Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Publication and a special Birthday!

Hey everyone-- Following is an article I wrote for our APU Alumni newsletter. Our accident is obviously old news for all of you, but not heard from my perspective.

In the months before the summer of 2005 began, God was blessing my husband and I in every area of our lives. My husband, Aaron, was having a tremendously successful year as a middle school band and orchestra teacher. I was working on my Philosophy of Ministry paper for my M. Div. at Haggard School of Theology. I was also busily planning trips for my youth group and Ethiopia mission team that summer. Aaron and I were experiencing an amazing time of spiritual growth and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We also managed to squeeze in several hiking and weekend camping trips that just seemed to sum up all of the joy we were experiencing.

A couple of weeks before our summer trips began, we had to fly to the Midwest for a friend’s wedding. The wedding was in western Kansas- far from any airport, so renting a car was required. In our carefree spirit that year, we rented a convertible. On Sunday July 17, we were returning the day after the wedding when our plans for the summer, and the rest of our lives, changed. Forced to make a split second decision, Aaron swerved off the road to avoid hitting a truck waiting to turn left. Our car rumbled through an unplanted cornfield, hit a ditch that launched it airborne, and landed upside down on the other side of the road with both of us trapped underneath. I was hanging upside down by my seatbelt and my head was pressed on the ground with my chin pushed down on my chest blocking my windpipe. I remember seeing my legs and thinking they had been cut off because I couldn’t feel them. Realizing what happened, I said to Aaron, “I broke my neck.” Aaron was struggling to breathe as well until he managed to take off his seat belt and relieve the pressure on his chest. Still trapped under the car, Aaron kept me alive by encouraging me to breathe and not go to sleep. After 25 minutes, we finally heard the sirens and knew that help had arrived. I was flown to a trauma center in Colorado while Aaron waited alone in a tiny local Kansas hospital for 10 hours calling everyone we knew.

Not only were our summer plans changed, but also the fall and half of winter as I recovered in a Colorado rehab hospital. The second half of 2005 was full of pain, loss, confusion, pain medications that didn’t work, ventilators, neck and arm braces and wheelchairs. But it was also full of so much love and support from our family and friends and the body of Christ. There truly was a sense of “sharing in our suffering.” Never in our lives would we have known how many people love and care about us.

I am thankful that we survived. We are continuing to live our lives. Aaron is still teaching and I am finally finishing up my M. Div. at APU. I don’t know if there was any great purpose in all of this. I don’t have any inspirational words of wisdom, or any theological conclusions I didn’t already have. I still know God loves me. I am still created in God’s image even if my body doesn’t function below my shoulders. God will never leave me or forsake me. God is good.

I’m not trying to sound heroic or like I don’t have any doubts or fears or anger. It’s just what I know. Those fundamental truths are what I stand (or sit) on every day.

Isaiah 43.1-3 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Also...my little nephew- Joshua Aaron turns 1 on Sept. 29! Here's a recent picture:

Thanks for reading everyone! Show me some love in the comment section!!
Love- Kari


Anonymous said...

Oh Kari what you have been through has nothing on me, but in all we still struggle through life. And Yes God is with us all the way!!
Your pictures are beautiful, I can't believe Josh is already 1 year old time flys. You have always been heroic to me & to so many more people.
We love you
continued prayer goes out to you both.
Love Doni

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, Kari. I never tire of hearing the story or your perspective. It really is a miracle that both of you survived that day. I think God has used the accident to increase your ministry and faith and will continue to do so in the future. I know it has been a blessing to me to see how everyone came together and how you and Aaron have clung to each other and to God through all of the pain and loss.
Love you, babe.
Thanks again for sharing from your heart.

cdscreener@comcast.net said...

Hi Kari & Aaron !
Thanks for the update - I appreciate your words and perspectives more than you know.
God's Speed,
Chuck D.

authorstalker said...


I'm glad you are keeping up these posts. A friend and Presbyterian pastor asked me recently how I managed to not despair when I went through my own difficult time. My time was not anywhere near as traumatic as what you've been through. I never experienced the lack of physical control over my own life that you have. Your own profession of faith, however, reminds me of my response to Jack. It was immediate and spontaneous. Despair was never an option that came into my mind. I've never doubted that God was with me, regardless of my own sins and shortcomings. I can see this is the same type of faith and spirit you and Aaron demonstrate. It is not brave or heroic, it is more as though we don't have a choice. We know who we belong to and where our strength comes from, whether it manifests itself from the voice within or the care of those around us.

In Christ's love,
Kate Belt, Portland OR

Kathy Timmers said...

Hi sweet Kari-
Here come tons and tons of love to you and Aaron with bunches of big ol' hugs to go along with it! Wish I could just show up on your doorstep to deliver them in person....

Thanks for sharing your article with us. It is a great word picture of that season in your lives and the truths that remain your solid rock to stand and sit upon.

I thought of you a lot this past weekend at Sky Lodge, as I always do. It was one of the best womens retreats I have even attended- gorgeous weather, awesome times of praise and worship and the speaker-WOW!- like a really special girlfriends chat with a wise, deeply rooted in Christ friend. (Her name is Mindy Caligure, you can check out her ministry at www.soulcare.com) I came away with a hunger to go deeper, to grow even closer to our Father God and my sisters in Him.

