Today I was reminded of a very important date in my life: August 3, 2013.
On that life-altering day, God answered my prayer before I prayed it. Josh and I have written about this day on several occasions in various formats because it is such an important day to us. We were in the process of moving to a little rental property in Waskom, Texas. It was only a 3-bedroom mobile home at the end of a country road, but it was our little oasis. We had that newly-wed feeling again after a marital separation. We had only been living together for a month after finally becoming pregnant for the first time. We were ready to be alone together, and God was answering that prayer. But, that’s not the prayer I was referring to in the first sentence.
Josh and I were driving separate vehicles to haul boxes and furniture. After unloading and signing the lease agreement, we were on our way back to Shreveport. I don’t remember why we were on the phone-the drive from our new home to I-20 was only a few minutes long- but I remember telling Josh, who was not even a mile ahead of me in his little blue Chevy truck, that I needed to get off the phone before I turned onto the entrance ramp. Waskom is the first exit upon entering Texas, or the last exit before entering Louisiana. It’s less than 20 minutes away from Shreveport. I had just hung up the phone with my husband, believing I would see him safe and sound in less than 20 minutes at whatever the destination we were heading to. Less than a mile before the Louisiana rest stop, I gasped at the sight of a little blue Chevy truck flipped over and in flames on the right-hand side of the road. It did take a second or two for my prayer for “that victim” to turn to denial of reality and then to a new prayer of “Please, let him be okay. I don’t want to be a single mother.” I parked at the exit ramp for the rest stop and ran as fast as my 13-week pregnant self could go, praying and still partly hoping that I was only making a fool of myself for running to a stranger’s rescue. A woman who had stopped to help was standing on the side of the road watching the flames and I yelled as I got closer, “Is he still in there?” She could see my distress and explained that the man got out and pointed to him standing near another vehicle several yards ahead. At that time he stepped out to where I could see him. If I thought my adrenaline was rushing before, it was evident that I had only been going at half-speed until our eyes met. He was covered in blood from a head wound, but he was alive and mobile. That was already more than I had expected coming up on the scene.
I’ll stop here to reiterate that God had answered my prayer BEFORE I prayed it. Josh had exited the truck before the full tank of gas caught fire. How? He can’t really explain it. He was wearing a seat belt and was upside-down so that the tension of the belt was tight. He had to push himself up to unbuckle the seat belt, then crawl out the broken window. All of this happened and he had gotten safely to the shoulder of the interstate before I passed the truck; it was already on fire and Josh was no where in sight by that time. The occasion was nothing short of a miracle and God screaming at Josh that he saw his potential for faith and ministry and wanted more from him.
Ten days later, Josh and I went in for our first ultrasound scan. Josh still had his head wrapped. He had no internal bleeding or damage, only a minor head wound and body aches. The nightmare was still fresh on my mind as we saw Aniston and Jonah for the first time. My immediate thought was that I could have been a single mother–to twins! I know if that had been the case that God would have gotten me through it every step of the way, but it didn’t happen that way. God pulled him out of the truck. And, there he was, red-faced and backed against the wall, one hand over his gaping mouth. At some point I remember him saying, “and, I almost didn’t get to see this.”
We do reminisce of that scary incident on a regular basis, for various reasons. That incident is what God used to turn Josh’s eyes to ministry. From that day, he has strived to #LiveLikePaul. That wreck was his “flash of blinding light,” when God spoke to him loudly and clearly to completely turn and follow him.
Today Josh had to work. He hasn’t worked on a Sunday morning in at least two years. Today was the first day I got the kids dressed and ready for Sunday morning service by myself. Usually, Josh dresses them or makes their breakfast while I get ready. Today I carried two while the older two held hands and walked close behind me into church. Usually, Josh carries one and holds one hand while I carry one and hold the other’s hand. Today I planned to take the older two to church with me. They wanted to go to “school”. So, I walked into church by myself. Usually, Josh and I hold hands.
I sat in the back and looked around the church, noticing for the first time how many women were sitting alone. I couldn’t help but think of all the reasons a woman may be sitting in a church pew alone. Some were widows. Some would never marry, or haven’t married yet. Some would be leaving straight from church to visit their husband in the hospital. Some were divorced. Some had a husband who “doesn’t do that church stuff.” Some had a husband who works on Sundays, like mine did today. Some have a husband who not only isn’t there for church, but is away from home more often than not because of the distance between work and home. I spent the entire service meditating on my thankfulness to God that I have a godly, present husband. He could have been taken from me on August 3, 2013. I could be a single mom to twins. Instead, today I hauled my six kids (if you include the two in utero) to church while my husband sat in the guard shack working dispatch. And, if I know my husband, I know he was wishing he could have been with me partaking of the Lord’s Supper today; but, he knows he owes his life to Christ and he will go where ever the Lord leads, constantly in remembrance of His sacrifice.