the miracle He performed in my life. I was raised from the dead, just like Lazarus in the Bible. In John 11: 25-26, Jesus says, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." There is a song, written by Rodney Griffin of Greater Vision that has special meaning to me after living through my Lazarus experience.
I had the privilege of meeting Rodney in person and he granted me permission to write the words of this song in my book.
Relating Physical Damage to Emotional Damage
A Life Changing Encounter
The physical damage I received in just minutes during the accident hurt terribly and took a great deal of time to recover from. In contrast, I came to realize that although the physical damage hurt like no other physical wound I had encountered, it still hurt less over all than the emotional damage I lived through as a child. That emotional damage occurred over many years and was invisible to the outside world, making it difficult to recognize and heal from.
However, even though the physical wounds from the wreck were obvious and severe enough to bring death, they hurt less because they were recognized and it was clear to all that my physical healing was necessary. Therefore, the support to heal from everyone around me was readily available. This experience proved to me in a most unlikely way how very connected our physical, emotional, and spiritual existence really is. The wreck provided a concrete example of how emotional hurt and damage can spread much farther into a life and ultimately hurt way more than even the severest physical wounds. The wreck in physical terms was a great tragedy but in spiritual terms it became a beautiful, transforming experience providing proof that the concentrated emotional support of one's family brings true healing to any injury.
There is much more to my story than I can relate here. My book contains an entire chapter sharing specific events related to our 11-11-97 car wreck and recovery. You can read more about it in “A Wounded Daughter’s Survival” . . .
A Life Changing Encounter
That Increased My Faith in God
When asked, "If you knew what was ahead traveling down that long, dark, rainy highway on November 11, 1997, would you continue on?" My answer would be without hesitation, "Yes!" You may think that sounds crazy but with God's presence and protection, it made an impact on me and many others like nothing else I could ever do in my own strength. And because this experience made it tangibly real for me that as I live, God is with me; when death comes for me, I will instantly be with God in heaven forever. I do not fear what is down the road knowing God is always with me and that He will take care of everything for my good and for His glory.
Adversity Can Make You Stronger but It's All About Choice
When something bad happens, you can choose to suffer all your life or you can take the bad and use it to positively move forward while making a difference in your life and in the lives of others.
We Live in a Dangerous Fast-Moving World
No one ever knows for sure what life will bring their way. Most people go through life witnessing many car accidents and even feel inside that those only happen to other people but never to them. Then without warning, in a split-second, you realize that it can and does happen to you.
Deadly car accidents happen everyday and most victims are not able to revive and walk away in good health. Every time you travel by car, there is a real possibility of an accident happening. It is so easy to become a statistic since many drivers just do not pay attention, nor do they take the privilege of driving a car as seriously as they should. It is especially a problem these days with the ever prevalent added distraction of texting. Therefore, when traveling by car, the best we can do is always buckle-up, drive defensively, and be prepared to meet our Maker.