I’m someone who wants to maintain a relationship with the Lord!

After the catastrophic accident I was in, I went in a state of denial. I thought my life would go back to the way it was before, ‘normal.’ I thought I would walk again, freely. I thought I would not have to deal with all the pain. My pain has decreased, but my physical challenge has not gone away. I have learned to accept my differences.

I have overcome some grave challenges. Learning how to walk again, when some doctors predicted I wouldn’t has been a huge miracle. I learned how to drive again by nineteen years old. By twenty, I was back to work. I received an Associate in Liberal Arts Degree from the local community college and then received my Bachelor of Arts in English from Oakland University.

Life began to bloom through a different lens. I prayed and prayed, eventually hoped, planned, and had good experiences, again! So, I would like to suggest that you never believe you’ve hit a dead end. Life has a myriad of opportunities that await us. It’s full of new beginnings!

Through this, I have experienced God’s love on a deeper level and gained a more intimate relationship. I have always called out to him, not only in my darkest hours. I like to praise him. Giving thanks is like a weapon. When you thank God for all you’ve got, it not only heals you but gives you more strength. Praise is not something I have to work at. God has brought me through so much. I am grateful.

He is a fortress. It should not have to take a tragedy for you to know that. God is there all the time. He will be the only one we can depend on when everyone else has left. I lost a lot; not only did I have to learn how to adjust, heal, and walk, I also had to learn how to make new friends. God led me through it. Friendships happened again. 

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When I finally got out of the hospital and settled at home, I pondered how I would go back to school. I was active before this and took friends out. The favor was not reciprocated. I knew that life would not be easy back then. I wondered what it would be like since I could no longer just stand up and walk. Everything took effort. I had to learn how to do wheelchair transfers, eventually, get up steps, and even exercise muscles that would not move. I had to become a problem solver.

But I give all the glory to God. I have learned that even when we are in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, like I was, it doesn’t have to be the end. Everything is in God’s hands. Sometimes we suffer and there is no way to avoid it. But as it says in the Bible, the greater the sorrow, the more joy you will experience. “Truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20).

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored “Not Without God: A Story of Survival.” Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and over 200 of her blog posts. 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 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 and the Southern Writers magazine more than once. Socializing with friends, taking business trips, listening to music, and meeting new people are among her hobbies. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, or Twitter.

Hillsong UNITED Concert!!!

457541C5-9D8B-49BC-9BA4-A209A39B97D7I’ve been to many concerts, but I was particularly excited about the one last night! I went to the EMU Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, MI to see a performance by Hillsong UNITED!!! It was everything I expected and more more more!!! I was in tears half the time and so deeply moved by them. I love to watch their videos and listen to their music, but there is nothing like seeing them live!

I have seen many performers. I’ve seen Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Rascal Flatts, Jewel and many many others! I am definitely a concert girl. Listening to music is one of my hobbies, and I often do it at home while I write. Seeing Hillsong was soo special, though! This is a little church out of Australia that has become global. And now they have churches all over the world!!!

The first Hillsong college is in Pheonix. I screamed so loud and sang their songs along with them. I really hope I didn’t annoy the people sitting next to me. Although I did get a compliment from one of the girls. She said my voice was beautiful😉. I had to park 10,000 feet away but it reminded me that I am still in shape. There were so many people!

One of my favorite lyrics from their song “So Will I” sticks out in my mind. They are referring to God and say, “You don’t speak in vain, no syllable empty or void.” I love this line so much because I love words, and it demonstrates the profound power of the Lord. The bible says the tongue can be an unruly evil.

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“He’s a personal God not some distant far off deity, he came in here with you tonight.” ~Joel Houston♥️

There are times when I have spoken, maybe even argued a little 😉 and it was unnecessary or “in vain.” This lyric helps remind me to talk less and listen better. Their music is about more than religion. Its about having a personal relationship with God. Pure. Dependence. Jesus is a common topic in their songs, and their music is poetic while paraphrasing bible verses. It is beyond beautiful!!!

As I was listening and singing (out loud) and praying with them at various times, I heard the Lord whisper in my heart. “Zina, these are my disciples.” I said, Lord, I want to be your disciple, too. I know I’ve messed up, but I want to come home to you. Their faith is remarkable. And Joel said they were going to shut down the venue. I can tell they don’t sleep much. They are always coming out with new songs, and I left with a t-shirt and their new CD!!!!

What will YOU overcome?

I had to read a lot in college. I majored in english and minored in history. The books I read sometimes overlapped. Something I was learning about in a Literature class would show up on a History syllabus. One of my favorite passages is by the great abolitionist, Frederick Douglass. I was required to read his book, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.” This popular quote out of his book still resonates with me, and many others:

“From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slavery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remained like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good spirit was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.”

How does this relate to me? Well, it doesn’t – directly. But as a survivor, I can choose to take the “victim” mentality and not try to accomplish all I know I can! But like Douglas, who stood up for his rights, he even taught himself how to read and write, I have rights too. No one can put limits on my abilities because no one knows what God will do.

What Frederick Douglass wrote speaks to my soul, and it can speak to yours no matter what you’re going through. His confidence that he’d be freed from slavery, and his knowledge of God is parallel to my knowledge that God will set me free of any bondage in my body, thoughts, or predicament! Your challenge may be different from mine. How can you apply this passage by Frederick Douglass to your life? What are you confident about, and know you will overcome?

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! website. Zina works as an English as a Second Language Instructor and has been an educator for more than fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, medical journals and other publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com