This Far and NO FURTHER :: Mother’s Day 2017 Car Accident

October 9, 2017 — Leave a comment

On Mother’s Day, May 14, 2017, a car left the road outside of our home.

Both Amy and I were deep into our afternoon naps, she in our upstairs bedroom, and I in our guestroom downstairs. Our three youngest, Levi and Josh (both 13) and Ezra (age 8) huddled around the TV in our family room downstairs. It was a few minutes after 4PM. Quiet.

Then the car careened into our yard, continued to accelerate, and exploded through the wall and the TV in our family room, right on top of our sons. Like a missile. Like an explosion. Loud.

Miraculously, no one was hurt. Neither the boys nor the tiny momma who was driving. The angels were at work, and all we lost was stuff. We are so grateful to God.

In the week following, Amy took time to write out some of her thoughts. Here are her thoughts as they were posted on Facebook, unedited, in their entirety:

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Posted May 17, 2017

**I’m going to share a few “momma reflection” posts in the next week or so to help process what transpired with our fam this past Mother’s Day and give a glimpse into some unique aspects of this experience that lend some clearer understanding and insight for the sake of our extended family and friends. If that interests you, read on. Some moments were a bit intense – Parental heads up.

Bizarre Back-Story ~ We continue to hear that the most common reaction to the pics of the car through our wall this past Sunday was simply DISBELIEF. In order to help you grasp why our family was able to spring so quickly into action and not be paralyzed by our own disbelief, you need to know and some of you will recall, that Levi and I were some of the first “responders” on the scene at 5am on a Saturday last June when a car sped off the road directly in front of our home, took out a fire hydrant, hit the accelerator and ramped up into the air into our neighbor’s garage and front porch. Totaled the car both front and back and did major damage to the exterior of the home but didn’t break through the wall. TRAUMATIC for all of us as the drivers were injured but fled the scene ~ Just SO crazy loud and AWFUL to experience. Levi and I were the first to get our arms around the neighbor lady as she came out of her home STUNNED and in shock – shaken to the core. He ran and brought a chair from our yard for her. I sat on the ground and held her hand through the whole thing. It helped ME process and stay grounded to be able to hold tight to her. “Ministry mode.” The tangible hands and feet of Christ. She was that for me even as I was that for her. And Leeves was a rockstar. Calm, helpful, loving – And 12 years old.

Skip ahead to this Sunday.

I was napping upstairs when the car hit and shook our ENTIRE home, and the first boy to run and break through my door was Leeves very clearly stating “I’m okay – A car hit the house.” It was dark in the room and I did not notice he was bleeding ~ He had intentionally quickly rinsed in the bathroom so as not to alarm me, and then shut the door to the bathroom so I wouldn’t see the blood. WHOA. His calm, intentional processing and actions throughout this has me truly wondering what is in store for this young boy/man.

BECAUSE OF LAST JUNE the idea of a car hitting a house was UTTERLY normal, and that is tough to explain. We had literally “been there and done that” and the concept was PLAUSIBLE to us. What may have left others baffled and immobile did not have the same effect on particularly Levi, Ike, and me because it was SO crazy FAMILIAR. Our traumatic experience last summer set the stage for how we responded when OUR home was hit.

All that to say – KNOW that God can use moments in your life to better prepare you for things you cannot possibly foresee, both GOOD and bad. It may not be traumatic, but it may not be wanted, yes? You maybe would not have CHOSEN it. But if God allowed it, and you SURRENDER it, He will USE it. And THROUGH it His name will be glorified. And that ALONE is WORTH IT.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” ~ Genesis 50:20

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

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Posted May 18, 2017

Post 2 ~ Muh Boys

Many of you have expressed to us that your KIDS are concerned about our three youngest who were in the room at the time of the impact ~ Would love to offer some details here to put their minds at ease but also some others that you may or may not choose to share with young minds. To help you understand where Joshua and I are at ~ We didn’t have that CHOICE, and that is part of our grieving. The choice to protect young minds from the harshness of traumatic events. MANY of you have suffered worse with your kiddos, I know. All a part of our processing.

