Whitney Boyd’s Story
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ (Col 2:2).
The sanctuary was crowded with carefree high school kids anxious for school to be out. It didn’t really matter about summer break to me. I had been out of school since the accident and wouldn’t be able to swim this summer anyway. Walk maybe, but not swim. Even though the worship music blasted through the nearby speakers, I could hear my heartbeat echo through to my fingertips. I took off my flip-flops and sat Indian-style in my wheelchair trying to relax. Everyone looked so preoccupied and distracted.
I didn’t have a good reputation. Will they even listen to me? I wondered. All these kids knew what I was like before but a lot had changed since then. Now, I just want to make a difference.
My accident happened on April 10, 2007. Driving down Council Road in Oklahoma City to my Grandmother’s house, the rain beat against my windshield like a machine gun. Even though my wipers were on full speed, I could barely see. Like a busted dam, water was pouring over the curb on the right and all I could think was, If I could just get over into the next lane, I’d be alright. But it was rush hour traffic and there were no openings. All of a sudden, a wake of water engulfed my car and blinded my vision. The next thing I knew was that my steering wheel violently turned on its own and my car slid across four lanes of traffic and hydroplaned into a tree.
Just the night before I had collapsed into bed after a church youth group meeting. “I know my life is way off course,” I had sobbed into my pillow. “Lord, you can have it all…my cell phone, my car, my life.” But by the next morning, my mind quickly diverted to other things.
On the outside, my life had the appearance of perfection. I had just turned sixteen, had my own car and a cool job at a trendy restaurant. A couple of years earlier my family had moved into a brand new house with an awesome pool so summers were filled with pool parties and friends. My sister’s friends that is—I didn’t have any of my own. On the inside, I felt alone and rejected. I was so self-conscious about my under-bite that I hid from people at school and ate lunch in the bathroom. Later, I began experimenting with drugs and alcohol to escape. In my hunger for approval and acceptance, I also compromised my values in my relationships with guys. I did things I never thought I would do. I just wanted someone to love me.
Tree branches and twisted bark now covered my broken windshield. Glass was everywhere. My first instinct was to get out of the car, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even feel my legs and my head swirled in confusion. I need to call Mom. I scanned the car for my cell phone and noticed that it had fallen out of my purse on the passenger side floorboard. I stretched out my arm but it was inches beyond my reach. Propping my elbow on the console, I struggled to maneuver closer.
Just then the back door flew open. A frantic wide-eyed man in his 40’s blurted out, “Are you a Christian?”
Dude, you are totally random, I thought as I winced in pain and managed to utter, “Uhh, yes.”
He climbed into the back seat and slid his arms under my neck. “I will never leave you.” He insisted. “I’ll stay with you until the ambulance arrives.”
“My son broke his neck in a car wreck. I know what to do. Can you move your legs?”
“Augh, I can’t even feel them.”
“What about your arms?”
“Yea, I can move…” What’s that smell? I glanced at my left arm. Fresh blood now covered the sleeve of my once pink hoodie with a stench that smelled like iron and rust.
The next few minutes were a blur as I faded in and out of awareness. Two other people had stopped before the ambulance arrived. One was a nurse and the other was an off duty fireman. They were all Christians. Their muffled prayers blended into the background as a soothing calm engulfed me.
The distant sound of sirens grew closer and closer and whirled to a stop.
“The tree went in the driver’s side. We’ll have to go in from the passenger side.”
The shrill of hydraulics and metal grinding against metal pierced my ears until the Jaws of Life pried off the door. Emergency professionals labored to get me on the gurney.
“Her legs are stuck under the dashboard.”
“We’ll have twist…”
“There’s no time…she’s loosing too much blood.”
“We have no choice…we’ll have to amputate.”
“Wait!” the nurse protested. “Let us pray first…she’s only sixteen.”
Their voices took instant authority. “Lord, we come together in agreement for this child in distress. With you all things are possible. Without your intervention, Whitney will lose her legs. Please ease the strain of the dashboard so the fireman can get her out. In Jesus’ name.”
This time, my legs slid free from the crumpled vinyl.
As I listened to the rain trickle through my broken windshield, I remembered my parent’s constant prayer: “Lord, we can’t always be there for our kids. If they need you, please send someone who can help.”
God sent three of his mightiest angels that day.
I spent two weeks in the hospital. My femur bone was broken and a rod was placed in my left leg. My right hand was shattered and my jaw was broken. I also broke my neck, my pelvis in nine places, tore my spleen and punctured my lungs. With all that has happened, I am not bitter. God has given me a new outlook on life since the accident. So for me, I will always be grateful. Sometimes it takes a meeting with death to receive life.
I used to think that my parents were the nosiest people in the world. But today, my relationship with them is stronger than ever. I appreciate things I used to take for granted. Today I no longer cast my eyes on the floor in shame and my confidence has been renewed. It’s amazing what brings satisfaction in the face of loss. But most importantly—God has restored my relationship with Him. Who would have known the importance of the prayer I cried out to God the night before the accident. Sobbing in my pillow that evening, I surrendered my life to God and yet He spared it. Instead of destroying my life, he transformed it.
I shared my testimony to over 300 high school kids that night. Fifteen came forward to receive Christ and numerous more made a decision to rededicate their lives. Despite their anxious thoughts about summer vacation, I guess they listened after all. The only thing I really wanted to say was: No matter how bad you think your life is, God can turn it around. You don’t have to wait until you crash into a tree to surrender your life. You can do it now…before it’s too late.
Whitney spent a lot of time recovering from her injuries. But today she’s looking forward to a brand new life with Jordan. They’re engaged to be married on August 15th. If you look closely, you can still see scars on her hand, but Whitney’s scars are not reminders of her pain. Her scars are evidence….evidence that she survived.