Just over six months ago I was involved in a serious car accident. My husband was travelling overseas for work and I was at the wheel with my mother in the passenger seat and my two children in the back sleeping soundly. We were driving over a mountain range and it had been raining heavily that morning, and was sprinkling a little at the time. As I drove up a slight hill about to take a left corner, a huge and overloaded 4WD came flying towards us, completely out of control, sideways and on our side of the road. After my mind finally registered in milliseconds what was actually happening (no, I’m not dreaming, yes, that car is about to hit us) I did the best I could to slam on my breaks and veer off the road, hopefully avoiding the impending collision. As his car continued to come flying towards us with greater speed and momentum I braced myself for the realisation that we were certainly about to collide. Even though all of this happened in mere seconds, I remember so many thoughts going through my head. How bad is this about to be? Are we going to get out of this alive? Am I about to lose my legs or be in an intense amount of pain? Are we going to get knocked off the road and pushed over the cliff edge? The closer he got the more obvious it became that he was about to hit my side of the car and all I could think about was that I had my precious seven week old newborn baby girl in the seat behind me. I honestly believed that I was about to lose her then and there as the impending collision became inevitable.
The sound of our cars smashing together will forever be imbedded in my mind. The screams of my children who had been suddenly woken from a peaceful sleep, the burning smell of the smashed up engine, the sight and feel of the airbags blowing up in our faces is certainly something I’ll never forget. But what scared me the most was that I didn’t know what had happened – I didn’t know where he had hit, I didn’t know if my children were injured, I didn’t even know where our car was positioned as I couldn’t see out the windows because of the airbags. Smoke was coming from the dashboard into the car and I didn’t know if the car was on fire or was about to explode into flames. All I could hear were the intense cries of my babies behind me. I screamed at my mum to get the kids out of the car, but as I tried to get out of my door I realised I was trapped in and couldn’t open it to escape and get to my kids. I felt so helpless. I scrambled over my mum’s side, out the passenger door and raced around the car to release my children and get as far away from the car as possible into safety.
With my children finally safely in our arms we stood and surveyed the damage done. The 4WD had spun out of control going too fast around a corner in the rain, he had collided with us on the drivers side and huge chunks of our car and his car were strewn all along the busy highway. But he had also gone on to hit the four other cars behind us. It was a huge accident and within minutes fire engines, ambulance and police were at the scene. My mother was injured from the seatbelt and had to be taken to hospital with a suspected fractured sternum. I escaped with nothing but a sore chest and scratches and burns on my hands from the friction of the airbag exploding while I was gripping the steering wheel. We were all taken to the nearest hospital by ambulance and remained there for the next few hours while they assessed the children and myself for shock, until finally late that afternoon we were all free to go home. Our car was completely written off and according to one police offer on the scene, ‘it was a miracle there were no fatalities.’
The car crash itself was experienced and over within a matter of seconds, but the imprint it left in my mind and heart went on for days, weeks and months. I think I felt more afraid the days after the accident than actually in the midst of it. Thoughts of what could have happened, how I could have avoided it, what if I didn’t swerve out of the way, what if something had happened to Everly, what if we were all taken out and my husband was stranded on the other side of the world having lost his wife and two children on Father’s Day (yes, morbid I know, but that’s where my thoughts went!). I have never been one to think of worst case scenarios or dwell on the what ifs, and I’ve certainly never concerned myself with paranoid thoughts or actions towards my children, but I honestly became so fearful that something would happen to them that for weeks afterwards I turned into a crazy, over protective, helicopter parent who wouldn’t let my kids do anything even remotely dangerous, or let them out of my site for even a second.
For weeks and months afterwards I continually had these thoughts of absolute dread and fear. What if something happens to one of my children? What if I lose my child to some tragedy? How would I handle life if the worst was to happen? What if my children lost me, how would they ever grow up without a mother? Sorry to take it here, but that’s where my mind and heart were for so long after the accident. These thoughts and this fear completely gripped me and sucked the life out of me – draining me of sleep for nights on end. I couldn’t even escape it when I slept because I would have horrific dreams and relive the accident over and over.
