It was a beautiful, sunny day, July 15, 1992, and yet before the day was over; it would be end as a day of great sorrow and tragedy for my family. Nevertheless, at the same time, it was a day I learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that my Lord was with me and I could lean on Him in all areas.
My two teenagers had been spent the morning swimming at the local campground. My son, Allen, who only had his license for three weeks, had just dropped his sister by the house on his way to finish a lawn care job he had taken for the summer. The mowing had been finished the day before leaving only the trim work around the bushes and on the edges of the ditches.
I was in our small garden picking butter beans when I heard the rescue squad sirens coming up the highway leading to our road. Immediately, I heard the Spirit of the Lord minister to my heart “Allen has flipped the truck.” I felt helpless and did not know what to do. I could not leave the house and go to the accident site about a mile from our house. Allen had our truck and my husband had left just minutes before in the car going to the store.
Suddenly, my daughter ran out the back door of our home screaming “Momma, Allen’s flipped the truck!” A friend found the wreckage and had gotten someone to call the rescue squad. We jumped in his car and he took us back to the site of the accident. Upon seeing the wreckage, I did not think my seventeen year old had survived. The truck had flipped and had landed on the driver’s side of the cab. It was almost flat with the dashboard. As I stood crying on the side of our small country road all I could say and pray at this point was “Father in heaven! Father in Heaven!” Only my Lord could help us now.
Allen was alive and lying on the ditch bank about 60 feet from the place the truck had landed after flipping numerous times. The EMS workers were working to stabilize him for transporting to the local hospital. Not wanting me to know the extent of his injuries yet, my brother-in-law and the friend who came to get us placed my daughter and me in the car to take us ahead to the hospital. It was a horrifying ride, traveling down the road, knowing I left my son behind injured and hurting.
We arrived and waited at the hospital for what seemed like eternity. Several friends had gotten word and were beginning to arrive, waiting for not only the ambulance, but also for word on Allen’s condition. At this point we still did not know the extent of the injuries. Finally the ambulance came. Anxiously we waited for them to unload him and take him into the emergency room. He was fussing and so angry. We realized later that it was because of the intense pain he was suffering at the time.
The emergency doctor finally appeared to inform us. “Allen has sustained a spinal column injury! We have sent for the critical care ambulance to come and take him to Wilmington. We can not help him here!” Again, another waiting game began. It seemed as if each time the wait kept getting harder and harder. Where would this nightmare end?
The pastor of my little fellowship gathered us in a circle to pray. As our pastor prayed with us, I again heard the Lord speak to my heart as strongly as He did when I was still in the garden. “Can you trust Me even in this?” Even to this day when I think of this statement it brings an indescribable feeling to my heart and spirit. “Can you trust Me even in this?” What did this mean? How would this affect my son and my family?
Yet, where else could I turn? Who else could I trust? Man! A doctor! No! If I could not trust the Lord at the low and horrifying times of my life than whom could I trust. I remember having this conversation with myself even while our pastor was praying. “You Lord are the only one I can trust. And I do trust You with all of this!”
The ride to town and the necessary medical care seem so long and far away. It was even more terrifying as we watched the ambulance pass us knowing my son laid on the gurney inside. Each moment further into this nightmare was more agonizing than the last. What would the next few hours hold for us? Once again there seemed to be a waiting game that was meant to torture and drive us closer to insanity than the last long wait.
Eventually the doctor came to reveal the damage was far greater than any one had imagined. Allen had sustained a crushing blow to 3 vertebrae and a fourth was fractured. Immediate surgery was necessary to place several titanium rods in his back. The break was so severe that my son was literally broken in half. Hours more of waiting as the doctor and staff attempted to do what repairs their limited education and knowledge could provide.
Yet time after time the Lord drew me to the little chapel for prayer. It was now the middle of the night and I was able to get alone with the one Person who could provide the healing touch for my heart sick spirit. I prayed and at times was amazed that even now I found such comfort in singing and worshiping my Lord. I did not understand how I could sing at a time like this but knew I felt the Lord close to me, strengthening me for the hard journey that lay before my little family.
The never ending night was finally over, bringing with it the surgeon to inform us the surgery was over. The rods had been placed around his spine and the hard task of rehabilitation would begin in a few weeks after his ravaged body had a chance to begin healing. Allen must learn to use a wheelchair and maneuver his body around without the use of his legs. But we already had a comfort of knowing that Allen had full use of his arms and hands. The damage was major but seemed to have affected him from the chest downward. There was a true gratefulness in my heart for this. We spent three weeks at this hospital before being flown to Atlanta, Georgia for the serious training to begin.
The strength I felt in my spirit during each agonizing day could only come from the Lord. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that a poem I had read years earlier about the Lord carrying us during hard times was indeed where we were at now. At the times when it was so hard and defeat seemed to loom on our horizon the Lord would send someone to minister. At times it was through a song or His precious Word that He sent comfort and encouragement. I found myself time and time again continuing to draw on the strength and mercy I knew my Lord and Savior could provide as I sought comfort in prayer, song and His Word.
The hardest times were watching my son, who before this accident moved as any normal teenage boy would, now have to push and pull on his legs. It was so difficult to see my child hurting and suffering and pushing himself around in this chair. Oh how I hated the chair then and in all honesty even now. It’s been several years since the accident and we still deal with the chair and the lasting results of that awful day in July.
But the reality of the words I heard so distinctly in that emergency room are just as real to my heart and spirit today as they were than. “Can you trust Me even in this?” I have heard those words spoken to my heart twice more since that time and each time there was a major change coming into my life. My heart quivers when the Lord begins ministering to my heart these words and yet the cry of my heart has been the same as it was the first time I heard them. “Lord, who else can I turn to or trust with my life if not You! You have proven Yourself faithful and true each time I have needed You. You have kept Your word to never leave me nor forsake me! There is no where else to turn except to You! Lord, I trust You even in this!”