*JOSHUA (13) ~ So if you’ve looked at the pics you will note pretty quickly how alarmingly close to a chair the front of the car landed. Imagine the wheels still revving upon impact and spinning like mad. We believe the driver was in shock and still pushing on the accelerator for those first few moments. Our little man Josh is wired uniquely; processes very literally, and has a FULL BODY/full system response to fear, anger, surprise, strong emotion ~ His reactions are immediate, and they are LOUD. By God’s grace we have an INCREDIBLE team of professionals he sees regularly and 4 “safe” families from our church that he is able to stay with when needed. 2 of those families were on site with us after the crash, and we KNOW that made a difference for him just to have their presence here. MIRACLE: Josh felt he needed to use the bathroom on Sunday and stood from that chair at the exact instant the car was going to come through the wall – He SAW it out of the corner of his eye BECAUSE he was standing up at that second ~ As he was already slightly IN MOTION, Joshie went instantly into FLIGHT mode, and propelled himself around the chair and out of the room even as the bookshelf next to him came crashing down and debris was flying. He was MOVING and fully cognizant that it was a CAR and it was coming through the wall. He was MANIC in terror, but his speed down the hall to where Dad Josh was sleeping was seconds, and his repetitive screaming of EXACTLY what was happening was actually very beneficial throughout the house. Especially for those of us who were waking up to it. We calculate it was about 15 seconds before Dad Josh was actually out IN the living room because of Joshie’s clarity and speed. Joshie’s body and emotions took all evening to process the fear, BUT by the next morning, due to YOUR prayer coverage and God’s presence, his mind had quite literally MOVED ON. Minor cuts and a chunk of wall to the knee. And no desire to talk about it. 🙂 That’s our boy. For my MANY momma friends out there with kiddos with exceptional wiring, you KNOW. I know that you GET this. And I love you for it.

Z (8) ~ This part still grabs my heart and janks it. :-} Precious Z Babes thought a tornado had hit. Levi watched Z stare in horror and then vault over the arm of the couch and run – As Dad Josh came towards him he was yelling “IS THIS REAL?!! I don’t think this is real! Is this really HAPPENING?” Z was hitting his chest in confusion trying to wake himself up. Plaster dust and wall chunks in his hair, blood on his hands and arms from cuts, but no pain, and sweet confusion that somehow shields a young mind from some of the harsher realities in those initial moments. As 8 year old boys will do, he fixated on the blood as soon as he saw it. 😉 But again, minor injuries considering the carnage of debris he simply walked out of. He is doing beautifully at this point and DOES want to talk about it, of course. Little dude’s got some BIG angels, and he now knows it more than ever. Z was the first kiddo to make his way out to the road to ask why mom was holding this little girl. 🙂 “Z – This little gal is the driver of the car, hon, but she is TOTALLY OKAY, just scared like us.” He immediately smiled and reassured her that he was TOTALLY okay (in spite of the blood spatters which were a bit jolting gotta say), and then he wrapped himself around her waist. Ever had a Z hug? Then YOU KNOW. And she smiled through tears and held on. So did I.

Levi/Leeves B (13) ~ Of any of those in the room, Levi’s memories are most spiritual – Think that’s the best way to say it. Levi recalls the last line spoken in the movie they were watching and then an UTTER SILENCE descending on the room like he had never experienced. A complete stillness and NO noise. He thought he was dreaming – He could FEEL the silence. Immediately following was the loudest, worst noise he’s ever heard. Because the driver never hit the brakes and only the gas pedal there was no noise before impact. I’ve seen it in movies and I always JUMP, yes? Levi didn’t jump. He didn’t move. The room was smoky and filled with dust from the plaster ~ so dream like. He wasn’t sure he’d survived. And that hurts us inside somewhere. He said later, “Mom – I wasn’t afraid to die. I just didn’t want it to happen that way for Z. I wanted to be okay for Z.” He assessed that he wasn’t in pain, that Joshie was safe and running for Dad, and he was ALL ABOUT Z. He knew something hit his face and as he sat up blood was running, but NO pain. A good cut to the lip but completely superficial. Problem is – those REALLY bleed. Levi spent those first few minutes trying masterfully to conceal his bleeding but still inform us what had happened without causing alarm. His first words to EVERYONE were, “I’m totally okay! It’s OKAY.” He was SO intensely concerned about how everyone else was experiencing it. Levi’s moment of coming back to reality was seeing the paramedics RUNNING across the yard headed for the deck and realizing they were coming for them. Our boy grew up Sunday afternoon – Right in front of our eyes. He is older. And I believe those who knew us and were there on site likely FELT that too. We have zero doubt that Levi’s moment of stillness was angels descending into that room. You’ll NEVER convince us otherwise. It was holy ground, and every inch of that impact and every speck of glass and beam of wood that went flying was ORCHESTRATED by a Holy God and His ARMY. That car was HELD and our sons were SHIELDED. And whatever massive angel held that car declared, “This far and NO FURTHER.”

