18 Feb
18Feb

Brittany Gilchrist

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  

1 Peter 5:10

My name is Brittany, and I’m married to my high school sweetheart! We have two daughters, two dogs, three chickens, and a horse, and our lives are complete! Our journey has been one of ups and downs, but drastically changed twelve years ago, on June 22, 2011. Before that, we were finally settled into the life that we had worked so hard for and planned. My husband had a great job that was leading to bigger opportunities; he began working on his novel; we had just purchased our first home; and our second daughter had just been born. Our life was sweet and planned. We were settling into a routine as a little family of four, and we had a pretty good idea of what our life was going to look like.

The 22nd of June started like any other day with a newborn and a toddler—busy and hot! My oldest had been at a summer program at our local church, so the little one and I picked her up and left the church parking lot, and that’s my last memory of that day. Once we pulled onto Highway 41, we traveled a mile or two, and our Nissan Sentra collided head-on with a lifted F250 Super Duty truck that blew a tire and caused the driver to lose control. The truck went across the double yellow lines without being able to steer or brake, into oncoming traffic, and directly into us. The remainder of what was left of our car caught fire, and smoke filled the entire car.

We were trapped. I was unresponsive. My babies were alone, scared, and injured. Throughout this journey, not being able to remember has been excruciating. It’s bittersweet and absolutely surreal. I wish I could have been there to comfort them. I wanted to tell them that everything would be fine, but I couldn’t. Timing is everything. We weren’t alone for very long. With a busy highway and an accident as severe as ours, traffic began to back up as far as the eye could see. Traveling directly behind us were our angels in disguise. These men wasted no time and surrounded our car, deciding how they were going to rescue us. With nothing else to use, they broke our car windows with rocks and their own fists. They freed my babies, at the risk of being overtaken by the hot and pungent smoke. The damage to our car was so severe that it had shifted me from being a driver to nearly a passenger, with my lower half being barely visible. I couldn’t move to be freed. But they didn’t leave me. They didn’t run away or throw up their hands. They stayed, and they tried again—on three they pulled, all grasping a different part of me, and as I was freed, our entire car then went up in flames.

Those angels, our heroes, were all acknowledged, and the one who went over and beyond was awarded the American Red Cross Hero award for his actions, heroism, bravery, and love. There are a few things that I don’t remember from this day, such as my Life Flight helicopter ride, the two times that it was necessary to resuscitate me to save my life, and the next three days, which were a blur.

The few things I do remember when I awoke were that I knew my life would never be the same; when I was told that they rated our accident unsurvivable; and the many times I needed to be reminded that my babies had survived—we were all miracles.

It’s been a very long twelve years, filled with pain, surgeries, and too many appointments to count. In the midst of everything, there are also many amazing stories, situations, people, miracles, and acts of grace. We will never forget what we have been through—our journey hasn’t been easy, and there were times when it seemed overwhelming and too hard to bear.

My girls were both taken by ambulance to the closest children’s hospital, where my oldest spent over a month in recovery. My injuries were extensive. I fractured both femurs, a compound fracture of my right tibia and fibula, the left clavicle, the sternum, and the ribs, just to name a few. I needed to learn how to walk again, but I was very thankful for my legs—I created these attitudes and differing emotions and perspectives that I had to battle and navigate constantly. The reality and pain of what had happened were compared to the thankfulness and gratitude for life and miracles. That was our reality—it’s still our reality.

Today, we are changed. We see life from different perspectives; we see through different lenses. Not only has our perspective changed, but who we are as people has changed. We are definitely products of the things we experience, but we have a choice in how we respond to and react to those experiences. Bad things happen, unfortunately. It’s the sinful and fallen world we live in, but we can rise from the trauma and let it shape us into people of grace who exhibit empathy, love, joy, and hope. Life is short. Time is precious, as are the friends and family who surround you. God has a plan and purpose for each of us. He can make beauty out of ashes, and if we let Him, He will use everything we are and everything we encounter, both painful and joyful, for our good and His glory! We’ve experienced miracle after miracle. Not only were we spared from an unsurvivable car accident, but we were mostly unscathed from a second car accident in 2018. We have been healed miraculously time and time again. We have been provided for physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially. Our every need has been met. Once again, the road hasn’t been easy, to say the least. It’s been full of pain and sadness. It’s been a fight. But we’ve not had to fight alone. We have never been alone. At times, we’ve had to trudge through mud to keep going, while other times we’ve floated on our backs down a clear stream. Either way, God has been our constant and our anchor. We strive each day to trust Him fully and step out, one foot in front of the other. He is in full control. We have been called to tell our story—to tell of the amazing and miracle-performing God whom we serve. He is alive today, friends. He is moving and working on our behalf, for our good and His glory. He is an awesome God, and nothing is impossible with Him. Today, what remains is the hope of eternity. What remains is the excitement of a life led by the Holy Spirit. What remains is the promise that our good Father will never leave us or forsake us. We take one day at a time around our home, thankful for the life that’s been given to us. Our days may be messy at times, and life is raw and real, but our time and our actions are intentional as we walk hand in hand with our Savior. My prayer for each of you would be that you would know your infinite worth and how much you are loved by your Creator. That you would crave more of what God has for you and know that He has a plan and purpose for your life, as you’ve been uniquely created! Finally, my prayer is that you walk this life in fullness and VICTORY! He is with you and for you.

Nissan Sentra June 22, 2011

Brittany's Family


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