Why in the world were Henry, Rob and I all home on a Friday afternoon? We were a busy family, and normally, my husband was out and about doing what he loved the most – visiting hospitals, inviting people to church and having Bible studies with new families. In fact, my children always said that I was the one at home getting them ready for bed and tucking them in. Their dad would come in late and leave early, so they would see him for a few minutes in the morning before school. We had moved to the Atlanta suburb of Morrow to begin a new church nine years before so our work was never done as we built a thriving ministry.
But, that Friday afternoon was different. Henry and I were laying across the bed about 3:30 pm just resting because he had taken the afternoon off, and he was going to treat us to a fine restaurant downtown Atlanta that evening. Then the phone rings. It’s one of Kimberly’s friends letting us know that there had been an accident one mile from our house, and Kimberly and her friend were the ones who were critically hurt. I can tell you that my heart seemed to stop for a moment as I experienced the feeling of loss, and then we shot into motion. We all three jumped in Henry’s car and was at the scene within ten minutes; however, both girls had already been taken away. Kimberly went by ambulance to a local hospital and her friend was airlifted to a trauma center downtown.
As we were at the scene of the accident, people were telling us their version of the scenario. The gas station attendant explained that he had come running across the street immediately after the commercial van had crashed into their car on the driver’s side causing the side panel to implode on her friend resulting in serious head trauma. Kimberly, who was not wearing a seat belt, immediately went into the windshield and was having a seizure. The station attendant assisted in keeping her safe until the seizure was over and the ambulance had arrived. It is as though our world stood still as we frantically drove to the hospital to find our daughter.
The scenes that were playing through our minds were horrendous until we finally allowed the peace of God to overcome our emotions. We had no control over anything happening at this point; however, we knew the One who had created this whole world. So, we began praying specifics. “Lord, we dedicated Kimberly back to you when she was just a baby. Now, she is in your hands. We do not know the extent of her injuries but You do. So, now be the Lord of this situation.”
The reason I tell this story is that our daughter had a real problem with getting connected with strong influencers who could lead her either in the right or wrong direction. It’s really difficult to believe as we watch her lead thousands weekly to Jesus Christ, but at her young age, she could easily be influenced. We had been sensing that she was being influenced by her friend who was not a Christian. In fact, her friend’s parents were Buddhists and she believed strongly that Kimberly needed to change. Her friend had a very strong personality, a leader in her own right, and was exceptionally bright. At that point in time, her friend’s grade point average was so high that she would probably have been valedictorian of their class when they graduated. However, that was another year away.
We had been praying that Kimberly would eventually make a break with this friend because everything had to go her way. We wanted our daughter to understand how distinctly different God had made her. How she had been chosen by God to be a leader, not a follower. We expected change by faith but did not have any idea how that change would come. That fateful Friday after the accident, everything changed in our daughter’s world.
When we were able to see Kimberly in the emergency room, we were told that she would have bruises from the crash but it looked as though nothing was broken and no serious internal injuries. To look at her friend’s car and hear the news that our daughter was not seriously injured was a miracle. However, we did not receive the same news about her friend.
She was in ICU in a downtown hospital for six weeks in a coma. Henry went to visit her almost everyday and would sit in her room while her mother prayed with her beads. He would hold Kimberly’s friend’s hand and silently pray that God would work a miracle. When she was finally released from the hospital, we took Kimberly to see her. It was as though they had never been friends. Her friend did not connect with the relationship that they had before the accident. Kimberly was heartbroken that her friend had changed. The results of the trauma was years of rehabilitation, and her friend was never the same again.
Did the accident happen because we prayed that things would change? I don’t think so; however, I can tell you that God moves in the middle of trauma, natural disasters, sickness, death or pain. He is a good, good Father and does not instigate loss or pain, but He does work in the midst of them. How in the world God could turn our daughter’s life upside down and then rightside up in one afternoon is a miracle! I stand on His Word!