Car crash, close calls & the fragility of life

This year, like few others, have reminded me how fragile life is… how each day is a gift. How each moment is but one breath away from our last. That sounds morbid, in a way, but it is not morbid to me. It is grace.

February 3 I landed in emerge a second time in 2019 with heart issues. February 19 an echo-stress test revealed nothing. March 10 I was hospitalized. March 12 an angioplasty revealed a minor heart attack and Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD), believed to be caused by medication. April 13 I was in a minor car crash. April 22 my doctor’s office called to say they saw a spot on my pancreas when they did a CT of my chest to check my heart. June 12 an MRI showed the spot was gone.

And then…

On August 1 I set out for Ohio to attend a conference the next day. My GPS said I would arrive in Millersburg around 9:45pm. About 20 minutes from the border, traffic came to an abrupt halt. I hit my brakes and came to a stop. I leaned my head back, and let out a big sigh. 

Seconds later, the sound of metal crunching, followed by an explosion of airbags in my car – all but the passenger dash airbag… and then more metal. It all happened in split seconds. I don’t know if I passed out, or if it was shock that shut down my mind, but a moment later I saw ‘smoke’ and smelled this awful stench. I reached for the door handle, which I could not see under the airbag, and crawled out under it onto a busy four-lane highway. Barefoot. I reached back under the airbag and felt for my trust Birkenstocks. I realized then that I had lost my glasses in the crash. I felt around the floor, and found what was left of the frame. They had shattered. My left arm stung.

A police officer was nor far behind us, and was already on scene by the time I approached the vehicle that hit me. He stopped traffic and sent us to the shoulder.

I called Tim. That’s the hardest part, I think, calling him AGAIN to say some horrible thing has happened. He has seen me through several near-death encounters, and while this one didn’t injure me severely, to tell him the driver hit me (according to him) doing 100km’s an hour and the car is totalled, is not fun. I keenly felt the fact my life was in danger. Tim said he would come immediately to pick me up.

Not moments later three tow trucks arrived and removed our vehicles. The police report was done, and the tow truck driver dropped me off at Walmart. I stuffed my suitcase and belongings in a grocery cart – feeling like a true Walmart shopper – and started looking at glasses frames to pass the time.

Tim arrived and offered to take me back to the car to get the rest of our personal belongings and plates, since the write-off is inevitable, and the items have to be removed. I declined, even though it was the most practical thing to do. I wasn’t ready to see the inside of that car again.

We returned the following evening.

There is something overwhelming about seeing the inside of a vehicle, ripped apart in a split second. Bags, deployed everywhere. Debris strewn inside. Threads. Torn seats. Shattered sunglasses. Sunglasses that were on my face when the crash happened.

For a moment that mess and those airbags looked like the enemy. I felt all manner of emotions. They destroyed my car. The best car I ever had… Well, technically it was Generations Unleashed’s car, but the one I drove most.

I thought about it then… Maybe that’s not so unlike how people feel about me exposing sexual abuse. The airbags destroyed the inside of my vehicle but, in reality, they may well have saved my life, or at the very least saved me from severe injury. Given that I was jarred back when I was rear-ended, then hurled forward when my car rammed the car in front of me, I should be in rough shape. Yet, I have relatively minor pain and stiffness in various joints, neck and shoulders, only a few bruises and an 1/8th inch scrape. Not painless, but unbelievably good.

Exposing sexual abuse is like the airbags. The purpose of exposing is to save lives. But the process of exposing is messy and feels like destruction and looks much like ‘the enemy’.

Hopefully it will save many children the horror of being sexually assaulted, and save many families the trauma of broken relationships, and spare spouses the secondary trauma of watching their partner suffer.

For today, with the freshness of the shock of the recent exposure, many are not ready to give thanks for the exposure of sexual abuse. For today, criticizing the telling of these truths is not surprising. But hopefully one day people will look back at this exposure and thank God for the airbags that have saved lives and changed the course of history, for at least a few children. I pray so.

***

I’m nearing 50. This is the big year. And I sure know how to celebrate big milestones, having had one of the most eventful years of my life. I have lived passionately, and continue to.

It’s been over 21 years since my first near-death encounter, and almost 13 years since the first heart attack that almost took my life. I made a commitment after that heart attack that I would do what God calls me to do. And do so ‘fearlessly’ – which does not mean without fear, but rather facing fears head on and doing what is right, no matter the cost. I do not regret that commitment.

