At 16-years-old, I woke up in a hospital bed with no idea how I got there.
More than a week prior, I was t-boned (broadsided) on my driver’s side by a vehicle going between 60-70 mph—I spent several days in a coma, and had no recollection of the following few days either. Everyone kept telling me it was a miracle I was alive, and that I should be grateful.
As a teenage athlete with head trauma and a broken spine—amongst other injuries—it was hard for me to find gratitude for the sudden situation. Being broken did not make sense, and I was not at peace with being weak.
Growing up, my life revolved around the pursuit of strength. I played multiple sports every season, and was involved in many academic organizations. I built up quite a collection of awards from various activities. I always thought I had to prove my worth through my achievements. I was never good enough for the standards set by myself—regardless of what plaques and trophies were scattered throughout my bedroom. In order to avoid the emotional distress this prompted, I busied myself in becoming “better”—in becoming stronger.
The car crash stripped me of the strength I had built, and it left me feeling hopeless.
As I saw it, if I could not achieve anything, then I had no worth. I could not even achieve the simple task of rolling over onto my side! I would spend hours each night trying, grasping the ends of the mattress to try to pull myself, but my body would not budge.
I desperately wanted to run, to kick, to do the splits—but I was stuck. A couple months following the crash, I regained the ability to walk, and there was no longer any bleeding on my brain, but my injuries left me with chronic pain in my head, neck, back, hips, and left shin.
Every day was hard—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—and I felt alone.
It was never even a concept to turn to God for comfort and strength, but that changed my freshman year of college. I must admit that I was quite resistant, but I met some amazing people that year who made a huge impact. Through their lives and invitation, they inspired me to start praying—to start giving God a place in my life.
It was a rocky start, but I began to schedule in prayer and daily Mass. I also started focusing on what I was grateful for, recording it in a journal each night. Even though I was still in pain, particularly in my back, I started to experience peace and joy. Learning that God had a purpose for my life that could never be stopped by anything that happened to me, my despair turned to hope. In Him, I had everything I needed. In my weakness, His strength was made known (2 Corinthians 12: 9).
As my relationship with the Lord grew, He continued to purify my desires and lead me to where He was calling me to serve Him.
Six years following the crash, it was made clear that the pain in my back was prohibiting me from fully following the plan He had for me—so I asked for healing.
I prayed and looked into different neurosurgeons and pain clinics, but after two months, I was miraculously healed through receiving Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist. Since then, I have rejoined a soccer team and backpacked across Spain. More importantly, I have shared the love and power of God with the people I have encountered. It does not matter what I am capable of, but what He can do through me.
God is all we need.
He truly is our strength. I spent a lot of my life depending on my stubbornness for strength, but I had no control over its limits. With God, I am capable of anything (Philippians 4: 13). With Him, YOU are capable of anything. Where does He call you to serve? How does He desire to delight in you? Do you trust that He has a plan, and that you will be satisfied—even fascinated? Will you trust Him to be your strength? I pray that you do. He has prepared a place for you, and you cannot get there on your own.
“May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from His glorious power,
and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience,
while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you
to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
(Colossians 1: 11-12)
Mikayla Ruth Koble is a self-employed artist, writer, and speaker. Originally from North Dakota, she has adventured around the country and now lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin. In all that she does, she desires to communicate the Beauty, Truth, and Goodness of God. To see more or get in touch with Mikayla, please check out mikaylaruthcatherine.com!