Please let me preface the rest of this post by telling you that our GOD is BIGGER than any crisis we will ever face. This knowledge sustained me through some really dark and trying times. God's peace is the only thing that can calm my heart as I re-live some of the thoughts and fears of that day, August 5, 2010.
Each of us will face many trials in this life, but some seem overwhelming to us inside of them. The help and love shown to us by others can be the hands and feet of Jesus in our most desperate times. YOU can be the hands and feet of Jesus to someone TODAY, that is why I am reliving this story. It is not one I want to think about.
At the end of my story, you may think, "well, that wasn't so bad." At the time, in our lives, it was bad, scary, frightening, horrible. Looking back, I see time and time again how God protected us and provided for us. I give HIM all the glory for saving us, carrying us through the storm, and continuing to love us today!
On the night of August 4, 2010, I had worked 10 hours at my job. Kurt had the next day off of work (quite rare for a Thursday, but I think he had taken a couple of vacation days because the State Fair was to open on Friday.) Because Kurt was at home to take Emily to her volunteer position for the day, and to spend time with Arlene, I did something I rarely EVER do...I turned my cell phone OFF. Not down, not to silent, but off.
Kurt and Arlene dropped Emily off and started home. They took the scenic route throught the country to head home. The car they were driving in never arrived home. Later that day, Kurt and Arlene DID arrive home.
Ours was not a crisis of loss, as I know some of you have experienced. Believe me when I say I pray for you. Whatever crisis you are going through, God is enough.
Our crisis was one of survival.
As Kurt was preparing to cross the state highway, he did not see the approaching car.
Only God's protecting hand allowed me to still have a husband and younger daughter. Everyday I pray for the safety of each of our family members. This was a day when God answered mightily.
The SUV inpacted the right front wheel well of Kurt's car, sending the right front tire (and attached axle) one direction, and the car with its precious cargo the other direction.
(When I went to the junk yard the next day to retrieve the important papers and tags from the car, I wanted to weep, but I was too shocked at what I saw. I had to crawl through the driver's side and stretch to wrench open the glove box. There was an untouched space in the front passenger's seat JUST BARELY bigger than Arlene. I saw first hand how God's angels had wrapped themselves around Arlene and protected her!)
Even before the EMS personnel arrived to help, a car drove by, the driver recognized Kurt's car, and stopped to help. In the car was one of Kurt's former co-workers. Kurt later told me when he saw Tony, he was not sure if he was dreaming, in Heaven, or seeing reality. (Just a few months before Tony had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told to get his house in order because he wouldn't live long. God allowed him to be our help on this trying day.) Tony tried calling both my cell (which was off) and our home phone to reach me and let me know what had happened. When he couldn't reach me (I was DEEP ASLEEP), Tony had the presence of mind to call one of our mutual friend's houses. The husband was working from home and drove over to our house and pounded on our front door until I woke up and answered. When I opened the door and saw Mike, he said, "Carol, I'm here because Kurt and Arlene were in a car wreck, they are going to be OK, but they're on the way to the hospital, do you want me to drive you?"
Um, what? NO! What? Wait,... um..."give me a minute to get dressed, I'll follow you."
In the time it took me to head upstairs to put on jeans and find my shoes, I had an amazing thought. Mike had come to my door, not a police officer. They were not dead. Life would go on, but it would not be the same.
We actually arrived at the hospital before the ambulance got there. As soon as they had wheeled Kurt into the ER and done the initial transfer, they let me in. My husband was alive, my baby girl (aged 10) was alive, but they both looked awful.
Arlene had not suffered any broken bones, but had some nasty abrations along the right side of her neck and face from both her seatbelt and the airbag. Kurt had broken his leg. He had fractured his tibia. Not a compound fracture, and as we found out the next week, not requiring surgery, but a broken leg nonetheless.
God's mercy was evident both then and in the weeks to follow.
After a few hours, xrays, a temporary leg brace, and a referral to see the Orthopedic Friday morning, we went home. I called Mike and asked him to please come over once more and help get Kurt into the house. My 6'4" husband was on crutches, and there was no way I was going to be able to help him navigate the 3 stairs to get into the house.
We(I) spent a lot of hours the next 6 months on paying bills, talking with our insurance agents, billing staff, EMS supervisors, etc.
The girls spent a lot of time with their friends. Our church and home school friends were SO GRACIOUS and willing to take the girls. Kurt was on some pretty heavy meds those first two weeks. It was best for all involved when the girls got our of the house each day. They had fun playing, and doing their schoolwork at a variety of friends' houses. I had time to sleep (occasionally,) help Kurt, go to work, and do all the other things that still needed done.
We had so much food brought over that we had to freeze some. All from one fb post, and one email I sent. Our friends showed us love.
How did we homeschool through all of this? (Kurt was off of work for 11 weeks until he could be released to walk without crutches.) We did the next thing. Whenever the girls went to a friend's house, I sent along a backback with some books. Since we are generally Charlotte Mason styled, we have lots of living books, so I just kept picking history or Lit books and having them read. Eventually, in November we got back to math. We pretty much skipped grammar that year. Science was mostly things they could do on their own.
After two weeks of the girls spending each day with a different friend (some days they all went to the pool and skipped school, that didn't hurt Emily or Arlene's feeling any,) they stayed home. Daddy was switched to a lower dosage pain killer and they became his nurses. I continued to go to work, but during the day, instead of at night.
I was overwhelmed, but God wasn't.
I was stressed out, Kurt was stressed out, Arlene was going to the Chiropractor 3 times a week to adjust the misalignment of her spine from the pull of the live-saving seatbelt, Emily was afraid to go anywhere without us. Oh yeah, did I mention that Arlene was afraid to ride in the car? Every time we approached an intersection she tensed up. I encouraged her to sit inthe back and read a book, trying to keep her focus off of the other cars.
Kurt and I had a lot of fights. Yup, it happened. Thankfully God was bigger than anything we faced. HE held us together as a family. HE provided for all of our needs. HE gave me the words I needed to communicate with all of those billing people. HE sustained us in ways I had never experienced before.
If YOU are homeschooling in a crisis, if you are at a turning point, or in a trying situation, please let me enourage you to "do the next thing." Your children will survive if they don't learn any grammar this year. They'll even survive if they don't do any math lessons for 6 months.
Read your BIBLE! Read in Psalms and cry out to God. He hears you, knows your pain, and sees your future. If you are looking for something else of quality to read while you're waiting on the Doctor, or waiting for the phone call about ______, may I suggest "Through Gates of Splendor" by Elisabeth Elliot or "In His Steps" by Charles M. Sheldon.
Know this, even if your car never makes it home, God still knows your pain, He sees you, He is offering you comfort, it is up to you to accept it. This crisis will pass. Another may take it's place, but in the end, as Christians, we know a better ending is coming!
To read more thought about Homeschooling in a Crisis, click here, or any of the links below.