I couldn’t wait to get to church that Sunday. For some reason, I knew that worship was going to be incredible. Traveling on a familiar freeway, I belted out songs that were my favorite. I felt comforted by the empty stretch of highway, pondering what I might encounter in service that morning. The rains had dissipated, the sky was blue, and I even had new shoes!
Then it happened: I hit a spot of water and my car hydroplaned, flipped through the air five times, and slammed into the metal guard rails. The sound of screeching reminded me of a NASCAR race and drowned out the Casting Crowns tune blasting on my stereo. I was airborne like the 82nd Division. Knuckles white with fear and my heart racing, I yelled: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, JESUSSSS!” I was in the clouds and floating with angelic beings that I’d never seen.
Weeks later, when giving my testimony at church, a young lady said, “As you were telling us what happened, I saw angels holding up your car in the air.” Everyone looked at her in awe. I knew what she meant because I had died in their presence.
Waking up in the hospital and finding out that “all I suffered was a concussion” was a miraculous relief. Our worship leader, my family, and his family were at my side. Their tears transmuted into laughter as I attempted to leave the room to “go lay hands on everyone so they could leave the hospital with me!”
“God I am so grateful that you spared my life. Hallelujah Jesus!” Those are the words I spoke while recovering on my back, working overtime. My mental and spiritual acuity were through the roof. My creative abilities were quite supernatural and I continued serving others. But internally, I was numb. I couldn’t feel God’s presence like before. Where was He? Where was I?
Weeks passed and it was as though nothing ever happened. One day, a friend asked me to talk about it. As I began to recall the accident, I wept. In that moment, I lost my ability to speak and walk. Out of nowhere, I was not myself. My friend said: “It’s ok, cry if you must. It just means you’re healing.”
Healing? How is a regression to infancy healing? And then it hit me: I was born again. Every step, learning how to walk, talk, and live this Jesus-life required a reset on another channel.
“Natasha, I’m afraid you’ve lost your gratitude. You’re angry with God again; but this time it’s different.” I loved my physical therapist and her words convicted me. She explained that I was ungrateful and didn’t want to be here on this earth, plain with humans, when I had just been with angels.
Another angel in disguise, who was present at the scene, had also whispered to me: “Be grateful. I’m undercover and I work this freeway all the time and no one EVER survives a guard rail like that.
I was given a restart, but what would I do with it?
My worship and gratitude never returned to their “original” state. What I perceived as original was not what God required of me. I had to fly in order to be free. You won’t believe this, but inner work is more helpful than a B3 organ and some keys. Heaven is wonderful, and you can go back and forth as often as you like.
What other-worldly, God-forsaken blasphemy am I referring to? I don’t know. That’s inside of you. There, you will find God’s presence and His power; should you choose to seek what your natural eyes can’t see. Restore yourselves and know that if I survived all of that and my gratitude is weird or otherwise expressed, so is yours, and it’s beautiful to God. Just like you.
Tap into yourself because that’s how you knock. As 1 Colossians 27 states: Christ IN me, the HOPE of glory.
I have never again placed Band-Aids in broken places. Instead, I’ve learned to trust the process. What looks like stoicism could be mysticism, for it’s in the surrender that you gain the strength to soar. Fly above your own drama, relax in your restoration, and be dedicated to your personal transformation. Breathe in, look up, and lead out.
Worship music is playing as I write this. A new sound, a new song, new territory, new tears, and no fear.
Natasha Stevens is passionate about humanitarian efforts ranging from empowering girls and women through education, writing, counseling, and speaking engagements, to hands on mission’s work in various places, including the eradication of forced child labor and early marriage through human trafficking. She loves a hearty laugh in summer gardens as much as a healthy bowl of oats in winter. She enjoys interacting with people from all walks of life, giving back where needed, and ministering the love and grace of Jesus without a title.