It had been raining here ALOT (with flooding in some areas) and the roads were very wet and slick, but that didn't deter me from getting out and doing my errands.
On the way home, I thought to myself, "This is not the type of day that you would want to be distracted while driving." The roads were really wet and there was standing water everywhere. I was glad my phone didn't ring and that nothing was distracting me as I drove.
A minute or two later down the road, I hit a slick patch and felt gravel kick up under the tires. I swerved (and apparently overcompensated) and our minivan began to fish tail. There was no getting the van under control and I knew that the inevitable was coming. Cody and I were going to crash.
I am not over exaggerating when I say that the worst moment of my life happened in those seconds that I knew we were going to hit....but I didn't know how and I didn't know where. I didn't know if we'd survive, or be terribly injured. It was honestly the scariest moment of my life, and all I could do was cry out to God.
Upon impact, I heard glass shatter and we finally stopped. We had hit a speed limit sign and ended up in a ditch....on the OPPOSITE side of the road. One of the three responding officers on the scene said that if we'd missed that sign and gone a few feet further, we would have hit a big pole, which in his words, "would have been terrible." (A quick side note for all you minivan drivers out there: The same responding officer shared the following information with me: This type of accident often happens to people driving minivans...they overcompensate when they swerve to avoid an accident, but what ends up happening is that they actually DO lose control BECAUSE they overcompensate, and then this very thing happens. Just felt the need to share this information in case it helps someone reading.)
After we crashed, a woman stopped her vehicle (she was about 100 yards behind me) and came to check on us. She called 911 while Cody and I got out of the van. As I held and comforted my trembling son, standing on the shattered glass from the driver side window, I kept reminding him that we'd been the recipients of the most incredible kind of divine protection and mercy of God. He kept saying how frightened he was, and as I spoke calmly to him (a small miracle in of itself), I kept reassuring him by reminding him to look at me....and to look at him... and all I could do was continue to point out that neither of us had a single scratch, bruise, or any kind of injury on our bodies. It was like we'd been sealed up in a protective bubble and sheltered so that we could not even feel the impact of the crash. Glass had shattered everywhere. And yet we were completely unscathed.
I cannot even begin to fathom or understand God's mercy in the miracles that transpired in the moments of our crash. But for the sake of my memory, lest I EVER be tempted to forget how BIG my God is, I shall do so now.
1. There were no oncoming cars. NONE. Those following behind us were far enough behind that they were in no immediate danger.
2. As I stated before, we were completely protected. Initially I had some soreness, but I believe it was from the tension I had in my body at the time of impact. I am doing amazingly well for having been the one who took the brunt of the impact.
3. Cody was strapped in on the passenger side in the middle seats of the van. He was held in there tightly and did not sustain any kind of injury.
4. There was glass EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere. The entire driver side window was obliterated. There was not a single shard of it left in its frame. We had glass on (and in) our clothes and jackets, in our hair, and all around us, yet we did not have a cut. Not a single one.
5. Caden, who normally sits on the driver side right behind me was at preschool. (I praise the Lord that he was protected from the trauma of this event. Cody and I are still reeling and I can't imagine this through the eyes of a four year-old.)
6. The responding officer said it was a good thing that there wasn't more weight on that side of the van...otherwise we could have flipped the van.
7. Our airbags did NOT deploy. (The driver side of the van took the hit, not the front, praise God.) A friend told me about a family who had an accident similar to ours but their story did not end like ours has. The airbags, in the end, were to blame for the fatality in their situation.
8. I was the picture of calm in the immediate moments following the crash. This can ONLY be explained one way...I truly believe that God gave me every word to speak to my son and those around me and allowed me to make the phone calls necessary to help us with our situation. I had so much peace in the moment and finally came to understand what it means when the Word says, "a peace that surpasses ALL understanding." (It wasn't until I heard my husband's voice in the minutes that followed that I broke down.)
9. We did NOT hit the pole head on a few feet ahead of the speed limit sign. Had we kept going, we would have. Praise God!
A cute story: Cody was cold and one of the officers let him sit in her car while she was writing out my citation. (Yes, you read that right. I received a ticket for "improper lane usage." Don't sweat the small stuff, right?) She apparently said, "Little boy, you are very lucky!" He later told me about this conversation and said, "Mom...I really wanted to tell her that LUCK had nothing to do with this! It was ALL God!" :-)
Yes it was, my son. Yes it was.
I write all of this to say to you (and to remind myself) that we are NOT in control. We get in our cars and do the mundane things of life with barely a thought or concern that we might not make it home. We take the big (and little) amazing things that we experience day after day for granted. Fresh and foremost in my mind are my salvation and the goodness of God, my sweet husband and my family (immediate and extended), the adorable laughter of my children playing together, watching Cody grasp his little brother's hand in his as they walk across a parking lot, seeing Caden listen intently to his daddy as he shares a cute story with us at dinner time, a warm breeze after a long, bitterly cold winter, a fresh rain, the tender hugs and gentle moments with those we love, my precious friends, our church family....well, the list goes on and on...and on. These moments are too precious to forget, and yet, so often in the mundane responsibilities of life, we do. We don't mean to, but we do.
Instead of being grateful, I often spend (and waste) precious time and energy on things that simply do NOT matter.
God help me. More importantly, God forgive me. I don't want to do that anymore.
If you're reading this blog and I start complaining about something...anything...will you please hold me accountable and remind me to be grateful? You have my permission. Would you please remind me to practice what I'm constantly preaching to my children: "Have an attitude of gratitude!"
It's late and I'm tired, but I had to write this before too much time passed.
No, Officer Friendly, luck had nothing to do with this one.
"He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." ~Job 5:9