Saved By God’s Provision – Our Experience With Broadside Collision

Just before Valentine’s day this year we had our usual weekly church small group meeting.  This time it was a dark and rainy Wednesday evening. Bart arrived home from work especially tired.  He decided to stay home with our younger boy, Gideon, while Hank and I went to group.

We celebrated Valentine’s day a little early at our small group with a white elephant gift exchange.  I brought an unopened bag of whole-bean coffee and we received a starter kit and a cute little blue betta fish.

After group, Hank and I loaded our things into our new 2009 VW Jetta.  Hank climbed into his car seat which was positioned behind my drivers’ side seat and I secured his seatbelts.  Then I placed our new betta fish (who was in a small plastic cup at the time) into the center console cup holder.  Away we went heading home around 9:40pm.  All seemed fine except for being a particularly dreary evening.  Having been a few weeks into a great workout routine I felt alert and well.  Hank sat quietly in his seat and we drove home.  The radio was off, my phone was stowed away safely in my purse.  It was calm and I was driving very cautiously.  (I have a very low platelet count, so I am ALWAYS cautious driving because if I get in an accident I could bleed to death.)  I came to the intersection where we usually turn to go home.  I stopped in the turn lane, signalled and when the road appeared clear proceeded to turn left.  Once fully into the intersection something very unexpected and bizarre happened…

I heard a loud sound like metal bending and immediately we began spinning in circles.  By the time the car stopped we had flown off the side of the road (God is so good) and safely up a berm.  I was horrified and immediately put the car in park and turned off the engine.  I called 911 and looked in front of me to read the license plate off the other car to the officer on the other line.  I remember so clearly that my headlights illuminated their car but there was no light shining back at me.

They didn’t have their headlights on!

I never saw them coming.  I never heard a thing until the hit.  No skidding.  No horn.

Nothing then WHAM!

As soon as I got off the phone with 911 I realized Hank was in the back seat crying hysterically.  My heart sunk, I was horrified.  My precious baby boy.  I turned around and saw he was safely surrounded by his car seat and didn’t even have a scratch.  I started consoling him then realized I was completely soaked in betta fish water.  Our new pet had flew out of the car and his cup shattered around me.  Then I saw the passenger side of our car smashed in, the side curtain airbags deployed and glass all over.

Adrenaline pumping and in horror of what had just happened I called Bart to come get us.  We wound up being there for an hour while the police took their reports.  Praise God, Hank seemed ok and was able to go home and go to bed.  While my mother-in-law stayed home with our boys, Bart drove me to the emergency room.  There I learned I had a concussion and severe whiplash.  I couldn’t control my head.  That is a very strange feeling!

I received a shot of morphine to ease the already severe pain and was discharged with instructions to follow-up with my doctor.

I don’t know what your experience has been with serious car accidents but up until February 12, 2014 I had none.  At the time of impact the other driver was going at least 45 miles per hour!

Here’s our Jetta after the accident before it went to the junk yard.

Passenger side of Car-1Passenger side of Car-2

All that damage and we walked away from it alive!

VW Jetta’s are Safe!

Dear Jesus, thank you for protecting us.  Thank you that Bart wasn’t driving and Gideon wasn’t in the car.  If that were the case (as it usually would be on a Wednesday night) Gideon and I would have been on the side of impact.  Jesus, I believe it is in your sovereignty that Gideon and I didn’t die that night.  Praise and honor and glory be to you, our mighty king.  Amen.

The Washington State Fair 2013, Mix-It-Up Monday’s

My husband and I got brave yesterday.  Armed with our boys and tickets from my mother-in-law, we went to the Washington State Fair.  My boys are 2 and 3, that pretty much explains why we were brave to go.  But, add to that, the weather was finicky and oscillated between sun and torrential downpour.

We bought fair fries (my favorite!) that mound over two paper plates in a rectangular shape reminiscent of the deep fry basket they came from.  We bought ride tickets too.  $20 got us enough tickets for two rides, yes just two!  Hank and Bart rode the black widow, also known as the octopus.  Because of their weight differential, their car spun around with the most vigor.  My heart jumped and stopped simultaneously while watching from the ground.  I wondered if Hank was loving it or about to throw up.  Would he swear off rides?  This was his very first time going on a ride at the fair.  Praise be to God, he actually enjoyed it!

