I met Sara through a mutual friend several years ago. Since that time, she has gone out of her way to invite me and include me. More than she probably realizes, her sweet text messages and annual Christmas cards have left an imprint on my heart. Shortly after I got married and moved across the country, Sara would always seem to reach out at the exact right time – letting me know that her and her husband were praying for me and mine as we settled into our new life together.
Friends, never underestimate how much those small acts of kindness or simple words of affirmation impact others. When the Lord brings someone to your mind or places them on your heart, reach out to them. Sara is one of the best at this. Even as she tells her story of finding God’s love and comfort in the arms of her parents after an extremely difficult season, Sara remembers and thoughtfully mentions every person that played a part in what would be one of the most life-changing events of her life.
It is a blessing to introduce you to my beautiful and caring friend, Sara. May her story encourage you to release any burdens you are carrying, pray with and for the people you love, and embrace the forgiveness and freedom in our Heavenly Father’s arms.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
– Jeremiah 29:11
I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember. I was born into a loving home where God was always present. I was baptized in our church when I was nine years old and grew up going to church camps every summer, Disciple Now weekends, and singing in my youth choir. I have two loving parents who would do anything for my sister and me. My mom and dad have been married for almost 37 years now and their relationship continues to inspire us. To say I was blessed growing up would be an understatement. We weren’t rich in material things, but we had a lot of love around all the time.
The last full day of school during my junior year was the worst day of my life. I was on my way to the high school with my neighbor Jimmy and was heading down Robinson Road. This road went straight through our town and, at the time, had only a few red lights and hardly ever any traffic. It was a warm and sunny morning and we were listening to the new Lifehouse song Hanging by a Moment. I was driving to my last full day of school being a junior and would have the next two days off since I was exempt from taking final exams. It was just an average day. And then it wasn’t so average.
It was just an average day. And then it wasn’t so average.
Another car ran a stop sign and we collided. I woke up to my car filled with smoke and Jimmy calling my name. As I came to, I discovered my hand jammed between the steering wheel and the dashboard. My head was throbbing and the gear shifter was crushed into my knee. I realized there was smoke everywhere and immediately thought the car was on fire. I quickly yanked my hand free and crawled out of the car door. As I gulped in a huge breath of fresh summer air, a man came running to my aid and helped me to the curb away from the car. He rushed from my side to the other car to see if anyone needed help. I would later find out this good Samaritan was an off-duty firefighter. My friend Jimmy was helped out of the car by a sweet woman who had also witnessed the wreck. The only injury he had was a lens popped out of his glasses, which he found and popped back in later that morning. We would later learn that she was a nurse headed to her shift at the hospital. She made sure to stay with Jimmy and I until the paramedics arrived. One more man stopped and checked on the other driver. I would soon find out he owned the local sandwich shop and would get to know him a little bit better as he would often check on me throughout my senior year.
I woke up to my car filled with smoke and Jimmy calling my name.
My car was sitting underneath the other driver’s maroon Ford pickup truck. I had missed hitting his tire by about six inches, so my car was lodged under the seat and the bed of his truck. As Jimmy and I were catching our breath on the side of the road with our sweet nurse, five fire trucks, three ambulances, and four police cars were dispatched to our location. The man in the pickup had not been wearing a seat belt and had a small white dog in the car with him. He worked as a crossing guard for the elementary school near my house and was running late to work that morning when he failed to stop at the stop sign. He was unresponsive.
He worked as a crossing guard for the elementary school near my house and was running late to work that morning. He was unresponsive.
As Jimmy and I were being checked on by the paramedics, Care Flight was landing to take the other driver to the hospital. My mother was a teacher and took the same road to work each morning, but she didn’t have to leave as early as I did since her school was closer. That morning she noticed traffic on Robinson Road. She slowly moved with the other cars and then realized it was my car involved in the accident. I will never forget the sound of her screaming my name when she was getting out of her car. I was sitting in the back of the ambulance when my panicked mother came around the door. After the man was airlifted and the scene started to clear, my mother drove me to the doctor to have my wrist checked out.
Two days after my wreck I was officially a senior in high school and my youth pastor came to my house for a visit. We talked about how I was feeling and how lucky I was that I was wearing my seat belt. The man in the other car was not so lucky. He died two days after the wreck of internal injuries. My pastor informed me that the man was 84 years old, was a Christian, and had lived a good life. We talked about his family and his love for God. My pastor wanted me to know all of this was out of my control and I could not have prevented it. I went into a deep depression after that moment. I was 16 years old and had taken someone’s life. I knew it wasn’t my fault, but it was a hard burden to carry with me. I didn’t eat, I didn’t leave the house, I didn’t sleep much. I was a shell of a person and I felt like I would never be whole again.
I was a shell of a person and I felt like I would never be whole again.
A few weeks into the summer my dad called me downstairs to run an errand. My parents surprised me with a new car and my dad wanted to go put a CD Player in it for my birthday which was a few weeks away. I quietly thanked them for the gift and then turned to head back to my room. My father stopped me right there and he started praying. We prayed that God would keep me safe, that He would continue to love me, and that He would allow me to forgive myself for the accident that had happened. I fell into the arms of my parents and cried with them. When we finally came up for air I felt free again. I felt like me again. I was still hurting, but I was no longer suffering. I felt like God was with me again and would be with me as I needed Him. That summer I slowly got back into my normal high school routine. My senior year was full of the ups and downs of any normal teenager, but I was whole again.
My father stopped me right there and started praying.
God has continued to show me His love in many ways in my life. He got me through school and provided the opportunity for me to land the job I was meant to do, He gave me my selfless husband, and now He has given us the gift of starting our own little family. We are so thankful for all of the blessings He has given us and grateful for the new beginnings Jesus promises us if we are to falter in our walk with Him. I am even thankful for the trials and tribulations He allows to remind us that – even as Christians – life isn’t going to be perfect and neither are we. I am very blessed and I thank God every day for what He has done in my life.
We are so thankful for all of the blessings He has given us and grateful for the new beginnings Jesus promises us if we are to falter in our walk with Him.