Thursday, September 6, 2012

Here I am Lord (Part 1)

It has been over a month since the accident. I could give a lengthy list of all I cannot do because of the injury…I haven’t driven a car or made a legible grocery list. I cannot change diapers or even pick up my children. Did I mention that Isaac is at my most favorite age of discovery mixed with baby, yet I haven’t seen him for over a week and a half? Oh, but it gets better, there is no time line this side of Heaven of when I will get better and both my surgeons frown a little when they mention the condition of my elbow. When will I be able to finally have my arm unwrapped, take a shower without a trash bag tied around it? When will I get to make adult decisions without trying to think through the mental fog this strong pain medication puts me in? What if I get addicted to the sleeping pills? What if I can never straighten my arm? What if it always hurts like it does right now even with the pain medicine? What if…what if nothing is ever the same? What if I will always be broken?

You know it is funny how God moves. I had been praying for Him to make me follow Him. I don’t want anything more than to be close to Him, but all too often my prayers were ones of apologies for not spending any time with Him. I basically ignored the love of my life, day in and day out. And then He recenters me in mere moments. I have never been in an accident before. I have known physical pain but most was expected (i.e. child birth).  I had never before experienced a mishap where one second you’re having fun and the next you see a part of your body broken. 

I remember the sensation of my arm being injured but it didn’t register as pain initially. I recall seeing the ground near my face as the ATV rolled and then calling out to Amos that my arm was broken. I remember expecting to look down and see my right arm bent a funny way, as broken bones often look. And then as I lowered my eyes to it I saw the inside of my arm, layers of tissue flapping open and I was suddenly very sad. Blood and wounds do not alarm me; I remember how excited I was to sit in an ER when my brother had accidently cut his foot wide open. I watched as the doctor cleaned and stitched him together. My mother was a surgical nurse at the time and I grew up feeling that hospitals were safe places full of people willing to mend broken bodies. But I knew my body was torn open and I was in the middle of a field, far from help and a hospital. I was hanging by my seat belt as Amos turned the ATV from its side. I remember seeing the fear in his eyes as he looked at my arm and me telling him to start driving. I have since tried to imagine how it would have felt for him. He has told me that my blood was shooting out with little extra bursts following the rhythm of my heart’s beat. I did not know this as I never again looked down at the wound. And it is now in hindsight that I see how God was orchestrating my rescue. As the floor board of the ATV began filling with blood, lapping over the sides of my flip flops, God told me to tell Amos to put a tourniquet on my arm. Amos has told me since the accident that his first thought was, a tourniquet, we don’t have a tourniquet! But I had already called out to God and He was there, so even though I didn’t know Amos’ thoughts, I told Amos to take his shirt off and wrap it around my arm above the elbow. And he did just that, wrapped it around loosely. It was at that point that I realized I was dying. I didn’t need to look down to know I was losing blood; I could feel it leaving me with every beat of my heart. It felt as if I couldn’t catch my breath, my surroundings began fading away, but Jesus was there. The very Man that chose to let His blood run out for me, was there to rescue me. Through my weakness I yelled for Amos to stop driving and tie the tourniquet. At this point Amos was yelling about not knowing what to do and God calmly had me tell him to tie it, Amos hesitated and I insisted, saying tie it, tighter, tighter! I could hear the fabric ripping and instantly life returned to me. I remember saying aloud that I felt better. Amos began driving again all the while mumbling frantic prayers, asking Him to lead us out of the field; a 9 mile long ATV course that neither of us was familiar with. I heard him in the back of my mind but I was saying my own prayers begging God to let me live to see my three little boys grow up. Then I heard Him speak tenderly to me, to use my left arm to lift up my right arm. I raised it above my head and draped it on the top of my helmet. I felt so broken and I told Jesus I would forgive, just please LORD show me how to forgive him; a man that had hurt me 14 years ago. I had taken the pain and fit it into a box, slammed the lid shut and pushed it back into the recesses of my mind. For several years now I have given my all to Christ, telling Him to take control of my marriage, releasing each of my children to His plan for them, asking God to lead me in His will for my life, given Him everything except for that pesky box full of hatred and bitterness. That one place I didn’t think I could ever, ever revisit. I can’t even fathom how many times He has reminded me of my need to let go and forgive and I would shake my head no to the very suggestion. But in those moments following the accident, wondering if I would live, my body reeled at the thought of standing before My Father’s throne of grace with a heart full of unforgiveness.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.                                                                                     Matthew 7:2

I imagine now that as I relented control to God in those moments of desperation, seeking His path of forgiveness, there was a shift in the spiritual realm. That box of hatred in my heart was fuel for the enemy to tramp on beauty in my life. As I am typing these truths my oldest son cries out from his room that he is scared and so I pray with him for protection from the enemy. Ah, spiritual warfare, if Eve could have only seen the effects her single act of disobedience would have on our world. And perhaps it is there that lies an answer, my choice to not forgive him…would it have seeped into every generation following me? Would that large root of bitterness reach out and tightly wrapped itself around my children’s hearts? Whatever the consequences may have been, I can tell you now that after only a few days following the accident, I forgave him. I forgave him. Freedom from sin is a beautiful thing and I am free.

Inching closer to God's heart,

P.S. If anyone ever reads this I will be surprised, but with an obedient heart I report of God's faithfulness to me! I love you, Jesus.


  1. Love you, Paula. I love your heart and your willingness to let God speak in such a painful situation. Continuing to pray for your healing and that your Mama's heart finds peace.

  2. Though we haven't been in touch in quite awhile, please know that I am thinking of you and praying for you! You are such a devoted follower of Christ, and a loving mother and wife. Praying for your recovery!

    -Erin Menken

  3. Paula, my beautiful daughter, you never cease to amaze me with your mind and heart. Your closeness and intimacy with God! I have learned so much from you though out the years. Now, if only I can forgive him. I keep praying for the healing of your arm and for our Creator to give you the strength to endure the discomfort and difficulties of these times. Reading this tonight ensures me he has more than answered those prayers. Him being so powerful and all knowing ,God is not only healing your arm, but your heart also. Things will never be the same Paula, but he will make them better. I love you!

  4. Paula, what a beautiful and heartrending story. I have to tell you that your ability to live through Gods works and words and your constant faith are inspiring. Your humbe me with how you live your lives. I have been praying for you and your family since this happened and i know that God is answering these prayers by how you wrote this blog. I know that with his guidance you and your family will adapt to the changes you have faced and continue to face as you continue to heal and face a "new normal". God Bless you!!

  5. This is the "you worm" verse, properly quoted. I love how it fits.

    "For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you, declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
    ..Isaiah 41:13-14 (NIV, ©2010)