"Begin a volume of Pages that tell of what He has done for you, through you, in you. We are a people of forgetfulness. We need reminders. And these reminders, as they accumulate, provide us with ammunition to combat the lies of the evil one as he whispers in our ears that He doesn't move on our behalf, that He doesn't care about us. Collect your stories. Create a strong heritage of those stories for your family, for future generations." -Anne Conder of iliveinanantbed.blogspot.com
Well, it's Heritage of Faith Friday, and--off and on, today (i.e., when I wasn't trying to manage a steroids-ridden Clementine)--I tried to decide which moment of my life I wanted to write. There are so many moments from which to choose: I asked Jesus into my heart when I was eight years old, and there hasn't been a time, since, that He hasn't been faithful to me...despite long periods of my being unfaithful to Him.
One of these periods--and a lesson, born out of it--came to mind, today, and it's the one I've chosen to write...even though it brings me low to remember. It went like this:
I wasn't walking closely with the Lord. I was a college student consumed with having a rip-roaring good time. It hadn't taken long for me to get there, and--while I'm not a person particularly prone to regret--I do look back and feel sad for the opportunities I missed in failing to let my light shine.
My high-school friend Matthew, college friend Erin, and I decided to drive from East Tennessee to New Orleans for spring break. We didn't have much money and decided to take Matthew's Geo Metro, which got excellent gas mileage. I was driving down a particularly long, dark stretch of highway near Hattiesburg, Mississippi when a large, yellow dog ran out in front of the car.
In a split second, I decided I didn't want to hit the dog. So I pulled the wheel, hard, to the left and got around it. Honestly, everything happened so fast: I can't say for sure that I ever tapped the brakes. We kept barreling down the highway, and I was struggling to keep the car on the road...on any lane of the (otherwise) empty highway.
Matthew--in the passenger seat of his car--decided to help me out and grabbed the wheel. We probably would've wrecked regardless; I was totally out of control. But, together, he and I (without communicating at all, so far as I can recall) took that Geo Metro over the right shoulder and down an embankment, where we landed upside-down, in a swamp.
My head hit the steering wheel, and I blacked out. I remember very little of the rest, but I'm told that Erin--who'd been sleeping in the back, sans seat belt--put one of her feet through a window. Matthew couldn't exit the car from the passenger side, so he (despite his large size) crawled under my upside-down body and out my broken, driver's side window. He scrambled up the embankment and flagged down help: no easy task given his dark, rock-star attire and long hair.
All things considered, we fared well. Lots of bruises, scrapes, and scratches, and I broke most of the blood vessels in my eyes, but we didn't sustain serious injuries. The Geo Metro was totaled, so my dad and brother drove over eight hours to retrieve my friends and me from the dingy hotel room where we rested after our ambulance ride, hospital visit, and subsequent release. My brother wrapped his right arm around me and held me against his side for the entire ride home: long after he lost all sensation in it.
I'm telling you: it's all very fuzzy in my mind. Except for this:
When I regained consciousness, I awoke somewhere in the middle of the Lord's Prayer. And--in that instant, in a whole new way--I understood what it means to be sealed unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13). I knew: regardless of any and all bad behavior on my part, I was a child of the King, and He was with me in that totaled and upside-down Geo Metro, where it had come to rest. In the swamp at the bottom of an embankment along a dark stretch of highway near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, He was with me.
I've never forgotten.
I don't know why I was spared. I don't know why, but I was, and maybe part of the reason is so I can say to you: if you have at any point in your life asked Christ into your heart, He is in there, still. He has promised to never leave nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). No matter what you've done, or how you've sinned, or how far you've wandered: you belong to Him, and He loves you.
And it's alright if the vehicle in which you arrived doesn't drive anymore; it's really just a matter of turning around with your bruises, scrapes, and scratches and making your way back to Him, however you need to get there. Home isn't as far away as you might think.