God’s Grace on Me

Thought out my life I have always believed in God. I can’t say I have ever had the greatest of faith in the Lord or understood the miracles, power, or love He has for us. I know until recently I never knew what was meant by God’s Grace. I could see babies being born and writing it off as natural and read about car crashes where people walk away with no injuries, and I’d call it simple luck.

Well, this was all true until December 2014 when I increased my studying of the Bible, praying more, and trying to live more Christ-like. I have started to see His Glory and Might in things that I used to just write off as luck, or whatever the term was. I started to see that my own sinning was becoming less and less of a burden in my life. But like all sinners, I continued to see that I have much more room to grow in His Glory. I still need to learn how to love more easily, help those in need, and speak loudly of His Love, Glory, and Compassion to our fallen world.

This now brings me to the event I had on December 12th. There is no way for me not to see God’s Grace, Protection, and Love He has for us, and I am very humbled to know that I was given a glimpse of it that day. That day started out like most days for me. I got up, looked outside, and saw it was raining. I knew that I would have to leave a little early and drive slower and more cautiously. I left my house and noticed many spots in Bear Valley, California roads have high water and wanted to make sure my daughter, Abby would be safe driving to school. I texted her using Siri to ensure I would remain safe. I told her to drive slowly and be aware of the high water running across the road. Only 30 minutes later I would find myself in the very unsafe situation I hoped to save my daughter from being in.

I was heading eastbound on Highway 58 just outside of town. I had been keeping my speed down to what I felt was safe for me and resisted the urge to turn on the cruise control. I had just passed the Cameron Canyon exit and driven another mile or two further when the rear tires of my car started to slide out from under the car. I didn’t even see any standing water in this slight left curve. I counter-turned my steering wheel and let off the gas immediately, but it was too late. My front wheels had left the road’s surface and now were sliding on top of the water that had pooled under them. I knew at that moment my wife; Krissy’s nightmare had come true and there was nothing I would be able to do to prevent it… All I could do was hold on and brace myself for the unknown…

The next thing I remember was seeing the medium wall move further away from me and the shoulder of the road getting closer. I then heard a loud popping sound as my tires hit what I believe was a small curb. At that point, I believe my car must have started to roll over, but the speed of the roll was too fast for my mind to understand. The best way I can describe the view from the windshield is that it looked like watching a top spinning in front of me. The next thing I remember is seeing my cabin lights turn on and the roof of my car below me coming closer. The hard and sudden impact of the car has the roof come crashing into my head. The airbag blew and my hands were now knocked off the steering wheel. My seat belt tightened fast and hard against my shoulder and the sudden pain from the impact hit my neck and my head. As I tried to collect my thoughts and was hoping that I would hear a voice from a passerby yelling to see if I was OK or not. But to my horror, I found that not a single person had witnessed my crash. All I could do was listen to the cars and trucks driving across the wet asphalt.

Once I had collected my thoughts, realized I had no one I could count on to call for help, and that the pain in my neck and head was far too great to stay in the upside-down position I was in. Having been a Navy Hospital Corpsman, I knew that what I was about to do could result in increasing my injuries, but the pain in my neck was so great. I unbuckled my seat belt and was able to keep myself from falling out of the seat. I was able to lie down on the roof of my upside-down car and use the dome light with my jacket as a pillow. Knowing how close I was to Cashe Creek I worried that I could be in the creek bed and with the rain I had to watch for water coming into the car. I then thanked God for me being alive and it appeared I was not in a life-or-death situation.

I now knew I needed to find a way to call for help from the inside of my car but without moving too much. I told myself that my neck pain was only whiplash, I also didn’t want it to be something worse and knew movement could be awfully bad. So, I started to reach for where I knew my phone was before the crash. I knew that more than likely it would have been destroyed in the impact since I always keep it in a cradle on my dashboard, the same dashboard that now only had about 4 or 5 inches of space between it and the roof. On top of that, the windshield had also blown out, so the chances of my phone still being there were almost zero. At this point, I should have felt completely alone and helpless, but I felt completely at peace and was trusting in God to help me through this. I reached my hand up and found the phone’s charging cable and started to pull it, amazingly enough, it felt like the phone was still attached. I felt the glass of the windshield above and below my hand as I pulled the cable. Then the cable became limp as it slipped out of the phone. Not to be disheartened, I reached up again and found the audio cable, and started pulling it. This time the phone stayed connected to it and was able to see God’s Protection over me once again. The phone was only dirty and showed no damage (Much later I found the only damage to the phone was a small dent around the outside case.

