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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

When in doubt



Today I was looking for an old photograph to post. The photo depicts me in a body cast with my nickname Eowiggle written across my chest. I can see it in my mind's eye, but  I did not find it. It must still be with my parents. In looking for it, I stumbled across my baby book. On the very last page, my mother (Rebecca Jones) describes events that occurred on April 27, 1973 when I was 10 months old.

We were driving to Princeton for Peter's oral examination on his dissertation. It was raining, and as we were coming around a curve, Peter lost control of the car and it began to go off onto the shoulder of the road. He steered back toward the center of the road, but we were going nearly 60 mph and the wet roads kept him from regaining control. We smashed into the center guard rail, were flung across the road, spinning as we went, and smashed into the side guard rail. When we finally came to a stop, Peter said, "the baby!" and we immediately jumped out to see how she was. She had been sleeping in her car bed behind the back seat in our Opel station wagon.  She was gone. Nothing was in the back-no car bed, no suitcases, no baby. I thought she had been thrown out early in the accident and since I saw something about 100 yards back by the side of the road, I began running down the road, screaming, "Eowyn, Eowyn, where are you?" Meanwhile Peter was looking too and found her lying on the other side of the guard rail in deep grass. He called me back and put her in my arms and it was as if she had been brought back from the dead. I began to cry and kept saying over and over, "Jesus, thank you. Thank you, Jesus!" I knew then that Eowyn did not belong to us. She is God's child. It was as if God wer saying, "She's mine. I'm going to let you keep her now. Take good care of her for me." This dawned on me only as I stood in the hospital with little Eowyn naked and wrapped in white sheets on the white bed. We had waited in someone's car for 20 minutes for an ambulance, then there was a 10 minute ride to the hospital and a 15 minute wait in the emergency ward. She might have had any number of internal injuries-might still have been dying for all I knew but I had an immense sense of peace knowing that she belonged to God-that He loved her infinitely more than I did and that I didn't mind if He wanted to take her. Right then and there, in my heart, I dedicated her to God.When you read this, Eowyn, remember that you belong to God and no one can take you out of his hands.Remember how he preserved your life so that you would grow up with us. We thank Him for you and pray daily that you would come to love Him with your whole heart, soul, strength and mind. A boken leg was the only injury. Peter and I had our shoulder seat belts on and had only minor bruises. Eowyn ate and slept well immediately, though she nursed more frequently for the first two days. By May 1st she was crawling all over the house, cast and all.

This account of how God preserved my life as a baby has become more precious to me as I have grown older and have children of my own. It encourages me in numerous ways. The first is the faith of my parents who, with the uncertainty of whether I would live or die, were willing to trust their heavenly Father with their child's life. My mother dedicated me to God right then and there. What a blessing she has been to me through her example and her actions that prove her unshakable trust in God.  The second way this story lifts my spirit is it reminds me that God knows the number of our days. He knows the number of hairs on our head. He knows exactly when it will be out time to leave this earth. Is this thinking morbid? On the contrary, it is quite freeing! It frees me not to fear my own death and not to be overly anxious about the safety of my own children. This does not mean I don't struggle with fear. I do. I am tempted to worry whenever one of my kids sets off across town on bike or on the Berlin public transportation system alone. Every time this happens, I am challenged to stretch my faith muscles and trust God with their lives. So when in doubt, I remind myself that they too are in God's strong yet tender hands, just as I was on April 27th, 1973, the day of that terrible accident, when those hands gently placed me on the other side of the guard rail in deep grass. One day those hands will carry me safely to the other side of the guard rails of this life and it will be the right time then.