ON the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul. Psalm 138:3 (emphasis mine)
Seven years ago I called out to God for a specific need in my life. The Friday before Mother’s Day is a day I will never forget. I have shared bits of this story before, but, as Paul Harvey says, “now—the rest of the story”.
This particular Friday was set to be uneventful. Well, except for the fact that my baby girl was headed back to school after being out for two weeks with mononucleosis. The doctor had given her specific instruction to be careful, no stressful exercise, no bumping into things, etc. She was “contagious” and had to remain at home. So after two weeks of boredom at home, she begged to go back one day early. Just one day early.
Shortly after three o’clock that afternoon I received a call from my neighbor. Our receptionist came to my office to tell me, rather than use the speaker phone. That should have clued me in. But the next words I heard over the phone line brought the seat of the chair up in lightening speed. Or rather, I collapsed into it.
My teenage baby daughter had been in a car accident. Right in front of my house. The details of the accident are here. But what I want to tell you is this: We are not the giver of life. In our hands, we hold nothing of our own. Job 33:4 says, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” It all belongs to Him.
As I drove from my job, through the country roads that would lead me back home, miracle number one took place. Every day, these little country roads are filled with traffic. The kind of traffic that takes the slow lane of life. Tractors, old trucks, trucks with trailers hauling hay, grandma cars, but the ones you don’t see are those that have “passed” the ones you get stuck behind on the way to work.
On this particular day, as I sped out of town at one of the busiest times of the day, I saw not one single vehicle. Not one in front of me, nor at any intersection, nor any behind me. At the time of my speed praying (I was praying to the top of my lungs as I was speeding down the highway), but later, when the dust settled the Lord reminded of miracle number one.
As I was nearing home, I began to notice a helicopter overhead. When I realized it was heading for my house, my heart could not possibly beat any faster—but I thought it would come out of my chest. When I neared the house I saw I would have to park away and walk (run) because there were so many people along the roadside. When my neighbor and a couple of ladies from our church saw me and (I am certain), my panic stricken face, they ran to me and said “she’s okay. She is up on the hill in the ambulance. The helicopter had landed on the hill and they wanted to assure me that it was not taking her.
The sight of the upside down, “burned” Chevy blazer did absolutely nothing to improve my heart rate. I don’t even remember “seeing” the car my girl was in. I was looking only for her. I took off at a run for the ambulance. It was up the hill, and I had on heels, but what is that to a mom on a mission? When I reached the ambulance, she immediately began reassuring me that she was okay. Her face was covered in blood, her knee was bleeding, her clothes torn. But my child was worried about her mom. That is her nature.
My mother came up quickly, as did Grandbuddy. The EMT’s were getting the girls situated to take them to the hospital. One point here was comical (not then of course, but later). My mother questioned the EMT working on getting my baby strapped in, as to “where” they were taking them. The EMT stated they were taking her to “so & so” hospital. My mother quickly changed their mind. She simply said, “oh, no you are not. You are taking her to “this particular” hospital. No matter who you have to call, that’s where she’s going.” This is when a “bossy” type mom is handy to have around! (YOU know I love you mother!)
The helicopter would life flight her friend to the same hospital. The man driving the vehicle that struck them head on, at a high rate of speed (approximately 70 mph), would be taken to his destination by way of a vehicle without flashing lights. Actually, that probably was not his destination, you can judge a man by their fruits. You see, he was under the influence of alcohol and prescription medication. The evidence of his lifestyle was all over the highway. His lifestyle almost took a precious life of mine.
When we arrived at the hospital, so did miracle number two. There was a line…as always in the emergency room. I had rushed back to see her, but a nurse came and asked me to “please fill out some paperwork”. I don’t need to tell you how anxious I was to be with my baby. But obediently I went to “fill out and answer questions.” As I was just beginning, the assistant to the hospital administrator came and shook my hand, introduced himself and told me to “go on back and be with my daughter. They would take care of the paperwork. That was miracle number two. Have you ever heard of anyone “taking care of hospital paperwork for you?”
Even though I happened to work for someone “with a few connections”, and he had called the hospital, and had them be ready for us,….well, let me just ask you….Who do you think gave me that job in the first place? Do you not think for one instant that God is not aware of every detail of our lives that we will face? Do you not realize that although we only see a few pieces of our life’s puzzle at the time….the Creator of our “life’s puzzle” has the complete picture, and knows full well what steps, what jobs, what schools, what relationships we will need? Enough said.
