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Blessings on this GOOD FRIDAY! if you aren't doing anything right now, tune in to freshlifechurch.com and watch the live service webcast, I am watching it right now and Kevin is ripping it up doing worship.
I realized this morning that I still haven’t blogged about the accident itself, now 1 week ago today. Without which my blog might seem strange because it just got all medical and about coping with pain one day, without explanation. So here goes. It all started with an early breakfast at Loula’s in Whitefish, great eggs benedict and some super black coffee. Then Brian and I took Greg Laurie up to the Montana Bible School at the Pottersfield Ranch in Olney where Don McClure had arranged for him to do a Q&A and then we were going to go snowmobiling for a little bit on their property. On the way to the ranch we got rear-ended by this super nervous kid, there was no damage but he was so stressed, Brian told him not to worry about it and Greg told him, “Jesus loves you.” His eyes welled up with tears and he said, “you don’t know how much that means!” We ended up praying for him and he bailed. Ministry opportunities are everywhere! Even with the accident we got to the school early and I had time to beat Greg at Ping-Pong (24-22) before the meeting began. All the questions were about ministry and calling and his answers were just straight from the heart and super practical. Then we suited up to hit the snow. We had given Greg the option of going dog-sledding or snowmobiling. Being a harley guy he picked the faster of the two. I have only been on snowmobiles a few other times but it was really fun and I was totally surprised by how fast they are. It was a relatively small area, just a big open field with some little bumps and small hills, for about half an hour we went back and forth and then started hitting the little jumps and even getting a little air. Then I went off to a side close to the road and was headed for what I thought was a little berm but as I got closer I saw it was actually this little gully. I was going too fast to stop or turn away and I was afraid of what would happen if I rode into it so I gassed it and thought maybe I could jump over it. That is precisely what happened but I guess I rose to my feet in the air and when I hit the other side my left thigh hit the handlebar with all the weight from the impact. The pain was blinding and sickening and the next thing I knew I was lying on the ground and the first thought I had was that I broke my neck. I began moving my arms and legs to see if I could, my arms moved fine but when I tried to move my left leg I felt my bone in my thigh being the only thing I could move around. Everything below it felt like it was full of jelly and not connected. “I broke my leg.” I thought. I didn’t know if the bone was out of the skin but it was for sure moving around where there was no natural hinge. I motioned for Greg and Brian to come over and yelled out “help” they came and Brian got my helmet off, at this point I wasn’t really in pain yet, probably in shock, and I told them, I think I have a compound fracture. I asked where my snowmobile was, I thought it had gotten stuck in the gully, but they told me I had cleared it and it was 5 or 10 feet away and standing upright. (you can see in one of the pictures, my green machine and me, where we both landed.) It took 25 minutes for the ambulance to come from Olney, after waiting about 10 the pain started setting in and began getting really sick to my stomach and overcome by psycho waves of trauma. Greg and Brian were awesome, holding my hands, praying for me and comforting me. I began thinking of flights to be rescheduled, speaking engagements to be canceled, and a tour to Israel I won’t be going on. It all swirled around me as I lied there helplessly in the snow. Some other people began to show up with some very interesting ideas, I remember hearing “we could just put him in a van and take him to town.” and another person said, “I have some cardboard and a stick, we can splint his leg ourselves.” I am grateful that my friends fielded these with the bright response of “let’s wait for the ambulance” and later my surgeon told me the broken bone could have severed the femoral artery had I been improperly moved. Greg kept taking pictures and all the shots of the injury on this blog are from his iPhone. At one point I heard someone ask him why he was taking all the photos and he said: “if you knew Levi, you’d know he will want these on his blog” Too true! The Paramedics told me they would have to cut off my pants and I, strangely enough, objected because under my snowboarding pants I was wearing my favorite jeans and somehow couldn’t bear the thought of them being cut off. That’s good logic–my life is on the line and I am concerned with some blue jeans. (I blame my name) Greg chimed in, “I’ll buy you a new pair.” After cutting through my denim, they put my leg in a splint and it hurt like crazy, I sobbed like a baby and cried out in pain uncontrollably. I can’t describe how it felt but I have never hurt like that before. When they would move my leg, the foot would rotate too far without my being able to control it. I was lifted on the stretcher like a viking on his shield and carried through the snow to the ambulance. Greg rode with me and once we were moving asked if I could be given something for the pain. They said they were not licensed to carry drugs and they were a volunteer paramedic service. We could either meet the Whitefish ambulance and transfer on the roadside or try and make it to the hospital without medication. That was an easy question– I wanted drugs. We made the transfer on the side of the road and the Whitefish EMT’s got an iv going and morphine pumping immediately. Now we’re talking. I was even able to invite one of them to Fresh Life. She told me she does all her worshiping in Glacier National Park, presumably worshiping nature. I told her, creation points to the creator, and it is God that deserves our worship. From there I was whisked into the hospital where Jennie was waiting, it was so good to see her! At that point the drugs really started to kick in. Many visitors came that I don’t remember at all. X-rays were done, and the femur was in fact snapped in half. My dad flew in to be with me, Greg and Cathe flew out, and I had a titanium rod surgically inserted into my thigh. As bad as it was, I know it could have been worse. I broke the biggest and strongest bone in my body, logic tells me that I could have more easily broken my neck or back. Even in suffering God is good and I am grateful to be alive and not paralyzed. I am definitely hanging up my snowmobiling spurs though!