Hank and Daddy just before his very first ride Hank and Daddy on the ride

Next we put the boys together in a little plastic canoe that travelled around in a big wiggly circle going under tipi’s every so often.  They loved it, Gideon cried and threw a fit when the ride was done.  The ride operator told the boys to keep their hands inside the canoe.  Hank was a model child sitting patiently while Gideon hung his hand in the water up to his sleeve.  When told to stop by the ride operator, Gideon just laughed and laughed.  Stinker. 😉

Hank and Giddo in a canoe 3 Hank and Giddo in a canoe 2 Hank and Giddo in a canoe

The rain started then and we all got pretty wet.  Low on tickets, we went to Pete’s Barbeque Pit for dinner.  Hank ate a half ear of corn to himself and even tried my pulled pork sandwich.  Bart, or superman, negotiated Gideon and his bowl of wandering coleslaw.

We managed to look at horses and chickens too.  Hank even got to see Horses walking by within reach.  One horse whinnied at Hank.  I was surprised by how loud they are close up.

We had just a few tickets left so we headed to play some fair games.  Hank had a particular toy in mind.  It was a weird alien looking dinosaur.  In his defense, I think he wanted it because of its dino characteristics.  The game was basically impossible, but, Bart gave it a solid effort.  While wearing Gideon in the Ergo carrier on his chest he swung a rubber hammer to hit a spring-loaded platform that sends a rubber frog flopping toward shallow baskets on a table.  I should add the table was jam-packed with these alien dino’s.  Well, no dice.  Leaving without the toy was confusing to Hank.  He is after all only three.  He didn’t understand that you can pay for something and not leave with the toy.

With our bellies full and our tickets spent we walked soppily back to our street parked car.  Yeah, we got free parking!  On our trek out, Hank wailed.  I’m sure he and Gideon were exhausted from all the stimulation and bedtime was fast approaching.  We overheard, over the loud cries, a man exclaim, “I’m so glad I don’t have children.”  My gut reaction was to turn around and say, “I heard that and I’m so glad you don’t have children too.”  But then reason gave way.  Getting into a fight with a man at the fair was not what my wet and exhausted children needed.  We held our heads high and went back to our car.

I am glad we went with the boys this year.  This time last year, I couldn’t even get out of my hospital bed.  God is so good it is absolutely unreal the miracles He has done and continues to do today.

I got to thinking though.  For folks who feel the need to say unkind things to families with crying children, this letter is for you. 🙂

Dear childless stranger at the Washington State Fair, I know you loudly exclaimed, “I’m so glad I don’t have children.” in response to hearing my child’s cries as you passed us. While he was very upset, I can’t help but feel sorry for you because you are missing out. There is SO much more to having children than their tears. They are the greatest gift after salvation. Now, more clearly than before children, I see a glimpse of God’s love for me as His child. Children admire you, emulate you and simply look to you for what it is to be an adult because one day they will be too. Please watch what you say around them.
sincerely,
Momma

Dear Jesus, thank you for this fun outing and the opportunity for Hank and Gideon to experience the chaos that is the Washington State Fair.  Amen.

God’s Economy, Abundant Grace

Malachi 3:10 says,

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

I love this verse!  It tells us so much about God’s character.  I especially love his command to test him in this.  I am confident test does not imply doubt but faith that when we pour out what He has given us, He will fill our cup to overflowing.

But what if I’m afraid?

Joshua 1:9 says,

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

But what if I’m suffering?

John 11:3-4 says,

“”Lord, he whom you love is ill.”  But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death.  It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.””

I experienced extreme even horrific suffering.

When nothing was left I so clearly saw God’s love.

He wants us to be completely filled by HIM.

Over the past year of recovery and even through the worst of the suffering, God has given me grace abundantly.

Why?  Why would God who needs and lacks nothing do everything for me?

“For the Glory…”

God has been glorifying himself eternally.  When He blesses me, I enjoy Him, and glorify Him.

In God’s economy he pours out blessing so much that we cannot possibly store it.  I imagine endless water pouring out and going absolutely everywhere.

This is God’s Grace.

Currently, God has brought closeness in my relationship with my sister, Charity that we have not had in at least 15 years.

Glory be to God!

God has brought my platelet count up to normal.

Glory be to God!

God has blessed us with a newer car (and a rare find at that!).

Glory be to God!

God has given my sister Charity a daughter born on our mother’s birthday!

Glory be to God!

