This is actually a letter to my Pastor, but someone out there needs to read it. In it I’ve worked through the emotional side of my recent accident, which left me more shaken than I ever would have believed it could.
This time last year I had just been promoted and received a large raise. My boss almost gushed when she did my review, saying that I was good for moral. Doug nearly had more work than he could handle. We were both still very active in our old church, and looking forward to what the future would bring, despite some pretty serious problems. We kept hearing about the economy taking a nose dive, but we weren’t feeling much of a pinch. Funny how much difference a year makes.
After the first of the year, my boss told me if I wouldn’t open my availability and start working Wednesday nights and Sundays my hours would be cut. I told her to do what she had to do, and tried not to worry. About the same time Doug started getting fewer hours at work too, so we cut a few luxuries (read: We ate out less.) and went on. Things were getting worse at church too, prompting me to ask, “Is it possible to be tempted into not living out God’s will for one’s life by being given nearly everything one has ever wanted in a good, godly church?” My trusted friends gave me the truthful, but painful, answer. On January 22, we made the decision to leave Faith Baptist Church.
I think we knew then that we were headed for Aurora. Doug’s mother is so happy here. Pastor was such a wonderful change from what we were used to. Gentle, accepting and secure, he made us feel immediately welcome, which I hadn’t felt in quite some time. Rick and his wife asked us to lunch, and we told him our unhappy story. When he didn’t freak or act like I had committed some great sin, by filling in as temporary pastor at Faith, I knew we were home. We started to heal. We thought we’d been tested and made it through. We had no idea the testing had just begun.
June first, Doug was laid off. Fortunately his unemployment went through without a hitch, but that still cut his pay in half. I started making up my cut hours by staying whenever I could, so we were falling a little behind, but still not really hurting. July and August passed without work for him, but honestly I was enjoying having him home for a while. We were a bit behind though, so I made an arrangement with the mortgage company, and it looked like we’d be able to catch up. Then on September fourteenth, I broke my ankle.
It was such a stupid accident. Who falls off their own porch? Wish I could say that I was being a good employee and wanting to get to work on time, but the truth is I left a little early, in a good mood, because I’d be able to stop at 7-11 for a coffee and sandwich. Tired and careless, I missed the bottom step and went down hard. I actually heard the bones snap, but thankfully didn’t feel it. Of course, it just had to be raining.
The first sight of that ankle scared the daylights out of me. They are not suppose to bend like that! Panic set in, and I began to scream for Doug. There I am laying in three inches of water, getting rained on, screaming my head off, and he can’t hear me, because of the rain. This went on for twenty minutes, before I decided to drag myself to the car and honk the horn. I think I asked God for the strength. That’s when I remembered my cell phone was in my pocket, and called Doug.
It didn’t occur to me until a couple of days ago, that my cell phone shouldn’t have worked. It’s a cheap tracfone. It was in my pants pocket, and I was soaked to the skin. It should have been soaked and useless, but when I pulled it out it was bone dry and worked like it was new. It still shows no sign of water damage, though I used it in the rain. The very thought floors me. Maybe it’s because I can actually hold a miracle in my hand. It can’t be explained away as luck or coincidence. It simply should not have worked.
At the hospital they tried to set it twice, but decided it would take surgery to do the job. God was working then too. The surgeon they contacted usually deals with children and sports injuries, but it took someone with his skill to put Humpty back together again. The one hour surgery turned into three, because the end of the bone on the outside kept slipping into the joint, keeping it from seating properly.
Doug’s mother may never understand how much comfort she gave me, when she prayed, before my second surgery. There was no fear, just acceptance of whatever God had in store. I think it was actually easier for me than it was for her and Doug, because they had to wait it out, while I slept through it, as once again a one hour surgery turned into four, because the damage was worse than they originally thought.
I’ve always been a little impatient with wounded and sick people, who let it slow them down. I was always the one who kept on going, like the energizer bunny, no matter what else happened. If this has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me compassion. There is no way Doug can pick up my rather ample frame. Dragging oneself across the porch and through the front door, because you can’t get up the steps, will take a person down a peg or two, as will being forced to depend on someone else for literally everything.