Uff, tears. Waves of mixed emotions, yes? What has the enemy thrown at YOU and your loved ones, my friend? Can you feel the angels descending into the center of your pain, panic, doubt, and fear? Spreading their wings to shield you? Declaring to the enemy by the power and authorization of our Sovereign God and Father, “This far and NO further.” We are HIS, friends. In HIS presence, we LIVE on holy ground.

“O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.”

II Chron 20: 6

“Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4

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Posted May 21, 2017

Post 3 ~ My Man, My Marriage, and My Mission

Gonna wrap up my reflections on this past week and our Mother’s Day incident right here tonight, friends. This writing has been cathartic for me and prayerfully has brought value to you either as an encouragement to pray, an insight on those who encounter trauma, IGNITION in an area of your life where needed, or a deepening of faith. That’s not asking much, yes? 🙂 We have a BIG God, and I’m asking for enormous outcomes with a ripple effect. Life is short. Pray BIG.

As our hearts and minds begin to shift back into a sense of normalcy that your system craves when it is taken from you, there are residual, poignant moments that you realize are going to STICK and are purposed to have more of a long-term impact on who you are and how you live. MY MAN is going to get a better version of ME than he’s had in awhile. Can ya’ll handle that directness? While most assume my terror last Sunday was likely focused around my kiddos, it was actually a moment of utter FEAR that Josh Dad was gone that has most stuck with me deep in my heart and gut. I shared in my first post that our fam suffered a similar experience last spring when a car shot off the road and crashed into a neighbor’s porch and garage. Following that incident Josh and I had a sobering conversation where he had stated, “Aim, if that car had left the road where it did and shot off the OTHER direction it would have gone straight into our guestroom.” He was right. Skip forward to last Sunday when Josh was in a deep pastoral Sunday afternoon nap … in the guestroom and our boys began yelling, “A CAR HIT THE HOUSE and THERE’S BLOOD!!!”

As my mind was waking up to that out of a nap myself and I was running through the upstairs seeing or hearing ALL of my kiddos one at a time, I was doing a mental tally and Dad Josh was the missing piece. And it was sickening. My sense memory was saying if the car hit the house and the kids are seeing blood, it’s from the driver or Josh and of the two options Josh made more sense. And I couldn’t HEAR him. In reality he was talking downstairs extremely quietly in order to bring down Joshie and Z’s panic and assure them completely that they were SAFE. I was UTTERLY TORN. My head COULDN’T accept that he was hit, but my heart was grappling with that very real possibility, and for about 30 seconds my system began to believe it. I want my system to forget that feeling, and at the same time I KNOW that God is using it for the good of my marriage. Josh is a ridiculously GOOD man. 🙂 I needed a reminder of what kind of love I need to be returning to him. This one worked. Take from that what you will.

Why was I torn? My MISSION ~ If you’ve ever been on a ministry team with me, particularly altar ministry, you know my comfort zone – On the floor with the broken. Why? Because I BELONG there. That IS me, friends. And that is NOT church speak. It is also NOT to my credit. It is my weaknesses and not my strengths that God has used most often in my life for His glory. Not pretty. Not glorious or glamorous. Not fun. Sometimes really harsh. But it has conditioned me to ENTER IN. Sunday I found myself STUCK halfway down a flight of deck stairs, TORN between running towards a driver I KNEW was not okay and not knowing if my MAN was alive. Here is where Josh KNOWS ME. The SECOND he stepped out on that deck Josh made eye contact with me and said, “GO, We are ALL OKAY!” He KNOWS ME. He knows I will RUN to the broken. And I love him for that beyond what I can articulate. Hearing that caused me to run about 10 steps, see the car through the wall … and then I simply sat straight DOWN. Right on the ground. Cried for literally about 10 seconds. TOO MUCH. I remember a neighbor and friend asking if I was okay and then him running to turn OFF the car. At that point EVERYTHING IN ME went into URGENT MODE and I was shouting, “WHERE IS THE DRIVER?!!” Repeatedly. Can’t explain why other than I had a DESPERATE need for the driver to KNOW no one was killed.

