The summer before I started my senior year of high school is when my life forever changed. July 11th 1989 was the day of my senior portraits, and my sister and I were together in another city where the photos took place. We drove by a big hospital, and I said to my sister, “wonder what that hospital looks like inside?”
I had no idea I would be there that same night fighting for my life!
The very same night, on the way to band practice, my boyfriend and I picked up one of his friends. A drunk driver hit us head on! I remember riding in the middle (yeah dumb choice--no seat belt), and putting my left arm out to try to stop the impact. Now, I have a plate and screws in my arm and a long scar to prove it. I was trying to break the impact, but my head went forward, breaking my neck. After my neck broke in one direction, it was thrown back and it broke again.. so basically my neck broke off my shoulders (I have to stop every time I repeat this part of the story and breathe because it still amazes me how I am here today). The doctors say if it had broken even a fraction of an inch from where it did, I would have been paralyzed or dead.
The next thing I remember is waking up in an ambulance with an EMT holding my neck - he had to hold it all the way to the hospital 40 miles away - and my mom standing over me. I remember yelling to her, “I am alive, Mom!! Can you hear me?”
They had pronounced me dead. BUT GOD had other plans for me!
I remember blacking out, and waking up in that hospital that I had driven by earlier that morning! So you may be wondering about my neck – well I had to wear a HALO (Halo traction apparatus) for four months to give my neck a chance to heal back together. They drilled rods into my skull, and had a body piece that went around my my neck so it could heal. I could not move my head for four months, and every two weeks I would go see the doctor so he could screw them in tighter. I have four scars in my head two on my forehead and two above my ears They are my reminder of God’s grace and mercy, and it i a great segway into sharing Christ with others.
My life took a dark path after I graduated.
I had no friends and was looking for someone to love me. I got pregnant, and I didn’t know I was…but someone in my life recognized the signs! She said, “we will take care of THIS.” The next thing I knew we were traveling a few hours away to an abortion clinic, and she said we will never talk about this again. I was so far along that it was almost too late to have an abortion. I can still remember the sights, smells, and details I wish I could forget at times.
So at the age of 18, I felt I had just done the worst thing in the world I thought you could do. I can remember staying in my bedroom for months and months sleeping with a Bible but didn’t know anything about the Bible or what it was about or anything. I just I felt better with it in the bed with me, feeling as low as I did. I was heartbroken, but when I got pregnant again, I had a second abortion.
About a year later I met my first husband. I thought we were in love, but he cheated on me. We divorced after almost two years of marriage. My world was falling apart ladies!!!! At the age of 21, I had two abortions and one failed marriage. Feeling low, I then turned to an abusive relationship.
Things changed when I met my current husband of 21 years.
My first date with my husband, Troy, was special. He brought me white roses meaning friendship. He wore a suit and he asked me to wear a dress. I can still remember it like yesterday, How great he looked, and how he twirled me around in the street pretending to dance. Our story isn’t perfect. We both came into our relationship with bumps, bruises and baggage.
But that is also the way I came into my relationship with the Lord. He wanted me that way...he wanted me to stop running from Him and have a personal relationship with Him.
My husband Troy and I didn’t come into our marriage as Christians, and it was tough at times. He lost his job and we had to move far away from family. We moved to Beaufort, South Carolina and he worked three jobs and we had a baby. I can remember being In a local store and saw a card talking about MOPS--Mothers of Preschoolers. Women would talk about Jesus, and His love for us, and His forgiveness.
I was like: I want that! So I gave my life to Christ on September 23rd 1998. It has been a journey of healing for me. But when we moved to Kentucky in 1999, I told my husband, “It’s a new start, we don’t have to tell people all about our ugly pasts.”
We started attending church, and getting involved. One day, Troy leaned over in church, and said to me, “I feel that God is calling me to teach a Sunday School class.” I was like great! Then, one Sunday as he was teaching, Troy said to the class, “By the way, MaryBeth and I both have been married before!”
I thought I was going to die. What?? We are starting a new here. But see God was working in and through our lives in ways we had no idea. When I finally came to the point of forgiveness of my past, talking with my pastor, and releasing it to God to take my story and make it His message--it was so FREEING.
Since discovering freedom in Christ, I’ve shared my story with you today, in front of my church family, women’s ministry events, the radio, personally one and one with others. Ladies: no matter your past, God can take those dark places and make them light for you and for others.
Thank you for letting me share my heart with you today. God has shown me so much for being real with people--and if that means sharing the not-so-good stuff has to be shared so He can get the glory, then I will do it.
My life now is in a sweet spot. Troy and I have a son Trey is a Senior Political Science student at UK. ( Go Cats). God has brought a new job in my life this year. We teach a young couples class at our church, and I serve on the women’s ministry team, mentor young women, travel on mission trips, and recently started blogging. But My biggest joy and gift in life is being Trey’s Mom.
Favorite bible verses:
Psalm 46:10- Be Still and Know that I am God.
Psalm 46:5- God is within her, she will not fail, God will help her from the start everyday.
Exodus 14:14- The Lord God will fight for you just stay calm.
Breathing in HIS grace and Breathing out HIS praise,
Proud wife to Troy & mom of Trey