I’ve often wondered how I would handle tragedy, trauma, life threatening circumstances if they blindsided me. Have you?
Would I curl up into a ball of darkness and seep into the wallpaper, or respond from the deep well of faith, finding joy and thankfulness amidst the struggle? And perhaps that is the question I’m asking myself. How deep is my faith, really?
Last night I screwed in one of those spiral light bulbs into my bedside lamp and it made me realize how much I take for granted. It was actually the first time I’d done it, used one of those. My husband takes good care of me, doing mundane things around the house like updating my phone, putting lamps on timers, and replacing light bulbs when they go out.
He’s out of town. It took me three days of twisting the nob on the lamp without result, to go to the closet and get a new bulb.
He was out of town the night my forehead stuck to the steering wheel while the flashing glow of emergency vehicles bounced off the windshield and the ambulance drove off with my daughter. Alone to handle many decisions in the midst of a nightmare every mother hopes she won’t have.
Breathing deeply, scrolling through my cerebral files looking for someone to call at 1:30am for help. In those moments, I heard God, like a father talks to his child:
You often feel like you need someone else to handle the hard stuff, the stuff that overwhelms you, that you don’t think you are capable of doing on your own. You think other people are more equipped than you. And I’m showing you right now, that you can do this. Because I’m with you and I’m enough.
I inhaled deep, exhaled the self-doubt and turned the key to start the engine. I chose to believe him. Because he’s never wrong.
I stared at the fireman pushing bits of metal and plastic from the front end of my daughter’s car into the median with his broom, mustering up courage for the journey. This drive to the trauma center, I knew it was about more than just doing what any parent would do for their daughter in the wee hours of the morning under the canopy of trauma.
He was giving me opportunity to screw in the new light bulb on my faith in order to see myself more clearly. Not just for this moment, but for the fulfillment of His future plans for me.
Sometimes we just have to say yes. Yes to pushing past fear, the unknowns, the what- if’s, the self-doubt and the inexperience. Because uttering the holy yes illuminates the path to destiny, allows the train of His robe to fill the temple of who we are, and push our comfortable stranglehold on life right out of the way.
When I walked into the quiet hospital room void of color, her body lying still and strapped motionless, I grew into my adult self. Unafraid of tripping on the oversize pant legs of my indecision.
Death costs nothing and life costs us everything. He revealed her value the night He chose to spare her. And I’m a bit undone over the miracle of it all.
He shows you how valuable you are too. When He gave up everything for you.
When she walks across the room to hug me for the third time today, I notice she looks at me differently. The way I hoped she would when I held her for the first time.
We all seem to notice the new light bulbs shining from the bedside lamp of our soul. And I don’t worry about the way I’ll respond to what blindsides me anymore. I have Jesus with me. And He’s enough.
Linking with Ann, thankful for the gift of life, the way it costs us everything, and the way He gave His life for mine. For that light bulb going out and the realization of how much of what my husband does for us is taken for granted.
With my friends Michelle, Laura, Jen, and Eileen.
Beautiful…oh isn’t amazing when we really see His Amazing Grace in our lives…to build an ebenezer…one that will continue to light the way brighter through the next valley we walk through~
I’m so grateful for those Ro and perhaps we don’t even realize we need them until a circumstance happens that our hands are too far away to fully grasp.
I had meant to tell you Shelly: These photos are breathtaking! You need to publish a photography book, too!
Lean in and find out what the words really mean, “And, lo, I am with you always.”
I hate the times I have had to find out, but I wouldn’t trade for anything what I got from the experiences.
Beautifully conveyed, Shelly!
Marilyn, always a gift to see you here in the comments. The realization does often comes on the heels of hardship, doesn’t it? But like you, hindsight comes with 20/20 vision and a broad smile. Thank you for your kindness.
He’s enough, more than enough, for whatever I face. Thanks for this beautiful reminder.
Thanks for your faithfulness in stopping by Elizabeth, always a gift to see you here.
so beautiful… I could add so much to it but for now must be quiet about ‘the words’ wanting a voice.
🙂 I so often feel that way, an inward response to a post, but no need for me to speak any words, just to acknowledge. It is a good thing, I feel, when this happens.
Just glad to know you are here Sharon, words or not.
You know Shelly, how I wish I have half the courage you have had mustered, to face the biggest fear I have and to come to terms with it. The pain of knowing you have already lost someone so dear to you is beyond describable, beyond definable, beyond anything and everything I could manage…
I’m a bit confused by your comment. I hope I didn’t give the wrong impression, that I lost my daughter. Or are you saying you’ve already lost someone? Either way, losing someone is beyond comprehensible, I agree. What I realized going through this is that God will sustain me. That doesn’t mean I will be free of pain or grief or hardship but that He is able when I am not. Thank you for stopping by to leave a comment and sorry if I’ve misunderstood you.
