Joy’s Testimony

On July 24th 1997 I was in a car wreck, not just any fender bender, but a full blown total the car kind of wreck. You know you have always heard the saying:  slow down or you are going to wrap your car around a tree……yeah, I did that!  I was 18 and speeding…yes speeding (can you imagine an 18 year old speeding?) and hydroplaned on water that was running across the road.  It had just rained like a monsoon and the roads were sopping wet.  I lost control and started spinning in circles for what seemed like 10 minutes.  My car then ran off a ravine and luckily hit a few trees that stopped me from going to the bottom. On the way off the road I remember seeing the side of the mountain and thinking “I am about to hit”.  The next thing I remember is waking up and seeing a tree right beside my head and feeling a sick feeling all over my body.  What had happened was instead of hitting the mountain side I hit a tree head on about 5 feet off the ground which deployed my airbag.  This picture is of the first tree I hit.

From the momentum of the spinning my car then flew through the air sideways and hit a tree to my left and wrapped itself around the tree.  So when I awoke I literally saw my tail lights on the other side of the tree.
I didn’t really know what was going on, but I knew that I had wrecked. I had started praying from the moment I lost control of my car. I grew up knowing God and with Him all around me, but had decided to live “my” life and not His. I was really good at playing the part of a Christian, you know the kind…. goes through the motions, but never has the personal relationship. I liked to live my life the way I wanted, but still put on my dress and headed to church on Sundays. I feared I had waited too late and I cried out prayers of desperation for Him to save me, to protect me, and for Him to forgive me. I thought surely my car would stop spinning and I would avert disaster. Little did I know that God had a bigger plan for my life and it wasn’t my plan!
You will see the word “blessed” here a lot because I do not like to use the word “miraculous”.  Not because I do not believe that the events weren’t miraculous, but it just makes me feel weird using that word so I like to say that I am blessed!
I was blessed that an old friend and his father were traveling that same road and just a few minutes behind me.  You see, my car was jade green and it was late July in Alabama.  Everything around was green and being down in the ravine you couldn’t see my car from the road…it blended in nicely.  They just happened to see the exhaust coming from my tail pipe and thought something was wrong with the picture.  They stopped and found me.  I wouldn’t have been found if this blessing wouldn’t have happened. They called for help and soon there after the paramedics and fire department arrived on scene and it took them 45 minutes to free me from my mangled car.   This picture is them working on getting me out of the car.  If you look closely you can see how high up my car hit on the tree.

As they pulled me out and carried me up the hill on the stretcher all I could think about was my shoes….yes you read right…my shoes.  They were brand new Timberland hiking boots and I LOVED them!  Please remember this is 1997 and Alabama….the style was hiking boots and no I am not a red neck!  In my mind I wasn’t hurt that bad, maybe a few broken bones, but nothing major so I wasn’t worried about dying anymore…I was worried about them cutting my shoes off me.  So I yelled at the paramedic to just please untie my shoes and don’t cut them.  They all looked a  little puzzled and then chuckled and did as I asked.  I will say that I have never worn those shoes again.  In this picture you can see the doctor holding my shoes….not cut, but untied!
My injuries were severe and my body had started failing me.  I will tell you the last thing I remember is shoes……then blank.  By the time I reached the hospital I was in dire condition and was rushed immediately to surgery.  I had  extensive internal bleeding from being crushed in the car.  My pelvis was broken in 3 places, right arm broke, nose broke, lungs collapsed, lacerated spleen, kidneys failed, concussion and lacerations all over. I was placed in a coma to help me be comfortable and to heal. To sum up:  I didn’t look pretty inside or out.
After days of endless surgeries the doctors came out and met with my parents.  The news was not good…I was dying.  They had tried everything they knew and just couldn’t locate everywhere I was bleeding.  They then told my parents that the time had come for them to start thinking about and planning my funeral.  Harsh…but reality.  My mom (stunned, but with a Faith like no other) turned to my father and announced “THEY JUST DON’T KNOW MY GOD AND WHAT HE CAN DO”.  With that the family headed to the prayer room and prayed through the night.