A week to the day after my accident, we called the ambulance again, for Doug. He had to spend two nights in the hospital and have a surgery of his own. Thank God his mother was able to be there for him.
Naturally, while Doug was in the hospital, I had a doctors appointment. Once again it was his mom to the rescue, but she couldn’t get me on or off the deck either. God was there and working again. I went outside early determined to get off the deck, before she got there, so she wouldn’t worry about me hurting myself. As I stood there wondering how to manage such a feat, the trash truck drove by and then stopped. The driver walked up and asked if I needed help, and helped me lower myself to the edge of the deck. Problem solved. When his mother brought me back home, we still had the problem of getting me back in the house. A young man stopped and helped lift me to a rolling desk chair I used to get across the porch and back into the house. “God bless you.” were his parting words. He had sent me another angel.
For two months Doug and I were the neighborhood entertainment, him breaking my fall at the edge of the deck to leave, and my fanny walking back across the deck and into the house at first, then later as we both got stronger him helping me into my rolling chair. By the time we didn’t have to do it anymore we had it down to a science.
God has been hard at work during our trials. With neither of us able to work we should be hurting financially. We certainly aren’t rolling in it, but we’re not going to lose anything or have to sit in the dark. You wouldn’t think having a mortgage arrangement broken because the mail took fifteen days to get your payment there would be a blessing, but it worked out to a better arrangement for us, and weirdly we’ve been able to make the payments. I had two years of sick pay saved up, and a bonus just before the accident, which caught up all our bills, and both our cars had just been paid off. Now, even though I can’t work, my second anniversary with the company just passed, so there is vacation and personal time credited, which will get us through. Things don’t just fall into place that way without a little divine help. You would think all this would strengthen my trust in God, which it did, but it didn’t solve the problem of my broken heart.
I wasn’t just taken down a peg. I was floored, knocked in the dirt, broken. I didn’t ask, “Why me?”, but “Why can’t I handle this?” People go through worse things everyday. They lose love ones, get cancer, have heart attacks, and have much worse accidents. Why was my heart so hurt? Why did the sight of those pins sticking out of my leg hurt my feelings so much? Why was I so scared? I finally looked to the right person for the answers.
One night lying in bed, with the way my ankle looked that morning and the sight of those pins sticking out of it haunting me, I asked Jesus how He stood it, not the physical pain of what He went through, before the cross, though that had to have been tremendous, but the emotional pain He had to have felt. I poured out all of my hurt and fear to Him that night, and realized that, for me, this was a huge thing, and I didn’t have to feel bad for being hurt. There was a lesson to be learned here. It was time to find it.
A shepherd kept his sheep safe by keeping them together and close to him. Sometimes a lamb would take it into his head to wander from the herd. When a lamb made a habit of wandering, the shepherd would pick him up and break his leg. It wasn’t done to be mean, but it caused that lamb to rely totally on the shepherd as it healed. From then on the lamb stayed close and safe. Understand, I don’t think God broke my ankle, but if He did, then it needed done. I do believe however, that he can use my circumstances to me teach a lesson.
Life and ministry at Faith Baptist were hard. It’s not easy when your pastor thinks your a usurper, and tells you from the pulpit that God won’t use you. It’s rough when he threatens to run you out the door from the same pulpit. It’s hard when you buy into the lie that a church won’t grow unless it’s right with God. I let it push me down, and away from God’s plan for me. I wandered from His side, but He never moved from mine.
I surrender to the ministry of His Word. I don’t know exactly what He has in mind, but I know He uses women like Beth Moore, so He can and will use me. No more excuses. I’m a woman, big deal, so was Deborah. I surrender.
People need to know God can work a miracle with a cell phone. They need to know He can forgive and use anyone. They need to know He won’t walk away from them. They need to know He loves them.
I surrender. Please pray for me.