The Courage to Change in Your Challenges for the Better

 

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AJ trying to figure out how she got herself out of the driver’s side of her car. AJ’s car landed upside down in her accident. All of these pictures are of the car right side up.

On the day of her accident, for me, I felt as if I was getting back into routine again after our son’s trial.  I was up early and sent my husband off to work with lunch and a kiss. I had my time with God, made AJ and I our protein shakes that she usually took with her and did that morning.  Breakfast was ready for the Pops and they were up early for school.  All was well. For AJ, she recalled that as soon as she got in her car and began her drive to school, she had already faced numerous drivers making poor driving decisions that caused her to stop short, putting her on edge as she drove to school the morning that led to her accident.

I received the panicked call from my husband, “Laurie, Laurie – AJ was involved in a rollover wreck! She’s alert, conscious, and breathing. That’s all I know.” I screamed, “NO! Where?”  And, he proceeded to tell me in his frightened daddy voice, vulnerable and stripped from the calm and confident police officer I normally witnessed him to be. Upon hanging up, I called the Pops together and we prayed.  When we ended the prayer, God dropped into my spirit, “She’s going to be OK. She’s banged up, but she’s going to be OK.” At that moment, it did not matter what I would see and hear about her condition because I knew God was in control and because of that, we could face anything.

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Passenger side of vehicle with a view of upright driver-side seat pushed through what was once her sunroof.

Life is full of challenges and change this then became our challenge and the courage to change in this season.

As I drove on the same road and direction as AJ to get to the hospital, I was coming up on her accident scene that left her vehicle on the opposite side of the road, 2 feet away from oncoming traffic, parallel to the road. At that moment, God dropped in my spirit, “Call your husband and let him know she is going to be OK.” So, I called him to reassure him of the confidence and peace God had given me about her life.  When he answered I told him, “Lex, I just want you to know that I have great peace and confidence that she is going to be OK. It’s OK. We are going to be OK.” I did not know that my husband was on the other side of her accident staring at her vehicle that had landed upside down.  As he pulled up to the scene, the ambulance had already whisked her away to the hospital.  He never got a chance to see her, but he witnessed the carnage and wreckage that her vehicle left behind.  He saw the blood of our daughter on the ground. Unable to fight back tears and hardly able to speak through them, his response to me was, “Laurie, I’m standing here looking at her car. I don’t know if she is going to make it. It’s really bad.” I reassured him again, and he hung up as he was going “Lights and sirens” to the hospital where I would soon meet him.

I arrived at the hospital, and I had an overwhelming peace about me – much different than I had experienced a couple of months ago with our son. The kind, gentleman hospital worker offered some coloring papers and crackers to the Pops and we gratefully received them. Like a mother hen with her chicks, I lovingly gathered them all into the corner of the ER – we felt no fear.

The courage to change from fear to faith began when we prayed together in our home before we left for the hospital.

My mother soon walked through the doors to the ER to stay with them as she has faithfully done for each of our trials so that we could be there for our child in need.  My husband came to get me so that I can see our daughter and as he was leading me back to where she was he said, “She’s going to be OK. She’s banged up, but she’s going to be OK.” He did not know that those were the exact words God had dropped into my spirit earlier that morning. My heart smiled and I never lost confidence in the challenging trial because I knew God was with her in it and through it.

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AJ’s driver-side seat and sunroof pushed into the back of her vehicle.

Change had happened. Change was going to happen.  I knew in my spirit that it would be for the better as each challenge we have faced always has with God.

AJ and I have spoken many times about her accident, including when I first saw her in the trauma room where she apologized to me for wrecking her car. My response to her at that time was, “The enemy had an assignment on your life today, BUT GOD intervened and it didn’t go as the enemy had planned.”  She said, “You don’t believe it was my fault, that I did this?”  My emphatic response was, “No! What the enemy meant for evil, God turned for good.” Many might disagree with me and I still stand behind all the peace, confidence, and truth that God gave me in that response to her.

The change in our challenge begins with choice.

She asked me the same question yesterday upon seeing her car at the wrecker’s lot. “You still don’t believe that it was my fault?” Again, and with even greater confidence I replied, “No, God saved you from the enemy’s plan.”

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Close-up of driver’s side with inside of car door showing (outside of car door was tossed in the backseat as it was found wrapped around the cement post she hit) the curve at the bottom is result of hitting the cement post.

