Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blast From The Past

10 Years ago...sometime this week, I finished my enlistment in the Marine Corps. How ironic that I found this picture while cleaning out the closet a few days ago... amazing how in 10 years gravity has yanked the skin down on my face about an inch it seems! I was 23 in this pic.

I have very very mixed feelings when I look at this pic...thoughts of how I was successful by MC standards but so backslidden (ie, not walking with God as the saved Believer I was,) by His standards that I about lost my life in a car was nothing short of miraculous that I survived. Those of you that know me know this story :) this is more for those new readers and also those with whom I have recently reconnected with. This is a bit uncomfortable as well, for those of you who knew me from about 16 to 23 about 7 years...I was not living for the Lord and things just kept going from bad to worse. There is no depth to which even a Believer won't sink if they reject the Lord's leading and authority in their lives. I praise the Lord that He didn't let me slip too far...

I had just started terminal leave (leave that ends in honorable discharge) and my friend and I were traveling cross country from Ca to Alabama to get me to my parents home. I was to be married May 9th to the love of my life and highschool sweetheart, Brian. The second day into the trip, my friend had placed a tank of gas in the back and having just put the canvas cap on the top of the little Geo-Tracker, well, it trapped the fumes. We were asleep or unconscious within 20 minutes of heading down the road. The vehicle turned into the median at over 75mph rolling a total of 7 times down the highway-as was reported by someone from a vehicle behind us. My friend was ejected on the first hit and had to be airlifted out after arriving at the hospital. He had crushed some vertebra in his back and had a lengthy and painful surgery and recovery. At least one of my rings was crushed around my finger and glass had "grazed" my hands and face-but no stitches were needed which is unbelievable. Both my wrists and an ankle were broken, not crushed- the Drs said that the vehicle had rolled over on them!!! They have no explanation as to how I "walked away" from that type of accident. Even when we went to the place they towed the wreckage the guy unknowingly showed my dad and I the vehicle I had been in and said casually that [we] "they hadn't made it"! (Correct me if I'm wrong Dad!)

Each time I tell this story or reflect on it, I am so amazed and broken and humbled at the merciful God we have. The important part is this, even if the Lord had taken my life in the accident that the moment that I "woke up", with my head under the steering wheel, leg out the window...frame of the car crushed so far down that they had to cut me out with the jaws of life -I was at perfect peace in knowing I was Heaven-bound. At that very moment I had not one smidgen not one inkling not a shadow of doubt that God, my Creator and His Glorious Heaven was 100% real. This was not just endorphins folks, but I will say, I felt almost no pain-which actually made me think I was indeed dying. I received no pain killer until I reached the hospital. I could not remember anything about who I was, or where I was going...for maybe an hour or two-can't be sure about that.

People who are dying and lost are afraid...they don't want to die because, they fear what they innately know to be...that there is a God and the truth is that a rejection of Christ's payment on the cross is a rejection of a debt free eternal life in Glory. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." I have heard the testimonies of Pastors at the bedside of those who are dying. The differences between the lost and the saved as far as assurance and peace (not to be mistaken with lack of physical suffering) is extreme. A dying Saint KNOWS where they are going. A born again Christian may suffer doubts...especially when they are not in the Word or due to other issues, and there were times in my life and have since the accident, times of false accusations by the evil one that caused me to doubt that I had truly by God's Grace believed and received Christ as my Lord and Saviour....but, in the up close and personal moment that I thought I was truly facing death, I KNEW-there was no doubt. I can whole heartedly say, the Lord is my Shepherd, and has been from the very day I surrendered my life to Him. There was no Pastor to pray with me or reassure me...I truly didn't need one...I had the Lord there with me in all His fullness! The only sadness I felt the entire time, was, when I did regain my memory and thought of the grief of my parents...and not wanting them to suffer loss...but there was no fear for myself, my soul.

Amazingly, this happened in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I found my salvation at the Cross and now a second chance to live for the Cross. I cried when I made the connection.

