I begged my eighteen-year-old daughter to slow down every time she got behind the wheel. She wasn’t a very good driver and driving fast was no improvement to her already poor skills.
The little Cavalier was hers. She bought and paid for it herself. But she didn’t have her license. I let her drive on country roads to practice for her driving test. I don’t know why I let her take the car out on those country roads that day without me. I suppose I figured that I would have to let her go eventually and trust her. What was I thinking? She just wasn’t ready. I should have known better than to let her do it. Isn’t “I’m grown” an eighteen year old girl’s favorite phrase?
We were visiting my sister in Oklahoma and I was about ready for the trip back home to Texas. Tabitha, my daughter, begged and begged. Then she finally demanded “Come on, Mom. It’s my car and I can’t even drive it in the country!” Maybe I should have said "No, you sure can't. Not without me in the car with you." But I didn’t. I got tired of hearing her, gave in, and told her to go. “Just be back in ten minutes. I am ready to go already.” Her and my nephew took off to cruise the Oklahoma hill’s finest back roads.
Fifteen minutes later, I was shoving worry to the back of my mind and sat down to calmly read my sister’s Bible as I waited. Engrossed in the book of Colossians, I didn’t hear the front door open. I heard a desperate but weakened cry, “Mommy, please don’t be mad.”
I looked up to find her covered in blood from her forehead to her ankles. Blood was pouring from her nostrils and she was holding up the tips of her left fingers gently with the palm of her right hand. Her bones were protruding from her left forearm. Her hip length hair was filled with blood and small cedar limbs.
First, I noticed that she was alone. “Where’s Jerry?” She informed me that he went to call for an ambulance. As soon as I realized he was okay, I lost it. I fell, crawling across to her feet where she stood. “Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere else, Honey? Is it just your arm? I’m not mad, Baby. I don't care about the car. It's my fault.”
As it turned out, she had hit a ditch, driving too fast, and sent the car airborne. After taking out several trees, the car flipped sideways five times. Tabitha said she watched the car turning “like a really fast roller coaster.” And then, it landed real hard on all four wheels “when it felt like it should have turned over at least one more time.” Her first instinct when it stopped was to check on Jerry. All she could see from the driver’s seat was his legs. From the hips up, Jerry’s body was hanging outside the window. One more turn would have found him underneath the car.
Months, surgery, steel plates and screws later, she is scarred, but she’s okay. She doesn’t drive fast anymore. As a matter of fact, she seldom drives at all. She turns nineteen next month. She isn’t anxious to even own another car. Her wrist is messed up pretty bad. According to the police officer, “No way two teenagers got out of that car alive, much less walked away from it. There’s just no way.”
I kept a sun visor hanging on the rearview mirror. It read “CK” in big letters and spelled out “Christ is King” in smaller letters. Jerry swears that he saw that visor lodged in the windshield in front of him when he should have been thrown forward, but something was “holding him against his seat.” (No. Jerry did not have on a seatbelt.) However, when we went to look at the car later, that visor was still hanging on the rearview mirror.
Everything from the trunk was in the backseat, including recently changed brake rotors, tools, the jack, even the spare tire. Had I actually rode along with her and the accident still happened, Jerry would have been riding in that backseat. There’s no doubt in my mind that those rotors coming through the back that way would have killed him on impact.
I’d placed a card on the console just days before. It was the only thing, other than that visor, that remained intact, unmoved, unchanged. That card had a picture on the front of it of an angel watching over a sleeping child. The backside of it said “He will place His angels round about you to guard you in all your ways.”
Fortunately, we serve a good God. Sometimes, He will let us do whatever we want to and suffer the consequences just to teach us obedience. But if our hearts are truly in the right place, it doesn’t take us long to go running back. “I’m sorry, Abba Father. Please forgive me.” He’s a good Dad. He’s better than a good Dad because, when we are obedient, He rewards us. When we aren’t, He lets us learn. What a bunch of teenagers we are!
I sure don’t want to learn too many more things the hard way. I pray that God will open my ears and eyes really wide. I know me. I can be awfully hard headed at times. Just ask my Mom! I just want Him to have my ears and eyes so wide opened that I have no doubts whatsoever that when He says “Go” or “Stay put” that that’s exactly what He said. And I sure pray He causes my heart to stay pliable and obedient. Like my salvation, even obedience comes by grace alone to me. He’s sure a good Dad. Wish I were more like Him. Maybe in asking Him to be more firm with me in His “yes” or “no” and “stay put” or “go”, I should have learned to be more firm with my own.
Lessons learned the hard way... yes, that would be a teenager’s way of doing things. Well, I’m no longer a baby in Christ. But I’m far from perfected. Guess that makes me a teenager. But it makes me a teenager seeking after divine direction. And I do believe that sets me apart from many. I think I’ll probably stay a teenager. Once I’m grown, perfected, it’ll be time for me to be a bride and go home to my husband, Jesus. I’m sure glad the good Dad knows how to handle us teenagers.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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You are definitley a writer. You told this story very well. The only sentence I thought could have maybe been worded better was [Months, surgery, steel plates and screws later, she is scarred, but she’s okay.] Just seemed a littl strange to word it that way, but I really enjoyed reading this; and I am very glad they were both okay!
God is so great!