We had planned on going to see her car the day before and we already began to pray and prepare for it individually. But, I am not going to tell you that I was prepared to see what I saw. I was in no way prepared to see it. My mind went back to the conversation I had with my husband when I called him not knowing he was staring at her vehicle, “Laurie, I’m standing here looking at her car. I don’t know if she is going to make it. It’s really bad.”  I understood why he said what he said, and in that instant, as I stood there staring at her car, I was overwhelmed by God’s love, grace, and mercy for us in that conversation. I was fighting back tears as I tried to wrap my carnal mind around the screams of, “HOW?” filling my head. But, the answer to the question was what had me overwhelmed with tears, I KNEW how. God’s hand prints of mercy, grace, and love were in every crack, break, crevice, and bend of her vehicle, of her person. The reality of our Awesome God is what shook me to my core. She watched me as I tried to recover some of her items in her car and said, “I understand why daddy thought I wouldn’t make it. I’m trying to figure out myself how I got out. How did I get out of there?”

We both knew. The answers were evident all over her vehicle.

 

The owner of the wrecker service said, “My son said you were talking the whole time, letting everyone know what to do and to call your daddy. He said that your head was pinned under this small frame. ” I stared into that small frame that he so kindly pointed to with utter bewilderment, as I witnessed God’s great mercy and grace. A few inches over and her head would have been through the sunroof just as the top half of her driver’s car seat was. She would have been decapitated. I asked him how they responded so quickly to her car wreck and his reply was, “My son was on his way to Hickory that morning when he drove up on the scene soon after it happened. He began to help her and recovered the items that he could that were thrown all over the road. Your husband knows my son, and as he was getting ready to leave for the hospital, he told my son to secure his daughter’s belongings and to bring the car back to our lot.”

Even. In. That, God took care of all the details.

Even. In. That, He chose someone we knew and trusted to take her vehicle in and secure her belongings.

The car ride home was a sobering one for me. You might be a bit perplexed as to why that would be, but I do not wake up each morning blind to the spiritual dynamics that are playing out all around us, the unseen. I am keenly aware of spiritual side of life, the spiritual warfare and have been for most of my life. We are first spirit beings, we have a soul (our mind, will, and emotions), and we are given a mobile home (our body) that is corruptible.

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I set you apart and sanctified you…” ~Jeremiah 1:5

As a family, we wake up knowing that there are 2 plans wanting to play out for our lives and our continued prayer is to follow God’s plan and to “deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).  God gets the blame a lot for the evil that happens in the world, but the world chooses to ignore a God that has a good plan for their lives amidst all the chaos and evil the world offers. People don’t like to talk about the devil, the enemy, or that they even exist or are real anymore. Jesus cast out demons when He walked this earth (Matthew 12:22, Mark 3:11, Luke 4:33-36 to name a few).  The Bible tells us that the devil and demons are real:

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” ~Ephesians 6:11-13

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour ~1 Peter 5:8

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ~James 4:7

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Side view of the driver’s side of AJ’s car from the rear.

God has a plan for our lives, but so does the enemy. His plan is to lead us away from God’s plan via distractions, fears, rejection, division, bitterness, self-hatred – even through traumatic life experiences.  The enemy works hard at influencing us to take these poisons and dwell on them so as to ruin the abundant life God died for us to have in Him.  The following verse is addressed to the believers:

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.~ 2 Corinthians 11:3

We can and should approach all things from a spiritual standpoint because when the struggle of life presents itself, it remains that the spiritual struggle within and with others does as well.  We can choose, as I did in our son’s trial, to only see what the enemy wanted me to see; the despair, the anxiety, the stress, the fears, the fact that we were unable to do anything… or were we?

Don’t underestimate the power of prayer:

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Prayer is powerful and God operates in prayer and in faith, and because He does, the change in us will always be for the better when we put that into practice. He does not operate in fear and doubting because with Him all things are possible. It takes courage to believe in God and trust Him with impossible circumstances. When I took off my “horse blinders” that the enemy used to keep me focused on the big problems, I was finally able to see that my God was bigger than my big problems.

I may have lost many things in life according to the physical world, but what I lost the most was the time spent worrying, agonizing, stressing, and fearing the worst – that was the enemy’s plan all along to make me bitter with the world, with people, and with myself.  His plan is to “steal, kill, and destroy” our hope, our life in Him (John 10:10).  I learned through AJ’s trial to give it all to Him and to trust Him with it.  I may not have liked all that I went through in my life as there were some great challenges, but what’s great about the words challenges or challenge is that in these words you find the words “changes” or “change.”  Therefore, we have to make some changes, or change our way of thinking to God’s way of thinking in order to overcome the challenges that the enemy uses to try and make you bitter. We have to believe in faith, calling those things that are not as thought they were – breathing life into our valley of dry bones.

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If you look where the center part of driver’s side seat is in the picture, AJ’s head was pinned underneath the metal. Had God not intervened by doing that, she would have been decapitated as the top part of her seat and headrest was out of the once-there sunroof. God’s plan overcame the enemy’s plan on May 1st and we are eternally grateful for His grace, love, and never-ending mercies!

