My book, Not Without God, is about a catastrophic accident I was in at sixteen- years-old that left me paralyzed. While trying to cross the street on my way to school, I was hit by a car. I had to be taken via ambulance to the local hospital, Botsford, but the facility didn’t have the technology or scope to save me, so they sent me to a level-one trauma hospital by helicopter. I went to Mott Children’s Hospital on the “Survival Life Flight” at the University of Michigan.
That was where I went into 12 hours of emergency surgery. The doctors were able to save my life. The Lord was working through them, of course. I had severe injuries. My spine had shifted and broken at the thoracic level (T10-11). I had a fracture in my C1 vertebrae and had to wear a neck brace for a few weeks while in the hospital. I had internal bleeding, my ribs were broken, and my tibias and fibias were shattered in both legs. I had to learn how to walk again through an extensive amount of physical therapy, thousands of hours or more.
It’s a huge miracle that I’m alive and able to walk at all. I use AFOs (an ankle-to-foot orthosis) and forearm crutches. Although I’m not walking as well as I would like, I am grateful for how far I’ve come. Some medical professionals predicted I’d never walk at all. I had to stay at the hospital for a little over three months. The nurses in the hospital thought I was happy because I was going home soon. They made sure to send me home just before my birthday, and they’d come into the room and say, “Aren’t you happy to be going home?” They had wide smiles and their eyes glowed.
What they didn’t know is I was terrified inside. I didn’t want to go back into the real world. I knew it would be difficult for my family to take care of me. I didn’t know how friends would receive me now that I was handicapped. I was the one who used to pick friends up and take them out. I was active before the accident. I was on the Multicultural & Multiracial Diversity council at school that year.
The teachers and administrators were always pleased with my wise comments.
A large assembly was to be held in our gym with all the students on the council, their parents, and the other students in the school, teachers, and principals were all going to be in the audience. Unfortunately, I never got to attend the assembly. My accident happened just before it, on Oct. 18, 1994. I was told that all the parents, teachers, and students, stood up and applauded in honor of me though when my principle made mention of me.
I was so sad I missed the assembly. I didn’t get to be in school with my friends or be there for the big day we were preparing for. However, I have learned that through life’s tragedies there will always be blessings. Light and dark are opposite, and so are pain and peace. Peace does come no matter how big the tragedy. You find your way, somehow, you may experience days of anguish. You may be suffering mentally or physically for months. God has a way of carrying away your pain. It’s often through no effort of your own.
You have to have faith for him to help. You have to look to him for guidance. He will send the right people, experiences, situations, and friends to help. Slowly you will heal. It may be a long process. You will be restored though. There will be new challenges and new setbacks, and there may even be new tragedies. God will be there every time, in your loneliness, he will comfort you, and in your sadness, he will console you.
He is a God who never sleeps. You have access to him 24 hours a day and all you have to do is call on his name. It can be a simple prayer. Just before I was hit by a car, I called out to God, “Lord, please help.” Those three words were the last thing I remember saying before I woke up on a hospital bed. I had never been hospitalized so I didn’t even know where I was. God healed me each day, little by little. When everything was unpredictable, he gave me life, he helped me walk again and live.
I had new opportunities, new blessings, and new beautiful experiences. That is just God’s way. He is one of restoration and hope.
I’m looking forward to the blessings that will come from my second book and most of all, it will be nice to reach out to more people. Tomorrow I will be featured on ESPN’s “Solutions from the Huddle” and interviewed on a podcast show. I’ll talk about my book, experiences, business, and life. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope that I can touch more lives and help more people!
Zina Hermez authored the best-selling book “Not Without God: A Story of Survival.” Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and over 500 of her blog articles. As an educator for more than twenty years, she’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. Her latest book, “Not Without God: Hope In the Storm” will be out later this year. Her writing endeavors earned her an invitation to speak at the Harvard Faculty Club’s “Business Expert Forum.” Zina’s goal is to help others overcome adversity, and she strives to do what she longs to–help other people. She’s appeared in Christianity Today, the Southern Writers magazine, and the Suite T blog, among other places. Socializing with friends, taking business trips, listening to music, and meeting new people are among her hobbies. She’s also been featured on Color Speak (a Grace and Truth Radio World! podcast) and on ESPN’s Solutions from the Huddle broadcast! You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, or Twitter.