Happy Monday Friends!
I hope you had an incredible weekend. I have some great news, Beth Moore is giving away four More FREE BOOKS, in addition to the six I told you about on Friday. Breaking Free, one of her most popular and powerful books is available for free on your Kindle or Tablet!
Click HERE for more details!
Now on to sharing an inspiring interview with a friend of mine, Shonnie. I first met Shonnie when we were a part of the same church and Lifegroup together a few years ago. Her story of seeing God’s faithfulness in the midst of unimaginable circumstances is powerful and I know you will be encouraged by her life as much as I have been!
Charity: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live and what kinds of activities you enjoy?
Shonnie: I grew up in Bryan, TX and moved to College Station, TX 7 years ago. It’s a long story but God gave me the house I am living in. I am in school full time for a Christian Counseling degree online through Lousiana Baptist University.
Charity: That’s great! How close are you to graduation?
Shonnie: I have 4 classes left and May is my goal to graduate.
Charity: Congratulations, that is a big deal! What do you enjoy doing?
Shonnie: I like to hang out with family and friends. I love going to the movies, watching tv and reading non school related books. Right now I am reading * Heaven is for Real.
Charity: I bawled through that book.
Shonnie: Its so good! I have really enjoyed it.
Charity: Can you tell us about your accident?
Shonnie: My story begins in July 2005. I was working at the time for Still Creek Boys and Girls Ranch, a Christian Children’s Home. On July 11, I went swimming with seven of the girls who lived at the Children’s Home. After picking up my boss we headed into town to get snow cones.
As I was driving, I went off the road and when I came back on, the van hydroplaned and rolled over a few times. The girl who was sitting next to me in the passenger seat had a dislocated shoulder. My boss who was sitting in one of the seats behind me broke his arm, vertebrae and some ribs. The other six girls who were sitting with him in the back of the van were miraculously unhurt; they didn’t even have a scratch that required stitches. The driver’s seat took the brunt of the impact. I broke my neck and was instantly paralyzed from the chest down.
Charity: What has recovery has been like for you since your accident?
Shonnie: It would be an understatement to say that my life changed that day. I feel like I was taken out of one life and dropped in an entirely new one. Every single aspect of my world changed. I spent the entire first year in the hospital doing intense physical and occupational therapies. When I was discharged from the hospital my parents moved in with me so we could figure out how to live the quadriplegic life in the “real world.”
In the second year after my accident my brother became a personal trainer and we started an intensive, exercised-based, recovery program designed to retrain the nervous system so that over time it “comes back to life.” A majority of the exercises were passive repetition in which I tried to connect with the movement of my legs in order to retrain new nerve pathways through the blockage in my spinal cord. In the four years that we worked out together I did recover some strength, movement, and sensation; but often times the first sensation that a person recovers is pain. For me, it seemed that pain was all that I was feeling. I had pain in several different places in my body, at varying degrees of severity, on any given day.
Charity: Wow, that is a very intense daily struggle. I would imagine in addition to the physical pain you have experienced, there has also been emotional pain from the accident. How have you been able to work through that?
Shonnie: These last eight years have been quite a journey through rehabilitation, grief, and pain. In the process of trying to recover, not only physically but emotionally as well, I began asking God what His purpose was for my life now that so much had changed. I felt Him lead me to pursue a degree in Christian counseling at an online University. I have always had a heart for people who are hurting. This was an easy decision for me except for the fact that due to the concussion I sustained in the accident my working memory, my ability to recall, has been effected; because of this I started out taking only one or two classes a semester.
Part of my education included a three week internship with a counseling ministry in Colorado Springs. During this time I also received counseling which helped jump start my own internal healing. Part of my counseling included walking through forgiving different people, myself and even God.
Five years before my accident something happened that tore my family apart. One way I coped with that pain was by being busy and staying active and doing ministry work. However, after my accident I was forced to sit still.
Growing up I had a legalistic perspective on faith, I believed I had to earn God’s approval and love and favor. When my accident happened God taught me that He loved me even when I could do nothing, and I couldn’t serve anymore and I had to be the one being served. It was really a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around that God loved me even if I could do nothing. Through this process I became really secure in His love for me whether I do anything or not. My motivation for helping people now is different, its not seeking God’s approval but is driven from a heart of love for others.
Charity: Thanks so much for sharing all that Shonnie! It is incredible to see the revelations God has given you about your identity as His daughter. Are there any other ways you have seen Him bring good out of your accident?
God used my accident to bring my family back together. All of my family relationships are so much better. I have gotten to know my brother so much better because we started working out together after the accident. My parents lived with me after the accident and my Mom was with me everyday at the hospital. Last year they moved out and are now doing missionary work. God used that time to really heal my family. He uses everything for good!
Charity: That is amazing, how encouraging!
Tomorrow we are going to continue sharing my conversation with Shonnie. YOU DO NOT WANT to miss it!!! Shonnie will be sharing an incredible testimony of a miracle God has done in her body.
*(Note: Clarity with Charity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. These are my amazon affiliate links, if you should decide to buy them, I receive a tiny percentage.)