My mentor and friend Beth has often said: “Kelsey, you always do things on a really big level. Whether things in your life are good or bad, they’re always big,” which I have come to take as a compliment.
Most of the things in my life are good, because I do my best to make wise long-term decisions and love people…therefore my life is usually lived out in big and good ways. However, there are certain times when things go bad, which usually means they go very bad.
If you follow me on any form of social media (which if you like this blog you should, because I’m always combining world-changing for Jesus and shenanigans), you know that back in February I was in my second car crash in six months. The first crash was bad enough, but this one was nuts: I was hit by not one but TWO semi trucks on 35W going north.
TWO SEMI TRUCKS. WHO GETS HIT BY TWO SEMI TRUCKS AND LIVES? HECK, WHO GETS HIT BY ONE AND LIVES?
The first semi collision was on the driver’s side, and peeled back the side of my car. It then sent me spinning over into the next lane, facing oncoming traffic where I saw the second semi coming directly towards me.
You know how when people have near death experiences they often say that life slows down and their entire lives flash before eyes? They’re lying. You don’t have time for all of that. For me, it was like my Google Chrome browser was open with a bunch of tabs that were each very loud and obnoxious.
As the second semi was barreling down the highway straight at me I knew I was as good as gone. I knew that there is no way I would survive a crash with half of my car already gone and a semi coming straight at me at full speed on the highway. I screamed out “JESUS” at the top of my lungs.
By some miraculous twist of fate, I didn’t die. In fact, aside from some back and hip pain and insane whiplash, I’m fine. The paramedics came and couldn’t believe I was alive, let alone relatively unharmed and put me in a neckbrace and strapped me to a stretcher and took me to HCMC’s trauma unit. No fractures, no concussions, no internal bleeding. They did the world’s most thorough exam on me because they genuinely could not believe I was okay.
They did loads of tests to ensure that I was in fact okay. They brought in a cute doctor (no ring) to do an ultrasound to make sure all of my internal organs were okay who mentioned “Ah, this will be easy cause you’re so little and skinny” to which I gave him the “Joey from Friends head nod,” pointed at my abs and said “Whuddup, Corepower.” He blushed, and my mom buried her face in her hands. My Yaya would be proud.
I was legitimately high off of adrenaline and my mom had to scold me for flirting with my cute doctor and taking ambulance selfies (come on, who else gets a selfie opportunity like that?!). On more than one occasion she said “Kelsey, shut up. They don’t get that you’re actually just a goof and they think you have a brain injury.”
I totally get why they were concerned of that seeing as I can take the worst situation and somehow turn it positive, and this would be pretty far down on the “bad” scale. I got over 100 likes on this photo and my parents received lots of e-mails and calls wondering if this was legitimate or a joke. Come on guys, I couldn't stage this if I tried. I think people genuinely don't believe that you can go through crappy stuff and still have a good attitude. They're so wrong. Life’s circumstances should never dictate our attitude towards life.
I know I should be dead, which has sent me into a huge self-examination process. While I can’t say for sure why God decided to save me from this accident, I can say for certain He’s taught me this: The things that are open on your “end of life Google Chrome browser” are the things you should focus on. Here’s what was on mine:
1. Uphold. Of course, it sounds so cliché…but honestly all I could hope and pray was that Luke and Fran would carry on with Uphold and help my kids, seeing as they were the ones who knew the organization best. I hoped that I’d built it up enough and taught them the principles behind why I’d built it this way so that it would continue to grow and change the lives of children with disabilities.
2. People. People matter so much, and we take them for granted. As I thought I was about to die, all I wanted to do was tell my family, friends, kids how much I loved them and believed in them. Life is tough sometimes, and we let it discourage and distract us with ourselves, and what we want in life. All of a sudden, we forget how important others are. I genuinely think this is one of the enemy’s greatest tools to robbing us of a life lived to the fullest: narcissism. In those final moments I honestly didn’t care about myself anymore. I wanted to help others and love others more than I ever had in my life.
3. Jesus. I screamed out the name of Jesus for two reasons
a. I knew I would probably die and I didn’t want the last thing I said to be the f-bomb, which let’s face it, is what I actually wanted to say.
b. I knew if there was anything that could possibly save me now, it was only the name of Jesus. Forever grateful that while I was working with Hillsong I heard countless stories of people who’d audibly shouted the name of Jesus and seen instantaneous miracles, so I knew to give it a try. I genuinely believe that if I hadn’t done that I would be six feet under. Seriously though, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the one woman who stopped and got out of her car was a Muslim woman. When it comes to people of other beliefs, I’m often overly cautious in talking about my faith directly to them unless they ask me about it. I detest the type of “Christians” who hold picket signs and tell people they’re going to burn in hell and judge the crap out of everyone. I have a deep desire to change that perception of Christ followers, so I’d rather wait to bring it up.
BUT LET ME TELL YOU THIS. When you just got nailed by two huge semi trucks and are walking away not just alive, but fine, you cannot help but praise Him. Immediately after that accident I was telling her how I’d screamed His name and He’d saved me. Seeing the car accident firsthand she couldn’t argue with it and believed it was a miracle.
Friends, let’s have a brave look at ourselves. Lets look at what we’re currently directing our energy and attention towards and see if it lines up with the things that you will be most focused on at the end of your life. If not, let’s have the bravery to redirect.