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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Ten days ago we left home at 6am and began a 15-hour drive to spend Christmas with our families in Kansas City. Our Yukon was packed to the gills with presents and bags and car activities and more shoes than a whole herd of elephants would need if they wore shoes. It was a very long, arduous journey fraught with heavy rains, restless children, flash floods in Indiana, and a 30-degree temperature drop across seven states. We pressed on, leaning toward the reward of precious time with people we love, but fourteen hours into the trip, while we were driving 65 mph on I-70, the rain abruptly stopped and the water on the road immediately turned to a sheet of ice. The car in front of us spun off the road into the median and looked like it was going to ricochet back into us so Brooke cautiously moved our car toward the right shoulder to avoid them. Unfortunately, there was no controlling the car on the icy road and we began to spin, went off the road into the ditch, hit the embankment backwards and then forward (I think), and then the car flipped onto its passenger side. It was the most surreal, terrifying experience of my life. I don’t know if I will ever get over seeing my kids hanging from their seatbelts or the fear that I felt when we were spinning. There was a very real possibility that we were still in danger on the side of the road as other cars continued to drive by and I began obsessing over that fact as Brooke and I looked at each other trying to figure out how we were going to get safely out of the car. The girls say the scariest part was when I started yelling/praying loudly, “God help us!” right before we went off the road. I think the scariest part was when another car started flipping down the shoulder of the highway heading right for my children as they were being put into another car by the kindest strangers I’ve ever met. No lie, it felt like the apocalypse.

There are many things I am still traumatized about from the wreck, but there are also many things I continue to marvel over. One of those is the incredible self-sacrifice of the strangers that stopped to help us. Less than 30 seconds after our car landed there was a man at the driver’s side window ready to help Brooke get us all out. He was joined quickly by about a dozen other strangers who helped pull Julius and Brooke and I out of the window and the girls out the back doors. They covered us with blankets and gave us their own coats and hats. A couple of the men were middle school and elementary school principals from Indiana who were driving into Kansas City for the Chiefs-Colts game. One of them held Faith for about 30 minutes while we tried to find her shoes. Their generosity in stopping to help was overwhelming and their willingness to stay as long as necessary was beyond comprehension. I have no idea how any of them managed to safely pull off the road without ending up in the ditch themselves. I also don’t have any idea who the rest of the people were or whether or not they made it safely to their destinations, but I am incredibly grateful that each of them was there. People are just so kind, y’all.

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We ended up with someone’s Colts t-shirt as a “souvenir.” I couldn’t be sorry the Colts beat the Chiefs the next day cause these guys deserved a win after all they did for us! Sorry Dad.

After we were pulled from the Yukon, avoided being crushed by the flipping car, and climbed the embankment to safety, an ambulance drove up along the frontage road and we all loaded up in it. It took a long time to finish up the procedural stuff that goes along with an accident but eventually the ambulance drove us to a motel about five miles away and we gratefully camped out for the night. Miraculously, we were all not only alive, but also completely unharmed. Equally as miraculous is the fact that our Yukon sustained only a few minor dents and two tires pulled off the rims. We had to leave it overnight and have it flipped and towed the next day but we are beyond grateful that it still runs. In fact, I am writing this from the car, while driving back home. Crazy.

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The Yukon after it was flipped back up and towed from the highway. Not too bad, you ol’ girl.

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Anna searching desperately for her cell phone. The important stuff, ya know? The dent above this tire is the only major one.

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The back tires were both off their rims but once we got them back on and aired them up, they weren’t even damaged.

I don’t know all that God did to protect us that night, but I believe that He did. About 30 minutes before the wreck our fuel gauge inexplicably dropped to empty. We were forced to pull off the highway and top off the tank just to be sure we didn’t run out of gas. As soon as we pulled into the gas station it jumped back to full. I don’t want to over-spiritualize things, but the reality is that if we hadn’t pulled off then, we’d probably have hit ice a couple of miles further ahead where there were enormous drop-offs on both sides of the highway. Instead, when we went off the road we ran into an uphill slope that kept us from going any further and had easy frontage road access. I can’t help but feel that God had us right where He wanted us—even though that somewhere was a ditch. I am tremendously grateful He has given us more time together on this earth and for the fact that He was with us at every moment. My fickle heart is tempted to cave into the fear that has licked at my heels for the last week, but I know deep in my soul that I am no less secure now than I was before. Coming face-to-face with my mortality and that of my whole family has left it’s mark, but I’m hopeful that it will be a mark that leads me to deeper faith in the only God who can provide true security. We will die someday. It’s not a maybe, but a certainty. I believe that our faith in Jesus and His death and resurrection means that we will spend eternity with God. There is nothing I can do to earn my way there or stop death from coming when it is time—but I can yield to the One who loves me completely and who holds my days in His hands. I can feel Him gently nudging me to just keep doing the hard things, like getting back in the car, which was HARD, and trusting Him to take care of us no matter what happens. I’m thankful He will be with me for all that.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