 

BLESSING:  The next morning Dr. Donald Smith (love that man) came back from his vacation early and headed to the hospital to see if there were any new cases.  He looked me over and my chart and wanted to talk with my parents.  He told them and this is word for word “the other doctors may have reached their limitations, but I haven’t reached mine”.  He wanted to take me back to surgery and try and find where I was bleeding out.  I guess you can imagine the outcome since I am writing this today!  He found the bleeders and I was sent on the road to recovery….a very long road!

 

I had been in the coma for 3 weeks so my body could heal, so I had no clue of anything until I woke up. At first I was happy and very peaceful, but as the days wore on and the pain grew I started wondering why? Why me? Why did I have these scars now? Why didn’t you spare my Lord? Why do I have to live like this now? My kidney failure had left me on dialysis 3 times a week and my broken pelvis had left me bed ridden and not capable of walking. I was told I would have a limp when I walked, and would be in a wheel chair for a while. I was also told that dialysis might be a permanent thing for me. As an 18 year old, these things were really hard to deal with.
This is where my relationship with God really started to change. Somehow I grasped what had happened and stopped asking why. I would pray and listen to music and literally feel God all over me.  I would be in dialysis just weeping because I was so full of God’s love and the doctors would keep asking if I was okay….I was so okay!  When it came time to start walking again, I imagined Him holding my hand and not allowing me to fall. God became real, alive in my heart. The funny thing was, He was always there, I had just pushed Him aside. God is always here with all of us, He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He loves us completely!
After 5 weeks of dialysis my kidney’s finally kicked in and dialysis was no longer needed, and as for that limp, well it never appeared. Don’t get me wrong, recovery was slow and painful, but I did it with God by my side. 6 1/2 weeks after my wreck, I walked out of that hospital a new person.   This is a picture of my car afterward….the indention in the middle is where the tree was.
I would never change anything that happened to me, because it taught me faith, perseverance, and most of all it taught me about God’s love. So my prayer for you is that you not forget that God is with you, even though you might be going through some tough trials right now, He is with you and will NEVER forsake you.  He will give you the strength you need to persevere! All you have to do is trust in Him.
I wished I could end my story there, but it is an ongoing, evolving testimony! I have faced many trials in this short life, but they have made me the Christian woman that I am today. Each trial or crisis  has developed my relationship and love for God even deeper.  I am a very blessed woman and I am so thankful for each day that I have been granted.

 

 

 

 

Joy

8 comments on “Joy’s Testimony

  1. Julie Zuercher on said:

    Thanks for sharing this. I knew about the wreck, but not the whole story. What a testimony to Jesus’s love and grace.

    • Thank you Julie, I do feel very blessed!

    • Jon Poer on said:

      Don’t tell anyone, but I just cried for the past 10 minutes. God is so wonderful. Thank you Lord for all your blessings. Use us Lord to share your grace and your love that all may know you. And Lord, can you make me a little more of a man so I don’t cry so much.

  2. Alison Stanley on said:

    It is amazing that 13 years later the picture of that car still has the same effect on me as the day I saw it when you were in ICU and I believed you were dying and I would lose the best friend i had ever known! I still cry at the sight and feel the exact same pain at the thought of loosing you! God does answer prayers and many went out from me and many others including those from your mother who as you said truely has faith like NO other! I don’t know who I would be today if I had lost you but I do know I wouldn’t be the same and I have God to thank and Dr. Smith who he gave the knowledge and skill to bring you back to us! I LOVE YOU Joy and am so greatful to call you my friend!

  3. Casey Sparkman on said:

    After trying to hae a child for years, I was in the lab waiting room for another test. This is what the nurse had by her computer. “Pray and never faint, is the motto Christ gives us for praying. It is the test of our faith, and the more severe the trial, and the longer the waiting, the more glorious the results.” E.M. Bounds
    This sums up your experience. Trials are wonderful because of the ending. :) Oh and after that blood test I found out I was going to have a baby.

    • admin on said:

      OH I love that saying!!!! Thank you so much Casey for sharing, I’m going to have to write that one down! God is good…all the time!

  4. Jessica on said:

    Joy,
    This picture makes me cry everytime. I remember coming home from school and getting in the car to drive to Alabama….
    You were my rock growing up and I thought that i was going to lose you forever…This accident was the REAL reason i finally stopped running and turned to GOD.

    I love you more everday

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