I am SO thankful to be able to share this post.  A year ago today, we weren’t sure if it would be possible.  Today, Chloe writes about her experience, herself.  God is good.  Here is Chloe in her own words.
Here are a couple of the posts from a year ago:
-Eddie
———————————————
FROM CHLOE:
It was one year ago today that I was on my way home with my sister when we hydroplaned and hit another car head on. It’s been a weird year. In some ways the longest year of my life and in some ways the shortest. In some ways a complete tragedy and in some ways completely beautiful. I could write a book about everything that’s happened in the past 12 months, but I guess I’ll start with a really long Facebook post.In the past year I have :
Survived 13 surgeries. Accepted Vanderbilt medical center as a second home. Had my foot shattered in to what my surgeon said looked like a crumbled ritz cracker. Looked down and saw my snapped ankle sticking through my foot. Had stitches in 8 places. Broke 3 ribs. Had a concussion. Had a blood transfusion. Lost 4 teeth. Broke my jaw in 5 places. Had my mouth wired shut for 7 weeks and didn’t eat anything but ensure and chicken broth for 2 months. Stayed at a different hospital than my sister and for a week was convinced that I had killed her and no one would tell me. Had to get shots in my tummy every day for a month. Laid down unable to move for 3 months. Had an open wound for almost 5 months. Got told that they may have to amputate my foot. Got told there was a one in a million chance that I would ever be able to dance like I used to. Had a machine hooked up to me for 4 months. Had my bone clipped while I was awake. Had a sponge pulled out of my body 43 times. Felt pain that I never knew existed-pain that actually makes you black out. Taught dance from a wheelchair. Was in a wheelchair for 7 months. Didn’t leave the house without medical equipment for 10 months. Have a couple more surgeries still to come. Haven’t had a single day where I’m not in pain. Felt my body dying and fought to hang on.

Chloe

In the past year I have:
Seen God and felt a peace that I could never explain. Been AMAZED by the love of people around me. Realized the value of life. Realized how strong I am when I have to be. Found a new respect for doctors and nurses. Become so much closer to my family. Realized how much my parents love me. Never been so thankful for my sister who is my best friend. Learned to appreciate the little things- being able to go outside or eat your favorite food. Found a new compassion for people who have it so much worse than me and a need to help them. Realized how much I love my job- though I may not be able to dance like I used to I can still share what I love with little ones who make me smile. Realized how lucky I am to be with my Matthew. I thought I loved him before, but this year showed me we can get through anything together and now I know how to love in a way I didn’t know how before. This year showed me he will be the best husband. I think the biggest thing I’ve realized this year is the impact of prayer. I now have a real relationship with God. A year ago today I promised God if I could have a second chance then I would live my life for Him, and that promise has saved me in so many ways.

Chloe:Mat
(Chloe and Matthew in July)
As terrible as it sounds, I think everyone at some point has the thought,” I wonder who would care if I died”, and in a way I got to find that out this year. I was so surprised. I wasn’t giving people enough credit. I can never ever express how much every prayer, every message, every card has meant to me. I love you all so much. You never know what tomorrow holds. I wasn’t speeding, I wasn’t texting. Something happened that I couldn’t control. As cliche as it sounds, I now get what it means to live like it’s your last day on earth. I’m forever thankful and forever changed. I can’t wait for the rest of my life. On to the next year.

Top Blog Posts in 2012

January 6, 2013

I appreciate you guys reading my posts.  I’ve posted 101 posts the past 3 or so years.  I’m always humbled when someone leaves a comment and says that it was helpful or encouraging.
One thing that makes me proud is that of my four top posts of the year, one wasn’t even written by me.  “Learning to Walk in Step with God” was written by my daughter, Rebecca.  (I’m proud of her, btw!)
Anyway, here are my top 4 Blog Posts of 2012:

C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

When things are going well, He often speaks in a whisper and we have to listen closely.  How do you know if it is God speaking to your conscience or if it is bad pizza from the night before?  I won’t tell you that it is always easy, but I’ll give a few guidelines that I believe will help you distinguish between the two.