God has given my Mom a job just 10 minutes away from us, not states away!

Glory be to God!

God has brought a friend of mine’s sister to salvation.  One whom she prayed for endlessly for years.

Glory be to God!

Eight years ago I prayed for a Mars Hill Church Tacoma.

Mars Hill Church Tacoma will open this coming December.

Glory be to God!

God didn’t just give us any church but the biggest stinkin’ church in Tacoma.

Glory be to God!

It needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs.

God has brought the money, we are almost at the goal.

Glory be to God!

Dear Jesus, thank you for your abundant grace!  Thank you for pouring out to us.  Thank you that we can find real joy in your glory. Amen.

August 4th Celebration & Why To Suffer And Serve Well

 August 4th, 2012 I nearly died from blood loss.  In the months that followed God showed up in big ways sending His gracious gifts through so many people.  Some we know well, some we have barely met.

August 4th, 2013 is now a day we will celebrate each year because it marks the anniversary of God moving mountains and pouring out abundant grace upon us.  Only a year after hemorrhage, I am strong and enjoying life.  It was only fitting that we celebrate the blessing many were to us.  The servant hearted should be celebrated, they are a crown radiating God’s glory.

Here are some pictures compliments of Mary Bingham, from our celebration:

 running hank people milling about joyful Hank

Paul and Hank :)

Paul and Hank 🙂

Hank and Logan in sandbox

Left to Right: Paul,Mary,Boe,Judy,Logan,Max,Susanne,Bart,Erica,Hank,Janae,Declan,Si,Avery,Rachel and Ben.

Left to Right: Paul,Mary,Boe,Judy,Logan,Max,Susanne,Bart,Erica,Hank,Janae,Declan,Si,Avery,Rachel and Ben.

 Several people could not make this celebration, so you get the idea…

God’s provision is sufficient!

Here are the two verses we shared with the group as we thanked them for their service and honor to Jesus:

John 11:3-4, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”  But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death.  It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

All of you who served us through the 50 plus days I spent in the hospital last year, you were “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified..”

Thank you!

As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and I feel pertains since my portal vein is still completely occluded by clots and my liver is very large,

“But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Friends, we are in the mighty care of the sovereign King, Jesus!

I also wanted to tell you that we received the August publication of the Puget Sound Blood Bank’s newsletter, The Benefactor.  We are overjoyed to have our story on the front page.  I will never personally get to thank the 21 or so people who saved my life through blood donation but this comes pretty close! 🙂

The Benefactor, Puget Sound Blood Center

At this time it is not yet on-line but here’s a picture of the cover:

Puget Sound Blood Bank Publication

Dear Jesus, thank YOU and please abundantly bless your servant hearted.  Thank you for your grace and love.  Thank you for everything. Amen.

Jesus Pat My Leg Two Times, He’s Real

Just a day after my central pancreatectomy I lay lucidly drifting in and out of sleep. The room is dark and warm. My baby sister is by my side, not that I’m aware yet. When the pain wakes me I tell the nurse, “I feel like railroad spikes are being driven through me into the bed.” Soon more hydromorphone comes. In a vulnerable state. Life is fragile, fleeting. We have no control.

None.

I turn my head to my right and open my eyes to see the calm and reassuring face of my sister, Samii. I say, “Hi.” She smiles softly. For the time being I am unable to fathom the impact of surgery. Unaware of so much.

Calm.

I drift back into sleep. The next day is a blur of pressing the pain pump button every seven minutes. Before this surgery I only took ibuprofen once or twice a year. Today, I am watching the second hand on the clock, pressing the button too early and praying for the next three minutes to hurry along. Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick… Teetering on the brink of extreme pain.

Extreme.

After sleeping beside me in a chair, my sister went home. I laid almost motionless and seemingly alone. But never able to gather my thoughts enough to be afraid. Before I could even feel fear, Christ was there, sitting with me at my left.

Watching.

I awoke looking at the clock. Then, I felt a hand pat my left leg two times. Two steady handed, firm but gentle, assured pats on my leg. I looked over and saw no one. Looking up I smiled, “Hi Jesus.”

Hi.

Dear Jesus, you never leave us alone. Thank you for sending my sister to be by my side.  I am so grateful she stayed the night that first night.  You were there with us. You comforted me, thank you. Thank you that I knew it was you. Your comfort is wonderful. Thank you for always being with me. Amen.