Lori and Ashley in an Accident

Today everything came to a screeching halt for me in my office at 2:42 p.m. My wife called from her cell phone in tears—she and my youngest daughter Ashley had been in a bad car accident.
 
If you’ve been in these situations, you might have noticed that time freezes. Seconds before the phone rang, I had been at full speed finalizing my workshop presentations for this weekend in NJ … none of that mattered now. I just sat there, frozen in time, staring at the texture on the wall, feeling as if my throat was closing up on me.
 
I blinked in slow motion. It felt like a minute, waiting to find out if she and Ashley were okay, but it probably was only a nanosecond during that pause in my wife’s sentence.
 
Even though time was frozen, my thoughts were running at 30-images-per-second. I saw it clearly in my mind—a gurney being loaded into an ambulance with my daughter’s 12-year-old body strapped tightly. An EMT in a blue uniform holding an oxygen mask to her tiny face, trying to keep his balance as he stepped into the ambulance with the gurney.
 
Fast forward to the hospital waiting room… a group of faces surrounding me, some patting me on the shoulder trying to assure me of some hope, others saying words of encouragement, but I don’t hear a thing. My thoughts are in an operating room right now with Ashley’s petite frame laid out on a table, doctors franticly working, trying to save her life.
 
I hit my knees right there in the waiting room and cry out to God, “Please don’t take her. Please!”
 
I’m not thinking about a totaled car. I’m not worried about increased insurance rates. I could care less if I lost it all at this point. Just not Ashley. “Lord, don’t take Ashley. Nothing else matters.”
 
I blink again.
 
I’m back in the office, staring at the textured wall. My wife catches her breath and finishes her sentence. “We’re fine. But the car is totaled.”
 
I get all the details, but I don’t care about any of them. Lori and Ashley are safe.
 
It was heavy traffic on a main road by my house. Lori was trying to get through two lanes of stopped traffic to a shopping center. Two cars left a gap and waved her through, not knowing that a young kid was coming full speed in the far right turn lane. Lori poked her nose out to look and it was too late—that teeth grinding sound of metal crunching and glass breaking. Our little Sentra was totaled, with Lori and Ash right there in the front seats.
 
It was Lori’s first accident, ever.
 
An hour later Lori was crying, “I’m sorry. I can’t believe I totaled the car.”
 
I looked at her and smiled. “I am not worried about it at all. You two are safe.”
 
God answered my hospital room prayer… and I was never even there.
 
The funny thing is, last week I prayed that very prayer. I was praying and I asked God, “Please keep my family safe.” I went on. “I don’t care about this recession, my salary, home values, bills… none of it. Just keep my family safe.”
 
He answered it.
 
So I’m keeping my end of the bargain. I don’t care about the car, the deductable, insurance increases, body shop bills… none of it.
 
The girls are okay. That’s all that matters.
 
God is good.
 
(You can keep Ash in your prayers. Lori seemed to fair fine, but Ash’s head actually hit the side window or something. She’s got the beginning of a black eye and a little bit of headache. A fire truck actually did show up at the accident and they checked her out—said she was fine. She was in good spirits a couple hours later. The black eye makes her look tough. I told her to tell everyone at school that she got in a gang fight!)

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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6 Responses to Lori and Ashley in an Accident

  1. Sally Carroll says:

    I’m happy your family is fine. I know what you’ve experienced and it’s not fun. Thankfully we have a merciful God.

  2. Kelly Sykes says:

    Glad your family is ok…as a parent, I totally relate to all those thoughts that went thru your head. Life is prescious…and can change in an instant. Already sent some prayers up for you all!

  3. jon forrest says:

    Great job capturing those excrutiating moments. It makes me sick thinking about it. You know that song by Mat Kearney (I think) “I guess we’re all one phone call from our knees.” Thanks for the reminder. Every time I get a headache I say, next time I feel good, I will not take it for granted.” but I do. I’m thanking God now that my family’s been safe today.

    On a totally different note….I was going to msg you today about my lesson last night. I took it from the Savin’ Me lesson on your home page. It went really well. I had one of my firemen in my church come in and talk about Jude 23. Tons of stuff I do is wildly influenced by ts4ym. I think you need a place for us to say “It WORKED”. Knowing you, you’d want a place that also says “it BOMBED”. Maybe people let you know how great your influence is all the time but I seriously doubt it. WELL IT IS. This msg brought to you by the Jon Mckee fan club. Jon Forrest founder and president. You’re the man.

  4. Thanks Sally, Kelly, and Jon. I woke up even a little bit different this morning than I did yesterday… just a sharper focus on the fact that everything around us is just temporary, and a reminder how much we need to be “kingdom” focused. What really matters in life? The answer is all through the Bible: our relationship with God and our relationship with others. And how often do we get distracted from it.

    Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

    Jon… glad our discussion idea from TheSource4YM.com worked for ya. I’m glad to hear it. Also like the fireman idea… good stuff brotha! Keep up the good work.

  5. Dean & Janice Dodson says:

    We are so glad that Ashley and Lori are safe and that Jonathan’s premonition did not come true. We are so thankful for your family. Please let us know if we can help with dinner or shuttling.
    Dean

  6. Thanks Dean! (Dean’s my buddy from church)