Before you begin seeking God’s will, make sure your heart is in a position to do WHATEVER God says.  It’s important to decide that before asking God for His will.

Next, ask yourself if one of the options or possibilities are in disagreement with the Bible’s teachings.  (This assumes that you have to be reading the Bible and learning so you can know it’s teachings.)

For example, if you see three options and one of them calls on a little white lie, go ahead and mark that one off.  It is NOT God’s will even if it is the easy option or most attractive to you.

If you still have two options and you aren’t feeling God’s leading strongly towards one of them, remember that God also speaks through the “Church.”  (The “Church” is the people, not a building.)

Don’t ask everyone you know for their opinion.  Go to a few trustworthy, wise, godly people that care about you and explain the situation.  God can sometimes make things a bit clearer by talking to other people that love Him and you.

You can also look at the circumstances.  Once again, you have to interpret the circumstances through the Bible.  It’s not always a “given” that you take the most attractive option that presents itself.

If the options are:

  1. Take a high paying job.
  2. Keep the job that you have.

God may want you to stay at your present job to reach someone.  That’s where listening to God is more important than a knee jerk decision to the most attractive option that seems to present itself.

If you have sincerely prayed, “God, I’ll do WHATEVER You ask me to do” and you have really sought His will through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the Church, and you don’t feel like He is saying “wait,” then make the best decision that you can.

I really believe if you “delight yourself in the Lord, that He will give you the desires of your heart.”  After going through all of these steps with a sincere heart, make a choice and don’t look back.

It was too close this time…  Chloe and Greta, my son’s girlfriend and her sister, were involved in a bad auto accident.

Matthew, my son, got the call.  Greta actually called him before the emergency personel arrived.  She was still in the car.  When he called me, Marla and I immediately took off for the accident scene.  When Marla and I arrived at the scene we found Matthew sitting in his car, unable to go any further due to the emergency vehicles stopping him.

As the 3 of us sat there, it was the most helpless feeling that I’ve ever had.  We knew that Greta was ok because she had called.  We didn’t know if Chloe was alive or not.  No one said it, but that’s what we were all thinking and praying… and wondering.

We prayed together and as Chloe was being Lifeflighted, we left for the hospital.

David said in Psalm 39:4:

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end

and the number of my days;

let me know how fleeting my life is.”

I was reminded yesterday of how fleeting life is.  Nothing is guaranteed in this life outside of God.
We really don’t know how long our life is our how long those that we love will be here.  The only thing that really matters is our relationship with God and the only that that will last will be what we do for Him.
You know that you have one day left in your life.  That’s all any of us are guaranteed.
Make it count.

The more I hear about the situation, the angrier I get.

What would cause a 24 year old man to go into a crowded movie theater showing the “Dark Knight Rises” and kill as many people as he could?

How could anyone be that evil?

How could anyone shoot randomly, killing among others, a six year old little girl?

A twitter friend said this today:  “This coverage of the shootings is devastating. It’s hard to turn it off, you just keep waiting for them to say why.”  (@SamBradley)

I agree with Sam.  Things are a lot easier to accept if there is a reason.  We want to know “WHY?”

There have been a lot of “WHYS” asked the past several years.  I think of Columbine.  Besides the shooting in Denver, I also heard TODAY about another tragedy.   50 Christians were burned alive in their pastor’s home in Nigeria by “Muslim extremists.”           (See: http://global.christianpost.com/news/fifty-christians-burned-alive-in-pastors-home-in-nigeria-78303/ )   Why?

Is it a coincidence that we are moving farther and farther from God as a nation and world?  President Obama even announced that we are no longer a Christian nation.

