I heard the doorbell ringing and it disturbed my rhythm. How untimely, I thought as I mumbled on the way to answer it. My head was in a spin like tumbleweed blowing on the prairies on a windy day.
July is a special month for me. It is a time when I pause, reflect, and thank God for allowing beauty to rise from the ashes of life.
On the first day of July, in the year 2000, I was living my life to the full, but the ringing of that doorbell would forever change the way I lived my life. A big, burly policeman stood at my door and told me that my son was on his way to hospital in a helicopter. His car had been hit by a 60,000 pound truck and they were fighting to keep him alive. My long nightmare had begun!
When we arrived at the hospital we listened to the long list of injuries our son had sustained. The doctors told us that our precious boy would not make it through the night. I am sure the catalog of injuries means little to a non-medical person, but I list them to highlight his plight. He had a ruptured aorta, a rib had gone through the right ventricle of his heart, his liver and spleen were ruptured, his lung punctured, and every rib in his body was shattered. To drive home the incredible challenge he faced let me add this addendum: There is a 1% survival rate from people who suffer a ruptured aorta. Bear in mind that this was only one of Jason's injuries.
The medical staff told us that Jay would not survive. What they did not realize when they told us this fact was that we serve a mighty God. The moment I heard the terrible news from the policeman I began to pray. My world was shattered, my heart was broken, but I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that my God was with me and He would be with my son.
For twenty one days Jay remained unconscious. He seemed to go from bad to worse, but we kept praying and trusting God. I cannot pretend that it was easy and neither can I say that I did not feel fear. I was in a vortex! However, throughout that time I felt the presence of my amazing God and knew that He would be with us and see us through.
The full story is in some of the chapters of my book Wild Hope. It is in the final stages of a second publishing and should be available soon. What I can say is that throughout the many long nights and the desperate moments, God's family, the church, were amazing and supportive. I do not know how I would have survived that season of my life without their love and care. The days dragged on in a lamentable fashion.
On the twenty first day of Jay's time in the Trauma ICU ward, he opened his eyes. A christian nurse was with him and she was so excited to see him tracking her that she rushed over to him and said, "Jay, can you hear me?" He nodded his head. She wanted to see if he had any brain damage and so she asked him some simple questions which required a nod or shake of his head. He was able to comply. The medical staff had been deeply concerned that if Jay survived he would never walk again. With this in mind the nurse asked him to wiggle his toes. He did! She told us later that everyone of the medical staff were weeping at his bedside and declared "The God of the Alexanders has performed this miracle."
They were absolutely right. God accomplished what the medical profession told us was impossible, and they were willing to admit that God did what they could never do. There are so many details I leave out, but suffice it to say, Jay is living a full life today.
Why do I pause this time of the year to reflect on this event? And what have we as a family learned from this experience?
- Bad things can happen to good people - We have always tried to live God-honoring lives. That does not mean that we will not go through difficult times. When there is famine or war everyone suffers. Being a good person does not mean that bad things don't happen.
- God is with you in the good times and the bad times - I felt God showing His love to me in a more meaningful way during this tragedy. He loved me through His precious people and their support was incredible.
- Life is short - I realized how short life is. We can never be sure about tomorrow.
- Seize each moment - How quickly I learned that we need to appreciate every minute we have with the people we do life with. Tell them how much you love them. Appreciate your family and friends.
- God can bring beauty from the ashes of life - Would I want to go through that experience again? No, a thousand times no. But having said that, I would never want to be without that experience. Yes, I felt pain in my heart that almost overwhelmed me. I thought my heart would break for my son. But God has brought beauty from those ashes. Jay bears incredible scars in his body, but they are beautiful in my eyes. They remind me of a God who walked with me through the ashes. When I felt as if my feet could carry me no further, He swooped me in His arms and carried me. He upheld me in my darkest night. I will always be grateful.
And so, that is why I stop to reflect at this time of the month. I need to remind myself of these five principles I have shared with you. Life is short and I need to engage today. I also need to affirm the people around me and thank my amazing God for His goodness.
I am one happy and thankful lady!
I am and always will be,
recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,