This time of year seems to bring a mixed sense of melancholy and happiness.  While I love the autumn in Tennessee, the changing of the leaves and the cool temperatures also echo a great sadness for me.  A dreary November day, thirty-four years ago, I drove to meet a friend but never finished the trip.

The weariness of an exhausting start in college simply overpowered my good sense, and I fell asleep while driving.  Around 11:30 AM on 11/18/1983, my life irrevocably changed as my car veered off the interstate and slammed into a concrete abutment. Although a lifetime ago, on this day, it seems my soul sighs as the memory weighs heavy on me.

The surgeries and years of relentless pain continue to take a harsh toll on me, and sometimes my heart falters.  I often hear great testimonies of individuals with disabilities and hardships on television who smile with perfect teeth and flashing eyes of how God works such victory over their challenges.  While not small or minor, their difficulties seem to be framed by an enthusiastic and exuberance that feels so elusive to me.

A deteriorating body, along with the relentless onslaught of pain, abrasively sands down one’s ability to rise above it all. Chronic pain isolates the soul and in that isolation, despair lurks.

 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.Psalm 34:17-20

EVERY bone from my waist down was broken. To this day, we’re still finding new injuries and breaks that went undiagnosed for decades. Admittedly,that scripture verse is hard to read by one who has seen the orthopedic ward far too many times. Yet, the well-known minister and Bible commentator Matthew Henry wrote the following about that verse:

It does not follow but that a good man may have a broken bone; but, by the watchful providence of God concerning him, such a calamity is often wonderfully prevented, and the preservation of his bones is the effect of this promise; and, if he have a broken bone, sooner or later it shall be made whole, at furthest at the resurrection, when that which is sown in weakness shall be raised in power.  Matthew Henry

Listen to Gracie recount that day in an excerpt from her book, Gracie -Standing With Hope (also listen to a few of her songs)

“…When that which is sown in weakness shall be raised in power.”

During the three weeks I lay unconsciousness following my wreck, concerned family, friends, and medical personnel wondered if I would live. When I finally awoke, questions then turned to …”Will she walk?”

When faced with those kind of questions, the thought of having a family remains unspoken.
No one dreamed the life ahead of me.

I often find myself gazing in wonder at my sons and grandson.  They’re all healthy, strong, and full of life.  Maybe that’s the exuberance that those on television exhibit.

A Glimpse of Glory

Although my body feels daily wracked with pain, and I visit far too many doctors, a joy still overtakes me. Many of those times occur when I sing.  Whether at church, in the studio, or just at home listening to Peter playing the piano, music equips me to transcends the confines of a broken body.
But seeing the smile of our grandson, Magnus, and hearing him call my name proves better than any pain medication. My parents named me after my grandmother who I called Grandmama Grace.  That name proved too much of a mouthful for Magnus, so he calls me “Gigi.”
Each time he calls out “Gigi.” it’s a reminder of how God produced life and joy from my wounded and maimed body.  His sweet voice is also a reminder of the promise of restoration. While that restoration hasn’t arrived on my timeline, I see glimpses of it that sustain me for the day.
On that day that Matthew Henry referenced, I will truly understand the phrase “…what was sown in weakness will be raised in power.”\
Those glimpses of glory are what equip me to continue …Standing With Hope.

For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord Jeremiah 30:17 ESV


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