The sovereignty of God never ceases to amaze me.On December 24, 2005, my alarm went off at 8:07 a.m.
I like setting my alarm at random, odd-digit times to wake up.
It’s a habit.
I stretched; got out of bed; put on my gray sweatsuit workout clothes; ate a little piece of homemade whole wheat toast with peanut butter (resisting the dozens of peanut butter kiss cookies lining the counter, awaiting our family Christmas Eve decorating of the tree/cookie-consuming tradition); read my favorite passage of Romans; loaded my new Matt Kearney CD onto my computer and thence to my Ipod nano; stuck my water bottle, purse, headphones, and gym bag in our white Toyota previa; called out a “g’bye!” to my mom, and – cell phone in hand – left my driveway for the 6 minute drive up to Fitness First, as I’d done a million times before.As I drove past the drainage pond, Gardenia, the school… I thought through my day.
I’ve always been a scheduler. I love to know – hour by hour – exactly what I’m going to do with my time. Today was no exception.
“Hmmm.. gym from 9-10, shower… maybe starbucks, home, finish my quiet time, double-check my gift list to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything (or anyone), munch a few cookies and finish wrapping… hide the baby jesus…”
my cell phone buzzed harshly, and I groped around in my purse with a free hand, keeping my eyes on the road as I checked the caller ID.
It was dad. “Hey big girl, what’s your plan for the day?”
“Hey dadio man… wellll I’m on my way to the gym, should be home by 9. If mom…”
Out of the corner of my left eye, through the window, I saw for one split second something large and black… and then time and perception swung into a chaotic hyperspeed of sound, pain, and motion.The cell phone was flung from my hand as the Toyota Sequoia barreled into the driver’s side, sending both cars flying over the 15 mph speed bump.
The large black car barreled through the nose of the previa, whipping my body up against the left window, wrenching the wheel from my grip as my van spun a full 360 degrees and headed for the sidewalk, a brick community sign, and the trees.I didn’t even know her car had rolled twice after knocking my engine through the right side of the car, twisting the body into a distorted moon-shape before what was left of the nose of the minivan connected with a tree and flung me – left arm upraised to shield my face – into the airbag; scorching my forearm with the chemical and friction, it sent a dense, smoky cloud into the air around me.
The stench caught me off guard, and the dust made me cough. Trying not to breathe in through my nose, I unbuckled my seat belt and – frantic and disoriented – tried to discern whether the car was on fire or not. I didn’t know… but I wasn’t gong to wait to find out.

Coughing and choking, I grabbed my purse and phone from the floor, and attempted to open my door. It wouldn’t budge.
The initial impact of the Sequoia on the door had wrapped the metal around the hinges, blocking my attempts to get out.
I climbed through to the passenger side door and forced it open.
When I stepped out, I saw the black car, immediately on my right, not 100 yards from where the Previa had jumped the sidewalk, missing the brick sign but colliding with the tree. The car was upright, and although shattered glass from both vehicles lay everywhere, both seemed relatively intact.
I didn’t see any movement… “O Lord,” I thought, “Let them be alive… whoever they are…”

I stepped cautiously forward.
The door opened, and a young girl with a blonde ponytail, tear-stained face, dark hoodie and pink, plaid pajama pants stepped shakily out.
I looked at her for a second, and all anxiety and fear drained from me. I stopped shaking, and although I suddenly became aware of the sharp, biting pain in my left arm, I felt the peace of God and walked over to her, put my arms around her, and let her cry into my shoulder.

After establishing that she was feeling fine, I realized I should call 911 – but simultaneously remembered that I had been on the phone with Dad at the time of the accident. I decided to call Dad first.

As I walked back towards my car, clutching my left arm to my chest and punching redial with my right, police sirens blared and two squad cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck pulled up; someone had observed and reported the accident already.
My dad’s voice cut through the melee, and while the young girl sobbed out the story to a gruff policewoman, I chokingly reassured my daddy. He was actually on his way, with my mom. They had guessed what happened from what my dad heard on his end, and would be there shortly.

Still calm, I went and explained my side of the story to the officers; firmly turning down the request that I accompany them to the hospital in the ambulance.
“My mom is a nurse. I’ll be fine.”

The girl’s parents pulled up only a few minutes after mine. Following a shaky and prolonged hug with my daddy, we all went over and tried to discuss the practicals.
However, with the woman (who turned out to be the girl’s stepmom) smoking and crying while the daughter sobbed into her dad’s arms, we didn’t do a whole lot of problem-solving.

A few things were clear: first; she was speeding and had also completely disregarded the stop sign, and secondly; it was a miracle we were both alive, but particularly me. If I had been traveling a little bit faster, she would have hit less of the front left portion of the car and much more of my shoulder area – possibly causing a severe head injury or killing me.

She left, with her parents, in the ambulance.
I showed mom my arm, and, after ensuring no bones were broken and no head damage had occurred, we decided to go home.
I was so grateful to be alive – the entire incident had been so surreal, but I knew the Lord had protected me.
I’d not only walked away with my life – I was relatively unscathed.
True, my left side was already bruising, I had a bit of a headache, all of my back muscles were tense, and my left arm throbbed like crazy, but there were no severe injuries… right?

How little did I know then how much that day would change my life.

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