by Tosha Williams
There’s nothing like a near-death experience to make you look long and hard at your life and decide if how you’re living is how Jesus wants you to live. That moment happened for me five months ago today, when my husband and I took our younger daughters to go horseback riding.
I would like to say that my near-death experience happened on a horse named Thunder or Warrior or Prince. But nope, my pivotal moment was when I was riding a horse named Vern.
I don’t recall what happened, but Kelly and the girls later told me the leather stirrup broke just as Vern entered his third gate. At a gallop, the imbalance created the perfect storm which eventually launched me from the horse. I flew through the air upside down and met the round pen rails with my back and the fence post with my forehead. Upon that impact, my body ricocheted to the sandy ground like a lifeless rag doll.
Kelly rushed to my side, and he later told me that no husband should ever have to see what he saw. I was a bloody, broken mess, and they immediately feared my brain was swelling because I was showing the classic signs of internal skull fracture. Since we were in the middle of nowhere, paramedics summoned a flight-for-life to get me to an emergency room stat.
My family has had to fill me in on most all the details, because, apparently, I couldn’t even recall that it’s 2018 or that I live on a farm or that I’m a pastor’s wife. I can’t remember the accident or the helicopter ride or going into the emergency room.
But here are my near-death memories that I do have:
Miraculously, I never forgot I have five kids. Kelly said I repeatedly asked over and over again about each one of them, where they were, what they were doing, who they were with, and if they were okay. I remember wanting to know where each of my kids were and be assured they were okay. A loving mom’s heart is always, always with her kids. Kelly did his best to answer my repetitive questions.
I remember kind eyes of certain emergency personnel who gave me strength to hold on. I’m so thankful for first responders who care.
I remember reciting the words of Psalm 119. When God told me on April 13th to start memorizing the 176 verses of this psalm, I didn’t know how I was going to memorize those 176 verses any more than I knew how I was going to survive the 176 extremely difficult days ahead. His Word sustained me through the desperately hard spaces and places He knew I would encounter this year, including my near-death experience. With His Word in my heart and even coming from my lips despite my severe injuries, I felt the Lord’s Presence throughout my ordeal. I remember Him being near – even though I can’t remember hardly anything else. That’s who God promised Jesus would be: Immanuel – “God with us.” He was with me, even in the midst of my terrifying, near death experience. Amen!
I sustained a broken shoulder, a head injury, and a lot of stitches and pain from my accident. However, instead of being dead or paralyzed, five months later, I am going to be okay. We are overwhelmed and thankful.
My season of recovery gave me hours and days and weeks to look long and hard at my life and talk to God about whether how I’ve been living is how I should continue living.
“God, am I doing what You want me to be doing with my life?” I’ve asked. And I have felt God’s strong confirmation, as His Presence continues to be so close, so near: Yes.
And, from His answer, this I know:
He wants me to continue to love and support the amazing man I married. Kelly is a man of truth and integrity, strength and courage. The night of the accident, he was the one who told me to recite Psalm 119 when I was out of my mind in pain and he was out of his mind in fear. I’m glad that I get more time in this life with him.
God also wants me to continue leading my five kids who are 11-21, teaching them about Him, loving them all no matter what, challenging them to do what’s right, and interceding for them continually. I’m forever blessed to be the mom of FIVE.
God wants me to continue pursuing Him in His Word and in prayer and leading others to do the same, as both a mom and a pastor’s wife.
God also wants me to continue leading Mommy Disciple Me, a ministry to help and inspire women to SEEK the Lord in their own lives then SPEAK Him into the lives of those He has entrusted to them. (I invite you to check out this ministry in our current Christmas Advent series by clicking HERE.)
I have no illusions that God’s “Yes” means that I get everything right. However, His validation gives me the courage to keep moving forward despite all that I’ve lost and all that I could have lost.
He could have easily taken me to be with Him five months ago today, but He didn’t. He obviously has more for me to do here on earth for His Kingdom and His glory.
And so, five months after that nearly fatal night, I testify to God’s goodness in the land of the living. I should have been killed or paralyzed. Instead, I’m sharing these words with you because God has done a miracle in my life.
He is real; He is powerful. He is Immanuel, our very present help in times of trouble and our very present help today. Every day I have left is a miraculous gift from God, and, no matter how painful or great each day is, I live to make Jesus more famous.
Thank You Lord for sparing my life. I will live each coming day as if it’s my last until the one day I’m right and I get to meet You face to face.
Until then, SDG – Soli Deo Gloria! – to God be the Glory!