Today marks one year since the fateful day that totaled our Chevy Tahoe, broke my husband’s sternum, and kept him out of work for weeks. It has been quite the year of recovering and adjusting since that day. I really do think this accident changed our lives, and our marriage.
When money was tight before, it became even tighter afterwards. He lost pay for about a month of work and we had to purchase a new vehicle. When Josh was doing awesome with his weight-loss (he’d lost ~70 lbs in 6 months), he slowly gained it all back, thanks to prolonged pain, limited activity, and fear of hurting himself, as well as slight depression. When we thought we had things figured out for the next few years occupationally, life threw us a curve ball. When we were both doing pretty well spiritually – reading scriptures every day, saying prayers together every morning, writing in our journals weekly (me) or daily (Josh) – we definitely have struggled coming to terms with why this happened to us and what we had to learn from this experience.
Josh and I have had some definite low points in the last year because of this accident. The accident changed a lot of what was going really well in our lives. It affected our attitudes and our marriage. We were bitter for a long time: hurt, angry, and resentful towards God. As if life wasn’t hard enough for us already, we had to endure this difficult trial on top of it all. We couldn’t see the good from it, not yet. We were endlessly frustrated.
So, we’ve had to humble ourselves a lot. We’ve had to reevaluate how we do some things. We’ve had to reestablish our communes with heaven. We had to forgive, let go, move on, and stop saying “Woe is me.” It’s been hard, but over the last year we’ve come to a much better place. We’re happy again. We’ve worked through different and sometimes difficult issues. We don’t have bitterness in our hearts anymore, and what a blessing that is!
The only thing that really keeps the drama of this accident in our minds now is the fact that we still haven’t reached a settlement with the insurance company. And because of that, money is still a sensitive subject in our home. We’ve had bill collectors after us for the medical expenses from the accident. We’ve charged up and maxed out some credit cards. We now have a high car payment due each month. We took out more student loans to help keep us afloat for the semester. Some months we’ve barely had enough money to buy food and gas, let alone things like new shoes and clothes for our kids.
The good news is that the settlement should be happening soon. Our lawyer has submitted a demand to the insurance company (over two months ago) and they’ve finally haggled yesterday. We hope that maybe we’ll see it before Christmas? What a present that would be, even though we hoped for the settlement every day for the last year, and desperately wanted to receive it before today – the one year anniversary of the accident.
With the settlement money we, of course, will finish paying off the remaining medical bills and our lawyer, and give tithes to our church. Then depending upon how much the settlement actually is, we plan on paying off as much of our consumer debt as possible, hopefully being able to pay off all our credit cards and our auto loan. That would be the best Christmas present to ourselves ever, to be debt free!
We, at this point, don’t know how much we will be receiving, but hope and pray (oh, how we’ve prayed and prayed and prayed for this) that we can come away from this situation debt free (minus student loan debt). It would mark the first time in our married life that we didn’t have a credit card bill to pay! It is our greatest desire to be debt-free!
While we readily acknowledge our numerous, frequent, and stupid financial mistakes of our short married life, we would thank the heavens and shout for joy at the opportunity to start over, to try again, to be forgiven of our financial “sins.” While we know that this hope may not come true for us at this time, despite our fervent prayers and renewed efforts to be wiser with the money we currently have, we have debt reduction as a top priority and goal and we will achieve it as soon as economically possible for us.
Trials and tribulations in this life are hard and confusing, but I want to testify that you can get through them. I want to encourage you to not curse God for you situation, or blame someone else. I encourage you to humble yourself and to turn to God for help and strength instead. By doing so you will save yourself a lot of heartache, anger, resentment, fear, disappointment, and sadness. You will be better able to handle the situation before you as you look ahead, and not behind. You will be able to get back to being happy sooner, even if your life will never be the same again. Life is not fair, but the one thing in life that is constant is change. And the one thing we have control over is how we respond to the things that happen to us. May we be wise with how we respond to life’s curve balls. It’s hard. We know. But, you can not only get through them, but come out better and stronger than you were before, if you just choose to do so! May God bless us all.
And *please* don’t text and drive. Even while at a stop light.