She made a choice.
A choice to go through two stop signs at nearly 60mph. One of those stop signs was along a main-road, 6th St. E. If you would have been traveling on 6th St. you would reach a stop light at the next intersection.
I was traveling on 6th St. E.
I didn’t reach the stop light.
She reached me first.
What they don’t tell you, is what is written here.
They don’t tell you about the terror my family endured in the days and weeks that followed. But I am not here to tell you of that, either.
I am here to tell you –
I am grateful.
I am grateful for you, for your friends, for your prayers, for your friends prayers and for the people who know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows you, that prayed.
I am here to tell you that God is good.
I am here to tell you that people, our relationships, are the most valuable ‘asset’ we have.
It’s the prayer, the God I love and worship, and my relationships that have carried me through this, and restored me. Made me new.
The doctors didn’t know what I would be like when I woke up, or if I would wake up. “Anticipate she will be here 3-4 months on the rehab floor, easy.” Turned into 1 month. In the hospital. To the day. Admitted March 16th, 2015 and sent home April 15th, 2015.
To all of the staff at Regions Hospital, a staff I fell in love with, who prayed for me, cleaned me, cared for me, did amazing things with surgery and braces, treated me with respect and honor, even in times I was difficult and challenging, who kept me company and did so SO much more – Thank you. Your work is so important. Don’t forget that.
Right before I woke up in Regions Hospital, I had a vision.
In this vision, I woke in a cave-like room. Right in front of me there were two small windows. I looked out them to see my husband, Tyler, playing with our two daughters. Immediately my heart leapt and filled with a deep ache and longing for them. I missed them, SO deeply. A voice behind my said:
“That’s who’s waiting for you if you want to go back. Do you want to go back?”
Because of the ache in my heart, which I can still feel, I could say nothing but
Then I thought to myself; wait, is this God? If so, am I choosing to go back to my three and four year old daughters who throw a huge fit and cry if their shoes are the wrong color??…..instead of going to Heaven? Will He be offended be this?……No, He led me into this life. It is because of Him that I have Tyler as a husband and our two daughters (because God knows I wouldn’t have dated Tyler if I wasn’t being led by the Lord at the time, don’t even get me started on the terrifying experience of being PREGNANT with his child after I knew him LESS THAN A YEAR and was not married to him, 20 years old…..) Yes Lord, YOU LED ME TO THIS LIFE and YES I want to go back and LIVE IT.
“Turn around” He said to me next
So I did. Only to see a HUGE dome of glowing blue light taking up an entire valley. I was drawn to it and stepped in. The SECOND I did, I heard a flood of voices hushed and serious. Some of them I recognized, some I didn’t. The second I would try to listen to one, I would be distracted by another. I turned around confused.
“What is this?”
“Those are all of the people who are praying for you. I am going to answer their prayers now.”
Overwhelmed with emotion, all I could say was “Thank you”
Then He said the last thing to me
“You’re going to go back now, I am just going to show you how much you are loved.”
Then I started hearing voices saying to me,
“Work to forgive her. She has had a really hard life. Just try to forgive her”
“Okay, I will. Yes – God of course you can help me forgive. You’re incredible at that. I will do it, for You Lord.”
I had no idea who “she” was.
Then I woke up. Regions Hospital,
It was all very confusing. I don’t remember anything of how I got here. Why I am here?
Then people tell me.
My first fear is “Were the girls with me? Are they okay?” I was alone. Thank God.
Then I think “Oh goodness, if I am in this shape…..”Is the other person okay?”
“Yes, they are fine. Don’t worry about them”
I didn’t know right away that it wasn’t my fault.
Or that they got out of the car, and ran away.
When I understood…..I understood the “Forgive her” – but I was angry. I prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to forgive her. How could I? After what she has done to me, to my family? I need you to work in me to get me to a place I even WANT to forgive her, let alone can do it. You have to do it. I don’t want to. I am angry”
In the days, weeks and months, that have followed the road has been tough. It is definitely, without a doubt, the hardest thing me or my family have ever gone through.
But you have made it easier.
You have made phone calls, said prayers, donated written letters, made exceptions – they have all made a huge difference.
Your generosity has floored us. Many of us.
Thank you for my friends……I cannot say enough how grateful I am….
(Story edited here taking out the many personal ‘Thank Yous’ Sophia has in her blog post.)
Thank you too You, Lord, who has restored me and made me new. Inspired others to pray, to reach out -to show up in incredible ways. Thank you.
Some people wonder “Why would God do this to you?”
Some have said “Praise God, everything happens for a reason.”
Both don’t sit well with me.
I don’t believe God did this to me.
I believe God allows people to make choices. Every day. Like ‘she’ made a choice.
Then He works with those choices.
In this case, the way He worked was through you. Through the BEST ambulance team in the metro being NEARBY and responding first (I heard this through another EMT who’s team got the call, but they let it be because the “Best guys possible were already on it”)
Through the “Jaws of Life” or the extraction tool they needed to pry the car open, being AVAILABLE and blocks away – so there was no long wait.
Through the Trauma care team at Regions Hospital, voted best in the Nation for Trauma, being just a few blocks away.
Through the hands that cared for me.
Through the voices that prayed for me,
Through the cards, meals, acts of kindness, cleanings and so so much more.
You see, as the “Hands and feet of God”, I believe He works THROUGH us.
That’s why Christ talked so much about relationship, and love, and the state of our hearts. Because that’s what matters most.
Tonight, as 7:30 pm rolls around, can we all say a prayer together again? This time, not a prayer of hope and rescue, but a prayer of PRAISE for all He has done for us.
And, if you think of it, pray for ‘her’, too. As for my forgiveness for her, God has done an amazing work. You see, I’ve realized that I’m not sure she has the community, the people, the relationships that I do.
I once got this impression of her as a young child. Very scared. Very scared. And running away, from a lot of scary things. When I saw the video of her running out of the car away from the scene, I realized she had been running a long time. I thought to myself “What would have to happen to me, for it to seem a better option for me to RUN AWAY in this situation, rather than see if the other person is okay?”
I would have to be really scared –
Really scared, for a long, long time.
So let’s pray together. With gratitude for what God has done, and for her and her family.
Lord, we thank you for all you have done to restore Sophia and SO MANY OF US as we have ALL been a part of this Trauma. We praise you, for your love, for how you work in, and through, us. Thank you. Please be with her and her family as she is still running, and her children, 1 and 3 years old, are probably very lost souls too. Call them to you. Against all odds, like you have been working in Sophia’s life against all odds, bring them the richness of your love and life, as you have done for Sophia. Help us ALL recover fully, beautiful and completely from this trauma, moving forward into the beauty and life you call us deeper into every day, with every sunrise and every bird song. That we may turn any evil that is in our hearts, into your beauty. Let YOUR will be done Lord. We praise you. THANK YOU. In Jesus Christ, who knows what it is to be redeemed and to redeem who gave it all for each one of us – we pray. Amen.
Sophia – St. Paul NM – September 2015
NOTE: This ‘story’ has been edited to remove names of many people Sophia thanked in her personal blog post – the list of who she thanked is long and heartfelt.
Sophia is Sandy’s niece, we personally Praise God for her sensational recovery!