Thanks also for including the photo of Joshua- what a cutie! Hard to belive he is turning one already, isn't it? I still can't decide who he looks more like, I see both Cyndi and John in him :-)

We are delighting in being new parents to a one year old ourselves- Kari's friend was feeding a little stray kitty and the beauteous Temba ("trust" in Zulu) has come to live with us! Charlie's cat allergies seem to have become a thing of the past and Temba has us firmly wrapped around her little paws :-) She is black with a little white patch at her throat, green eyes and weighs a little over 7 lbs. We haven't had a pet since we moved into the townhouse and she has brought so much joy into our lives in the 3 weeks she's been here. But I won't be buying her any light sticks to play with :-o!!!!

Love you forever,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your latest posting. Thank you also for your gentle reminder that we don't always have to know a "why" to our times of pain; rather, I can simply know that God is present. . . God is good.

You are a continual encouragement to me. I'm grateful that our lives intersected when they did.

Give Aaron my best (I hope his year in the middle school is going as well as mine!)


Charlie + said...

Dear Kari + Aaron,

First, it was so good to see you both this summer. I always look forward to the words of the Holy Spirit through your mouth as I used to have more than weekly.

So many years back, when I was still working, at the end of the day when I would play my guitar, I started off praying for your parents. I think it started with something that was ailing your mom. Then, it just went to praying for you, Aaron, and all your extended family I was aware of. Guitar practice went to twice a day, and so did the prayer sequence. And, now, since you brought Amy's trials to us all last summer, or when ever, I keep them all in the prayer sequence as well.

I have been busy, even 7hrs a day in informal ministry on the Internet with IM's and such. Haven't been practicing the guitar much. I still do the prayer sequence mid day and end of the day.

I have to confess I have been "spotty" as far as giving support to Amy with emails and comments. This is the kind of thing I am working on with my professionals right now. The sorting process of how to do a good job with everything I do want to do in a day, and still get the excessive sleep I need. Amy is in the prayers, that hasn't faded, but I do want to show myself actively to her more frequently.

We were really blessed by this kitty. I was getting brave enough to try one with my known allergies in the past. Then our Kari was aware of Temba being abandoned, so it just kind of happened, and has been such a blessing.


Charlie +

Diane Brodeen said...

Hi, Kari & Aaron! Finally, something new to read from you! It was great to see you two at Amy's fundraiser. I'm checking her site several times a day for news, just like you are. Hope I get to meet her soon.
Looking forward to visiting Kari tomorrow (Thursday). I'll call first to make sure it's still OK.
Diane B.

Adam said...

Hey Kari:)
Reading what you wrote was a big encouragement to me. Lately it seems just keep focused on God has been a huge challenge. I know He's been your pillar of strength through all this. I think of you often. We're sorry we didn't get to spend much time with you the last time you were here. Maybe in the not too distant future, God willing:) Blessings to you and Aaron.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kari. Your amazing spirit and love of life are truly an inspiration, and you have so much to give, share and teach all of us!
I often think of you in your day to day life and pray the very best for you and Aaron. You have touched and changed so many people's lives and continue to do so. Thank you for being you!
Sincerely, Didi Jessop

Tonya said...

I don't know how much you remember from my visiting you at Craig. When you were surprised to see me at the hospital to visit you that day I told you that if you had died in the accident, I would've dropped everything to come to your funeral to tell your husband and family members how much I loved you and what an important part of my life you were. I felt like since you survived, God was calling me to make that 16 hour trip to tell YOU in person how much I love you and what a beautiful impact you've made on my life. I told you the day I left Craig that I didn't know what God was trying to teach you or any of us through your accident, but I promised to not stop looking to Him for the lesson. I haven't. I often think of you and what you've been through. It's amazing to me how beautiful God created you to be. Your faithfulness is inspiring. You are one of the few heroes I have in this life.

Love and prayers,
Tonya Melton-Gigous

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks. I love you. -D

Nathaniel said...


Thanks for the picture updates and the article that you wrote. Like someone else said, I never tire of hearing your perspective and thoughts on what happened. Through the pictures, it's great to see that you guys haven't given up on your love for checking out national parks and the like - good for you!

There's a student at WCC (where I'm interpreting) that has an injury a couple of levels above yours - I'm constantly reminded of you everytime I run into him. He has a lot of neat perspectives on things and I've enjoyed getting to know him. However, it makes me long for you and your smile... It was such a blessing to be able to be in Colorado in '05...we hope to make it to Cali someday!

It is hard to believe the babies are one...isn't it?! You should see Aiden now - 23 lbs! He's walking everywhere and signing "more" "please" "all done" "hi" and "bye-bye"! It's such a fun stage :-) Baby #2 is a girl! I don't think we know what to do with a girl now... ;-)

Okay, nap time means work time! Thanks for continuing to update the blog...and for the reminder that God is good...even if we don't understand everything.

Much love, Joy (Nate, Aiden, and Bethany too)

Erin Miller said...

and those are Joshua's momma's FEET in the background.

how I miss Cyndi-Lu-Who. Please give her my love!

Thanks for sharing this. Your story is truly amazing and it is even more powerful from your perspective.

Erin Miller