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Survivors, looking bedraggled, and in Julius’ case, annoyed, but grateful to be alive. Thanks to Brooke’s parents and brother Brady for bringing us home on Sunday and helping Brooke put the car back together!

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Walking…

I know I’ve mentioned before that I work at a crisis pregnancy center but did you know that SLS is now officially a medical clinic, offering STD/STI testing and treatment?!  We began testing four weeks ago and we are already seeing a flood of patients in need of our services. I have been blown away at the opportunity that this is affording us to speak truth and hope into the lives of these precious young people. You see, when we meet with a client who is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy we have great opportunities to encourage her and offer her hope, but often the crisis of the pregnancy looms so big over her life that we aren’t able to get to the root of how she ended up in this situation. But this STI testing—this is a whole different ball game. These patients open up in a way that I didn’t expect. Many of them share things they’ve never shared with anyone else and they get really honest about the things that they’ve experienced. We are able to offer compassion, medical treatment, and a great deal of education. We talk to them about the current research that shows that casual sex changes the brains of adolescents and about the natural chemicals that cause them to be deeply attached to their sexual partners. We give them accurate information about their risks for disease and pregnancy and make sure they understand that even if they avoid the physical complications of casual sex, there is no condom for the heart. This is an incredible opportunity to dig out the roots of the behaviors that bring them to us in the first place and to possibly divert them from future crises, such as an unplanned pregnancy or crushed dreams.

We continue to offer a compassionate, non-judgmental environment for women and men who are trying to decide what to do about their unplanned pregnancy and are seeing a great many of these clients choose life for their babies and hope for themselves. This foundational piece of our ministry is as important as ever. We are also seeing hearts and lives healed through our post-abortion support group and families strengthened by our parenting and mentoring programs. In the last 6 months, God has opened a door for us to contribute to the discussion of sexuality in the public schools, to offer parenting classes in the Payne County jail, and He is leading us to reach out to women and men who are involved in the sex industry.

We are on our knees daily, depending upon God for wisdom, volunteers, and the finances to carry out this incredible task He has placed before us. I would be so grateful if you would consider supporting SLS and me as I walk for the lives of men, women and children.

Click HERE to support SLS today!

With all my gratitude,

Sarah

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Dad Says

Memorable things my dad has said to me:

In response to any question like: “What are we going to do, Dad?”…“Don’t call me Doodad.”

When I was sobbing in my parents’ bed the night before college because I didn’t want to leave home, “It will be okay. I love you.”

To stop us both from crying as we prepared to walk down the aisle to meet my future husband, “Did you know that John Mayberry is being inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame right now?”

At the news that I was about to make him a grandpa, “…………..” (crickets…not a word…nada….blank stare.  Have you ever seen Father of the Bride? It was just like the moment she announces she’s getting married.)

When I shared that I was going to stay in my marriage and trust God to work in a miraculous way to restore and renew my relationship with Brooke, “We are behind you 100%.”

When he knew that trusting God was taking every bit of energy I had he lent me some of his own faith via email, as detailed in this post: “We Don’t Know What To Do, But Our Eyes Are On You.”

When we told him and my mom that we were considering leaving Kansas City so Brooke could pursue his PhD, and even though he truly hated the idea of us leaving, he said: “You know, Helen Keller once said that life is either a great adventure or it is nothing at all.”

To my dad:

Thank you for loving me so deeply and letting me know it.

Thank you for giving me the courage to do really hard things.

Thank you for helping me trust God more.

I am so blessed to be your daughter. Happy Dad’s Day! I love you.

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