Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you will my righteous right hand.
This verse has been the background on my phone since December of last year. It is a verse that I have clung to in one of the hardest seasons of my life.
On Sunday, December 11 at 3:00 in the afternoon I was turning into the new clinic and my truck was struck by an intoxicated motorcyclist traveling at extremely high speeds. He hit me on my driver’s side door, shattering the window, yet through God’s protection I was able to walk away physically unharmed. Tragically the motorcyclist did not survive.
The following 2 weeks were a blur of tears and uncertainty, either sitting at the police station all day or under house arrest, waiting for a court appearance that would let me know what the coming months looked like for me. The ‘measures’ the judge gave stated that I needed to surrender my passport, check in monthly for 6 months, and I had to have two guarantors to ensure I would not leave the country. Reading that, many will feel that that’s wrong, but what I focused on was the knowledge that I could not be charged criminally (traffic accidents happen so frequently in the Dominican Republic that the situation is handled like this regardless of the circumstances) and that I could carry on with my life/work while I waited out the 6 months.
The first half of the year I was definitely in survival mode, just doing my best to get my work done and get through each day. The first few weeks after the accident I would flinch and fight back tears every time I heard a motorcycle rev its engine (if you’ve been to the DR, you know that happens all the time). For months I struggled to sleep, and every time I thought I was feeling a little stronger I would have to go for my monthly check-in, and it would bring everything back. After the 6 months was up, we found out that the family had filed 2 suits against me, as well as a travel ban to ensure I responded to the suits before leaving the country. The legal process was finally completed at the beginning of August, but then it took another 2.5 months for the travel ban to be lifted.
So yeah, it has been a really, really hard year. But let’s try to focus on the good things:
- I am so thankful for the love, support, and grace of my support circle, both near and far, who have helped me get through the past year. I have had so many people praying for me, and I will forever be thankful for that.
- I am thankful for the Buchers, Tyler, Kailey, Hannah, and Alejandro who made sure I was never alone and have consistently spoken truth to me until I believed it myself.
- I am thankful for Kailey, that she immediately opened her home to me and Arlo, and let us stay for the first two weeks after the accident. Kailey sat with me and listened to me talk about the accident or talked about literally anything else…whatever I needed.
- I am thankful for Jeff who literally walked through this with me…sitting at the police station with me, being at every court appearance, frequently checking in with the lawyer…I am sure he is just as relieved as a I am to have the legal process finally over.
- I am thankful for my Dominican friends who showed up at my court appearances to show that I have a strong community in San Juan. Before the accident I knew that I had friends in the DR, but this experience showed me that I have more than that: I have family.
- I am thankful for my church family in San Juan and in Illinois who have prayed me through this. In the first few days after the accident, I had a visit from each of the pastors from my church in San Juan which meant so much to me.
- I am very thankful for my biblical counseling team from my home church. I did counseling with Darla and Tiffany during the pandemic, and am so grateful to have had them to immediately reach out to after the accident. Darla knows me so well and knew exactly what I needed to hear from day 1 and has walked me through the initial heartache and guilt.
- I am thankful for Odette and Ravi for their medical advice and reminders that it is ok to need medicine for awhile to help me get through this. Sometimes you need medical friends who will phrase things in a “what would you do for a patient in this situation?” to finally be able to get through to me.
- Most of all I am thankful for Jesus. When I had no idea what was going on and everything felt so out of control, the only place I could find peace was sitting at His feet knowing that He was still in control. I don’t think I will ever know the ‘why’ behind this accident (this side of heaven anyway), but I do know that God has a plan in and through it and that He is always with me.
So, what’s next? Friday I traveled back to the states and I will spend the next 2 weeks with my family before I go to a 3 week counseling retreat in Michigan. I am so thankful for Solid Rock’s support through this entire process, and for their encouragement and help in seeking additional resources to make sure that I heal from this experience. My next blog post won’t be until I return to the DR in December, but I will keep my supporters updated every 2 weeks. (If you would like to be added to this email list, let me know by sending me an email at email@example.com)
- For his family and friends, that they may continue to heal after the loss of their loved one.
- For me as I do the work to heal my head, heart, and spirit from this accident, and as I work to repair relationships in my family that have suffered from being in survival mode for months.