True Love Came To Visit

I sought after God at a young age. It wasn’t until after I had my accident that I REALLY experienced His love. I felt it through others. What I mean is, I found it in the three short months I spent in the hospital. As strange as it may seem, for the first time—my life had meaning. I had all these injuries and had become paralyzed, but I was still searching.

I lived in a good neighborhood and went to a good school. But I would ask God questions about life, and about what it all means. I knew there was more beyond what I could see. Then I got my answers. True love came to visit me in that hospital room.

Through compassion from doctors, nurses, and loved ones – I experienced a PEACE like none I had known. Life is so precious! When you are well, you may not necessarily feel like you “need the Lord.” But when you are sick, and hanging onto life by a string – you know it. And the way he comes in to rescue you is remarkable!

You can be in a desperate place, a minute to minute, moment to moment kind of place. I urge you to seek after him before the accident and before the diagnosis. It’s like not being prepared for a flood – if there were an “extreme” weather event, you probably would’ve wished you would’ve bought insurance. And luckily, most do. Buy insurance!

Invest in the One who can bring you security. Believe, read, pray, and seek! You will be better prepared in case there is an “emergency.” “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25).”

God is love because He sent his only son, and he died and rose again for us! We have proof of it. His promise to redeem us from agony is proven to be true in the resurrection. There are reasons we go through what we do. We may not understand why. But if you pray and have faith through the pain, true love will reveal itself. Good things will happen to you again.

He will be the one listening while you’re in bed when you need to talk to a friend. He will be with you when you have anxiety. He will be with you when you have to go to the hospital to visit a loved one. He will be there. Every. Step. Every. Time. God truly is a fortress in our lives

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival. She works as an English as a second language Instructor, and has been an educator for almost twenty years. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, and medical journals as well as nearly 200 of her very own blog posts. To learn more about Zina visit: zinahermez.com.

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A Moment of Thanks – An Excerpt from My Book

“All you need to know is that someone cares. A small detail, but it’s enough to turn your life around. Love changes things.” ~Zina

While in the hospital at sixteen I kept a journal, and each night at midnight—under my covers, with a flashlight in one hand and a pencil and pad in the other with music playing in the background—I would write. Here is one journal entry:

Dear God,

I believe You are with me—listening and answering my prayers. I feel lucky to have You. I’ve opened my heart, and I’m trying to more. I don’t know how I got so lucky because before the accident, I didn’t know how You worked. But now I have found myself, I know who I am, what I want, and where I’m going.

I was thankful God saved me, and because of the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, hospital staff, and even families of the other children– I felt worthy. I think love has the power to do that, take a broken teenager, and make them feel whole.

In moments of despair I can revisit this place, it will make anything I’m upset about small. Can you be thankful for a time in your life when things could’ve been worse? Focus on how God’s saving grace helped you. It is an act of THANKSGIVING!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest blogs, newsletters, medical journals, and other publications. To learn more about Zina visit: http://zinahermez.com.

God is Love

“Love is a force that is able to heal the worst of situations.” ~Zina Hermez

What does the quote above mean to you? When you read this, what comes to mind? Let me repeat it. “Love is a force…that is able to heal the worst of situations.” Love is what helped me heal in the worst time of my life – after my accident in October of 1994 so this passage carries a lot of weight. Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments.

The love that came from the doctors and nurses at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was incomparable. The love from friends and family, and the love from even the parents of the other children who were ill on that floor. There was this energy I can’t explain, but it translated into a lot of love. When I am feeling down or upset, I try to revisit that place.

I’m reminded that whatever I’m upset about is small because I am loved. When we know that, when we experience love it makes a difference. It provides confidence. We don’t feel so lonely. It’s a part of the mystery—the love of Christ that surpasses our understanding. When God’s love resides in us there’s an inner peace.

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

“Love Conquers All”

“Love is a force that is able to heal the worst of situations.” ~Zina Hermez

It’s one of my favorite quotes from my forthcoming book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. Love helped me heal from my accident on Oct. 18, 1994. The love from friends and family, and the love at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was incomparable. It emanated from the doctors, the nurses, even the families of children who were ill. There was this energy I can’t explain, but it translated into a lot of love.

