Four months ago today, I slammed into a parked truck going 68 miles per hour on the interstate.
While I spent a few days in the hospital and am still recovering from a broken back, fractured sternum, multiple right orbital fractures and severe retinal scarring and swelling, I never let a day go by that I don’t thank God for my life.
Several law enforcement agencies responded to that accident because the calls to 911 were all so sure it was fatal. By every one of the world’s standards, I should not have survived that morning. And I definitely should not have been on the phone five minutes after the crash, walking 12 hours after the accident and at home three days later.
But God’s standards are different. He wasn’t ready for me to go yet. He still has a story for me to tell here. Here’s just five things I have learned since the wreck.
- Prioritize prayer. It isn’t the only thing I do, but it is always the first thing. There is power in prayer. God wants to have relationships with us through prayer and His Word. I’ve grown intensely closer to my Creator since the wreck because prayer has become a priority for me.
- Live with intentionality. I was passively driving down the interstate when I was literally punched in the face with an airbag. I’ve often thought that was God stopping me from living the rest of my life passively as well. I am so much more intentional with my “yes” and “no” now. I think through things. I don’t just fill up my schedule but I reserve my time and energy for things that matter. I am incredibly excited about some of the things I have chosen to say yes to.
- Relinquish control. About a month after the wreck, I moved in with a family who I barely knew and who barely knew me. I was in a back brace, had just found out I will probably never drive again and had no real clue what my plan in life was. I gained a little necessary independence back over time (especially when I moved into my apartment) but there was a beautifully simple season of not having any control over how I got anywhere, or what I ate, or how I spent my days. It was the best gift anyone on this planet has ever given me. And I embraced the lack of control. When I lost all control, I had no choice but to trust God completely.
- Lean into community. I had no clue how amazing doing life with authentic community could be. They stepped up and said “yes” to being the army God used to bring me out of complete despair to a life of rich blessings and joy. I learned what love is from a group of people I did not know a year ago. These people just made up in their minds they were going to love me whether I made it easy or not. I have done most of my life very alone, both out of choice and out of necessity. My church family told me this summer loud and clear they would not allow it. And people I barely knew four months ago have now become my family.
- Purpose is love. After the wreck, God graced me with a friend who made up her mind that her purpose is to love me well. I have been entangled in an endlessly frustrating quest to find purpose for years now. One night, I was lying in the backyard, staring at the stars while having a phone conversation with my friend. She said a few words that ended my search for purpose. “Your only purpose on this Earth is to love God well and help others love God well. Nothing else matters. That’s it.” That’s it, friends. That is all God calls of us. It made life ever-so-simple for me. I don’t long for that deep sense of achievement-driven purpose I have searched for most of my life anymore. What do I do? I intentionally look for opportunities to be Jesus in everything I do. One of my favorite things to do now is to have meaningful conversations with Uber and Lyft drivers when they are driving me around.
I am so blessed to be back in routine and finding a new sense of normal all the time. But I pray I never go back to the way I was before I got punched in the face with an airbag. I seemed to have had it all together back then but I was actually a disaster. I have been known to thank God for the wreck that completely turned my life on its axis, but it is because I treasure every single thing I have learned in the last four months.