On February 17, President's Day, the trajectory of our year took a left turn. It was an unseasonably warm day and our girls (Emma, 8 and Abbi, 6) were playing in our front yard. We had the door open and I was enjoying listening to them laugh and play as I made dinner. My husband Mike, had just come inside to change Jase's (11mos) diaper. Then, it happened in a second. Someone called to Abbi from across the street, she responded, the car didn't see her, Emma turned to call her back, she was hit. Emma ran in the house yelling, and we took off running.
The following minutes were a blur of screaming, crying and calling 911. Neighbors were flooding out of their houses and also calling 911. Abbi was just laying there in the street in her black and gold recital costume. She wasn't moving as Mike pleaded with her to wake up. Her leg was in an unnatural position, laying awkwardly by her side. I remember thinking, "Is this it? The moment of no return?" Almost instantly, I heard sirens and we were surrounded by help. She began to wake, moaning softly. On the scene, her leg was reset and she was gently lifted on to a board and moved into the ambulance. In the moment, decisions are made for you and you just move as you are directed. We were told she would be taken by Care Flite to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth. The ambulance delivered us one half mile down the road to the girls' school where the helicopter was waiting for her. What a surreal moment. Where buses usually parked, there was a helicopter. Where children normally played for recess, there were dozens of neighbors and on lookers. Where houses usually stood quietly watching the school, people were pouring out to have a look. In the middle of it all, I stood and waited. A barricade separated us from everyone else, including my own husband. While I was allowed to ride with Abbi, Mike had to make the 45 minute drive on his own, with no way of knowing her condition.
My condition for riding in the helicopter was that I not move or make a sound. I couldn't look back at Abbi, I couldn't ask any questions or respond to anything I might hear. In a strange way, this was a gift. I needed a moment to pray and plead with God. About a month earlier, we had learned a new song at church called 'My God is Awesome'. Abbi could not stop singing it over the last few weeks and I thought it was sweet. Now, the words of the song were swirling in my head so loudly and on repeat, that it became my prayer.
"My God is awesome, He can move mountains,
Keep me in the valley, hide me from the rain.
My God is awesome, HEALS ME WHEN I'M BROKEN,
Strength where I am weakened..." (over and over and over)
Amazingly, thankfully, the largest injury Abbi sustained was a broken femur. She also had a concussion and many, many areas of road rash on her back, arms and legs. She was in the hopsital for 3 days and had surgery to place rods in her femur.
For the next 6 months, our lives were profoundly different. Abbi spent 11 weeks in a wheelchair, not being able to bear any weight on her leg. It was a difficult and sweet time. We had a baby and a now 7 year old who needed our constant care. We learned in practice what we knew in theory: community is vital. So many dear friends brought us meals, sent us care packages, delivered gifts and crafts and cards. Her Girl Scout troop even made her special undergarments so she could go the bathroom easier. We learned in practice how God is attentive to our prayers and is generous.
School was difficult for Abbi from February to the end of the year. She was unable to participate in recess or PE and was generally exhausted by school. She was pushing herself in her wheelchair or working her way down the hallways with her walker. She was determined to do it herself and I admired her strength. Ultimately, due to the amount of school she missed and a pre-exisiting neurological disorder, Abbi is repeating first grade this year. First grade the first time was largely a blur. I am happy to say she is excelling this year!
In August, a week before school was to start, Abbi was given the 'all clear' by her doctor. What a sweet day of rejoicing! She would start school in full health. I no longer take that for granted.
On the health side of 2014, we saw the Lord heal the broken and restore Abbi to full health. Emotionally, we learned that God gives "strength when I am weakened". We have all been a bit on edge and a little more jumpy then we ever were before the accident. Emma saw a lot and it was scary. As I said, it was a year of trauma and praise.
On the financial side of 2014, it was an overwhelming year. We have spent hours and days fighting with insurance companies (both car and health), and have found ourselves on the losing end of every battle. Several claims were denied, the accident itself was ruled 'no fault', our car insurance claim was paid straight to the insurance company to pay them back, and on and on. Recently, as we went to schedule the removal of Abbi's rods, we were informed that the surgery is "imperative but elective". Essentially, she needs to have them removed so they do not interfere with her growth plate, but that the surgery will not be covered by insurance. As you can imagine, this was a huge blow to us. We opted for high deductible insurance this year in anticipation of this surgery, which now will not be covered.
Here's what we know: God is attentive. He hears and responds to the cries of his people. God is generous. God is good. God is loving. God is our refuge.
We need help to pay our immense medical debt and raise money for Abbi's surgery. We humbly ask, we gratefully receive. Thank you for reading and for your many prayers and acts of service you have already so graciously given to us.
peace and joy,
julie, for the whole wilding family.
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