I knew that I was still experiencing shock and my mind and subconscious were trying to work through the trauma of the accident, so I prayed and prayed and prayed over my mind, giving these ugly thoughts to Jesus and asking God to give me the mind of Christ. I rebuked the thoughts, I prayed for healing I prayed for absolutely everything I could think of, in every way. My husband (who returned three weeks later from his business trip overseas) would pray over me, I had close friends praying over me, everything! It would work and I would feel like I was getting on top of it but then I would suddenly be slammed by this fear and confronted with disturbing thoughts and images again and again. I knew I was under attack but just kept continuing to battle it as best I could, one day at a time, one thought at a time.
I won’t delve into the entire healing process, because it literally took me months to recover from, but the bottom line that I had to hold onto and remind myself was that God HAD protected us! We experienced a horrible car accident where our car was smashed up and written off, yet we walked out (relatively) unscathed. God’s hand of protection WAS upon us, and, I believe, on everyone else involved. It could have been bad, but it WASNT! I couldn’t keep thinking these vicious and wasteful ‘what if’ thoughts, we simply cannot live like that!
Towards the end of my healing process from this gripping fear that had become part of my daily life, I had a moment with God that helped me to let go and trust in him again. In the midst of me crying out to him I was asking him how on earth I’m supposed to live and bring my children up in such a dark, evil and tragic world, with life so fragile.
“If I could guarantee that your children are going to live long, successful, healthy, happy, fulfilled lives and be released into my glory as old old men and women, how would that effect how you live now? If you knew that they were never going to get a serious illness, never going to be involved in serious accidents or tragedies, never be effected by any of the trauma or pain of this world, how would that make you feel today?”
“Well, I would feel complete peace and freedom to live life to the absolute max. I would release them to live a life of exploration, adventure, even danger. I would give them the freedom to take risks and live boldly and I would do everything in my power to help them fulfil their dreams and follow their hearts to live a life of abundance. There would be no limit to my empowering, equipping, inspiring and releasing of them.”
“Well, I’m not going to guarantee anything, but you need to live like this regardless. You need to trust in me and trust in my Word and promises and I will take care of the rest.”
I then had a potentially more tragic picture flood before my very eyes – imagine if my children did live these long and abundant lives, yet for their decades here on earth I continually lived in fear for them and held them back simply because I was afraid of what ‘could’ happen. What a waste of my life! What a waste of my role and responsibility as a mother! I refuse to have my time, my thoughts, my emotions, my feelings STOLEN from me because of something as stupid as fear. The enemy comes to kill steal and destroy (John 10:10) and if he can knock down one parent with fear and doubt then he can steal the potential of multiple children! And if their potential is stolen, that steals their impact and influence over everyone around them in their entire life. The ripple effect continues, the cycle goes on. NO WAY! I won’t have a piece of it!
Jesus has come to give life and life in abundance and THAT is the life that I want to live and overflow with to my children so that they can overflow with it to all around them!
Up until the accident I believe I had entrusted my children to God. I had given them back to him in my heart before I was pregnant, even before they had ever been conceived. We had pledged our trust to God in front of family and friends as we dedicated their lives and our parenting to our mighty God. But I realised that the car accident had made me try and take back that control because something had almost happened to my children.
But…it didn’t! It DIDN’T happen!
I knew I had to relinquish my control and give it back to God. I had to re-surrender my children’s lives into his perfect care and protection once again. I had to lay my most precious possessions on his alter and give them back to him. They are, after all, his children first and foremost, simply in my earthly care and my responsibility while in this life. They are his children before they are my children, and if my love and passion is this intense for them and my desire to protect them this fierce, then can you imagine his love for them?! His love for us, his children?!
As I took the time to surrender my children into his hands and give him back the reins of control over their lives it occurred to me that that is the safest place they can be in – in his care, not mine. Under his protection, not mine.
The safest place my children can be is in His care, not mine
I can’t be guaranteed that nothing bad will ever happen to my children, or to myself. I can’t be guaranteed that they will never be seriously ill or never be involved in tragic accidents. But I also can’t live my life worrying about whether they will or not. Because as I surrender them to him and pray for his protection, presence, power and glory to surround them all the days of their lives, then chances are they will live amazing, abundant, successful, fulfilling, powerful lives until they are old old old men and women!
I don’t want to keep my little chickens under my wings, forever confining them within the limits of my arms reach. I want to be the eagle mother who sits on the pinnacle of the mountain top who pushes her little birds out of the nest and teaches them to fly in dangerous, scary, adverse but amazing and powerful conditions! And fly they will. They will soar high above every circumstance and find their peaceful glide in the wind of the Spirit.