Glass shattered in the rain puddles while the brakes screeched wildly. My two kids screamed as we flipped down an embankment. What seemed like a nightmare was a tragic reality on a Thursday night in February 2001.
The harsh smell of burning plastic left a smokey trail as my son wandered in circles singing Christmas songs to soothe himself. The medics had been called by a woman who had witnessed the ordeal and was talking to my four-year-old daughter who was still belted in her booster seat. She had discovered blood dripping from her face and exclaimed, “I’m dying, this is a very bad day!” With my glasses thrown off I could barely see the rainbow of paint colors blending together spanning a half of block of hilly terrain. Only hours before I had been helping another artist paint a creation-themed mural. Now I lay helpless as if an elephant lay on my chest. I too had screamed out as I braced my son back with my arm,”Help me, Jesus!”
Before the car accident my days were filled with an array of activities mostly geared around my family. As a firefighter’s wife, I was used to my husband’s schedule of sixteen-hour days at the station. I was like a pioneer woman managing all the kids activities and creating a joyful and playful safe haven for them. I found my identity as a wife and mother. Now, because of someone else’s poor choice to drag race down a public street, we had to suffer the consequences. My life would now be focused on rehabilitation. My independence came to an abrupt halt that evening.
Sure, I was relieved that my kids were going to be fine and extremely grateful we were alive. I had suffered seven broken bones and needed two surgeries and eighteen months of therapy. They placed a hospital bed in my home and I received in-house care. My dominant hand had to be reconstructed and I wore six casts in ten months. I was an artist and now was damaged goods. My pain was physical and mental due to fear, anxiety and anger. I battled in my mind and believed lies. I lay awake at night in so much agony that I’d shake reliving the traumatic night and would wake up clammy and anxious.
Then one night as I was crying out to the Lord a shift took place. I could easily pour into the other people’s lives but found it difficult to receive help from then. I was filled with pride not allowing people to love me. The Lord dealt with me tenderly, I was able to give Him all my ugliness and mess. It was cathartic becoming almost childlike in my dependence on Him. I was like a baby learning to walk in trust and love. I received meals, had an in-house girl’s night and even painted a rooster picture with my left hand. When I see it hanging on my wall, I’m reminded of the verse “His mercies are new every morning” .
My sweet time with the Lord was a reflective time to thank him for saving my kids and my own life. The Lord was never shocked by my rawness and candid conversations. Nor was he condemning or fed up with my outpouring of crud. It brought freedom though I was still confined to a hospital bed! I became a warrior who battled against many lies the enemy taunted me with for weeks. However, I wear my battle scars proudly, aware that my Lord changes beauty into ashes. I am a survivor.