“All you need to know is that someone cares. A small detail, but it’s enough to turn your life around. Love changes things.” ~Zina
While in the hospital at sixteen I kept a journal, and each night at midnight—under my covers, with a flashlight in one hand and a pencil and pad in the other with music playing in the background—I would write. Here is one journal entry:
I believe You are with me—listening and answering my prayers. I feel lucky to have You. I’ve opened my heart, and I’m trying to more. I don’t know how I got so lucky because before the accident, I didn’t know how You worked. But now I have found myself, I know who I am, what I want, and where I’m going.
I was thankful God saved me, and because of the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, hospital staff, and even families of the other children– I felt worthy. I think love has the power to do that, take a broken teenager, and make them feel whole.
In moments of despair I can revisit this place, it will make anything I’m upset about small. Can you be thankful for a time in your life when things could’ve been worse? Focus on how God’s saving grace helped you. It is an act of THANKSGIVING!
Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest blogs, newsletters, medical journals, and other publications. To learn more about Zina visit: http://zinahermez.com.
“Love is a force that is able to heal the worst of situations.” ~Zina Hermez
It’s one of my favorite quotes from my forthcoming book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. Love helped me heal from my accident on Oct. 18, 1994. The love from friends and family, and the love at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was incomparable. It emanated from the doctors, the nurses, even the families of children who were ill. There was this energy I can’t explain, but it translated into a lot of love.
The reason I wrote Not Without God, is to share my story and how I healed from a catastrophic accident that left me paralyzed as a teen. I hope that through reading my book, others will be inspired and overcome their own challenges of any kind. I pray that through my story, others will be able to get insight into how to heal.
Today I’m grateful for the abilities I have and the ability to walk at all, and I have not given up. I went from being a popular teen to alone and handicapped. I was on a breathing machine. I could not talk. I could not move. I could not eat solid food in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for nearly a month. The only way to communicate was to write.
People tell me “you’re so strong” all the time. Perhaps I am; but for me to be here is a part of God’s plan. He controls everything. We have to understand that everything happens by Him and for Him. I think sometimes people have this misconception that they are rewarded because of their effort or hard work and things they do. Good things happen to them, and they get surprised when bad things occur. But God allows suffering sometimes. No matter how much I’ve been through, it’s nothing compared to what Jesus went through.
Today is Palm Sunday: the first day of Holy Week. Easter is on Sunday, April 20. No matter what our burdens, let us carry them and follow after Him.
But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. —Isaiah 53:5