Bottom Line here ~ I KNEW that someone had just had what was very likely the worst moment of their life, and I believed all the way through me that the compounded terror of having taken a life was NOT supposed to be carried a moment further by the driver. TRUTH SETS US FREE, amen?? ALL OF US. When someone pointed out that tiny little momma who had been driving, a friend spoke to me sincerely, “You NEED to be with YOUR kids.” I UNDERSTAND that fully. However, as I ran and grabbed onto that little gal whose name, btw, means LIGHT … I WAS with one of MY kids. ENTIRELY, COMPLETELY, UNDENIABLE. And that is for Josh and my Father and I to understand fully, even if we are alone in that understanding. I have BEEN THERE BEFORE, where His voice and Josh’s have been my only support on God’s specific calling, and I have learned to GO ANYWAYS. Others will need to see God’s hand in it OR NOT. HE DIRECTS MY STEPS, even when … nope, ESPECIALLY when they make no earthly sense.

As some of you have read I was able to speak more Spanish than I knew that I knew that day, and that is a humorous part of this for me. (**Likely the ONLY part that strikes me as humorous, btw. Please keep that in mind around our fam and others like us. The proximity to loss of life has far superseded our usual light-hearted humor concerning this specific incident. Heads up, our wealth of funny friends ~ We may get there eventually; not there yet.) I reached for EVERY Spanish word I knew and likely made up some I didn’t. 🙂 “This is MY home. I have 5 boys. We are ALL okay. YOU are more important than the house. God is GOOD. Be brave! (No one could give me the word for courage.) You are FORGIVEN.” God allowed me to KNOW what she needed to hear, and who am I to NOT speak it?? I LIVE by His grace over my stupid, over my proud, over my careless, over my reckless – WHO in the world would I be to WITHHOLD GRACE and SOUL LEVEL PEACE from ANYONE who so urgently needed it when I LIVE under His GRACE and FORGIVENESS daily?? When I held “L” together as she was shaken to her core, GOD held me simultaneously as I WAS shaken to my core. WHATEVER that spoke to the paramedics who commented on it, or those who struggled with it, or those who were changed by it including THIS momma right here ~ TO GOD BE THE GLORY! There was a spiritual battle fought on that roadside and OWNED by my Heavenly Father, friends. A battle for her soul, my character and emotions, her LIFE, my children … God OWNED that day and REIGNED in every moment. In my living room. In our guestroom. From the gaping hole in our home, through the deep tire tracks in our yard, all the way out to the roadside where two mommas were BOTH granted PEACE and FORGIVENESS.

What has been forgiven YOU by a God who doesn’t hold grudges? By a Father who gave up His Son to INTENTIONAL terror and injury beyond imagination in order that you could LIVE? Who has withheld condemnation when you deserved it? Anger when you provoked it? Retribution when you caused harm? Man, I’ve got a loooong list, friends, of those who have forgiven me, with my MAN and my Savior being right up at the top. I don’t deserve the grace I’ve been given. When I should have been discarded I’ve been LOVED. When God chooses YOU to gift LOVE and GRACE in extraordinary and unusual circumstances, consider it one of the greatest honors you’ll ever be given. And GIVE IT FREELY. Don’t do the normal thing. Don’t do the natural thing. Do the SUPERNATURAL, Christ inspired thing, and may He be radically GLORIFIED through us. God BLESS your journey.

“We love because He first loved us.” ~ I John 4:19

“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are LIGHT 🙂 in the Lord. Walk as children of LIGHT.” ~ Eph. 5:8

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jskogerboe

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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

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