My Grace is Sufficient for You

 Posted by on January 5, 2012  Add comments
Jan 052012

The phone rang in the middle of the night.

It was the call every parent dreads. Our daughter Julie, a freshman at an out-of-state university, had been in an accident, and was in an emergency room 500 miles away.
When I went to bed that night, I had been looking forward to a good night’s sleep. My sister had come to visit, arriving on a red eye flight with her two preschoolers that morning. I was exhausted from getting up early to pick them up and couldn’t wait to get into bed. Around 10:45, I turned off my light.  My daughter was at that time running for her life.
Julie is our eldest child, and has always been the quiet, obedient one.  When we talked to her earlier that evening, she mentioned plans to go out with her friends. It was a clear, beautiful night, so, on the way back to campus, they decided they had enough time before curfew to park the car, walk up, and view the stars from a local train trestle…something many people before them have done. Julie was the least in favor of going, and two of her friends volunteered to stay behind with her while the others walked out onto the trestle. In the end, she decided to go out with them. No one pressured her; she simply decided she didn’t want to miss out on the fun.
The side of the trestle the students entered is wide open, with one small “No Trespassing” sign that cannot be viewed in the dark. Several news articles later showed the opposite side of the trestle, where barbed wire fence and large signs warn people to stay away. The five freshmen were not familiar with that side, and in their youth and inexperience, didn’t think trains came by that often or that fast.

But a train did come.

Julie and her friends were about one third of the way across the trestle when the train appeared, and had 40 seconds to react. At first, they all started running. The two boys soon realized there was no way any of them would make it, and yelled for the girls to climb down onto the side. Two of the girls, one of them Julie, followed. One girl kept running, and never made it. Her life was lost that night. Meanwhile, Julie lost her grip on the side of the trestle, falling almost 100 feet to the muddy riverbank below.

My husband and I were in shock as the doctor told us of our daughter’s injuries—lacerated organs, internal bleeding, broken bones. It felt surreal…like it wasn’t really happening and like I already knew it would happen, both at the same time. Part of me felt like it was my fault, like I could have prevented it. My mouth went completely dry, and nausea overcame me. I could hardly get off the bed to get ready to go, to make the long journey, hopefully in time.
Whom do you call at a time like this? Our first call was to Dave and Rose, our long time close friends.  Dave is a professor at the university, and Rose a stay-at-home mom. They are like godparents to Julie. They began praying, then Rose went to the hospital to be with Julie until we got there. We called my husband’s brother and sister-in-law, who live near us, and our youth pastor, a friend of our family and a special person in Julie’s life during her high school years. They all had the job of calling everyone else. I woke my sister and told her what was going on, while Brian told our sixteen year old upstairs. I could hear her horrified sobs. We decided to let our twelve year old sleep, and left both girls in the care of their capable aunt.
The 10 hour car ride was the worst part of our entire ordeal after the phone call. Waves of nausea passed over me. I felt as if there were a brick inside my chest. Anxiety consumed me, and though I asked God to take it away, He chose not to for the time being. Brian drove, prayed, and we tried to sing and recall Scripture verses, but I just couldn’t focus. Thankfully, there were update calls from a couple doctors, explaining what they were doing to stop the internal bleeding and help Julie to breathe. Whenever these calls came, my heart beat faster until I was actually speaking with the doctor. Then, when he explained a procedure to me, I knew Julie was still alive because they were still working on her. Rose called from Julie’s room (by this time she was in ICU), and told me she looked good and that Rose was with her, praying over her.
We finally arrived at the hospital. I had been unable to cry the whole trip, but when Brian dropped me off at the front and I went in, Dave was there and it all became so real.  I burst into tears and made him promise the doctors weren’t lying to me…that Julie was still alive. Dave escorted me up to the ICU waiting room, where Rose was keeping watch.  She put her arms around me, hugged me tightly, and whispered into my ear “God is good. God is good.” I nodded and cried again, releasing the tension of the last 10 hours as I felt those arms around me…not the arms of our best friends, but the arms of Jesus.
I resolved not to “lose it” in Julie’s room, as that would upset her. I stepped in, and saw her swollen, bruised face, her arms wrapped in splints, the oxygen tubes in her nose, the bags of blood being transfused into her body. She was conscious. She looked up at me and smiled sweetly. “Hi, Mommy.” Those words never sounded so good …words that told me my child was indeed still herself, and had no head trauma. She had survived a near 100 foot fall…truly a miracle! She also had no spinal cord injury… things we were instantly thankful for as we began a long list of good things that happened, bad things that didn’t happen, and blessings that came from this trial.
Something happened after I gently hugged Julie in her ICU bed and crossed the room to sit in one of the two recliners provided for family. The brick left my chest, and a restful feeling replaced it. The room was peaceful, not stressful. Rose told me she felt the same way when she entered the room hours earlier. The Spirit of God was present, bathing us with the grace we needed to endure this, the worst trial of our marriage, of our entire lives. And I didn’t have to look for it, or try hard to find it. God’s peace and grace just washed over me like a flood. It was as if I couldn’t stop it if I wanted to.  “Sit back,” He seemed to be saying, “and let me take over. I am the One Who will heal her.”