The reason I wrote Not Without God, is to share my story and how I healed from a catastrophic accident that left me paralyzed as a teen. I hope that through reading my book, others will be inspired and overcome their own challenges of any kind. I pray that through my story, others will be able to get insight into how to heal.

Today I’m grateful for the abilities I have and the ability to walk at all, and I have not given up. I went from being a popular teen to alone and handicapped. I was on a breathing machine. I could not talk. I could not move. I could not eat solid food in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for nearly a month. The only way to communicate was to write.

People tell me “you’re so strong” all the time. Perhaps I am; but for me to be here is a part of God’s plan. He controls everything. We have to understand that everything happens by Him and for Him. I think sometimes people have this misconception that they are rewarded because of their effort or hard work and things they do. Good things happen to them, and they get surprised when bad things occur. But God allows suffering sometimes. No matter how much I’ve been through, it’s nothing compared to what Jesus went through.

Today is Palm Sunday: the first day of Holy Week. Easter is on Sunday, April 20. No matter what our burdens, let us carry them and follow after Him.

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. —Isaiah 53:5

University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s hospital

The University of Michigan, C.S. Mott Children’s hospital is consistently ranked one of the top ten hospitals in the U.S., according to the U.S. News and World Report for 2012.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that injuries are the leading cause of death for children and adults ages one to forty-four. Motor accidents, falls, and assaults are the leading causes of trauma.

U of M is a level one trauma hospital. Higher levels of trauma centers such as U of M have trauma surgeons on call, trained in Neurosurgery and Orthopedics. U of M is prepared to deal with traumatic situations. They were prepared to deal with me!

I was flown to U of M via helicopter, and hospitalized there for nearly three months after my accident in Oct. 1994. Daily I had help, around the clock from amazing doctors, nurses, and staff who provided the best care! When my discharge date drew nearer, I was deeply saddened. I never wanted to leave. Who is ever sad to leave a hospital?

U of M became my home. I was safe there. Being in a wheelchair was okay. Being damaged was accepted. It took two to three nurses to turn me in bed from one side to the other, and a lift to put me in a wheelchair. I was paralyzed.

I developed a system. I learned how to deal with a catastrophic situation–Spinal Cord Injury. I was getting comfortable, but it was time to go home. I prayed to God during the day, and wrote letters to him at night. I took calls, socialized, visited with family and friends, and was being homeschooled. I attended all of my physical therapies.

How would my life be in a wheelchair? What was to become of me? How would I go back to school? What would my friends think? Would I have any? I was scared. Life sometimes happens whether or not we are prepared. Life happened to me.

I’ll always go back..

I saw my surgeons that operated on me in the first hours after my accident last week. I have x-rays of my spine every four to five years. I still see my Pediatric Orthopedic surgeon. It was a team who saved me!

I walked into the new Mott, which is beautiful by the way with vibrant colors. It’s good because it keeps the kids distracted. I was surrounded by children with differences, some like mine, some different. They were all accompanied by their parents. We all shared one common goal–to achieve hope and healing there. I was the only adult waiting to be seen.

My pediatric doctor has followed up with me from day one. After all these years it is nice she has stayed with me. I was in Pediatrics when my accident happened. I’m now 34. The x-rays of my spine looked good; she said there is no deterioration of my spine due to aging. A Nurse practitioner came in who remembered me, and a Physician’s assistant came in to meet me.

I went to see the other Orthopedic surgeon who operated on me. He works with adults but my Pediatric surgeon called him in at the time because she needed “help.” I was hurt so badly. He came in to shake my hand. I hugged him, and thanked him for saving my life.

It’s interesting, usually a doctor sits and examines you and starts asking questions. This doctor just sat–I didn’t shut up. Telling him how awesome I’m doing. How I do everything by myself, take out garbage, grocery shop, live alone, pay my own bills. He was amazed. I showed him and the nurse practitioner my walking. He said my walking with the crutches looked like a “normal gate.” That made me happy.

U of M is a leader in research to improve life for individuals with SCI. I’ll be happy to participate in upcoming studies, to improve the quality of life for people with SCI.

C.S. Mott Children’s at the University of Michigan, YOU are forever written on my heart…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pLlOl2wCh8