every day is a gift...

Today I have a dilemma... You see, I don't know how to put into words all of the things that God has been teaching me.  I have a feeling that unless you have experienced what I have experienced, it is impossible for you to understand what I am about to write.

I thought I understood that life is precious, and every day is a gift.  One brush with death, and I realize I had no idea.  I thought I appreciated the protection and presence of God, but now my understanding is so much deeper that I don't even recognize my perspective.  It is good to be alive, truly.  Those I have mentored know what I say and live by: 'If you're going to mess up, mess up BIG.' Well, now I also say it a slightly different way. Life is too short to play small.

About three weeks ago, we were heading home from a national conference in Alabama.  It was a God-filled inspired weekend, and Tim and I, along with our son Zak and a business partner and friend got in the car to head home with high hopes and huge dreams.  We were about 4 hours into the trip when the sun had fully dropped below the horizon and it was dark.  In addition, it was raining, and as we approached Atlanta, we found that the roads were more treacherous.  After a brief discussion about Tim and I switching drivers in Atlanta, it began to pour.  Little did I know that many trucks travel on Interstate 20, and the center lane was holding water as I began to change lanes.  I never made the lane change fully, because I hit that standing water and it sent me back across the right lane with great velocity.  We headed straight for the guard rail, hit it head on, spun five to six times, and landed again in the right shoulder. 

Silence. 30 seconds.  Whoa.  That was scary. We started to gather our senses and realized that we were all ok, just a little stunned by the unexpected turn of events.  Literally.

I had been listening to some music to get ready for an upcoming show, and the first thing I realized was that I was missing one of my custom earphones.  So I frantically started looking for that.  As I was looking for it (not finding it... ever), I glanced in the mirror and saw what looked like a hideous bruise across the right side of my face, and realized that the airbag was responsible for that.  No wonder I felt that punch in the eye and saw a flash of light.  Things were beginning to make sense.

The second thing I checked was the ability to move both arms, hands and all fingers.  Check, check, and check.

60 seconds after impact, I say to Tim, 'Why is it when we are praying for a new car... we get such interesting answers.' Yes, that's right.  My sense of humor never left me.  Zak's first response was this:  'Now I know what it means when someone talks about their life flashing before their eyes.'  No kidding.

Why he did it, I will never exactly know, but the first thing Tim did within the first minute was to post on Facebook 'Bad accident. Please pray.'  About a minute after that, friends who were coming back to Orlando from the same conference called him and asked where we were.  We didn't really know, but after we did figure it out, they determined that they were about ten miles behind us due to some delays in their travels.  A three-car caravan was there within the space of thirty minutes, with enough space for all four of us and our stuff.  Miracle?  I believe so.

But that's not all. No, that's not all.

Interstate 20, as we shortly found out, is a very busy road.  The accident happened at 9:00 pm, right in the prime time for trucks and vehicles of all sizes and shapes.  But were any of them around us when we spun out and crashed?  No.  Not a vehicle in front of us.  Not a vehicle behind us.  Nothing.

Once we had permanently parked in the right shoulder following what seemed like an eternal spin, there was a steady flow of traffic.  Miracle?  Most definitely.

Every time I closed my eyes on the way home, all I could feel and see was spinning lights and rain and darkness. I was having trouble not making my own conclusion to the story.  Spinning out of control, and hitting a semitruck.  Spinning out of control and hitting another car.  It was making me crazy, so I cried out to the Lord.  'God, please.  I need a vision of peace!' 

Immediately, like an old-fashioned flash bulb, I saw them.  At least ten heavenly beings standing across Interstate 20 with their swords crossed above their heads. I didn't need to see it long, and I didn't.  It was there and it was gone.  I knew then what had happened.  A host of angels had come to protect me and my family, and our friend that was with us, from danger that could have ended in death.  God said to me in that moment, 'Fear not, for I am with you.'

As I approach a season when I can only accomplish all of my calling by the power of God, I echo Moses at the burning bush when God called him.  'Who am I that I should go on your behalf?'  I know that I am not enough.  But God replies, 'I will be with you.'  So I know that regardless of my abilities or inabilities, when God is with me, anything is possible.  He holds the keys to all the resources and provision I need, always.

Did I mention that was not all?  It is still not all.

I had a show to fly out of town and play exactly one week following the accident.  My face did not look pretty.  In fact, it looked so bad that when my best friends saw me, they cried.  Each and every day, I asked Tim to take a picture of me to document the healing process. By Saturday, just five short days later, the injury had gone from an airbag burn covering the entire right side of my face down to minimal scabs that looked like the formation of Hawaii.  By Sunday, every bit of that was gone, and by the time I had to fly out of town on Monday, it was hard to tell that anything had happened.  Miracle, once again.  My word for 2012.  I just had no idea that one of them would be sparing my life.

Here's the thing, though, that the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart as I was reflecting on all the events just one day after the accident.  He said, 'Yes, I saved your life physically.  And I know you are thankful.  But how much more have I saved your soul.'

Branded by grace as my face was, my soul is so much more.  I have in the past wielded my soul around out of control, and yes, Jesus loved me enough to save me.  As a result of saving my soul and rescuing me from my own selfish choices, He saved my marriage, my family, my ministry, my life.  And he wants to do the same for you.

So much more to tell, but no words to express it.  I will say one more thing however... If the enemy meant this for evil, all he did was work against himself.  All he did was turn up the volume of my praise.  It just got louder and deeper.  Praise be to the Lord Almighty FOREVER!!



2 comments

  • Phil Lanning

    Phil Lanning

    Lori, being one of those who love you and your family, as well as knowing your ministry in service to our Lord, I to, raise my arms in praise and gratitude that God protected you from harm. Thank you for sharing the events of your accident. We will continue to pray for your well being. :-)

    Lori, being one of those who love you and your family, as well as knowing your ministry in service to our Lord, I to, raise my arms in praise and gratitude that God protected you from harm. Thank you for sharing the events of your accident. We will continue to pray for your well being. :-)

  • Jim Croft

    Jim Croft

    Thanks for bringing tears of joy to my eyes. Nothing is more encouraging than hearing of God at work. I know He is there all the time, but hearing someone give eyewitness to such events helps. Thanks!

    Thanks for bringing tears of joy to my eyes. Nothing is more encouraging than hearing of God at work. I know He is there all the time, but hearing someone give eyewitness to such events helps. Thanks!

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