Apologies for the confusion. I meant the latter. I read about how miraculously your daughter had survived that crash and like all the others, I was thoroughly touched and relieved. To make things clearer, I was trying to relate and apply certain points that you have mentioned – fear, faith, the part about having to say yes, and courage. I guess I really need a lot more courage to come to terms with things. Anyway, really appreciate that you responded. It’s really nice of you.
This is beautiful. It really touched my heart. I am thankful for the little light bulbs in my life too.
I’m always amazed how God uses the most random, every day, ordinary stuff to speak to me.
How expressively you convey this message! And I’m stunned by your daughter *walking over and hugging you*! Wow! That must be a miracle! Truly awesome!
I once got way too close to “curl[ed] up into a ball of darkness…” — right at the beginning of my Christian life, when God had to take me to the end of myself, to find out I am not enough, but He is. More recently my soul had to say yes to pushing past fear. It was anything but easy, a whole new kind of trauma. But yes, the Ebenezer helped, and again, He was enough. Thank you for this beautiful piece!
We’ve all had both don’t you think? The dark despair and the courage to press past it. And really, my daughter is so sweet, kind, compassionate and thoughtful but she doesn’t often need affection, so yes, it did feel like a bit of a miracle.
I think this is my favorite thing you’ve written yet, Shelly. I continue to praise God for Murielle’s deliverance in the midst of this horror. And I add to that tonight praise for your deliverance as well. This will undoubtedly prove to be a watershed moment in your own journey, a place to look back on when things get scary and painful on the road ahead. We need these markers, these turning points to help us navigate the rougher waters life pushes us into. Scroll this one back up again the next time you feel overwhelmingly frightened or insignificant – and remember this wonderful phrase especially: “Because uttering the holy yes illuminates the path to destiny, allows the train of His robe to fill the temple of who we are, and push our comfortable stranglehold on life right out of the way.” Amen.
Wow, that is saying a lot Diana, because you are such a faithful reader. Perhaps my letting go a bit when it comes to writing and sharing is revealing itself in this one. The accident has changed me a bit for sure, truly a watershed moment. And I do believe your prayers are being answered because she is doing remarkably well, almost like it never happened. But truthfully, I hope we never forget how this feels.
Oh, Shelly I know those feelings. I suffer from a debilitating, very painful chronic illness. Those days when pain and exhaustion steals my breath in its intensity I can only drink deep from our Fountain of Life, grace and mercy to carry on with my household chores.
Thank you for a beautiful post. I emailed you a letter to the address you left at my previous comment to tell you why it was hard for me to read your blog at first, but it came back as not being able to access that address.
Much love to you and thanks for reminding us who is our Strength!
I’m so sorry to hear about your chronic illness. Is that how you found Tanya Marlow? I’ll remember to pray for you, when I pray for her. I’m so sorry you couldn’t get an email to me, not sure what went wrong there. Try this one: firstname.lastname@example.org and see if that one works. Thanks for letting me know.
Shelly, this is a most beautiful reminder of how God uses ALL things for His good purposes. I have been thinking much lately about the idea that nothing is wasted in his kingdom, no experience, no sorrow, no grief, no gift or blessing goes by the wayside.He uses all things, and how blessed we are when we learn to see life this way. Thank you for sharing this, He is growing you in extraordinary ways and I simply love the view. 🙂
I said something similar in a post I shared last Monday, its so true how nothing is wasted. Thanks for seeing it, the growth. It’s good to have friends like you along the journey to celebrate all that He is doing, the joy and the sorrow. I got your email, praying and hope to respond before the sun sets today. 🙂
That shadow? In the valley? Yes, it darkens. But it also brings so very much into focus. Lines are sharper. Colors more vivid. Life is more… desirable. Rejoicing with you that he replaced that shadow with light and you and Murielle are walking into these new days. Glory.
Love your beautiful words, the way you see Holly. Thank you.
I am so grateful for you and your writing and sharing. Thank you for each sharing of your heart.
I feel the same Vicki, so grateful to know you and for all the prayers. You’re a blessing to my family.
amazing, Shelly. Just amazing.
He is, isn’t He?
I find it interesting that others see in us what we often do not see in ourselves. No one would ever know that you don’t feel strong or courageous every day that you live. I was so blessed by this posting. God is faithful.
I know, its one of life’s mysteries. How we see people the way we want to see them and think we’re the only ones with weaknesses. Courage comes to me by pushing past the circumstances, trembling inside with the surety that He is bigger than my fears, hopeful He will rescue me before I give up.
And haven’t I done the same “taking for granted” with my heavenly Father does for me daily. Jeff and I discussed his recent brush with his heart blockage. Apparently, all the cardiologists that work here saw the cath and the insertion of the stint that saved him. Everyone he has talked to has been so sober. One doc said “you really dodged a bullet.” There are a lot of details but the truth is they could have missed it and we could be living a different story. I could. I told him I need to know where the key to the safety deposit box is in this big ole house. I could go on….No way was I was prepared for what could have been.
We all must realize that we are subject to what is common to man, and as you said, choose to allow him in the moments that we can’t prepare. Like the moments we take for granted– we breath in and out, in and out, in and out… and remember, “I am with you always……”
The light is on. I don’t know about you but I now need to get out to the stupid pants :). They are so dang comfortable but they are tripping me up. I wear them all the time.
You had me laughing out loud over the getting out of the stupid pants. Yes, and amen! Just love you so much and I’m grateful for the parallel epiphanies we’ve had hundreds of miles away from each other in separate circumstances that share the same message: Life is a miracle, be thankful for each breath.
I think we all have wondered how we would handle losing a child or other trauma. I take great courage in your personal story of God being enough. Thank you for sharing it with us.
It’s probably my greatest fear Glenda, losing someone I love so much.
Beautiful…….it is terrible when we have to find out what we would do in those terrible moments of life, the only thing we can do is cling to Him as you found out. Love how you captured this…..
And it seems there is always something good to be extracted from all circumstances, like finding hidden treasure you didn’t know was there. Thanks Lori.
Sounds as if God protected you both, right? I hope that’s the case, Shelly. And yes, we learn and in a way are “blessed” by those moments that scare us witless but cause us to rise up, hold His hand firm and go into unknown territory. Thanks for sharing this perspective shaping post, my friend.
Yes, you reminded me to add the link to the original story in this one. We are both fine, which is a miracle in my daughter’s case.
Beautiful reminder! He is always enough…No matter our circumstance or situation. The miracle of Him living in us…Thank you for sharing!
Ginger, so thankful for you and the way you exude joy and faithfulness in this community. You are truly a blessing.
I am in the midst of a separation from my husband. Over a year ago he told me our marriage is over. But, God has told me not to give up on my marriage. It is too important, to Him, to me, to our children. The words from Isaiah 54 have been reverberating around in my brain for the past couple of days: “For your Maker is your husband–the LORD Almighty is his name…” God has been reminding me all weekend that He is enough, that He will see me through. He has reminded me over and over that I am not alone. He has shown me over and over that He will give me the strength I need to make decisions, to handle things as they arise. He has told me over and over to be still and let Him fight. He will provide. He is enough. He is MORE than enough. Your post reinforces all of that for me. Thank you.
Penny, adding you to my prayers today and standing with you regarding the restoration of your marriage. So glad you stopped by and were encouraged here. May He continue to give you crumbs along your faith journey letting you know you are headed in the right direction.
Thank you so much for the prayers. They mean more to me than I can say. They are much needed. Satan is fighting hard, but I know God is stronger and He has the last say.
I can so relate to what you say here, because even though I’ve had to do most things on my own most of my adult life, God is always wanting us to turn mostly to Him: “You often feel like you need someone else to handle the hard stuff, the stuff that overwhelms you, that you don’t think you are capable of doing on your own. You think other people are more equipped than you. And I’m showing you right now, that you can do this. Because I’m with you and I’m enough. ”
It isn’t always easy…but I’m so glad He is really the one carrying us in all of these days… 🙂
I agree Pam, it isn’t easy. Praying you feel him carry you on days when it just feels like too much to walk it out. Lots of love to you.
Shelly……..ooh! This is so powerful and leaves me gasping. What you are saying is utter truth, and I *have* experienced it, yet I can still be so fearful. I remember when Michael had a heart attack in 2000, and literally almost died. I was heading to the hospital to be with him for what turned out to be six bypasses (!!!), and thinking I didn’t know what I would ever do if I lost him. I tremble and tear up even as I write this now….and God spoke to my heart (something like……You would make it–I can’t recall the exact words)….and then I became even more frightened, thinking (But Lord I would NOT want to!!!!). The things that you didn’t know how to do that your husband does is the same with me (the big and little things. My husband is a Renaissance man with so much knowledge. Moreover,and most important (!!), I love him to pieces!! I am so blessed. I’m rambling away here and not even sure what I am trying to say. I’m just so happy for you that God helped you to do what you didn’t think you could, and yet spared you the loss of your beloved Murielle. I know there have been times in my life (like when Daddy died five years ago and we endured the rollercoaster that was his life, alternately climbing steep, arduous hills, and then crashing down the other side, over and over and over again……thinking we were losing him or would soon…….and then watch him pull out of the death spiral. I would lay under a blanket in the dark on a hospital recliner, thinking, THIS IS WHAT HIS DEATH FEELS LIKE, WHAT LIFE WILL BE WITHOUT HIM…….and then he’d rally. Finally he didn’t, and the Lord sustained. So I know what you are saying……that Jesus is enough. He never leaves us and He sustains us to go on…..I just wish I could have your courage at the moment…..faith screwed into the socket that is my soul, God’s light burning brightly–that eternal flame of faith that will never go out. Bless you for sharing so openly.
I think you do have it Lynn, the courage. Perhaps you just don’t realize its been there all along waiting for you to take it.
“I have Jesus with me. And He’s enough.”
Therein is faith. I long to live like this every day. Some moments I succeed; others, not.
Still shuddering over the “what if” with your daughter, but thanking God for grace not to have to stay there.
And let me just say, I wish it were every day for me too Lisa. I’m human, messy and frail like the best of them.
This was shared on facebook by a friend from church. I would like to add my comment. I have faced that “worst ever event” when my eldest son suddenly died in February of pulmonary embolism. He was 27. I know he is with God, and reunited with his father David, who died of cancer in 2006, but sometimes I cannot bear the pain. All I know is that if I hadn’t got my faith, I would have gone under months ago. I have a loving husband who had also been widowed, and two more wonderful sons, and just trust that in time He will bring His Holy Spirit healing to us all.
Jane, my heart goes out to you, I can’t even imagine what you’ve had to walk through. So grateful you came by and left a comment. Lifting a prayer for you today, may you find peace and healing during this Advent season of expectant waiting. May you feel His presence with you through the pain.
this was my favorite line: “Death costs nothing and life costs us everything. He revealed her value the night He chose to spare her. And I’m a bit undone over the miracle of it all.” I feel the same way…
I echoed those words from the sermon of my pastor on Sunday. Was a soppy mess of emotion over the gravity of the way God spared her life in church on Sunday. They touched me too.
I must say, however, there are worse things than death. I told you how we almost lost our youngest in a horrible accident. Thank God he has made it through. But I have another son who has denied his faith this year. This love of my heart, my nurtured son, my home educated boy has rejected Christ and is giving his great talents and gifts to the work of the enemy. I grieve, and it is worse than if he had died. Our kids’ souls are even more valuable than their bodies.
Yes, but there is hope, always hope that God will break in while He is alive. That hope is gone when life ends. I still believe in miracles. I’ve seen too many not to.
True. I pray day by day and many night by nights.
One of my most favorite verses to pray for “prodigals” is Jeremiah 24:7 (love that it reminds me of praying 24/7 too 🙂 )
7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. (NIV)
I agree in prayer with you and pray this promise over your son and to your heart…
I still shudder when I think of what the first responders told you: an inch more and this would be a different story. An inch, Shelly! And He can save us from even closer scrapes. But, yes–listen to that Voice. He knows us better than we know ourselves.
I know Laura, the gravity of those words hit me on Sunday. I had a hard time getting through worship.
Your word-picture of screwing in a new light bulb of faith caught my attention. It helped me see my present circumstances as preparation for the fulfillment of His future plans for me. That new light bulb of faith is “illuminating the path to destiny.” Thank you, Shelly, for sharing with us your gift of imagery and metaphor. You shed new light (no light-bulb pun intended!) on old truths that make us sit up and take notice.
So thankful that God gave you new revelation here, that is a gift to me. Thank you.
“allows the train of His robe to fill the temple of who we are” – nice phrase. I will chew on it a while!
It’s from Isaiah 6:1 Sherri, probably should have put that reference on the post. It came to me while I was praying about this story.
I love the connection you make between screwing in the light bulb and faith. Thank you for this beautiful word picture.
I’m glad you liked it Mary, sometimes the inspiration for writing comes from the most random things.
God has used certain events in my life to point me to Him alone. There have been times when no one else is around or the people who are there are incapable of helping. Those are faith building moments and, although they are frightening, they are precious.