I now debated on calling Krissy or 9-11 first. I wanted to let her know that I was alive and was going to call for help. But I knew that if I called her first that could make things worse for her. I was afraid that she would rush to the hospital and endanger herself. She would have no useful information or even if I were out of the car yet, let alone, I didn’t know my true condition and was stuck in the car due to the crushed doors. So, I called 9-11 and for the next 26 minutes, a dispatcher asked me questions about my status and kept me encouraged that the rescue teams were on their way. I heard the sirens at one point in the distance but still saw no one. The dispatcher stayed on the phone with me and kept asking me if I could see anything, lights, people, cars, anything….

After a few more minutes I started to see the light of a spotlight flicker in my passenger side window. I can’t tell you how grateful I was to see the light. Then the dispatcher told me that they had found me and wished me luck and I thanked her. I started hearing the voices of the firefighter and CHP officers. Then I saw the first fireman on the driver’s side back window, he was trying to break the glass to talk to me. Once he was able to talk to me, they started to pry open the back driver-side door to get better access to me. Then another group of firemen pried open my passenger side back door so they would be able to slide the backboard under me and pull me out of the car. They then carried me up a slope that felt like it had to be steep and about 15 to 20 feet high. (After healing I went back to the accident location and saw that the slope was a very steep incline of 15 feet, I must have barrel rolled my car in the air before crashing down on top of the highway fence. The car was also facing the wrong direction and never touched the ground until hitting the fence line.)

Once out and in the ambulance, I noticed a voice I recognized, it was my brother in Christ Lenny Dehart, he was the CHP officer that found me and didn’t stop searching for me. The paramedic looked after me and asked me many questions to ensure I was OK. Lenny then asked if I wanted him to call my wife. I could have never been more thankful for God’s Love and Compassion to know that Krissy would be getting the nightmare of phone calls from someone that we knew and was a brother in Christ.

Since it didn’t appear I was in serious condition, the paramedic allowed me to choose to go to Tehachapi Hospital, Kern Medical Center, or Antelope Hospital. I chose Tehachapi Hospital in the hopes that my neck was only whiplash. During the ride, I called Krissy and let her know that I was OK and that I will be OK. I told her that she can meet us at the hospital. Once at Tehachapi Hospital they took care of me but found that my neck was more serious than I had hoped for. I had a hairline break of my C-1. Having been a Hospital Corpsmen in the past I knew how bad this could be… I knew that it was in the wrong section of the vertebra I could die with the slightest turn of my neck. Not wanting to panic Krissy or anyone else in my family I acted as if it wasn’t much. However, the hospital activated the trauma response and started the process to send me to Kern Medical Center for a full workup and for a neurologist to check me.

During these events, I found so many things that showed me God’s Love, Compassion, Protection, and most of all His Grace. He protected me from death in the whole thing and from a more serious injury. His Protection was also evident in my phone being within reach and in perfect condition, and again when I saw my car and realized the phone should not have survived because it was under my car in a small pocket where the roof was dented. He showed me His Love and Compassion by sending a brother in Christ to be able to call Krissy and then contact our church and sent many and many prayers. Lenny told me that night that the reason the siren was turned off was that they had to slow the traffic down from driving 70 mph past the area. That was God’s Protection for others as He used my crash to allow the rescue teams to slow down and prevent others from crashing.
His Love and Compassion have been so great that 3 churches locally had been praying for me. That people I didn’t even know in any of these churches poured out their love and compassion to my family was greater than I have ever seen.

What I found out the most about this whole event was the Grace of God was greater than I had ever understood before. Truly I don’t feel I ever really knew what His Grace was until December 12. But now I believe I truly understand it. There was no worldly reason or justification for me to be able to write this story. There is no worldly reason or justification that my injuries should be as they were. In truth, this last Christmas should not have been one of joy for my family. But because of God’s Grace, I am here to spread to you the Love, Compassion, Protection, and Grace of the Lord. I know some will say that it was luck or simply not my time, but I will say that luck had nothing to do with my being alive today. Only God could provide the Grace of His Protection, Love, and Compassion in such events.

Author: littleslices

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