AJ was able to face her greatest challenge and fear in the lot yesterday, and I recognized that He showed her that same truth too; the change of thought in your challenge. “God saved me. It could have been so much worse. I am here for a purpose.”  Whether you lost loved ones, your job, your marriage, you lost time through fear, anxiety, depression, stress, hopelessness – whatever it is that you lost,

YOU. STILL. REMAIN. 

The change begins with you.  Two of my favorite quotes that I have shared with our Pops and have pushed me to overcome and change my thoughts and life through the challenges in my life are:

“Change your thoughts and you change your world” ~Norman Vincent Peale

This quote teaches us to keep a positive mindset, to keep focused on what God has done, what He got you through, and not what the enemy tried to do to your person or your mind through the challenge.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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AJ realizes God’s love, mercy, and His greater purpose for her life. She has successfully faced her challenge and has chosen to change her thoughts. She daily witnesses how her world has changed for the better in the spiritual. The physical will take time, but to be better in the spiritual gives you the ability to make your pocket of the world a better place, like AJ is purposing to do!

And, because of God and the purposing to change our former thought process as the lifetime quotes above state, we have purposed to take to heart Gandhi’s quote to be that change we wish to see in the world. We do not wish to have life’s challenges make us bitter. The world doesn’t need more despair, darkness, bitterness, fear, anxiety, stress – it needs to see and be the peace in the middle of the storm. It needs to be the love that dispels the works of hate and evil. AJ overcame yesterday via the change in her challenge, and no one and nothing could ever take away the ownership of that truth that became one with her heart and mind.  AJ and I have spoken a lot, and my husband and I are more than confident that she has made such beautiful changes for the better and will continue to do so.  I don’t know what challenges you face today, but know that the choice to change for bitter or for better is up to you.

~Laurie for the PopTribe, #TeamAniyah

 

 

 

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About Laurie Popovich, Pops of Life

Hi! So, happy you stopped by. Stick around while I tell you a little bit about me and my journey. I’m a daughter to Spanish parents and a sister, too! That means I love family, hugs, to share my 2 cents, music, dancing, flavorful foods & coffee. I’m a wife, twice to the same man, in a thrice redeemed marriage. I love deeply because I know no other way and it has filled my life with hope. I’m a believer of the impossible. I’m a mom of 5 beautiful and full of life blessings; but was only supposed to have one. You see, I had cancer; given 6 months to live when our first and daughter was 2. They’re a product of the impossible. I’m a homeschool mom who didn’t think she could teach: first, at all then, at different levels, different styles. I teach in what in my mind was the impossible. I’ve walked through many trials; some that have taken my life in many aspects, including literally. I have overcome the impossible. I’m a spiritual sister and friend. I love to share and encourage others in life to live the impossible. I’m a daughter of the King; a powerful Creator and Redeemer of the impossible – me - and I can be impossible  I love to…love people…encourage others…being a student of life and the impossible …laugh at myself… journal my hopes & dreams & pray to make them a reality… journal my fears & seek to turn them into victories…eat chocolate…cook for many & watch them enjoy the food & fellowship…go against the grain because you never know what blessing is there waiting for you…flirt with my husband openly because I’m in love…squeeze our 5 blessings often because I’m grateful & amazed by them…say sorry often because I make mistakes, stress & well, I’m a mess at times…I run to clear my head…and…I run to God because He’s my source of strength, hope, and love. I’m not where I was and I’m not where I’m yet going to be; I’m under construction deeply desiring to enjoy the journey. I know you have a unique and exciting one too, and I can’t wait to learn and enjoy the journey with you! Grateful, Laurie
This entry was posted in AJ, God's Warrior, But God. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Courage to Change in Your Challenges for the Better

  1. Amy (Rogers) Bennett says:

    Laurie, your blog posts always make me bawl my eyes out as I read them at work! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for blogging! AJ’s story and your family’s story has been touching me and inspiring me as I am stepping out to a vulnerable place in life. You guys are inspiring me to TRUST God and that he will never forsake His children! Always keep blogging Laurie! Please give AJ all my love and tell her that I’ve been praying for her (and all of you!) ever since I heard the news. Praise God for his hand on AJ’s life and on your blessed families life. Your testimonies have so much power in every realm!

  2. Amy,

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words. We have shed many tears as well. It has been healing for us all to reflect on what God has done, is doing, and to remain trusting in Him with our lives. You are so precious to God and know that He will be faithful to His good plan for you as you trust in Him. It’s in our vulnerability, our acknowledgment of our weakness, that He becomes stronger in us – that’s where the impossible happens, where the healing begins. Hold fast to Him and KNOW that no man’s plan will ever be as great as the one He has for you.

    Thank you for your prayers, and healing words – we receive them with the great love you shared in them.

    You are dearly loved,
    ~Laurie

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