From that point on, there was peace and even joy. Yes, there were scary moments…especially the first few days in ICU (she was there a total of 9 days before moving to a regular room, then to inpatient rehab at another hospital). But God sent so many of His people to encourage us…friends, family, faculty and staff from the university, church people we didn’t even know. Those who couldn’t be there encouraged by email, Facebook, cards, and flowers; those who could by their presence and their help… praying over Julie, bringing food, taking our dirty clothes home to wash, visiting, and so many other things. We were inundated with offers for help. Two churches (one our own) took up offerings to help with our expenses. Gift cards were donated. The ICU nurses were angels in disguise! Many of them were believers, like us. Many a night, I sat up talking with one or the other of them about the way God was working through this trial in our family’s life.
The best encouragement, however, were the Scriptures. They were written on our Facebook pages, tucked into the pockets of our clean laundry on cards, shared with us during visits or phone calls. Believers all over the country were praying for us, for Julie, for her healing. We felt those prayers! Each new piece of good news, each improvement and victory in her healing, was a direct result of God’s people bringing Julie before the throne of Heaven. She was going to be all right. And it was a miracle.
As Julie moved to inpatient rehab, we received even more encouragement. Fellow students from her college visited, bringing guitars and praising God in song with her. There was nothing wrong with her voice, and as soon as she was able, she lifted it to sing to her Savior along with her friends. The three other survivors of the accident were the most faithful, visiting her almost every night, praying and praising with her, all of them healing together. The mother of the girl who died that night came to see Julie and encouraged all four of the kids to use this trial in their lives for God’s glory, as she was doing. From her, forgiveness and grace flowed.
There have been hard times, as well. Julie’s frustration after returning home with not being able to walk right away and not being “normal” yet. My own anxiety at her getting “hurt” again… in any way. Her scary nighttime visions of running from the train and falling. It’s not over yet. But we have realized one lesson in all of this…His grace is truly sufficient for us, for every need.

  15 Responses to “My Grace is Sufficient for You”

  1. I love your mama heart for sharing your story and encouraging fellow parents. This is a beautiful tribute to a terrible and terrific trial!! When I read this it was like I was sitting right with you. Tears! Prayers for Julie, for you all for continued healing. Both physically and emotionally. Yes, He is what we need.

  2. Well, I can’t read every word right now for fear of completely falling apart and not being able to get through my other tasks for the morning. But I have walked through this journey alongside you as each event has occurred and my heart still goes out to you all. God is so good! That’s all I can say. Oh, and, you are a fantastic writer and I am so glad you went ahead and did your post today. The world needs to read this!

  3. Praying for you all ~

  4. Thanks for sharing, Kim. While it was very hard for me to read, it has some details that I didn’t know. My daughter is the one who did not makeit. We don’t know why, but our God who loves us with an everlasting love does ans we trust him. His grace is truly sufficient. We are delighted that Julie is doing so well and the others were not severely injured. God has use her testimony and death and the testimony of the others involved; we have seen around 20 people saved and countless others drawn closer to the Lord. We miss our Hannah, but we are blessed to know she is with her Lord and we will see her again.

