It was a fall evening several years ago when I was rushing out the door to my kids open house and my phone blew up. I wasn’t planning on answering it, but when it goes crazy and is ringing off the hook, its almost like someone is screaming at you “Everyone and their brother is calling you! Something is wrong! Answer yourrrrr phoooooonnne!” I picked it up, it was one of the girls in the Collide bible study at the time. She said you need to come to the hospital right away. One of the girls in our group had gotten in an accident. She was hurt, but not critical. But it was a bad, bad, bad accident and a little one died.
Meeting teachers and seeing self portraits in the halls of the kid’s school, though sweet, was no longer where I was going. It wasn’t even a question. I loved this dear girl and I drove as quickly as I could to go be with her. I was greeted by the other girls in our bible study and then by this young woman’s father. He was relived and he was concerned. What she had gone through, of no fault of her own, was now going to follow her wherever she would go. I walked back into her room, both afraid of what I would see and unsure of what I would say.
I found myself sitting at her kitchen table the day after the hospital released her. The images, the sounds, the moment of going through the motions of one’s day to seeing the end of one’s life and trying to make sense out of the horrifying chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, these were all verses in the conversation that played out. And that conversation has continued playing for several years. Sometimes it was, “Why? Why God? A child? Why me?” Sometimes, it was the panic and the anxiety that was continually trying to lure her into staying put, remaining indoors, going nowhere for fear something bad might happen. Sometimes the conversation surrounded the other characters and their pain and anguish and what responsibility is hers to relieve those burdens. Needless to say, we had many conversations, we prayed many prayers and watched God’s story unfold within her and without her.
It was in these conversations, that I remember this very brave, faithful and wounded young woman recognizing the great need for healing and help. She very wisely sought a professional counselor and that pursuit was like God’s Hand coming down and grabbing hers and walking her toward a better story.
A few weeks ago she sat on my couch. It was a new conversation. She was being given a large sum of money from the accident. She didn’t want the money. There was nothing the money could do to take away the pain, the memories or make the loss of a child ever be ok. That was clear. She had fought receiving the money for months and agonized over it’s lack of redemption. But God, again had spoken to her, she said, and she now knew what she wanted to do with part of that money. She wanted to give it to Collide to provide for other women who needed counseling for their pain. I absolutely couldn’t believe it! There isn’t a more beautiful picture than a woman who is choosing to use her pain for the sake of other people’s healing! That is what our Lord does. He trades His pain for our healing. This young woman is one of the most Christlike people I have ever met. It is because of her story that so many others will now be able to tell better stories.
We have created a Collide counseling program in which women who come to our gatherings will have the opportunity to say yes to God’s invitation to walk towards health and healing all because of this great gift! I am in awe and overjoyed at the stories that will come out of this story! Let us be inspired to be a people who give out of our pain, so others might find healing!