Perhaps the trend started in 1962 when the courts told us that we could no longer have prayer in schools.  I’m not sure when it started.  All I know is that when we remove Christ’s influence on a situation, we remove any good that existed.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad that when tragic events happen, people ask, “Where is God?”  They forget that we asked Him to leave.  Don’t pray in schools.  Don’t pray in public in Jesus’ name.  (We might offend someone.)  Don’t talk about God with others.  They might be a different faith.  We have to be sensitive to their beliefs.  Don’t teach Creationism in our schools.  “Evolution is the only thing that makes sense.”  BULL!  How’s all that working for ya?

Rick Warren recently said, “When we tell kids that they are animals, why are we surprised when they act like it?”

The only “Why” that I can come up with is that a world without Christ is totally depraved.  This world will never make sense without Christ.  If we continue to throw Him out every chance we get, we will continue seeing things like we saw this morning from Denver.   If we continue the trend to give “Muhammad” and other gods equal billing, the downward slide will continue.

I fully expect that the trend will continue.  God’s Word says that things will get worse as the end draws near.  It also says that Christ will come back as unexpectedly as a “thief in the night.”

Jesus will return and all of the madness will end.  Until then, we have to hold onto Him when we don’t know “WHY?”

Life is short.  One minute movie goers were excited about Batman and looking forward to a movie.  The next…  they had no idea that their life would end before the movie did.  Loved ones are left to pick up the pieces.  Witnesses have memories that they will never shake.

We never know when tragedy will strike us.  We never know when our next breath will be our last.

Our passing could come by natural means or it could come suddenly by a wacko in a place that you feel reasonably safe, like a movie theater.

The best thing to do is to be prepared for anything.

We live in an era where most people interpret world events through the lens of culture.  Theology for the masses comes from Lady Gaga or whoever else is popular at the time.

Time is spent by many people reading the hottest books like, “50 Shades of Gray” that preach the exact opposite of the Truth.   Culture shapes our thinking.  Then when tragedy strikes, questions come up and people turn to God or anyone else that would care to make sense of things.

God’s Word provides a BEDROCK of support in tragedies.  A person that has a FIRM understanding of God’s Word will not be as shaken when something unexpected happens because they stand on a firm foundation.

You can better stand if you ALREADY know what you believe BEFORE the tragedy strikes.

If a person wanted to fly an airplane and he spent time studying and reading BEFORE the need to fly arrived, he would be better prepared to fly the plane.  He would know a bit more about what to expect from the experience and he would have head knowledge of what to do in various situations.  When the experience to fly for the first time came, he wouldn’t have to have as much explained to him.  If a gauge showed a certain level, he would understand what that meant because of the preparation time.

The same is true when we go through tragedies and hard times.

If we’re prepared with God’s Word ALREADY in us and a relationship with God that is REAL, we can stand more firmly.

If we already walk with God daily, we don’t have to go looking for Him when we want answers.  We know He’s already there.

The families of the victims, the witnesses in the theater, and much of America is looking for answers.  I pray that they look to God’s Word for those answers.  I also pray that YOU will make a commitment, if you aren’t already committed, to following Christ DAILY and knowing His Word.

Jesus PROMISED, “In this world you will have trouble.”  The world will shake you.  Tragedy will come.  You won’t understand.  I pray that you are ready and standing on the only firm foundation that is available.

“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever.”  (Isaiah 40:8)

God is calling you to a purpose BIGGER than yourself.

There is so much more to our lives than ourselves.  God is ALWAYS at work around us and if we’re not tuned into Him, we’ll miss Him.  He wants us to be involved in His work but He’s not going to force us.

There are people that you look in the eye everyday that:

  • Have secrets that they have never told anyone.
  • Their marriage is breaking up.
  • Feel helpless about their situation.
  • Have recently lost someone that they loved.

God is calling you to a purpose BIGGER than yourself. 

Life should not be about you or your desires if you follow Christ.  It’s about Him.

Sometimes when we see a need it’s time to stop saying, “I’ll pray about it” to feel better about ourselves and DO SOMETHING!

