For those of you who may not know, on April 2, 2008, my high school sweet heart, Jesse, was killed by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle. Today it has been NINE years! Yup, nine. [Article]
It would have been really easy to spend the day thinking of the hurt, pain and loss, I’ve spent a lot of the past 9 years doing so, but each year it has gotten easier to get through the days. It doesn’t hurt as much, I don’t think about it as often, yet – if you asked me about it, my eyes would probably still tear up, even after all this time.
Today I want to reflect on all the ‘good’ that has come out of such a tragedy.
The word ‘good’ and ‘tragedy’ don’t often go in the same sentence, but I believe that out of this tragedy that turned my life (and many others) upside down, good has come from it!
I often reflect on the verse:
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. [Genesis 50:20]
This verse can be taken in many different contexts. For me, I know God has taken what the enemy meant to hurt me and He has turned it for good, for His glory. There are many lives that have been saved through sharing our story.
Shortly after Jesse died I had reached out to Mothers Against Drunk Driving for a school project. I had shared my story with them and they immediately wanted to support me and invited me to join them in a weekend of sharing with others who had been impacted by a drunk driver. I met many survivors and victims of impaired driving – many who played a key role in processing my loss.
I didn’t want to be silent about what happened and wanted to find the ‘good’ out of this tragic loss. There was more that needed to be done outside of going through the motions of grief.
It started shortly after the funeral, the family planned a bike rally in his memory to help raise money to go towards signage throughout the city that would encourage people to call 911 if they suspect an impaired driver – It was a team collaboration in getting permits, designing and picking out prime spots for them to be placed. There are 20 signs throughout the city – large ones can be seen on Hwy 6 towards Caledonia & coming into Hamilton near the crash site, in Ancaster before coming onto the link and in Stoney Creek coming on & off the link onto Mud Street.
I started to share our story in schools with MADD. As you can imagine, it was difficult, but the more I shared our story, the more courage I had. I wanted to inspire youth to be the change – to be bold and take the keys from their friend or parent who had been drinking and to encourage them to speak up. Sometimes the people we expect to protect us are the ones who put us in difficult and even tragic situations. I’ve shared my story in high schools in both Barrie and Hamilton to 1000’s of students.
Sharing for 5 minutes at the end of a MADD multimedia presentation soon turned into me sharing our story IN the multimedia presentation that was shared in high schools across Canada. Over a million students have heard our story.
As I started to turn back to God and allowed Him into my grief – my platform changed and I was invited to share with 700 Club Canada. The clip is still shared now, even years later.
Our story is being shared in many different capacities still to this day. Just recently, MADD has used footage from the multimedia in their current commercial – maybe you’ve seen our faces or heard my voice – It’s neat to see how after 9 years later, our story is still being shared. I know God is continuing to use our story to impact people’s lives!
Does my heart still hurt? Sometimes.
Does this change the circumstances? Nope!
BUT, it has changed my perspective.
God is a GOOD Father whose heart is to see us healed and restored.
I want to encourage you, right where you are: no matter the circumstances, no matter the season you are in, no matter the loss you may be facing – God is walking with you. His heart is to see you walking in freedom and wholeness, rising above your situation, eyes focused in on Him. It sure would have been very “easy” to allow my grief and loss take over [and at times it did], but I pushed through, I fought through the pain in order to bring a light into the darkness, to bring hope. I allowed God to bring good out of tragedy, what the enemy meant for evil.
All the Glory is given to Him, for without Him, I’d be lost.