I couldnt make it in person to the freshlife staff meeting yesterday but fortunately i was able to participate through video- conferencing. Eric sent me this shot, quality is pretty good. Tonight I will be able to participate in the service at church the same way before our special guest speaker gives the bible study. It will definitely be the first time I will speak at fresh life in my pajamas! Hopefully the last too. See you there. (in a weird internet sort of way)
Woke up this morning not feeling nauseous and had a great time in the psalms before any pain caught up with me. Throughout my walk they have been my lifeline through trials as they have been to so many believers since david first penned the tear soaked pages. I have made it my habit to read a psalm and a proverb each day regardless of whatever books I am going through. I
find that they jumpstart my spiritual batteries and begin the processs of wetting my appetite. I dont know about you but i dont always wake up whitw-hot for worship. Sometikes im lethargic, cranky, tired or self-absorbed. Often just a.d.d. Praying “previously recorded prayers” has a way of loosening up my own. What is so superb is that they come back to bless even when I dont have my Bible in front of me, having been hidden in my heart. Days, weeks or months earlier. Often over the last 12 years of walking with the lord whenever I wake up in the night and am overwhelmed I can be steadied by worshipful meditation in these comforting verses. Psalm 63 in particular has been of great benefit and has been my favorite chapter in what Spurgeon called the “Treasury of David”
This morning I woke up shocked by my leg being extremely swollen and very "hurty." (That's a word my 2 year old daughter would use.) I sort of had coped with the level of pain and how things were progressing and was sort of blindsided by an unexpected turn for the worse. I tried to remain calm and do all the stretches the physical therapist has me doing and could hardy do any of them. After talking to the surgeon I was relieved to find that this is par for the course. Where I thought the worst was behind me and I would just gradually get better now, that is not exactly how things work. For one, my body has been for the last week of trama, traction, treatment and travailing in a state of shock. It is now taking inventory and trying to heal. Part of that is inflammation and swelling as it seeks to minister to the affected area. It is no wonder that Christ compares the body of Christ to the human body, we should respond with resources and comfort when one part is hurting. And this is a bumpy road, he told me that it should bottom out and settle around week 2. That helped to hear, because as long as I have something in mind to be expecting, even if it's to expect the unexpected, I can sort of prepare myself and deal with it. It has been difficult to read because of the nausea from the pain medication but I have been focusing on the events of Palm Sunday and all the events of passion week as Jesus readied Himself for the Cross. What He endured for me was far worse than a broken femur, He took my sin and paid it's price. Walking with Him includes mountain top experiences, like my dad taught about this Sunday, and valley's low. Both are sweet and invaluable in their different ways and both are profitable.
I was released from the hospital last night and am glad to be rid of the IV, buttons, and beeping. I am on ordered bed rest except for a minute of walking with crutches every other hour to prevent blood clots that I am susceptible to because of the amount of blood I lost and bone marrow that dumped out into my leg when the bone broke. I am so wiped I can hardly stay awake and am mainly sleeping and beginning the process of healing. I have gotten emails from people all over the country and world letting me know they are praying and thinking of me during this crazy episode and that is totally a blessing. I have not been answering calls or having visitors just so I am not bombarded by conversations I am too weak to have but I appreciate the good intentions. Supposedly the whole healing timeline for this injury is 12 weeks but my surgeon thinks I will be back to speaking either this sunday or next. Although I will have to teach sitting down which is fine. My prayer is that I will not miss easter sunday, so Lord willing, my first message back will be the Resurrection.
I was on youtube and came across this video someone in the audience recorded last week of Phil Wickham’s performance. The song is one of my favorites. Phil asked me if there were any songs I wanted him to sing during his set and it was the only song I requested. It is just such a powerful song lyrically, so much truth and so much passion, like a modern day hymn. enjoy!
The pain in my leg woke me up early this morning and I couldn’t go back to sleep so I tuned in the church service from my friend Pedro’s church in Florida. With the time change, even though it was 6:45 in the morning his first service was just starting. When it was over I fell asleep for a little bit and when I woke up it was 8:45 and the 7:45 am service at Harvest in California was just starting so I watched Greg teach. Then I napped a little bit more and watched the second service at Fresh Life.It was such a pleasure to be ministered to by my dad as he was gracious enough to come out and teach for me while I am hurt. His message was awesome and attracted some attention. Several nurses who came in to give me medicine or take vitals asked what I was watching and were surprised I was watching live services from my church and one of them wrote down the web address and tuned the service in at the nurses station. I have gotten to invite so many hospital employees to fresh life and met several that already attend.
I know this season will be a difficult one but I am looking forward to open doors and lessons God wants me to learn. The pain has been less intense today although I am more swollen around my thigh and knee than yesterday, but I am told that is to be expected. This church streaming triathlon has wiped me out, I am ready for another nap!