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”  -John 10:10

That fulfillment is not going to come by having the biggest bank account or climbing the ladder at work.  It won’t even come by just checking into church every Sunday.

If you want the FULFILLED life that Jesus promises, you have to give it ALL to Him without holding back. 

So…  you might have to rearrange your ENTIRE LIFE to do that???  OK

If that’s what He wants you to do, then do it.  Don’t hold back.

All I know is that God is calling His followers to a purpose BIGGER than themselves. 

Maybe He wants you to keep your routines that you already have.  Maybe He wants you to spend more time with Him and go after your present life with more passion.

Personally, I don’t want to get to the end of my life with regrets that I never followed Christ into fulfilling the purpose that He had for me.  I want that for you too.

Go for it and don’t hold back.  Let’s make a difference in the people’s lives around us.  God is at work.  Be sensitive to His voice, listen, and DO SOMETHING to make a difference when He speaks!

Does getting a “positive” opportunity in your life automatically represent God’s will?  I’ve heard believers say things like “this door has opened for a new job and I know it is God because it is such a great opportunity.”  Is that ALWAYS true?  Could God’s will be for you to go to prison as an innocent man?

Sometimes I’m convinced that God does lead His children to opportunities where they will prosper financially or to opportunities where their gifts will be used in a greater way.  Other times when I’ve heard people give God credit for an opportunity that seems good, I’m not sure He was leading in that direction.

A positive situation is not evidence in itself of the leading of God.  At the same time, a “negative” situation is not evidence of someone “missing” God’s leading.

God has given those who love Him a peace that passes understanding and a joy in their life.  Having said that, I believe that the Bible teaches that God is more concerned about our devotion to Him than He is our “happiness.”  He is more concerned about us leading someone to faith in Him than He is about us getting a raise and being able to provide a few luxuries for our family like cable tv.

Understand that happiness and joy are two different things.  Happiness is temporary and dependent upon our circumstances.  Joy comes from God and is put inside us at a deeper level.  The Apostle Paul learned to be “content” in whatever his circumstances, as he said in Philippians 4.  He wrote his words while in prison, by the way.

The fact that the Apostle Paul was in prison doesn’t mean that he was out of God’s will.  He could have easily been a leader in the Jewish community if he had just toned down the “Jesus” rhetoric a bit.  I’m sure people then could have seen his leadership as proof that God had opened doors for him.  Could it have been that God had “opened the doors” of the prison for him?

Was prison where God had wanted him at that time?  His time in prison certainly gave him the opportunity to spread the gospel to the guards and to Rome.  He may not have had that opportunity if he had not been forced to prison.

The Lord has provided wealth for some so that they can use it to build the Kingdom.  Financial margin is a blessing to be able to help those in need or to lead others to Him and not only to be used to live a life of luxury.  God may lead you to buy a really large house but if that’s the case, it’s probably so that you can use it for Kingdom purposes.

God calls us to live a life of sacrifice for His glory.  Sometimes that may lead His people to “positive” situations, and other times it may lead to a life of poverty or even worse in the world’s eyes.

God led Jim Elliott and Nick Saint to become missionaries but they were martyred as soon as they landed on the mission field.  Many have come to Christ as a result of their story, including the very natives that murdered them.

Their deaths could have meant a couple of different things:

  • They were out of God’s will by going,.
  • Dying for Christ their purpose in that situation.
  • God simply took a bad situation created by free will and used it for good as Romans 8:28 described.

Do you think opportunites that seem positive are always from God?  What do you think the deaths of Jim Elliott and Nick Saint was attributed to?  Is God really good ALL THE TIME?

I’d love to hear your comments on this post!

One of my favorite books of the Bible has always been Philippians.  I have just found the book to be a great encouragement in my own walk.  I was reading Philippians 1:9-11 recently.  This is a prayer that the Apostle Paul wrote for the Philippian church.  I have prayed this prayer for my kids for many years.