This weekend, in the aftermath of the accident… with mild headaches on Saturday and mild stiffness… and processing the numerous crises these past few months, I commit, again to do what God calls me to do, going forward. As fearlessly as before.

And… then there’s the practical every day stuff. Like shopping for vehicles ‘before their time’. The premature end of a vehicle is inconvenient. And shopping for a replacement is a small thing, in the grand scheme of things. But a necessary one….

In the inconvenience I continue to believe that God works all things out for good. That includes heart attacks, health crises, and car crashes. Everything. And exposure of sex crimes, especially.

Nothing but death can kill me. While I am alive, I will live. And live as though each day is my last with concern only for what God requires.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate. In light of Generations Unleashed’s vehicle being totalled in a crash on August 1, 2019, and insurance not covering the full replacement, your contributions are especially needed and appreciated.

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

THE GATHERING
(for survivors of Sexual Abuse in Anabaptist communities)
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:

  1. Registration for THE GATHERING will close October 1, 2019 or when sold out.
    To register: THE GATHERING: Registration
    For information:  THE GATHERING Information.
    To register for concert only: JASON GRAY CONCERT NOVEMBER 2, 2019 LBC 7:00pm

NOTE: After August 1 concert is only included dependant on availability.

Unleashing the Next Generation: Full Length

The 4-part version of ‘Unleashing the Next Generation“, are still up, but I have also created one full length version, for those who prefer.

Unleashing the Next Generation__Full Length

© Trudy Metzger

To Donate: Generations Unleashed, and Help Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Church
(Tax Receipts will automatically be issued for all donations over $20)

Trudy’s YouTube Channel

Return to First Blog: September 2010, “Running on Empty”

Return to first post in Sexual Abuse Series

Return to First Post in Spiritual Abuse Series

Return to the First Post in ‘Abigail’s Story’ Series

Thank You for Sharing 2012 With Me!

canstockphoto11425924In a season of joy, and anticipation… A time when Jesus is acknowledged and praised, through music, even in the secular world…. A season of giving… of thankfulness…  I am reminded of the reason I do what I do.  And that reason is the same Jesus whom we celebrate this season. When I am with people, we invite Him into the ‘everyday messiness’ of our lives, to bring peace and restore purpose—Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.

The God who came in the body of a little boy, about two thousand years ago, into our sinful and messy world, still longs to be invited into the pain and tragedy of our experience.

 A year in review…

2012 was an exciting year of ministry for me personally, through blogging and ’email mentoring’, as well as with Faith Girls Unleashed and Generations Unleashed! At the beginning of the year I had an archive of 34 blogs posted, over a 2-year period. This year I was able to write 224 new blog posts. This led to connections, both via email and in person, with many, many new people. (I will not mention how many emails I exchanged with my readers, as this would probably horrify you! …I thank God for good typing skills!)

Some of the new connections developed into new clients, and this has allowed me to spend time with many people, listening to your stories over coffee, or tea–my choice of beverage in the evening, now that I am ‘middle aged’ and can’t sleep if I have too much coffee. Together we have walked down some painful roads, and have found Jesus there, in the middle of the tragedy, suffering with us, yet fighting for us.

Your stories have touched my heart, and changed my life. The way I see the world now, compared to a year ago, is radically different because of you. I would never have believed, 365 days ago, that a person could change so much in a short time.

I see God as more powerful and real… as far more compassionate and gracious… as more personal than I could ever have understood before… He is a warrior on our behalf, yet a safe and gentle place to land, when life has overwhelmed. He forgives easily, and loves passionately… it’s His very nature to do so. Thank you for sharing your hearts and teaching me about my Heavenly Papa through your life.

On the Ministry Front…

Early in the year we started the process of establishing Generations Unleashed as a charitable organization, and developing a board to direct the ministry.This process is ongoing, but in recent communication with Ottawa, we learned that our file ‘review for accurate information’ has been completed, and an officer has been assigned to complete the process. We were encouraged by this, and hope for final approval in the near future.

While Faith Girls Unleashed continues to function as a separate entity, for the time being, it will (hopefully) eventually become a ‘program’ within Generations Unleashed, targeting women specifically. This cannot take place until the charitable status us granted.

