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Monday, June 24, 2013

Beyond The Collision

My 3 year old daughter and I shared squeezes and excited smiles as we got back into the van, almost to our hotel where we would be staying overnight, just the 2 of us, and then off to see the new American Girl store before its Grand Opening. We had stopped off for a short break and made plans to put on our bathing suits as soon as we got in our room.

Just before this break, we were in farmland. She was watching a DVD and I began to thank God for this chance to get away with her for some one on one time. I began to hum a random tune, as I often do and began to sing the words

"Lord, in the storm you're my calm. You hold my soul."

Just then, a butterfly made its way across my windshield and I smiled as I felt His sweet presence with me.

I continued to sing.

"You orchestrate the storm. You bring me to it and you bring me through it...every high and low..."

Little did I know what was up ahead.

I pulled out onto the highway after our stop and made my way toward the hotel. As I drove, I was looking for my turn off on the right. Suddenly, I noticed that there was an intersection with a red light and a stopped car in front of me. I slammed on my brakes and swerved away from the car, but it was too late. I couldn't stop in time and I ran right into it.

I'll never forget the sounds I heard. The screeching brakes, the thunder of the crash, and the heartbreaking scream my daughter let out as smoke from the airbags began to fill the van. I quickly rolled the windows down and turned toward her to look her over.

The woman I hit pulled over right away and ran toward my van. She came to the window, asking how many children I had with me and if I was alright. She helped keep us calm, called for help, and talked to my daughter about how it was all going to be alright. She brought me cold water and a bandaid for my head {it was cut open when it hit the airbag}.

Every other person to come to the scene was just as wonderful to me and my baby girl. A random person pulled behind my van to wave traffic away from us. The man who towed my van encouraged me and told me I was strong and that I was doing a great job with my little girl. The police officer did everything he could for us to the point of packing all of our things in his car and driving us to a Walmart where we could wait for my husband to pick us up.

I was grateful that we walked away from that accident with bruises, aches, and scratches. I was so thankful to God for protecting us...but mostly my little girl.

But the next day, as the hubster went out to shop for a new family car and I stayed behind with the kiddos, my mind began to raise the question of "Why?".

Why did I get all that way, over 3 hours from home and only 20 minutes away from our hotel just to smash into someone and not be able to enjoy the things I had lined up for us?

Sunday morning during worship, my answer found me. This may not be the answer, but it's what my heart needed to know.

Eucharisteo. This word. This idea of living in gratitude that I learned only from reading Ann Voskamp's 1,000 Gifts Devotional {and I'm not nearly finished with it yet}. This is my "why".

When I began reading her devotional, my heart began to ache for this discipline of gratitude. I wanted in the most stressful of times to find the joy and give thanks. Yes, I believe we can give thanks for all things. So, I began to pray that God would help me learn this discipline.

And as the worship leader began to sing the song 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman, it all came together and I saw my answer through my tears.

"The sun comes up it's a new day dawning. It's time to sing your song again. Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul..."

Suddenly, I realized that what happened on Thursday could have kept me from ever seeing Sunday. Again, I was grateful for the gift I received in the bent hood and broken headlights. But what moved me to tears was God showing me, "You did it! You lived it! In that moment of chaos and fear, you thanked me! Your heart praised me! You don't need to ask me to help you live in gratitude. Your heart already knows how."

And I let the tears flow and I grabbed my husband's hand as I listened to the song. There was no way I could sing it with my voice through the flood of teardrops, but my heart was shouting it out!

"For all your goodness I will keep on singing...10,000 reasons for my heart to find..."


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