    • Terri,

      You are truly a woman of God! This article was very hard to read. My daughter attends Liberty so I heard about this shortly after it happened. I honestly don’t know if I could have endured this if it had been her. And yet, you are by the Grace of God. My prayers are with you sister. I am so sorry for your loss. Know that I am praying for you and your family as well as the other kids and their families who were involved. You are strong sister. You give others the courage to live on. I know it is hard. What a blessing it is to see you post in the midst of your grief. If I could be there to hug you I would!

      And Kim,

      Thank you for posting. It was hard to read and I am to the point of tears. My prayers go out with you and the family. Both of you show the strength that God gives in the midst of trials. I know this was hard to write about but as I read it, you expressed the emotions and prayers that I think all mom’s and dad’s feel when this happens. Yet, you write with the hope and grace that God provides. Thank you! I pray Julianne (my sisters name) is recovering well. I also pray that she can rest in the arms of God as she recovers. We all know she has great parents to guide her though this healing process. Hugs prayers abound from the state of NY for all.!

  5. Kimmy, that is so beautiful, and you are such a gifted writer. What a wonderful tribute. It’s so sweet of you to share your story. I know that couldn’t have been easy, as you had to feel all the emotions again as you wrote. God has blessed us by keeping our precious Julianne safe and continuing to heal her so well.

  6. I loved reading this Kim! His grace is sufficient for us no matter what trial we go through. I find myself thanking God for protecting Noah’s intelligence from his cerebral palsy. It makes me smile that God picked to give me and him this little blessing as education and teaching is truly a passion of mine. He is so happy when I teach him that it makes me think I must be just the best teacher ever, and then I teach Matthew and he brings me back down to earth! lol Noah’s name means comforter and I used to wonder how that fit, but of all things he is a wonderful source of comfort. He lets me hug and cuddle him for hours if I wish and that is always comforting to a mom’s heart. And, then he has the softest, sweetest voice when he talks to me. I don’t catch everything he says yet, but I love listening to his little stories. And, when he says, “I love you, Mom” it melts me. God is good even when the good is a little different than we expected.

    • Rebecca, that is so sweet! Noah is comforting… I love to cuddle with him, too, when babysitting him. His smile warms my heart! =)

  7. Thanks, Terri! I purposely left out the other kids’ names, not knowing how much you all would want me to say publicly. I know your hurt is far deeper than mine, and pray for God’s grace for you. Julie has started to talk about Hannah a little… how strange it was that they were all together all evening, talking, and suddenly Hannah was gone. I reminded her Hannah was immediately ushered into Heaven and is with her Savior.

  8. Thank you, Kim, for sharing your story. In the midst God was there with His grace, strength and comfort! It is amazing how you and all of those involved have handled everything — a true testimony to everyones faith! I love you and your family and will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

  9. Kim, Just wanted to let you know our church in Greensboro, NC has prayed for your daughter! Terri Williams is also my friend – I don’t know how either of you have handled this apart from God’s grace and strength!!! I was crushed 20 years ago by an 18-wheeler, and want to encourage you and your daughter to stay close to the Lord – full recovery from these kind of accidents can be slower than we like – His strength is needed to defeat discouragement if/when recovery slows. We will keep you all in our prayers and trust Him for continued progress! Let me know by FB message if we can do anything. Pastor Fred T. Daniel, Jr.

  10. Every time i think about what happened i cry. The thought of losing Julie is always too much for me to think about. Thank you for sharing this, Mrs Kim, and letting God use you to strengthen all of us. I look at you with more admiration every day. I love you guys and im still praying for you. And im praying for Ms Williams also. Even though i never knew Hannah, she has definitely changed my life. I look at where she was in her walk with Christ and strive to be more like that.

  11. Thank You so much for sharing your life and your heart with us! I have been tremendously blessed by being a witness to GOD moving in your fanmilies lives!!!

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