Even though I have read and prayed the words for years, a portion of verse 10 jumped out at me.  Paul said that he prayed that they would be able to “discern what’s important”.

Wow!  In this hectic life of running all the time, it is easy to forget what is important when urgent things seem to press us all the time.  After this verse jumped out at me, I sat down and wrote a list of what I thought was important.

Here’s my list:

1.         My Relationship with God

DAILY Quiet Time (Mark 1:35, John 15:5)  (I’m lying if I claim to walk with Christ and don’t spend time with him.)  This is perhaps the most important thing.  This can affect all other areas but it’s often one of the first things that we neglect when we get busy.

-Studying God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15)

-Prayer (Including time to Listen too) (Psalm 46:10)

-Seeing & looking for God’s fingerprints around you (John 5:17)

2.         Relationship with Family

            Attitude:  Do I lead my family closer to God or chase them away by my actions & attitudes?

 3.         Relationship With Yourself:

a.         Take care of my Body   (Philippians 3:18)  See my previous post on “The god of Food”

b.         -Saying no sometimes (Ephesians 2:10)  God has things prepared in advance for us to do.  We can’t do EVERYTHING, but we have to do some things.  B-A-L-A-N-C-E

c.         -Having Fun (Proverbs 17:22, “A joyful heart is good medicine.)

d.        –Do I surround myself with positive & encouraging people?

4.          Relationship With Others

A.  Do people know me as a man of character? (Proverbs 22:1)

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

B.  Am I sharing Christ with others?

We can get distracted with our work, lack of work, friends, busyness, and lot’s of other things.  These are just my thoughts of what’s important.

It is my prayer that I am attending to the important things in life and that I’m not constantly letting urgent things distract me.  If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy and get you to neglect the important.

Do you agree or am I off base?  Is there anything that you would add to my list?

Everybody’s looking for love. Everyone craves it.

If we don’t have it, we are depressed or feel like something is wrong with us.

That longing? God put it there.

We are relational beings.

He created us with that desire to be in relationships with Him first of all, to want that more than anything. We have skewed this desire. I think sometimes we try to fit people in that void. It never works. At the end of the day, it will still be there, because people were not meant to fill THAT void, only God can do that.

Its like if a boat had a leak and was taking on water. You could patch the leak with a band-aid. It would slow the flow of water into the boat to a mere trickle. But the boat would still be taking on water. It still would eventually sink.

The boat taking on water? That’s our hearts.

Even if we have a relationship with Jesus, we still try to put other people in His spot in our hearts.

I want to muse that maybe the reason so many relationships with maybe even godly people are falling apart is because of exactly this. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecc. 4:12) The third strand, the center strand, that must be Jesus.

To speak from experience now, I have been a single lady a lot. I, like everyone else, have craved that perfect relationship. I’ve never been on a real date, never been kissed, never had a long-term relationship.

Remembering the knowledge that God wants us to have relationship with one another also, because we are completely relational (Genesis 2), I have realized that I was pulling my hope and longing for closeness away from God and diverting it towards another person. This flat out doesn’t work, and its idolatry – putting someone or something else in God’s rightful spot.

Hearts will always be broken in the end if we try to put that person there. It harms us, it’s not fair to the other person, and it is just plain silly if you think about it.

Max Lucado said, “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” This is so wise. So right. (And it goes for the men too.)

When we are letting God fill us, He will completely satisfy. Because he is all that is good, all that is lovely, all that is mighty, perfect, beautiful, that list goes on and on.

When the time comes, ladies and gentlemen, if this is his plan for you, He will bring someone to you. I cannot tell you how many stories I have heard of someone meeting their spouse when they “stopped looking.”

If not, He is still better. End of story.

And isn’t this better? To have the one who wrote love be the author of yours?

Ladies, dance with God for a while.

Men, chase Him.

Patience my friends. Trust the Author. Put Him in his rightful place.