On December 30th, 2015, Ivan and I vowed to build a family, be one person, and love each other sacrificially for the rest of our lives. We were both graduate students; I was also a full-time staff member at our university, while Ivan was a freelance musician.

Almost a year later I was hit by a car that ran a red light as I was crossing the street. A severe traumatic brain injury, two separate brain bleeds, two strokes, and multiple internal injuries should have ended my life that night. They didn’t. When I was still breathing the next morning, doctors wondered if I would have cognitive function when I woke up. I did.

I woke up to a world I never saw coming, and to medical and social communities that aren’t designed to meet my complicated set of needs. But I also woke up to a world where I experience God’s redemptive work in unique ways that would be unavailable to me if I were anyone but who I am. A large part of God’s redemptive work in my life has been creating a microcosm that can embrace the complicated new me. I may be the only person in my family who was hit by that car or suffered those injuries, but that December afternoon rearranged their lives almost as completely as it rearranged mine. My legs are stronger and my balance is better than anyone who’s been hit by a car and had two strokes should ever dream of – but my brain is more dangerously complicated than even the best neuroscientists can explain.

Through it all, God has been faithful. And so has my family. I wouldn’t have beaten the survival and recovery odds that I did without my husband, parents, and sister walking with me every step of the way. It is an honor to tell this story of suffering and hope the way I believe God wants it to be told: as a story where I am an actor, not the actor. I invite you to walk with me through the testimony of not just what God has done for me, His child, but for all five of us, His children.