Two years ago my husband was in a severe car accident that totaled our one and only vehicle, broke his sternum, left him unable to work for more than a month, racked up medical bills, put us in (even more) financial strain, threw his awesome weight loss off track, and initiated us into the world of lawyers and lawsuits. This car accident was no fun. At. All. And today is the two year car accident anniversary. It’s been two years since that accident altered our lives.
Fortunately, it has been proven to us that this accident was actually the blessing in disguise that we prayed it would be. Two years out we can see all the good that came from it, all that we learned, all the blessings.
Going through this trial has helped me understand trials, firsthand.
It has helped me to understand the real, lasting hardship of trials. It has helped me remember others’ difficulties for longer, to continue to pray for them, to continue to reach out to them, even after much of the immediate needs are met. In many ways I am thankful for that. Thankful I have the maturity and wisdom to see trials as the overwhelming burdens that they are.
Because, when hard things happen, they are hard. And each day is stressful and long. You don’t know when they will start to get better for sure. You don’t know how long you will have to suffer. Not only did we lose our car two years ago, we also shortly thereafter lost a baby via early miscarriage, providing us with the hardest month of our short marriage together. Life sucked.
When you are in the midst of a trial of the on-going variety (i.e. a trial of health or finances; not just a bad day or week), it is not easy to keep an “eternal perspective.” While you want to stop and enjoy the smell of the roses, the roses don’t smell the same. Everything is tainted by the looming reality of your situation. It’s this dark shroud that hangs over every decision you make. Every day you wonder about the future and if and when things will get better. It is while in the midst of a trial that the only thing you can do is just pray and wait and have faith, while doing your darnedest to get through another day, even when the pain and uncertainty will still be there tomorrow.
An accident or other hardship really does humble you and test you. It tests your faith in a dozen ways as you can’t help but ask “why us?” and “why now?” or “why this?”. It tests you long-term reliance on the Lord. And humbles you when you realize that you need others in your life. You need their help. You need their prayers. You can’t get through it alone. We were humbled to realize that our phase in life is that of receiving, and not one of giving.
So sometimes you get angry. And sometimes you get utterly depressed. And sometimes you just put a smile on and do your best to suffer with dignity and poise.
And it is all of the realities of this trial that I try to remember now that the pain and suffering have past. I try to remember that trials linger on for many long after the initial needs are met. I try to remember to pray for people even though it’s been months since the crisis began. I try. I really do. I still fail, but now at least I have that perspective, that firsthand experience to at least try to understand and try to remember others in the dark parts of their lives.
Blessing of Money
The financial burden of this car accident stayed with us for over a year after the accident, until we finally received our settlement money. But, we somehow managed to get through each month, paying what bills we could.
My husband and I have always had debt and financial issues, since day one of our marriage. This car accident and related expenses and income loss where kind of the final straw on the camel’s back. The financial burden was heavy, as more credit card debt was racked up, and a car loan taken out. We struggled heavily in the finance department, especially after my husband’s paycheck decreased due to his time off. And then we were only offered a part-time contract at the school for the following year, leaving us confused as to what to do now – work somewhere else or get a Master’s degree. We decided to do the latter.
But, the huge positive of this car accident, is that after we did get our settlement money, we no longer had credit card or car loan debt for the first time in our marriage. Sometimes I think it was why we had to suffer through it all: the Lord was answering our on-going prayers for financial help, for us to finally be out of (revolving) debt. He just had to make sure we really wanted it and were willing to suffer for it.
Being free of credit card debt has been wonderful. We no longer have huge amounts of interest being accrued against each us month, have multiple bare minimum monthly payments to make, or are overwhelmed by unexpected car repairs, clothing, or gas money expenses. Not only are we free from all revolving debt, we also have real savings for the first time too. It’s been a blessing to our marriage and our happiness, even though we still argue about money from time to time.
Getting into a car accident also meant we got to get a new car! The Chevy Tahoe that was in the accident wasn’t a great vehicle for our family: it was often in need of expensive repairs and sapped huge amount of our money for gasoline. We had often talked, and a few times looked, at getting a more fuel efficient car, but just didn’t have a way to do so. In fact, at the time of the accident the Tahoe needed the windshield replaced as a stray baseball from practice (my husband was the JV Assistant Baseball Coach) had smashed into it.
This accident allowed us to not only to get a nicer, more fuel efficient vehicle, but to also become a two-car family! We now have two vehicles that we hope to have for a very, very long time, and they are completely paid off thanks to this accident.
Not having credit card debt or a car loan has made getting a Master’s Degree much more financially feasible. My husband’s small teaching stipend covers the bills and leaves just enough for food and gasoline. The student loans cover tuition, books, and rent. (We’ll someday get out of student loan debt too, we just hope that it won’t take another accident to do it!) Honestly, without the debt being gone, I don’t think we could have gotten through the last year and a half of my husband’s Master’s program as well as we have. The car accident and its subsequent settlement has made it possible for us to go back to school and pursue a new career path (my husband wants to teach at the University level).
Now that two years have passed since my husband’s car accident, it is much easier to see why these things did happen to us, the blessing that is was in disguise. While Josh had to go through some serious physical pain, emotional pain, and financial duress, we are happy and healthy now, and (mostly) able to pay for the things we need.
We would like to thank everyone who prayed for us, helped us, watched our kids, sent us meals, provided gifts, loaned us vehicles, and supported us (and listened to us whine!) over the last two years. We are forever thankful for Christ-like people in our lives, who know how to succor those in need.
How have you survived your trials? Have you been able to see the blessings in disguise later?
PLEASE DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE!!