Surviving the storm

I could feel the metal crushing down on my head; it was a severe pain I had never felt before. With each roll of the car, the metal crushed down more. All I could do was put my hands on top of my head, in an attempt to protect myself. And I prayed to God.

It was March, and my shift was almost done. I was a young reporter at the ABC TV station in Duluth, Minn., and there was a story they needed someone to chase. So, my boss chose me. As my photographer was driving, we realized the roads were very slick. It was another winter storm. We were on a major highway, when suddenly our vehicle started to swerve. I remember it all as if it happened yesterday.

We swerved to the right, then the left, then back again. By the time we hit the ditch, our vehicle had a lot of momentum. And we rolled. With the first roll, my side of the car came crushing down on me. But it was only the beginning.

We continued to roll seven times. Every roll was in slow motion. I remember praying to God to spare my life. I was only 32, and I had so much left that I wanted to do. With the final two rolls, something amazing happened. I could feel that I was being held. And a calming feeling came over me that no matter what happened, I was going to be OK.

Once the vehicle stopped rolling, we were upright. The roof had collapsed on my head and the glove box was in my knee. I could not move my head or neck. But I was alive.

My photographer fared better than me; he was bumped, bruised and shaken up. But overall he was OK. So, he dialed 911, while strangers rushed into the ditch to help. I remember dozens of emergency workers at the scene; they got me out and onto a stretcher. With ice pelting down, these rescuers were like angels, as they stood in line, passing me along to the ambulance. Each one of them gave me words of reassurance, telling me, “You’re going to be OK,” which made me feel so much comfort, when I was in so much pain and unable to move my neck or head. I will never forget those angels who helped me feel better.

It was a long road to recovery, but I survived. God spared my life. And I’ve learned so much from that experience, and many more along the way.

Life can be so hard. Painfully difficult sometimes. You don’t have to be in a car crash to know the pain of life. It can toss you and turn you in ways that hurt, that no one can see. The loss of a loved one, losing your job, the pain of hurtful words, a bully in the workplace, financial difficulties, heartbreak and the list goes on and on.

I have experienced all of these and more. And as my two children, Joey and Josie, grow up, I hope to use all of these experiences to help them. I’ll teach them what I know. The only way to survive these difficult times is to pray. Give it all to God. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, trusting him to guide your path. You may have no idea what he has planned for you, but trust in him. Also, trust in others.

Talk to and lean on your friends and family. God put these people in your life. Be thankful for all the kind things they do to help you along the way, from prayers, to a simple hug and kind words. It all helps. And know that the storm will pass. Keep breathing in and out. Keep going. Stay strong, have hope and believe.

The storm shall pass.

It may takes hours, days, weeks, months. Sometimes even years. Yes years. But it will get better. Just never give up.

Someday you will look back and realize, these are the moments that make us better, stronger, more compassionate people. These are the moments when God draws us closer to him.
Looking back on that accident. I am overwhelmed and humbled by that final moment, that final roll of the car, when I could feel that I was being held. And I’ll never forget that moment when I knew that everything was going to be OK, no matter what happened, whether I lived or died. Whether I could walk again or if I was left paralyzed.

I know for certain that God was with me. As he is every day. Just as he is with everyone, every single day of their lives. You can’t get through the pain alone, but with God, you can. With God everything is possible.

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