The emergency room staff transferred calls to the room we were set up in until we left. Her knee was stitched up and the physician worked diligently picking glass from her face. I still had not seen it clearly. Her dad was attending a work conference in Delaware and I had only been able to give him sketchy information. (Her dad was always in charge of “emergency-bleeding situations—not me). Once I was able to see her face, I saw that one side was shredded as if very large fingernails had taken a swipe at my baby’s face. Can I tell you that my girl had no fear. At least if she did, she was not allowing her mom to see it.
Her boyfriend (who is now her beloved husband), and his mom, along with several friends and family members came to the hospital. But the Lord had arrived first. He placed the “surgeon” there, He placed the nurses there, each physician, every assistant to whomever needed assisting, –He, my Lord and Savior, placed them there for such a time as this.
As soon as they were able to get her ready, she had plastic surgery on her face. The physician was wonderful to her. She did not complain much about the pain, this girl is one tough cookie! They let us go home the next day, and I had been given instructions that the dressing on her face had to be changed every two hours. The amount of rest I had already had, was barely nothing. But I didn’t care. I had my baby girl. Her dad still had not been able to get home (the distance from Delaware to Florida is a bit more than “just down the road”). Our pastor’s wife, Rese, came to the hospital and delivered us safely back home. Our church family was wonderful to us throughout the whole ordeal.
When her dad got home, it was like I could breathe a sigh of relief. He was so glad to see his baby and be back home with his family. His heart was broken for her and what she may have to go through (more facial surgery), but he was so proud to have her alive. Jeff completely took over the area of “dressing changing” so I could rest. He set his clock to wake every two hours and slept on the floor (she slept in the “recliner couch” because she couldn’t rest lying flat). I could tell you that miracle number three was Jeff arriving home safe. But I didn’t have any doubts about that.
Miracle number three actually occurred before number one. But I didn’t learn about number three until last. When the officer came to talk to April about the accident, he questioned her about the other car, their car, and asked about the “seat belt”. Well, since she was “only going almost across the road”, she didn’t think to put it on. Mmmmm—-do you see this? Let me show you. The blazer hit the car head on about the mid point of the car. The dash board came in on them (which damaged both girls knees–older car—no airbags). The windshield shattered, but not because either girl hit their head. April’s friend did wear her seat belt….but it broke upon the sharp impact.
The miracle number three (in my opinion), was when the angel of the Lord reached into that car and held that baby girl of mine in that car, keeping her from “going through that windshield”. The shattered glass flew at her face at an intense rate of speed, shredding one side of those precious cheeks.
I am not trying to “pin a badge” on any being except God. His word says, in Psalm 91:11 and Luke 4:10 as well, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” I have no answer for the times we are injured. I have no answer for the times we suffer tragedy or go through hardships. I will only repeat what a precious blogger said over a week ago, “The darkness lasts as long as is necessary for God to accomplish His purpose.” So, no matter the trial, He is working all things for our good. Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.”
When Jeff went down to the auto wreck yard to get whatever belongings may not have already been retrieved, he found her Bible. She took the Word with her daily. But the Word also lived in her heart. April had accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of seven (7), and has followed His leading in every area of her life.
She still does today. To close out this rather lengthy story, on the Sunday following the accident, which was Mother’s Day, I asked my pastor if I could share my miracle. I was about to share miracle number four. On April’s neck, at the location of the carotid artery, was a gash about 2 inches long. It went through the what I call “baby fat”, but stopped right there. It did not go further. Had it gone further, she would have bled to death before the ambulance arrived. We lived about 15 miles from the local hospital. It went that far, but no further. That morning, I praised God for “baby fat”.
We had gone through some fiery trials in our lives up to this point. Trials which had tested my faith to the max. Can I say that again? These trials tested my faith, my heart, my mind to the ultimate degree. I felt like Job in a small way. In Job 1:12 the bible says, “The Lord said to Satan, “All right then. Everything Job has is in your power, but you must not touch Job himself.”(NCV) In my mind I hear this, “okay devil, you can go this far, but no further“. As to the gash on April’s neck, it was “okay, this far but do not penetrate the complete depth of that baby fat!“
The surgeon speculated that April would require additional surgeries. But God does not speculate. April was prayed for by many—many people. She did not require additional surgeries. She has some scars on her face, she has a scar on her neck. She tells people “that’s where the angel of the Lord kissed me”. I am reminded of God’s mercy and goodness everytime I look at her beautiful face. I put my hand on her face and feel the slight ridge of the scar and remember what God has done for me.
Psalm 34:5-7 “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Her face is radiant to me with the glow from the Holy Spirit. She never holds her head down, but is thankful and glad of heart for her Lord heard the cries of her mother.
“You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.” Job 14:5 NLT
Take every minute you are given and live it wholly for God. The Creator and Giver of life. And Life Eternal.
Thanks Pastor Potter for sharing some scriptures with me!