Jennifer Rollins ~ Tragedy to Triumph {Story 20 of 30}

I was fired from a job I had worked for five years because my doctor filed a worker’s compensation claim when I got hurt at work. Long story short –  my boss was infuriated there was a claim.

I was devastated.  I had NEVER been fired.  I had lost my sense of purpose.  I loved being a dental hygienist; it was part of who I was.  God began mending my wounds, helping me to see I was more than a dental hygienist:  I was his child.

I drew closer to Him; He was holding me in his hands until I was ready to be on my feet again.  Months went by and I was making strides, reconstructing my life’s purpose…or so I thought.  My friend always says if you want to make God laugh  – make plans!

Some friends that live near me walked in the evenings, so I started joining them.

On June 24, 2010 there was a strong thunderstorm.  The winds knocked down our corn, so my husband and I were working in the garden, pushing the ground back around the corn.  The gals I walked with came to the cornfield to meet me.  This was the opposite direction from our normal route.

Both of my walking partners had young children. One usually pushed her children in a stroller, but because of a rip in the stroller, her husband told her to leave the kids with him.  She did.  My other friend left her kids there too.  Because those kiddos stayed behind, I asked mine to stay home.  So, usually we have children with us; on June 24, we did not.

This shows the mysterious ways of God; He takes care of us even when we are unaware.

I live in a rural area.  The road we walked is a two-lane road.  It is busy at times.  So we followed the rules of walking; we faced the traffic.  We also walked in a V, the two experienced walkers in front and me the point in the back.  We stayed on the side of the road, and when vehicles came, we got completely in the grass on the side.  If there was room, we walked in the grass. I was having some much-needed girl time and then…

The next thing I remember is waking up in an ambulance crying in pain.  My husband was over my head, telling me I had been in an accident, and they were taking me to the hospital.  I regained consciousness again in the ER, and through excruciating pain, asked what was going on.   What had happened?   This time my sister was there telling me they were taking my wedding ring off and she would keep it…out I went again.

I remained unconscious for 12 days.

As we were walking, a drunk driver crossed the yellow line, came over in a driveway, and struck me from behind.  I hit the girl to my right as I was thrown into the air some 40 some feet.  The driver continued about 100 yards before stopping.

I was face down in a ditch.  The girl on the right, Stacy, ran to call 911. The girl on the left, Jana, stayed with me.  I was knocked out.  Completely lifeless, she thought I was dead.  The drunk driver started backing up; she had to hit the back of his truck to keep him from running over me in the ditch. He mumbled some kind of gibberish and peeled out.  He took off, leaving us there.

The first house Stacy came to was my aunt’s house.  No one came to the door, so she ran to another house.  Stacey didn’t know my aunt had been on her front porch, heard the commotion,  and ran inside to call 911.  Meanwhile, I was starting to suffocate in the mud in the ditch, so Jana rolled me over.  You are not supposed to move people,  but it was either let me suffocate or roll me.

I was still unconscious.

Stacy was running up the long driveway to another house, and she started to panic, feeling she couldn’t run anymore…she prayed God help me get to the house.  The next thing she knew, she was at the porch.  They called 911, and the lady brought her car down the hill to block the ditch so no one could hit us.  Stacy took a neighbor’s car to get Aaron, my husband.

As we were waiting for an ambulance, the girls recalled a lady with whom they went to church is a nurse anesthetist.  This lady never answers her phone.   She asks you to leave a message, and she calls you back.  But she answered and came.  She put me on oxygen, which she carries in her trunk, and began to assess my condition.  She told my friends to call 911 and tell them to send a helicopter.  I wouldn’t make it to the hospital in an ambulance.

In the meantime, the police arrested the guy who hit me.  He had hid his truck and had gone to bed.

I was loaded in the ambulance and taken to meet the helicopter.  I want to thank the people who allowed the airlift to land in their field.  I had a head laceration, cracked sternum, multiple rib fractures, liver laceration, and a ruptured spleen.  My vertebrae spines were cracked off.  I had multiple sacral fractures.  My right hip was fractured in five places and ripped off my spine.

When the doctors first came to talk to my family, they gave NO hope.  There was too much damage.

So people started praying.

Prayer chains were called.  Our church camp,  which happened to be in session, was awakened and asked to pray.  People called upon the Father, the Healer, to touch me and the people taking care of me.

More X-rays were taken before they could do surgery.  The doctors couldn’t explain it, but my X-rays were now different than before!

THANK YOU, JESUS! The doctors couldn’t explain why, but my family could:  GOD!

Sustaining my life was touch and go after the first surgery because of internal  bleeding.  I spent weeks in the hospital although it was supposed to be months.  Again, the healing power of God was AMAZING!  The doctors couldn’t explain why I was doing so well, healing so fast.  I would smile and tell them I was being taken care of by Jesus!