Generations Unleashed was established to work with men, women and teens, in the area of sexual abuse, violence and various traumas. We do this through one-on-one  mentoring, coaching and biblical (not licensed) counselling, and simply listening to broken hearts. (Once we are able to fundraising, having been granted the charitable status, and funds allow, we will also sponsor partial costs for professional counselling in severe trauma cases. Currently we encourage professional counselling in extreme cases, but we continue to work with the clients as well, if they wish.)

We also ‘tag-team’–where I partner with Tim or another gentleman–to work with men, or couples. In every case, we simply ‘walk through’ life with them, identifying strongholds, traumas and working through them together, and building confidence in clients, through healthy, God-given, identity.

A wise person once said, ‘We don’t need behaviour modification, we need a new identity.’ We find this to be true. When we see ourselves as valuable, as having purpose, and ‘made in the image of God’–to reflect Him–our behaviours change. Changing behaviours never gives us a new sense of identity or beliefs, but changing our beliefs changes our perception of ourselves, and behaviours begin to line up with our belief systems.

It is the most exciting and fascinating thing to hear how addictions lose their grip, to see the fearful become strong, and watch the broken hearts become whole… and my favourite part is seeing individuals reach out to others, almost forgetting the pain they carried so close, not long before.

This aspect of ministry has included working with young teens, and accepting ‘trauma calls’ when there is risk for suicide, or suicidal ideation. This was never on our ‘radar’ as part of our ministry, but when God opens doors, we walk through.

My Mennonite Friends….

While we did not set out with a specific mission to do so, God has given us favour in working with various conservative Mennonite Churches to help break the chains of sexual abuse, and violence, within that culture. God has given me a deep compassion and care for people in the culture, and a passion to bring Jesus into the broken places, rather than trying to rip people out of a culture that is very beautiful, and has much good to offer.

The church leaders have been receptive to our help, which is something I don’t take lightly, but view as a gift from God. This has developed over time, but especially since our recent conference, November 23 – 24, where quite a few Mennonite couples attended, from various ‘brands’ of Mennonite. Since then there has been a wave of revival, as well as a cry for help. One of the women who was in attendance shared with me the following verses, as a word of prophecy. Habakuk 1:5b “I will work a work in your days which you will not believe, though it be told you,” and almost immediately a ‘flood’ of people came for help.

One lead minister thanked me for the positive impact he sees us having on his congregation. While hesitant to fully endorse us, because of our cultural differences, he said it is undeniable that his people are finding help and freedom.

One woman, who is now a regular client, described how angry she felt each Sunday morning in church, when she could see the ‘light and joy’ in the eyes of one of her friends, who was formerly a very angry woman. “I was jealous,” *Anita said, “because I was sure I could never be that free.” Three weeks later another young woman sent word to us that she would like to meet with me “because I see the change in Anita, and want what she has ”. And she had believed she could never be free!  God is doing a wonderful work in them, and in us!

 Looking ahead…

We will continue meeting and mentoring men, women and teens as doors open. Tim & I together meet with a limited amount of men and a few couples, and I meet with many individuals and couples.

One of the most exciting, and again unbelievable, things for 2013 is a ‘Mennonite Conference’, to be held–God willing–April 19-20, at Woodside Bible Fellowship in Elmira. We have a team of people we will work with, both Mennonite and non-Mennonite, to adjust the conference and make it as culturally respectful as possible.

Another exciting ‘potential’ started to develop when several young men met with me and asked if I have considered doing a teen/youth-specific conference. We would speak on identity, and healthy sexuality, with a less dominant focus on sexual abuse and a more youth-friendly approach. They also suggested bringing in a ‘big name’ band. We have contacted Tenth Avenue North, a band with a heart for youth and songs that already speak into these topics, and they are excited to work with us, if we can raise the necessary funds to bring it together for late 2013.

Tim & I never dreamed, eighteen years ago when we married and began the journey of working through my painful past, that God had dreams much bigger than we could possibly imagine. I always talked of doing ministry–maybe counselling and a few conferences a year, an ‘on the side’ kind of ministry–but never did we imagine what is happening today.

We are excited as we move into the New Year, knowing that God has much more in store for us. There are many uncertainties, but He has been faithful in the past, and we are confident of His faithfulness going forward.

His dreams have become our dreams, and we continually release personal ideas and agenda, for the bigger picture He is painting.

It has been the most exciting, and rewarding, year of my life. Without question. Thank you for journeying with me. Thank you for reading my stories, my ‘rants’, and  encouraging me. It is an honour to have your friendship.

Wishing you a wonderful New Year and God’s richest blessing!