When Everything About Our Comfortable Lives Changed — A Guest Post
A Guest Post by Emily Carpizo
I remember distinctly the day my life forever changed and I saw God for who He is.
I have been a Christian my whole life, but recently I have seen that I didn’t have a real relationship with Him until just a few years ago. I used to only go to Him and pray at dinner or before bed. I would keep my prayers superficial or only ask for things that I wanted. I never really got deep with Him, nor did I ever hear His voice. When I look back, I realize that I never let myself “be still and know” that He is God and He is in control. I went through my life with Him in the background and didn’t put His will first or even ask what His will was.
I got married in October 2004. My husband wasn’t extremely close to God either. We never really talked about or got too deep in conversations about God or our faith. He was raised Catholic and wasn’t terribly interested in trying out a protestant church. After searching for a church home for a few years, I eventually found one that suited me. My husband had a job singing in San Francisco on Sundays so I would go to church alone with our two kids. I hung out in the background and never really got involved, but I felt like I was doing enough since I was “at least coming to church.”
On April 30, 2013, everything about our comfortable lives changed. Our 6 year old daughter fell out of her 3rd floor bedroom window and sustained a traumatic brain injury and a broken elbow.
I felt like I had been run over by a train. On our way to the hospital following the ambulance, all I could chant was “Please God, Please God, Please God…” When we got to the hospital, she was taken immediately into surgery. We waited for hours for her to be finished. The hospital staff had us sit in a small room with a chaplain. All I could do was pray. I had never prayed that fervently before. It was then that I realized I didn’t even really know how to pray. So in my own way, I cried out to God. After what seemed like an eternity, the surgeon came to the room and told us that they did everything they could, but it would be a miracle if she survived. He also said that if she did survive, she would most likely be in a vegetative state.
Over the next few days, I couldn’t eat or sleep. We had friends and family come to the hospital and pray over us and our daughter. I started to feel a strange peace come over me. I realized that even though I couldn’t find the right words to pray, there were people interceding for us. I started to realize that I was helpless to control the situation and I needed to give it all over to the Lord. I couldn’t do this on my own accord. I had no strength.
After that, we started to actually notice miracles. She was on life support for the first few days and not responsive. She was on a respirator but the nurses noticed her trying to take breaths voluntarily. Then, about five days after the accident, they decided to repair her broken arm. At that moment, we realized that she was going to survive. They would not have fixed her arm if they didn’t think she was going to make it.
We were in the hospital for exactly three months. It has been a VERY long road for her recovery, but I am happy to say that our incredible, brave daughter has relearned how to do everything: sit up, chew, swallow, make noises, smile, laugh, crawl and walk— and we are currently hoping she will get her voice back. It is like she was completely reborn. Her brain totally reset itself.
Because of this moment of singularity in our lives, we had no choice but to lean solely on the Lord.
Our daughter is a walking miracle.
Many couples that go through these kinds of major traumas find that their marriages are strained. They are not able to communicate with each other about their pain. I thank God so much that through this trauma in our lives, He was able to bring us closer together. He helped us see His mercy and grace. He also helped us see that He is in control. I’m happy to say that we have grown closer together and closer to God because of this incident. My husband started to see that God was very real. He started noticing the miracles too. God softened his heart to be more open to a relationship to Him. Because of this trauma in our lives, he decided to quit his job singing in San Francisco and started to come to church with me and the kids. He now comes to church with us every Sunday, and we have gotten involved in a community group (a smaller group where we meet weekly to talk about God and the Bible and life with several other married couples like ourselves), which has been amazing. To understand how monumental this is, you’ve got to realize: my husband is very much an introvert; he never would talk to anyone (except his family) about anything. Since the accident, however, he has realized that we cannot go through this season of our lives alone. It has helped immensely to have the support system of our church and our smaller community group.
I wish it didn’t take something like this to turn our lives around, but I am so very thankful for the lessons this has given us.
Micah 7:7 says this:
“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”
And Romans 8:31-32, encourages us that “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
I found these passages to be especially helpful during this past season of walking alongside my daughter throughout her recovery.
And now, today, as I look at Ephesians 2:13-15 I see this:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.”
Before all of this happened, my husband and I were very far away from Jesus. And then, when this traumatic event hit us, we had a very big choice to make: we could either choose to wallow in our sorrow and feel sorry for ourselves, or we could give all of our worries to Jesus. Let me be real clear: it was VERY hard to submit ourselves to Him. We wanted to be in control and to take away our daughter’s suffering. But we quickly discovered that we couldn’t do anything except pray and lean on Jesus and our friends and family. Slowly but surely, we let Him take over control. Once we did that, we started to feel more at peace. We also became a team. It was hard to see why God allowed this to happen to us. But we have come to realize that it was to bring us closer to Him. Again, as it says in Ephesians 2:15 “His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.”
Everyone has some sort of Before and After point in their lives. It may have been a very specific moment in time like mine, or it may have been a gradual change. I want to encourage all of you to remember that God will see you in whatever stage you are in your life. He will be with you and He will comfort and guide and provide for you. No matter how painful or challenging or even impossible it all seems. If you submit your life to Him, you will begin to see peace, comfort, and unity. Not just in yourselves, but in your families too.
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What about you?
What is one of the major “Before and After” moments in your life? How have you changed as a result of some of the more painful seasons of your life? In what ways have you grown despite (or perhaps as a direct result of) some of the challenges you’ve faced?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.