Still, it was no easy road to travel.  The doctors didn’t know if I would ever walk again.  It was wait and see.

As I reflect on that day in June and the days that followed, I can see God’s hand clearly.  There were numerous miracles.

We didn’t have any of our children with us; they would have been killed instantly.

If the other girls would have been hit,  they probably would have died because they are shorter than me.

The ground I landed in is usually hard and it’s very rocky, but it was soft with mud.  WOW!

I didn’t have a scratch on my face.  AMAZING!

There was unexplainable healing from one X-ray to another.

Finding an orthopedic doctor to repair my hip seemed impossible, and we still don’t know exactly how we found him, but we found him.

During my time of lucidity from the pain medicines and other drugs, God sent me visitors that gave me peace.  As I was trying to distinguish reality from crazyiness, He was there.

As I was trying to get back to my children, people rallied together and gave money, time, and resources to aid my family.  My church family supported my family in my absence.  People took our children places to keep them busy.

I asked God not to take me from my children while they were still young.  And, he answered.  Thank you , God!

While I have left many things out of this story, I want others to know that God worked through this tragedy.  God spared my life, and the story of these miracles spread. I got to tell others how God protected and healed me!

How humbling this has been for me.  I have been taught and read about how God loves us unconditionally, but I got to live it and feel it.  And, honestly, at times I felt so unworthy to have his power and love. Thinking…I am  so unworthy; I don’t deserve this much love. 

When I was fired, I wondered…why is this happening to me?  But, looking back, I know God was not surprised.  He knew what I was about to face; he knew I needed to be stronger.  So, when we don’t understand why things are happening,  remember…IF we focus on God and trust fully in him, He is working all things together for good.

I have learned to keep God first.  He truly will take care of us.  Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  How sweet to know that God is ALWAYS there for us. In the wee hours of the morning,  he was there.  Anytime I needed him  – he was there.

He also taught me forgiveness.  It’s not been easy.  But,  the man who did this to me was fighting a war of his own.  I pray for him to be healed of his addictions.  I pray  he accepts Christ as his Savior.  I struggle at times as I try to rationalize why a man that has put me and my family through this pain and anguish, the anger, gets to go to heaven if he chooses.

But John 3:16 says “WHOSOEVER.”  My sins are equal to his.  I don’t need to rationalize anything.  I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding and he WILL direct our paths and our hearts.  I love the LORD and am AMAZED at his glory!

He is a loving and forgiving God.  He wants us to be the same. 

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Jennifer Rollins lives in West Virginia with her husband, Aaron, and her two children. Because of her accident, she is disabled, but loves her roles as God follower, wife, and mom.

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Jennifer and I were friends in high school. We attended Poca High School in Poca, West Virginia.  We were (and still are!) Poca Dots.  Yes, you read that right.  Our school’s mascot is a Dot.   I considered unearthing a picture of us together, but the 90s hair deterred me:)

I remember the day Jennifer was hit.  My sister called me and explained the accident.  She said, “they don’t think she will make it.”  Each day I’d check in, and each day I’d hear the same:  She’s still unconscious.    I asked my care group to pray.  I prayed.

Then…she’s awake and she’s healing.  Miraculous.

I also remember the trial and sentencing of the driver who hit her. Nothing about the ordeal seemed “fair.” But, Jennifer didn’t pray for “fair.”  She asked God for the driver’s salvation.  Wow.  What an example of forgiveness to us all.  Her prayers for the man who forever altered her life demonstrate her love of God and his creation.

I am so thankful to you, Jennifer, for being willing to share this traumatic event.  I know there’s much more to the story…and the recovery …than you wrote.  Thanks so much!

Comments

  1. Julie Heiney says:

    What a beautiful testimony of how God is in Control!

    • I agree, Julie:) And, there’s so much more to her story and recovery. But, through at all, she’s leaned on God and trusted him:)

  2. Wow, Jennifer. This is just amazing. Thanking God for His hand on your life. Thank you for your willingness to share.

  3. Shawna lane says:

    Wow! It is one thing to hear this story from others in our small town, but to read these words from Jennifer are absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing…

  4. what a beautiful story God has given you!!

  5. “So, when we don’t understand why things are happening, remember…IF we focus on God and trust fully in him, He is working all things together for good.” Needed to hear this today, Thank You!!!

  6. Wow. Nothing but grace. Your ability to forgive-supernatural. How quickly you healed!? This is a beautiful depiction of redemption, mercy and grace. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  7. AnnMarie Dixon says:

    Awesome story. God’s grace is revealed. Only God could have brought you through. Continue to be blessed Jennifer.

  8. I don’t have the words to say how stunned I am at God’s awesome power. I don’t know why I am surprised, as a Christ-follower. But your story has touched me. I’m so thankful you shared your story! To God be the GLORY!

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