Trauma. It’s not usually a word that evokes thoughts of love. Most people try to avoid it. I know I don’t ever want to have to go through it again.

Traumatic events. Extreme circumstances. Wild, untamed moments are the ones that grab our faces in the palm of life’s hands and get too close for comfort. They are what change us. Shape us. Knock us down and break us wide open. They leave us vulnerable and helpless.

It’s not easy to live through those times, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

A Journey Like No Other

It was the phone call no wife wants to receive. A stranger on the other end telling her there’s been a bad accident and to meet her husband at the hospital.

After 5 days, 2  attempted surgeries by 2 separate surgeons and very little hope that anything can be done to save a nearly severed arm, you don’t expect to find love. The exhaustion. Frustration. Agony. Pain. Defeat. There should be no love there. You should be left with the pieces of your broken heart scattered on the operating room floor. Bitterness should seem inevitable.

Unless there’s love. Love endures all things.

When the second surgeon came to us and told us that even one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the region at Vanderbilt University might not be willing to take our case, we could have given up hope. We could have decided on the grim options with little to no chance of mobility and a dramatic decrease in quality of life.

Love perseveres.

Love is also patient.  So we waited. We prayed and poured out our hearts to a God we try to trust with every aspect of our lives.  Even the broken and not so pretty parts. That’s so much easier written than done.

But it’s worth it.

After a week of frustrated grief we got the call we had been praying for. A cadaver was available to harvest the exact piece of bone my husband needed to replace his missing elbow. It would be flown overnight to Vanderbilt and surgery was scheduled for the next day.

I Never Really Loved My Husband Until Now

We’ve been married for nearly 18 years. High school sweet hearts. Best friends. Two beautiful girls and a mortgage. That’s love. Right?

Arguing over who should take out the trash. Wondering how the bills will get paid. Forgetting each other’s appointments. That’s all part of marriage and the happily ever after. But it’s not love.

Love is the gruesome, gritty acts that no one else is willing to do. It feels like emptiness. Poured out. It’s giving of yourself when you didn’t even think you had more to give. And then doing it again.

Love is making the choice to be the better part of your most horrible circumstances.

Love is sacrificing. Everything.

Love is sleepless nights. Endless sleepless nights that bleed into days.

Love is holding the one remaining functional hand. For as long as he needs you to.

Love is not understanding how you will make it through the hardest parts, but knowing that you will. Together.

When the person you dressed up for and walked down the aisle in front of a couple hundred of your closest friends is suddenly thrust into a nightmare, you jump in after them and you do everything in your power to save them. Saving them saves you.

When Moments Turn Into Days And Days Turn Into Weeks

People keep using the term “new normal” which I guess makes sense. We’re doing things we haven’t normally done before, but will begin to normally do them. Trips back and forth to Vanderbilt. Occupational Therapy. More sleepless nights. Unexpected and sudden emotions. Relearning independence.

Our list of new normal activities goes on all while trying to cling to our old normal lives. All while praying that God will make it as it once was again. And we ask ourselves, “Why?”

We may never know the full purpose of my husband’s accident or the reason for the journey we are on. We may never fully understand the pain. Both physical and emotional.

But I know this: It’s not in vain.

The more I ask why and the more I pray for things to return the ‘normal’ the more I wish they wouldn’t. Going back to the way things were means that this journey has been a waste. Going back to normal means we didn’t grow. We didn’t learn. We didn’t seek His will but just our own.

I never want that to be said of me.

Humbled to be Used for His Glory

For some reason God has chosen my husband to share a story of heartbreak, defeat and loneliness. For some reason God is using me to walk alongside him and share that burden. For whatever reason God chooses to bring Himself glory through the healing from this hardship, I am humbled that we are the vessels.

One day at a time I see strength returning to each of us. It comes in the form of a restful night’s sleep. Finally laughing out loud after 4 weeks of tears and frustration. I see it when my husband smiles and can now slowly begin to make a fist again.

We’ve literally received a gift of old dry bones being made new! May we never forget that someone had to lose their life in order for us to maintain the quality of ours. May the use of one bone bring glory to God through two separate lives! I cannot wait to see what He does with these dry bones!

My husband cut off his elbow when he fell off a ladder and landed on an electrical box.
A cadaver elbow was used to replace the one missing and pinned into place.




Bethany Donham

Bethany E. Donham is married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of two beautiful teenage girls. She is a full time Minister to Preschoolers and Families, but has a passion for guiding others to see the world with a Biblical perspective through her writing.

You may also like...


  1. What a speed bump…
    Faith, hope & Love…& Prayer!
    Amen my movie friends, Amen!
    God is so good!
    He is Risen!!!

    1. Thanks for the prayers and support, Tim. I appreciate you stopping by the blog.
      God is so good!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: