I crawled out of the chair that morning after another restless night of on-again, off-again sleep. My body was tired…sore…achy. I don’t remember what the weather was outside. I honestly don’t think I cared very much at that point. The only thing on my mind was the pile of questions that kept coming at me over and over again in waves. They were mixed with doubt and fear, lots of fear.
The last six days of my life had just broken me in ways I didn’t think I could be broken. My faith–normally a constant companion through the first 36 years of my life–seemed to be buried somewhere in the middle of all that doubt. At times, it seemed like all I had the energy to do was to move one foot at a time. Many times I questioned whether I even wanted to expend the energy.
That was 10 years ago. Ten years that seem a lifetime removed from where I am now. One minute I’m living my dream and the next I am launched into a nightmare. In a matter of minutes I went from a spring break trip to a collision to watching my wife die to screaming at a God who I wasn’t even sure cared about me in that moment. And as the next few days would unfold–as I was trying to sort it all out–my pain would double as I watched Josh die for no reason. Night after night I would replay every scene in my head over-and-over, praying that the ending would somehow come out different. Praying that I would wake up, the nightmare would end and I’d be back in my bed, next to my wife, anticipating the day with all three of my children.
The nightmare ended. All nightmares do. But very seldom in a way that we expect. Ten years later, I’ve been blessed beyond what I could have imagined in those first few days after the accident. I’ve known the constant presence of a God who never left my side during those events. I’ve found true love, again, in a wife who cares for me, encourages me, supports me and makes me better. I’ve been blessed with two new beautiful daughters who make me laugh and who love me well. I’ve been blessed to watch Harrison and Abby as they have grown to become these amazing reflections of their mother and actually become the answer to many prayers I prayed for them.
So, I write this (after many months of no blogging) not as a way to remember an event that happened 10 years ago. Rather, I write this as a way to celebrate a God who loves me intensely. As I trace back over almost 47 years, I can choose to get lost in trials, troubles and traps that dotted my “landscape.” Or, I can be amazed at how much God has given me that I never deserved in the first place.
I choose to be amazed.
I know how good my life is. I know how great my God is. And I know that without His love and His presence, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
There is one other reason I write this today…to encourage you to choose the same. In 10 years of traveling and speaking, I’ve heard more stories of sorrow and sadness than I could possibly recall. But the ones I remember best are the stories of overcomers, the stories of those who chose to forgive, to move forward, to heal and to encourage others to do the same. God is in the business of fixing all the broken pieces. We simply have to give them to Him.
NOTE: yesterday (4/14/14) was the ten month anniversary of Josh’s death after a medication error. Five days before (April 9) was Good Friday, the day that the family was involved in an accident that took Sarah’s life.