I grew up believing in GOD. I attended vacation bible school from time to time. As a family we went to church for a short period, but with sports and 3 of us children I think we just never made it a priority. Life was busy.
Fast forward many years, one marriage, and 2 children later…on January 3rd 2014 I was on my way home from the grocery store to get ready for Britney’s birthday party that evening. I was driving a couple of miles away from home when I see a dog run out in front of me. I swerved suddenly (NEVER SWERVE!!) and threw my Range Rover airborne into a tree. It was because of this car accident, having surgery on my ankle, and being non-weight bearing for a LONG 12 weeks that I rekindled a relationship with GOD. I leaned on him to get me through the pain, the worry, and the frustrations of not being able to walk. I began reading daily devotionals, attending church regularly as a family, and started studying his word.
In early April 2015 I decided I wanted to get baptized at our church. What an incredible moment that was! I was dipped in the tub of water in front of the entire church. Tears were shed as I truly felt like I could have easily died in that car accident. From that day forward I had decided I was going to live my life for Jesus Christ. Who would have known just a couple of weeks later I was going to have to beg him to save my daughters life.
April 19, 2015…..
Driving home from church as we typically did on Sunday morning (around 12:15pm) my daughters and I were hit head on by a car who spun out of control in our lane. I remember grunting as I saw the car right at my windshield before we hit. I do not recall the first impact much, but the car had hit a curb and bounced back and hit us again, and then we were hit again from the car beside us. I immediately yelled for my daughters who were in the back seat. Britney (sitting behind me) started yelling for help and asked if her sister Natalie was ok. I was able to see Natalie and her eyes were open but she was only grumbling. I opened my door to get help and then suddenly realized I could not move….both ankles were bigger than the size of softballs. I looked up and all I see was fire. I knew we had to get out quickly. Suddenly a swarm of people were at our car. We were carried across the street and placed in the grass to wait for the ambulance. I was told to lay on my back and not move. “Natalie! Natalie!” I yelled. Natalie was placed probably 30 feet away from me. I began scooting across the grass to be by her side. I somehow manage to get to her with 2 broken ankles, a broken foot, and a broken vertebrae (nothing can stop a mothers love). She was moaning that her tummy hurt badly, and all I could see was blood coming from her mouth. My husband arrived and I remember watching him hold Natalie’s hand while he tried to get the pieces of chipped teeth out of her mouth. We were surrounded by strangers. Loving and compassionate strangers who dropped everything to help us.
We were taken to St Francis hospital as trauma patients. We were both placed on cold hard tables and I was still calling her name. I was not about to let her fall asleep! Being in the medical profession I knew how important it was to have her stay awake, and I was beyond fearful of why her tummy was hurting. We were then separated for testing. I completed my MRI’s and CT scans, but Natalie didn’t come back to the room. The staff was amazing, but I needed answers and I needed them now. I did not care one bit what was wrong with me. The pain was unbearable but the nausea, the grief, and the fear of what was going on with my daughter was my only focus.
“Stacy, your daughter is being transported to another hospital. She may even have to be life watched out of state. Her injuries are very severe. Her spleen is in pieces. Her intestines are damaged and she has blood on the brain. She needs immediate surgery. She may not make it”
The tears kept coming. As the doctor continued speaking I could not retain what he was saying. I was still laying completely flat on that cold, hard table. I go from nauseated to numb. The tears would not stop and I could not figure out if this was a nightmare or if this was really happening. This could not be happening is all I could say to myself. Then I prayed. I prayed harder than I have every prayed before. I was begging GOD to do not even think about healing me and to focus all on Natalie. He needed to help Natalie.
The following few hours are now a blur. I remember trying to get transported to my daughters hospital ASAP. I remember my friends and family there when I was transferred to my room. My husband came and checked on me before he left the hospital to be with Natalie. I actually think I got on him a bit for leaving Natalie. She was more important and needed him! He assured me the grandparents were with her. Tears fled down his face as he told me what the doctors had told him. It was the same story. “She may not make it”…..
They were then transferred to Wesley Medical Center where the Chief of Surgery and a pediatric surgeon agreed to take her case. I eventually was transferred over to Wesley later in the evening. Natalie’s surgery did not take as long as expected. I will never forget these words… “What we saw when we opened your daughter up was not what we saw on our scans”. That is what is called a MIRACLE. The relief I had at that moment is indescribable. I thanked GOD immediately and continue to praise him daily. Her spleen was not in pieces, her intestines looked pretty good, and she did not suffer any brain damage. PTL!! She did have her spleen and intestines repaired because there were lacerations on both of these organs.
I was discharged home after 4 days. No bending, twisting, lifting, walking etc. Fun, huh?! Recovery was a not easy. I listened to the song “Lord I Need You” by Matthew Maher every single day to help me push through. I was able to keep my optimism, my hope, my gratitude, and my blessings at the focus of my mind because of the Lord and because of that song.
Natalie was discharged home 14 days after the car accident. Her recovery included many restrictions and precautions. As the days went by she regained her sassy, spunky, energetic personality. She has about a 10 inch scar on her abdomen that she likes to call her “warrior badge” and had 5 permanent teeth capped. Amazing! We are very blessed!
We received so many prayers from all over the country. People clear out in Alaska were praying for us. We received letters, cards, emails, gifts… the list goes on. Some of these were from people we did not even know. We as humans can be so amazing! So inspirational. So encouraging. So compassionate. April 19, 2015 was life changing for me. I no longer deal with the regret of driving down that particular street. I no longer have anger for what happened. Yes, I still see the heart break and the struggle we endured, but I see that as something we had to go through for a greater good.
Keeping the faith is not always easy, but how freeing is it to give your worries up to GOD and let him be in control?! Whatever you are going through remember this… It can always be worse and it cannot rain forever. Look for that silver lining.
Tonight I am praying for those who have lost a child. I was too close to losing one and I cannot imagine what it is like to go through such trauma. If you are reading this, please join me in prayer.