April 6, 2011 was a beautiful spring day. The daffodils were in full bloom. My husband, Richard, and I were excited: Our two oldest children were being rewarded for their academic achievements and our two younger children were there to watch.
As the festivities ended, I returned to work while Richard was to take the younger two, Allison and Jacob, to the dentist’s office. They did not make it. Less than a mile and a half from our home, they were hit head on.
Allison was alert enough to have someone call 911 and then call me at work. When I arrived, I could tell that Richard did not survive. The other driver said, “I didn’t mean to kill anybody.” I said, “He’s not dead, He’s alive in Heaven.”
Allison said, “I’m fine Mommy, get Jacob.” Unknown to her at the time, she suffered lacerations, a broken back and a spinal cord injury which left her paralyzed from the bra strap down. Jacob had multiple injuries; his legs looked like someone had taken a weed eater to them. He spent ten days in the hospital and had three surgeries. Allison spent 99 consecutive days in two hospitals.
The toxicology report showed the other driver had marijuana in his blood resulting in two grand jury hearings and an indictment of driving under the influence. Allison had a lot of anger, hatred, and bitterness toward this man. From of the indictment to the day the judge heard the case was almost two years . . . a long time to have to harbor anger, hatred, bitterness, malice.
I found out on a Wednesday that the case was dismissed (due to an illegible signature). On Friday morning, I was listening to the radio and heard Forgiveness by Matthew West. God broke my heart of malice that day. The words to the song penetrated my soul and I felt freer than I had in a long time.
When I returned home, I listened to it over and over. I was so excited for Allison to listen to it. Once she got home from school, I immediately had to share this song with her because God had revealed Himself to me through this song. I just knew she would benefit from it too.
She listened and glared at me. Apparently, she wasn’t ready to release the hatred toward the other driver. But this is what God did: almost every time we got in the van to go somewhere, guess what came on the radio? Yes, Forgiveness. She would sigh and I just smiled. Eventually God healed her, too.
I still have some moments of depression where I just want to stay home and stay in bed and not face the day, but God is my refuge during these emotional times. Allison has not allowed her paralysis to slow her down; she has actually allowed God to use her in a mighty way.
We have overcome this tragedy. No, I wouldn’t call it a tragedy. A tragedy would be if my husband, Richard was not saved. We do have the blessed hope and assurance that Jesus promised us that we will see him again.
Last week we shared Dale Marie Schwab’s story about her journey to forgiveness and the role Matthew West’s song Forgiveness played in that process. Later that week, Dale and her daughter Allison came to From Survival to Revival in Columbus, OH, where we were delighted to arrange a meet up with Matthew at the event.
“We are blessed to see God’s work at-hand in making this moment possible. We truly believe it wasn’t coincidence that we heard Dale’s story, got to meet her family in Columbus and Matthew would also be there live.”