When You’re a Wreck

May 4, 2011 § 16 Comments

I had left the land of palm trees and gulf coasts to travel to the clay and wind-swept land of Alabama in order to help my fellow-men in need. Little did I know that help would be finding me much sooner  as I found need a mere two hours from my doorstep.

Metal and glass colliding with pavement and earth.

Once you lose control there is no gaining it back.  Spiraling and swerving came as a result of unfocused gaze and tumble after tumble reminding me that it is true, in a matter of seconds I’ve  messed up and found myself and those I love impacted by the force of my misjudgment and careless attention to the drive.

When the car stopped rolling after its estimated 4th or 5th revolution, broken glass and crushed metal resulted in an upside down posture of an upturned vehicle.

My seatbelt was unlatched so quickly I hardly remember completing the action and my hands finding glass littered roof that was now floor in a matter of seconds.  I had felt the blow of the car to my head, and faintly remember shielding my face and bracing myself with my left arm and wondered, “What will their little heads and bodies look like when this stops?”

Hands on ceiling, feet on roof, and turn to see them both hanging safely in their car seats upside down.  I have never before been so relieved to hear crying and see kicking and fists currled.

I reach back to the steering wheel to turn off the ignition fearful and pondering, “what exactly leads to a fire in an upturned vehicle?”

Next to find the way out.

I try Emily’s door first… not budging.

Then I turn to Joshua’s side and see a man already coming to my rescue.  I successfully open the door and then say, “Oh good, you have a badge, who do you work for?”  I thought he said the board of education, but I am not sure. (As if wearing a badge makes him safer than if  he had none. As if I was going to refuse his help.) Then,  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” I can’t keep myself from saying it and then, “I am so glad no one else was hurt. Thank you for stopping.”

The man, Rick, helped me get Joshua out, then from Emily’s side the door opens and, “I’m Dot, and my husband is a  firefighter and we are here to help.” They quickly hold Emily as I unbuckle her seatbelt and send her falling from her restraint into arms guiding her to the way out.

“I’ve lost one shoe, I need to find my other shoe.” I turn back, and remember my fear of a fire and think again, just get out… this is the way.  I leave my other elusive flip-flop, grab my purse and my camera, and climb out of the car to survey the damage and my kids.  Next, to call and tell Ron what has happened and to ponder that my mom didn’t want me to make this drive and how this could have happened anywhere at anytime, but it is happening now and we are walking this path.

As soon as I had walked through the door, I was astonished to see at least 14 maybe 16 people already stopped and many of them already cleaning debris and papers strewn on the grass.

Good Samaritans all, and each doing the tasks at hand.

Strangers quickly become friendly, helpful faces and I am trusting and depending on people who I do not know and declaring praises to Jesus heralding to them all that He has spared us and we are saved.

Paul was one of those strangers. He was a big man wearing a mechanic’s shirt and thoughtfully bringing my keys and asking if I wanted all my belongings to be gathered and put back in my car for the towing company to take. “Yes,” I say noticing the blue monogrammed name and think about the Apostle Paul and does he know my Lord and Savior.  “God bless you.”

So many details I remember in this knit together pile of dust. So many analogies that I see of our Savior and His grace and the Way.

I have been meditating all week on Colossians 3:1-4.  Specifically verses 2-3:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

In setting my mind on things above, here is how my spiritual eyes view this wreck of a life:

  • We are all driving accidents; upturned vehicles and broken glass…a shell of a car dead in sin.
  • We are all looking for the way out, but the only Way is Jesus, all the other doors won’t budge or bring us eternal life.
  • Once we walk through the door of Christ it is our job to be His ambassadors and bring other wrecked souls the message of the gospel.

My returned key ring was missing my house key.  I thought the significance of this was that I am trying to die to myself so that each day I can be raised with Christ and have my life hidden in God.  I am to set my eyes on things above and remember that my ultimate home is with the King of Glory in heaven.

That night, back in the place of ocean waves and swaying palms, I am putting Joshua to bed with the sweet sound of ocean lullabies and I count my blessings and know that:

God is good all the time and His sovereign will was to spare our lives today.  He is good all the time and no matter what could have happened God’s status would not have wavered as if tossed about by the sea of perceived good and bad.

I am forever grateful for His gift of life to the wreck that I am.

Hidden in Him,


Raise the Risk Challenge:

  • Risk being inconvenienced and be a Good Samaritan.
  • Walk through the door of salvation through repentence and faith in Jesus Christ. He is the only way.

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§ 16 Responses to When You’re a Wreck

  • […] and He forgives those who ask. I pray for healing in hurting hearts that may read this post. After being a wreck earlier this year, I know even more fully that it is God who numbers our […]

  • jacco93 says:

    Hey Mrs. C

    SO glad to hear that you and the family are safe! We’ve had you in our prayers and hope that you feel better soon!

    Matt W.

  • Denise Oliveri says:


    I just found out about the accident….Praise God you and the children are OK….GOD is GREAT!!! Please know our families thoughts and prayers are with you, Ron and the children.

    The Oliveri Family

  • Tom Olney says:

    Brooke, I have been in constant prayer for you and Ron through this trial. You can’t control what life throws at you, but you can learn and grow from it. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I’ll continue to pray for you, Ron, Em, and Josh. I am so relieved that you all are okay. God bless the Cooney family.

    • raisetherisk says:

      Thanks Tom! We are still working though this thing. I can’t say it enough though, God was and is in control and I am so blssed to be here and have my kids and man to celebrate Mother’s Day! I have felt the prayers of God’s people. Thank you so much!

  • Kim Leonard says:


    I have avoided these pictures for reasons that are hard to put into words. Now with tears in my eyes and lump in my throat (this has happened so many times this week I have stopped counting) i have read your story. i love your family more than i have ever loved a “boss'” family. I feel such a connection to you and Ron and the kids.. I feel as if my own flesh and blood just experienced this horrific situation. In reading your words, I am moved beyond explanation. I am so grateful to God for your (Ron, you and Emily & Josh) ministry and love for so many! I am blessed to know you ALL!

    • raisetherisk says:

      Thank you so much for reading our story and thank you for your sweet and authentic words. You are such a blessing to us and I can’t thank you enough for all of the kind things you have done for our family: rides to the airport, watching the kids, bringing us Boston Market… Our kids love you and we do too!

  • Karen says:

    My take-away is this: tornadoes or car wrecks, God is on His throne. So glad you and your family are safe and praying that there will be NO lingering after effects for any of you! blessings, k

  • Emily Waugh says:

    I am in awe of the protection of Jesus! His angels were all over you all! So thankful for that! I will be praying for you and your babies as your recover from the scare!!

  • Tara says:

    Wow. Brooke I am so so grateful for God’s protection of you and your little ones.

  • Brooke you are such an amazing writer and an inspiration, so glad my favorite family is alright! Love you guys!

    • raisetherisk says:

      Thank you Lauren! We love you too. Emily will still be wanting a dum dum after church on Sunday. 🙂 Please pray for her as she is understandably nervous about riding in the car right now.

  • Julie says:

    Oh, Brooke. I read your story of your accident on Monday with my mouth wide open and tears in my eyes. I am so glad that you and your beautiful children are safe. It’s wonderful to hear about good Samaritans and that you gained so much from this experience. This could easily happen to any of us. Take care of yourself.
    ~Julie Miller

    • raisetherisk says:

      Thank you Julie. We went to the chiropractor today and had some x-rays done. It looks like I have more out of place with my back than I originally thought, but we will go back tomorrow to find out the results and the plan of care. I am hoping the children checked out ok. I will keep you posted. Thank you for your prayers!

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