Obviously, it has been longer than two weeks since my accident, which occurred on September 7. This is the first blog I wrote about my experience, and at first, I kept it in my do-over folder because it’s a little more detailed about what I actually experienced. But I’m posting it now, because I believe, all these weeks later, that what God wanted me to learn through this is something that so many of His people need to learn- and that is the importance of learning that as important as our agendas are, our lives are about so much more. And it is learning to truly rest in our Heavenly Father that is the best lesson we can learn today. When He invites us to come away with Him to a quiet place to rest, it is because that is where we build a measure of depth in our relationship with Him that won’t come in the few minutes we cram into our busy schedule for Him. He wants quality and He wants quantity. When it comes to our lives and our souls- He wants it all.
As I write this, it has been exactly two weeks since my life came crashing to a halt- literally. On my way home from church, I was involved in a head-on collision that sent me to emergency room with head and neck injuries that appeared serious enough to the emergency professionals to warrant a trip to the nearest hospital with a trauma unit.
Several hours later when I “woke up”- that is, when I first became aware of my surroundings and situation (the ER really isn’t a comforting place to wake up)- there was grim news: massive concussion, broken sternum, fractured vertebrae in my neck and lower back, fractured arm, potentially a broken elbow, and potentially a broken femur. All I knew was the shadow of pain all over my body, that my movement was being restricted by some sort of contraption on my head, and that my face felt enormous. Oh, and I could only see out of my left eye (later discovered to be the result of a missing contact lens).
As the teams of doctors, surgeons, nurses, and technicians continued to examine me throughout the night, rolling me down for CT scans, rolling me over for x-rays, looking, observing, and regularly depositing morphine into my IV, I felt that I was an impartial observer, but I knew I didn’t have time to be hanging around in a bed when there was work to be done. How arrogant, now that I think of it, to believe that my little world of responsibilities that keep me at a dead run through most of my days, was more important than the work that these kind medical professionals were trying to do to make sure I was alive and able to walk out in my own strength as soon as possible.
Early the next morning as these same teams stopped by my room, they looked at me in amazement as they each affirmed that no, they couldn’t find any broken bones. The amazement came from the fact that I had been through such a huge trauma, on the receiving end of an impact the equivalent of 90 MPH, a collision that crushed steel and glass to bits, and that I had no right to survive, and there was nothing that they needed to fix. No surgery, no casts, no complicated devices. My response was simply- God heals broken bodies, whether He does it in six to eight weeks, or six to eight minutes. He knew what my mom and me would be able to endure over the coming months, and He acted accordingly.
Now don’t think I’m trying to minimize what God has brought me through these past weeks. My injuries have consisted of some very deep and painful (not to mention ugly) bruises that have still not completely healed. Even now I dread bedtime because there is just no way to get through the night without pain and discomfort, and I know I will wake aching and stiff, dreading those first movements of the morning as my body wakes up. But I’m seeing how God’s healing hands work through rest. Literally- when I allow myself to take a nap during the day, I feel just a little bit better. The whiplash spasms are a little less intense, the splintered place in my sternum just a little less painful, the ankle just a little stronger. Rest- oh yes, He loves His people to rest.
When I left that hospital two days later, my world was drastically different, though I initially tried to tell myself otherwise. I tried really hard to work from home between doses of pain medicine and drug-induced sleep. I tried to live life normal, when it wasn’t anything close to normal. The thing that messed up my memory, was still messed up, keeping me from remembering conversations from hour to hour. The constant burning pain I was trying to mask with a strong front refused to abate. And in my heart, I knew what was being asked of me by the Lord who chose and allowed this season of life for me; it was the same thing He had been asking of me for awhile but I had been running from- and that thing is rest in Him; to dwell in that secret place, so close to His heart, where I can hide under His shadow and trust that He has me.
Finally, when I realized that He wasn’t really giving me the choice I was presuming upon Him, when I finally accepted His hand reached out to me, He has shown me exactly what surrender looks like. And He has shown me that full surrender is sweet and full of Himself. Surrender is giving Him permission to minister to me without any assistance from my self. It is admitting every weakness, every limitation, without any pretense at hiding it or compensating for it. Surrender is giving Him permission to love me, to hide me in His shadow, to dwell with me in that secret place- the place closest to His heart (Psalm 91:1-2)- while allowing Him to protect and heal me. One way or another, He will have His love affair with His people, and this is how he chose to woo me to Himself.
As He as loved me through the slow healing process, He has left me with nothing but praise for Him in my heart and on my lips. As I have told my story numerous times, the end is always the same- God is my Shelter and my Fortress. He is my Healer and a Sovereign God with a plan that I don’t yet know the details of, but that He has mercifully given me one more day to see how it all plays out.