This is the 27th post for our Write 31 Days series 31 Days of Miracles: Who is Our God. Today, Lisa Murphy (see below for her bio) shares her story.
I was about fourteen years old when I encountered the first miracle in my life (that I am aware of). We lived in a sleepy southern Virginia town at the time, back in the early eighties. Cars were made differently then—they weren’t the “new, economy” type vehicles you see now. They were built like tanks. Our family’s “tank” was a two-door, chocolate brown Buick Electra. The doors on this vehicle were heavy. And I mean heavy. I still remember the seat belt buckles that were rarely used back then, and the cigarette lighter that was probably used more than the seat belts. Those were different times in our world.
It was a winter night, and though it didn’t snow often in our parts, it was snowing lightly at the time. Snow mostly ended up as ice on the ground. My parents had gone for dinner with friends, and the last thing they told my brother (who is two years my elder) was not to take the car out in the bad weather.
The problem was that I wanted to go to my friend’s house. It didn’t take me—a rebellious and willful one—very long to nag my brother to the point that he was on the fence. And then I pushed him just enough to make him hop over. Before I knew it, we were in the car driving to my friend’s house, which was only about ten minutes away, but through winding and hilly roads.
We turned left onto my friend’s street and began the climb up the road she lived on. There was a golf course behind us. As we began to make our way though, something happened and our tires began to lose traction. The car started to slide backwards. In a sheer panic, I asked my brother, “What should we do?” To which—as a relatively inexperienced driver under duress—he replied, “Jump out!”
I noticed a car parked on the side of the road, and I feared we’d hit it since our car was sliding backwards directly towards it. And as I finally managed to push open the heavy door and climb out (with gravity pushing it back towards me), I became literally pinned by my passenger door against the front grill of the parked car—with the powerful force of our Buick Electra still sliding backwards on the ice.
My brother—who hadn’t yet jumped out—pumped the gas pedal a few times, but nothing—no forward movement whatsoever. We both screamed for what seemed like an eternity. The streets were so eerily quiet. My brother ran to my side, trying with all his might to pull the car door away from my body. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t possibly muster strength to do such a thing, and we knew it was no use.
My stomach was being completely flattened by the car door, and I wondered how much longer it would be before I lost consciousness and would lose my fight to this vehicle of over a ton of curb weight. I began to feel that I was going to die. Both of us started to cry, and I whimpered apologies to my brother.
Finally, in a desperate last attempt, I said to Andrew, “Try it one more time—it’s our only chance.” Deep inside, I knew it was. My brother ran around and jumped back into the driver’s seat. He slammed his foot on that accelerator harder than he knew how. And a miracle happened. That car, somehow, plunged forward enough that I was able to worm my way out from its trap.
By that time, nearby neighbors had finally heard my screams. We made our way, in complete shock, to my friend’s house, which was only a short walking distance. No one could believe what had happened. Her father was a doctor, so he took my vitals and was obviously concerned. I was under his observation for an hour or so when my stomach pain miraculously subsided. We never even went to the hospital.
Would you believe my body didn’t suffer a single injury?
We waited for my parents to get home—there were no cell phones back then. They came to pick us up at my friend’s house, and many tears fell. Most of them mine for disobeying their orders—and for almost making them suffer the loss of a child.
It was a miracle that I’d survived and also that I was completely unharmed. There was no possible explanation of how my life was spared on that snowy night. I guess maybe that’s the first I became a believer in guardian angels, and Lord knows I had one watching over me then. Matthew 25:13 says “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
The compelling part to me now is that—at the time—though baptized as an infant, I was just an immature teenager who grew up without virtually any practiced religion or spiritual compass, and I certainly wasn’t “keeping watch.” That, to me, is a profound example of God’s pure and unconditional love for us.
It serves as proof that we don’t have to “earn” His miracles, and they are not reserved for just the “good” people and devout believers! They are a gift for all of us, and a miracle was certainly a gift to me that night. What a blessing to know that God was walking beside me that night, even before I realized He was there for me. Take heart in the truth that we don’t walk alone!
It’s fascinating how my mind had “shelved” this memory for so many years. In fact, I’ve only voiced this story a few times since it happened. I’m not sure I even knew what a miracle was in my youth, so this incident is even more meaningful to me now, as a found Daughter of the King, having truly discovered my deeply profound faith just ten years ago.
As I reflect on it now, thirty-five years later with tears streaming down my face, I wonder why—why was I saved when so many other innocent people die from accidents every single day?
Then I’m drawn to Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” My attention shifts direction to my loving husband of twenty-four years and the five precious children we’ve been called to adopt over the past ten years, and I know exactly why. I believe with all my heart that the Lord had an extra-special mission prepared for my life, and that was simply not my day—it was not my hour. Lord knows, I am so eternally grateful for that miracle and for the extraordinary plan He designed . . . just for me.
Lisa Murphy is the author of With an Open Heart (available on Amazon – all proceeds to orphan care ministries), the memoir that journals life and loss with their son, Daniel, adopted from China in 2010. Joy of the Spirit Within and Widow’s Manna were privileged to interview Lisa about Daniel for their joint blog series Breaking Light earlier this year.
Lisa enjoys being a mom to four beautiful children and wife to Jim, a Realtor with a servant’s heart in Delray Beach, FL. Lisa and Jim are practicing members of the Catholic Christian faith since 2006. Lisa is a sales consultant for Juice Plus + nutritional products and finds it a privilege to keep families healthy. Through sales of her book, Lisa’s mission is to share an inspirational message of faith and to help support orphan care ministries with the proceeds. Lisa recently started a charitable organization called Open Hearts for Orphans. The website is www.openheartsfororphans.org.