I don't know exactly what I experienced before I "woke up" in the wreck nor could I accurately put it into words...I kept telling my mom when I got home that there was something that I NEEDED to remember and wanted to tell, but alas it has been hidden from me. I will tell you in all honesty (and without the frills of a hazy memory)- that I experienced a touch, if you will, of Glory...and (as I have said before) however you want to take that is just fine, but I will also tell you with great confidence and tears and rejoicing that there is NOTHING to fear when you are truly a child of God. Not a worry, not a care when you are in His mighty hands and can't lift a finger for yourself. If He could hold such a wayward piece of filth as me in my wreck, I know He holds the dear suffering Saint, the sick child...the Pastor and his wife, the Missionary, the weary mom. Our sin doesn't in any way dilute His power to lift up His erring child if He so chooses. It doesn't seem fair does it...that all who trust in Him gain an inheritance, but we are all perfect IN CHRIST...Christ paid it all..none deserve it.

Romans 10:12 "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him". To the Believer, it is our reasonable service to give Him our utmost our all...He purchased us with His the lost, there is no other way but by Him and through Him.

Titus 3:5 " Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; "

2 Cor 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. "

I know that many of you are thinking, well, good for her, she found "religion" , or that I am just a hypocrite...but even if just one of you looks to Christ, then this is for you. So, as for you dear friend, acquaintance, random reader, if you were the one lying in the wreckage unsure if you were to live or die....would you be certain of where you would spend eternity? Would you lie there in the perfect peace I described above or would you be faint with fear knowing that you let opportunity after opportunity pass you might have the chance at that moment with a repentant heart to call on Him to save you,.... but what if you didn't? Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." You can know for sure.

I'm not trying to be "ultra" spiritual or to say that I don't struggle even today...I do, I am still just a sinner saved by Grace and not of myself. There is no denying what God has done in my life and I feel obligated to share it..especially with those whom I have so badly hurt my testimony.


Pam--in Jerusalem said...

That story gets "better" every time (not the accident of course, but the outcome).

And I LOVE the picture! he he Honestly, Heather, you look exactly the same to me. You gotta stop looking in the mirror under those bright lights ;)

Heather said...

(((Pam))) what would I do without you :)

Mishel said...

Wow! What a post! I know the Lord has used your testimony in the past, and I trust He will use it again to touch someone's heart.

Love you!

abrightnewdawn said...

Great testimony, Heather!! Fills in a lot of blanks for me from our emails previously!! Makes me can't wait to meet you even more!! Not much longer till we can "meet" on the phone!! ;) And I think you look magnificent....and I didn't know you "way back then"...
Have a great day!! :)

Heather said...

:) I love you ladies

Happymama said...

It is remarkable to me how God will leave someone here after such a tragedy and they do not live for Him. They do not recognize that He has them here for a purpose. Sharing His truth. I'm glad you are living that purpose, and so glad your family and friends and Brian were spared the grief of loss.

I pray someone will read your post and that the Holy Spirit will speak to their heart. He did mine. It's a plea to the lost for salvation, and an encouragement to the believer.

Love you,

Rebekah said...

Oh Heather,

I know I've been weepy lately, but your post made me cry. I can't tell you how much this does speak & relate to me. I am so thankful that we have such a loving and caring God. I am also thankful for friends like you! :-)


Heather said...

Kristi-Thank you for your encouragement that is my prayer as well xo~heather :)

(((Rebekah))) hang in there dear friend...hang in there. Love you.

Rebekah said...

Miss Heather --

Even though I've heard the story before, it always touches me...that the Lord would reach down and give you a wake-up call like that, that would change your life. A lesson to me, as a young lady, to not let myself drift from His will, not go so far that He would have to shake me like that to get me to return to Him.

Also, as we have talked before on this subject, I thought I'd let you know that I believe now that the Lord has a different plan for my life than the career I thought He'd called me to. I'm still not completely sure just what His will is for the rest of my life, but I know that all is good, all will happen in His good time, that His plan is best. Thank you for your encouragement, the way you live (and blog) that shows your love for and devotion to our Master.