I agree Tereasa, wouldn’t want to do them over, but so grateful for what they taught me.
Shelly, I can relate to sometimes wanting my husband to fix the hard stuff. My initial reaction is often to clam up and immediately thing I can’t handle it. YET, each time I’ve trusted God in the midst the hard, He reminds me over and over that I can’t but HE CAN. Great reminder, friend. Thanks for linking up.
It’s been a long, slow road for me to get there Eileen. I’m sure I have more to learn about letting go and seeing myself the way He does. But thankful for the glimpses I get along the way. Thanks for the tweet love today!
Thank you Shelly. I thank God again for you, for your insight and for your words that help me so much. I will change a light bulb today.
I thank God for those I love that he spared, those I love that He chose to take and for those I love who chose to go.
Oh LuAnn, I think about those you’ve lost and the way loss settles over each of us. It’s hard and such a gift to be thankful in it isn’t it? Thanking God for you too, for your gift of friendship and belief in me.
Bringing a tear. The words, the situation, the pictures, your heart. Hallelujah for new faith and the promise He is always with us!
Thanks Alene, I’m shouting Halleluhah with you!
Facing the thing that we never thought we could face or handle, does change us if we allow Him to do the changing. Thanks so much for your story. So glad that your daughter survived. Blessings to you!
It’s the main thing isn’t it, “if we allow Him to do the changing”. You are so right.
I always rely on my husband for the hard things. It’s true, I can walk forward into fear because God is always with me. I continue to marvel at the miracle that occurred with your daughter and am so thankful for His grace. Thanks for sharing these lessons and what God is doing in and through you. Blessings!
Thanks Christina, hope everyone isn’t getting sick of it. I learned more in the past two weeks perhaps, than in the last two years.
Shelly, these last few posts regarding your daughter’s accident and your response have been excellent – well written, a heart poured out, shared with all of us. Thank you for your honesty and your love. The ministry, the open doors, the family strength that have come from this are profound. I am so grateful you are willing to put these words down for us, we have much to learn from you.
I’m still standing over here with my mouth open over it all Maureen. Only God can turn something so potentially horrific into a blessing for our family. And I don’t say that lightly, at all.
I lie in bed and think about these type of situations a lot. More accurately, I worry about these situations a lot. And not a day can be added by my worry. Thank you for reminding me that grace and courage will arrive exactly when I need it, and not a moment before.
I keep reminding myself too, I’m thinking of Ann Voskamp’s poignant words, “I have soul amnesia.” Thanks Kimberly.
i was just there myself… with the lights flashing and the daughter with the crashed truck. it was hard to offer grace to her, having thought she might learn from her mistake. only by God’s grace did i not say the things in my head. but God kept telling me “she is ok, and that is what matters.” over and over. i knew it before He said it, but without Him I couldn’t hear it.
i read your words and held my breath… so thankful that your daughter is safe. so thankful that faith is bright and grace is free. and i am thankful for your words, that push me into the place i need to be…
I’m so glad we both have happy endings. I am sobered thankful knowing it could have been different. So grateful you stopped by.
I so resonate with this. I have recently been divorced after my husband abandoned me and my two kids and now I am going throug breast cancer. I have sat back and wondered why God thought I could handle this. Why me? The next thing to losing a child is the fear of leaving your child alone in this world. Many people tell me how strong I am and that if anyone can get through this I can. But I do question myself.
“You often feel like you need someone else to handle the hard stuff, the stuff that overwhelms you, that you don’t think you are capable of doing on your own. You think other people are more equipped than you. And I’m showing you right now, that you can do this. Because I’m with you and I’m enough.”
Thank-you for this reminder.
I’m so sorry you are going through such a hard time. And I think you are in good company when it comes to questioning yourself. Prayed for you today, that the heavy will lift, even in the midst of unanswered questions.
Thank-you. I am doing so much better. I am now where I know with God I can fight this cancer. Bring it on!
Shelly, I just followed you over from Emily’s and am so thankful for your words today. I, too, experienced an accident like your daughter’s (22 years ago) and was spared…the feelings are still so fresh. Your story brought me back to my mama’s face — she grounded me that night — and to the God who brought angels, his mercy and his love to me. Thank God for bringing your daughter home, and bless you as you share the ways he’s turned up the brightness of your faith. It is beautiful.
I love that phrase Ashley, “turned up the brightness of your faith”. I’m taking that one with me. And you made me hope, that my daughter will remember that night, the miracle of it all the way you remember it with your mother. So thankful you can tell about it 22 years ago. It’s never too late to give God glory.