Posted by: richardpowell2013 | July 14, 2013

Trials to Testimony

I remember an incident which happened awhile back. It reminded me how much I need God to help me with fear. 5 1/2 years ago Carrie and I were invited to join our friends on a weekend skiing trip at Smugglers Notch, Vermont. My buddy had a great weekend planned for us. One of the activities he signed me up for was a new extreme sport called Air Boarding. I was ready to live on the wild side because I really was not afraid to try anything. Two days into our weekend we were off to air board. Before the instructor would let us get on the lift to head up the mountain with our air boards we had to sign 2 waivers stating if we were hurt during the experience we could not hold them responsible. We were also fitted for helmets to protect our heads. Now, a lot of people would have at least asked the question, “is this dangerous?” Not me because, I’m a get-r-done kind of a guy so let’s go for it! An Air board looks like a float that is full of air which comes to a point in the front that helps it go through the snow. It has many little rubber grommets on the bottom of each side to help you steer. There is a reason they call it Air Boarding. I found out that if you get going fast enough, it would actually come off the ground a few inches into the air. Unfortunately when that happens, you can’t steer.
After some training we were released on our own, it was on! You would think we were professionals in extreme sports the way we were coming down the mountain. The funniest part was when we first started to go down the slope, we really weren’t sure on how to steer so we didn’t. As I am going down the slope and there were a bunch of skiers standing together talking. As I am coming up on them I start yelling, “I can’t steer’! Well, you know in bowling how when you hit that sweet spot all the pins go flying everywhere? Let’s just say I got a strike. We would run into each other, we would run over small trees and to stop we would just roll over on the ground. You would think a little fear should have started to appear. After a few near misses, we got to our last run of the day. The sun was starting to go down and it was getting cold so I figured I would make the last run short and sweet by seeing how fast I could go down the hill. When we got off the ski lift on top of the slope I got into position and took off down the mountain. As I came up to the first turn I noticed I was really going fast so I decided to start turning a little sooner than before. As I was turning I noticed that I was sliding more than turning but I still was not worried about my safety. When I entered the turn I thought I was in control and what happened next would be a life changing experience.
I don’t remember all the details but from the eyewitness account of my buddy, I went through the curve and jumped the snow bank. While I was in the air, I turned upside down and backwards and hit a tree! When I woke up I was laying at the bottom of the tree. As I realized what had happen I began to scream for someone to help me. I could not move anything except my eyes and yell. I was truly terrified! As my friend came running to check on me, I noticed he was on the phone. I later found out he was talking to his mother asking her to pray for me because he thought I was dead. When he came up I discovered I could move my legs. Then I started moving my arms, then my body. Then I tried to stand up. I fell right back down. I tried it again and was successful, a little wobbly but, I was able to stand by myself. Meanwhile, my friend told an onlooker to get help. I began to walk about 30 feet up to the trail to meet the medic. While we were waiting for the medic to arrive, my friend told me, “man, I’m never going to mess with you. To hit that tree the way you did and walk away!”. Well, you’ve got to be tough when you’re stupid. The EMT arrived and asked me, “Who is the one who hit the tree?” I told him it was me and he took me down on a snowmobile to the medical shack. As scared as I was, I never asked God for help. Fear sometimes makes you self-reliant. The medic checked me out and said everything seemed to be good and released me. As we rode back to the room to meet our wives, I felt something was wrong.
We got to the room and told our wives what happened. I was a little sore from hitting the tree so; I laid down on the couch for what I thought was a few minutes. Actually it turned out to be 4 hours. When I tried to get up I discovered I could not get up on my own. I tried to sit up and eat dinner but I had no appetite and could not eat. Carrie was starting to get more concerned as my condition appeared to be getting worse. When we first got married I told Carrie if I ever do not want to eat, get me to a hospital. Well, I did not want to eat so Carrie made the decision that we needed to go the emergency room. That is when my fear turned inward and I started to deny that something was wrong with me. I told everyone I was fine and just need needed to rest. The pain continued to worsen until I finally agreed to get help. My emotional fear of something really serious being wrong caused me to deny my physical pain which almost cost me my life. I did not seek help until the pain became greater than the fear.
At the hospital the doctor came in to examine me. He took his hand and began to feel down my torso. At that point I felt the worst pain I ever felt and I grabbed the doctor. He said it was either broken ribs or ruptured spleen. They did a CT and confirmed that it was a ruptured spleen and had I to be transferred to a level 1 trauma center about an hour away. When we got to Fletcher Allen memorial in Burlington, Vermont, they took me straight to ICU. As they examined me they told Carrie they may be able to save my spleen if I stay completely still for the next few days. The next few days were touch and go as to whether I would need surgery or not.
The second day the doctor told Carrie my red blood cell count was dropping due to the internal bleeding. He informed her that they might have to go ahead and remove my spleen. They said they would keep a close eye on my blood count overnight and make a decision in the morning about operating. At about the same time, it was announced in our regular Saturday night church service what happened and that I needed prayer. When God shows up, He shows off. The next morning I woke up and overheard the doctor telling the nurse there must be a mistake, there is no way that the blood count could rebound that quickly. I spoke up and said “It wasn’t a mistake, it was a miracle.” The doctor walked away and the nurse came over and I started to tell her about the other miracles in my life.
I was in ICU for 5 days. We finally got home a week after the accident and I missed 6 weeks of work. As I recovered at home, I had time to reflect on the growth that I experienced through this traumatic event. When I first started to Air Board, I should have paid attention to the external fear that God gives all of us for self-preservation. When I couldn’t steer and kept hitting small trees something should have clicked in my head, “ maybe I should slow down or even stop.” Oh yea, just to let everyone know, that clicker is working a lot better these days.
My physical pain became so overwhelming that I found myself forced to rely on God more than ever. I was unconscious most of the time due to the pain medication, our friends flew home and Carrie was left alone, hundreds of miles away from home and family to deal with this situation. Carrie’s inability to control the situation and the fear of not knowing what was going to happen to me forced her to rely more on God than she ever had in the past. We needed God more than ever to handle the fear we were dealing with. Instead of turning the fear inward, we gave it to God and he grew us beyond imagine. Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. We turned our fear over to God, rather than letting it control us. God used our to build our character and reveal the hope that is only found in him.

Till next time my friends………..


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