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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Beauty for Ashes {Testimony of Julie & Bill D.

“You never realize that God is all you need, until He’s all you have”.
My pastor loves to use that quote often when he is teaching from God’s Word. I had always agreed with it, but I had never really experienced what it meant until November 26th, 2011. It was a day that started like any other Saturday around the Davis house. My husband Bill was up early along with 4 of our 5 kids and the house was busy as usual. Bill’s buddies were meeting at our house that morning so they could all leave together for their manly mountain biking adventures which they tried to do at least one Saturday a month. This was the perfect day to go because it was Thanksgiving weekend and everyone was off work. Bill woke up that morning mostly over the cold he had been fighting all week and at first he thought he might not go, but after a little Netti Pot therapy for his sinuses and he felt up for it. He really wanted to go riding with the guys!! Let’s face it, any escape from our crazy house- hold was worth it, even with a slight cold.

Bill and I have 3 children that the Lord blessed has us with that I carried in my womb. At the time, Ethan was 6, Isaac was 5 and Grace was 3. We were also blessed to be a foster family so we also had Treasure who was 5 and Randal who was just a month shy of being 2 years old. So when I say our house was crazy, I am not exaggerating in the slightest. But it was a good kind of crazy. Our biological children LOVED our foster children and vice-versa. Ethan, being the oldest, was the only one of the kids still asleep that morning as daddy got ready to leave. Bill gave hugs and kisses all around to the other kids and finally kissed me. I of course added my usual “have fun and be careful” along with my kiss and the guys were off for fun and adventure. It was less than a month from Ethan’s 7th birthday and we had yet to plan his party, so the first thing on my list for that morning was to get the evite out so friends and family could get a date on the calendar. Of course I had to get everyone breakfast, make my coffee and get through all the other morning rituals first. So I finally sat down around 8:30am and created the evite. I think I sent it to a handful of people and then planned to post it to Facebook later. Not more than 5 minutes after I hit send on the evite, my cell phone rang.

My phone showed a number but there was no name attached to it and 9 times out of 10, I would have just let it go to voice mail. But for whatever reason (a nudging of the Holy Spirit I think), I answered. The voice was very calm and deep but foreign to me. The man on the other end said something like “Honey, I’ve been hurt”. My mind was racing to think who this man was that was calling me honey. I asked “who is this”? To which I heard “It’s me, Bill”. I still get a little nauseous thinking back to how he sounded. He spoke in such a deep, slow voice it was almost haunting. I know he was just getting over a cold, but even that didn’t explain how he sounded. He went on to say he was hurt and he couldn’t feel his legs. All I remember is that my knees hit the floor on the linoleum in our kitchen. “What do you mean, what are you talking about?” were the words I repeated several times. Bill was so calm though, he knew I was upset and I could tell he was trying to be calm to keep my calm. He asked me to pray for him. “Pray to Jesus,” he kept saying. “Jesus will take care of me.” Of course by now I am sobbing hysterically and trying to keep my head together because there were 5 kids freaking out because mommy was crying so hard. So I gathered the kids up and we sat together in the living room and we prayed to Jesus for Bill.

After that everything happened so fast I really didn’t have time to think about it. All I knew is I was supposed to meet Bill at the hospital. Well, we live 3 minutes from a major hospital so I figured I’d be heading down there. I hadn’t showered yet so I jumped in the shower talking myself through each moment in numb sort of robotic words.  “Okay Lord, I can do this. I just have to get myself clean. Please Jesus, be with Bill. Please Lord, let him be okay. I can do this. Now I just need to wash my hair. Okay Lord, I can do this.” Somehow I managed to get myself showered and dressed; and by the time I got out of the shower, two of my dear sweet friends were standing in my living room. Both of their husbands were with Bill and they called them to come to the house to watch the kids and the other one to drive me to the hospital. Why did I need someone to drive me to the hospital, it was only 3 minutes away.
That’s when I was told that Bill had hit a rock while going pretty fast down a hill and flipped over on his bike. He landed on his head. His helmet had saved his brain, but his spine took the impact. 
He was instantly paralyzed from the chest down.
(Praise the Lord he listened to me when I asked him to buy a helmet and wear it. He was the only one in the group wearing one that day!) He never lost consciousness and the first thing he asked the guys to do was pray for him. I am so thankful he was riding with the guys from our Bible study group!! After they prayed that is when they called 911 and then Bill called me. The paramedics determined that Bill would need to be air lifted to Scripps La Jolla which was the nearest hospital that could handle his level of trauma.
Then it was clear to me why I needed someone to drive me to the hospital. This was very serious, he hadn’t just broken a leg or an arm. He had in fact broken his neck.
Bill underwent a 6 hour surgery to decompress his spine and remove the fractured pieces of his C7 vertebrae. The neurologist that did the surgery called it a “burst” fracture and when you look on the CT scan it looks like his vertebrae exploded, which is basically what happened. The spinal cord was crushed but not severed or even punctured. On the ASIA impairment scale Bill was a B after surgery. (Last month, June 2012, he was upgraded to a C). Bill spent 31 horrific days in the ICU. He was deceived by lies of Satan under the influence major narcotics but he also had some amazingly sweet fellowship with God. It was the scariest time of my entire life and never did I have to trust in God more. I knew that God’s ways were different from mine, and even though I asked plenty of “why’s”, I still trusted that He was in control and believed with all my heart that He would make beauty from ashes.

Bill spent 42 days in a rehabilitation hospital before he was able to come home. He developed a pressure ulcer on his coccyx while in the ICU that we are still dealing with. Our lives are completely different now. We face new challenges all the time; but by God’s grace, we have made it this far. I long for heaven in a more intense way than I ever have before.
I believe with all my heart the verse that has been our theme from the start of this trial,
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

I am not sure how God will use us or our story but I pray it is all for His glory.
Julie D
Julie and Bill, Thanksgiving 2011 (just 2 days before the accident).
About Julie:
Julie, Bill and their children live in Southern California. They continue to find God’s strength in each new challenge and His faithfulness as He provides for their every need. Follow Bill’s progress, see how God is continuing to make beauty for ashes, and learn how you can pray for Bill, Julie and their family at


Trish said... [Reply to comment]


Debby Marshall Taber said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I cannot even begin to imagine the events that you all have had to deal with, but am amazed at your strength and how the Lord is using this to minister to others. Our God is an amazing God and his word is always true. So when he says "I know the plans I have for you" he means it. He has a perfect plan and purpose for this event and the highs and lows that come with it. I pray you all will feel strengthened, encouraged, lifted in prayer, and loved on. I pray your story would touch so many lives and people would come to know Jesus because of this.
I pray specifically for you as a wife, mother, and cheerleader of your home. May the Lord give you everything you need, exactly the moment you need it. Whether it's a break, a place to cry out, a kind word of encouragement, whatever it is, that he will provide that for you.
Keeping you in prayer.
Deb Taber

Terry and Emalee said... [Reply to comment]

Though I don't know you and we aren't of the same Christian faith my heart aches for you and your husband and your children. I know that God hears your prayers and loves you and your family. And that you can be lifted up, strengthened in carrying your burdens, comforted in your heartache, and led forward through His Son Jesus Christ. It seems that many prayers have been offered and answered on your behalf. I want to offer another one. I pray that you may have that strength and the comfort and healing that you need. And I pray that you may have the knowledge and discernmentthat you need to do all that you can and through it all your family will be greatly blessed.

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