Phillip and I were reminiscing about a car accident we were in, when Stella was about fifteen months old. We were visiting my family in Northern California. I don't remember all the details but I remember I was in Santa Cruz with Stella longer and Phillip drove up to pick us up and hang out for a little while. We did that a handful of times. I would visit my family and Phillip would drive and pick us up. This time he decided to ask his sister if he could use her car. That was the first time he had ever done that. Her Honda civic got a little better gas mileage than our Honda CRV. I remember thinking it was strange of him to do that just to save a small amount of money. But he was the one making the drive, so he could plan it however he wanted. Anyways... We were on the tail end of the long trip home. We had only a couple hours left of the twelve hour drive. I was driving. We were on the I-10 going somewhere between 75-80 mph. It's the part of the drive that is the most boring. The road is straight and in the middle of the flat desert. There is a huge ditch between the highways. I went to change lanes and didn't see the car in my blind spot. I swerved back over into my lane and because I panicked I slammed on the gas instead of the brakes. I lost control of the car and we went full speed spinning into the ditch dividing the two highways.
I was terrified. I heard Phillip mumble a calm prayer of "Lord, take care of us." He did. Our car just stopped spinning. There was no impact. I immediately turned back to see if Stella was alright, hoping that her body and psyche were not injured in any way. She was smiling and signed with her hands the word "More." I felt so relieved but very shaken up. It was the worst car accident I had ever experienced. On top of it, the only thing that needed to be replaced was one of the tires. There may have been a scratch or two as well. But considering what had just happened that was nothing. When the highway patrol got there, he couldn't believe that we were all perfectly fine and that the car was as well. He was dumbfounded.
For a couple weeks after the accident I remember waking up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding and heavy. I felt so guilty. All I could think about was how I could have either killed or seriously injured my family - my baby. These thoughts tormented me. Then one night as I woke up, I just heard inside these words, "Don't you see your lives are completely in my hands?" After that, I never felt that anxiety or guilt again. Instead, Phillip and I look at all the factors involved in the incident. He randomly decided to bring his sister's car. A car that is low to the ground. If it was our CRV we would have probably rolled. If there were other cars closer to us, we could have hit one of them and caused a horrendous trauma. The fact that in my "panic" I stepped on the gas instead of the brake. If I had stepped on the brake that could have made it worse with a different outcome. The Lord knew at the time as well that we didn't have the money to fix a totalled car. We simply had to replace a tire. And the icing on the cake was seeing Stella motion for "more" with a big smile on her face. We often refer to it as, "The Perfect Accident" because if one little aspect of it was different the outcome could have been fatal. In reality, it was no "accident" at all. As nothing is, God knew what he was doing with us that day.
I believe it was part of our preparation for January 30th. I clearly remember those words spoken inside "Don't you see your lives are completely in my hands?" Yes, Jesus they are. I reference back to it because You, my Lord, wrote it out perfectly. It reminds me in my weakness of questioning and the "what if's" that there is no need, for as you showed us with that accident, our lives are completely in your hands. I lack the humility you call me to when I feel guilt. You have shown me as well ,that when these normal questions come to mind, it is in some way my attempt to try to not accept such a heavy cross you have given me. So that is why I continue to ask for grace. Grace to become more humble and grace to accept your will. I also beg for the grace to keep the eternal perspective in view. For when I walk in your grace, all crosses seem like feathers. They are no longer heavy, but even a joy to carry for You, my God, and the world. Fill me with your Spirit this moment in the depths on my heart. That is where You have humbled your mighty self to live. You choose to find a resting place in a sinner's heart such as mine. A sinner's heart it is, but none-the-less, it is Yours to own.
Oh, and a quick blessing today. I walked up to the church to pray with Johnny and Gia. As we were leaving a friend stopped me to chat. As we were talking, a woman passed us to go inside and her shirt had a pink star on it and it said, "STELLA MARIAE". Isn't heaven lovely?