Watch and share a new Mormon Messages video, “My New Life,” to see the inspiring story of a woman who not only survived a serious accident but is now a thriving example of courage, love, and faith in Jesus Christ, through whom all is well.
Today it snowed; a lot, actually. We picked up the children from school and drove to our driveway. The children want to play in the six plus inches of snow outside. That means I have to help them put on their snow gear.
Claire was fairly easy, I readjust her boots. Jane is next; with most of her snow gear on, I just need to zip. Ollie is done, and I fix Jane's glove. Nicholas is next; he lays like a dead fish as I try to pull up his bibs. Claire asks me to zip up her coat again. I'm laughing, this time in frustration. The cold hurts my burned skin and makes me feel achey.
I start dinner. Five minutes pass, everyone is back.
On August 16, 2008, my husband and I were in a airplane crash. I was in a coma for three months. We both survived. I am Stephanie Neilsen, and I am not my body.
I remember when the airplane crashed. I remember rolling under a tree, and looking up at the leaves. And thinking-- just having sort of a feeling that things would be OK, that it would be OK, and I didn't know the extent of my injuries.
I remember the therapist working with me and challenging me to get better. Because they said you need to get better and be at Stephanie's bedside when she wakes up.
Their hospital rooms were definitely a sacred place, because there was miracles happening in there every day.
Notes and cards from everywhere were on the walls, so that when you walked in you felt a real feeling of love and prayers.
It's a remarkable thing to be on the receiving end of so much faith and love and effective prayer.
I remember waking up in the hospital. Coming out of the coma was really hard and painful. I just had the feeling that I knew that it was because of all of those prayers that I was awake and that I was going to get better. And that's one of those things that I've never felt before, until this accident.
Then, when Stephanie was able to come out of her coma, didn't want anything to do with a computer, didn't even want to talk about a blog because she wasn't able to type or anything. But then her story evolved.
I first started my blog in 2005, and I was living in New Jersey. I think it all started with Elder Ballard's talk that he gave about the internet, and how we can use it to good use. And it sort of set the scene for ultimately what I really wanted to do with the blog.
It's been good, it's been sort of therapy for me to write my feelings, and what I'm going through, and the pain. And it's Jesus Christ that has inspired me to do certain things, and to have given me the ideas to do things. And so none of it is me, I don't take any of the credit. I know that I'm just doing what I'm told. I just do it. I pray, and then I get answers, and then I do it.
"Today, I woke up to rain. I got up and did the routine: breakfast, making lunches, trying really hard to do my girl's hair. I was in the laundry room folding clothes, and I went to the closet, touching all the clothes. A wave of emotion took me over for a few minutes. I missed me again. I mourned for that woman again. I felt that familiar sadness.
But then it was followed by a beautiful, spiritual confirmation that this is my new life. It is good, it is oh so good. And then I felt I should bring home me, because it is still me, and those clothes will still fit.
It's hard to pick up the kids from school, and all the other kids staring. And going to the grocery store, and-- as women, we want to be beautiful, and attractive, and I struggle with that, but I also know that it's not everything.
I'm just grateful that I'm here on this earth, and I have the opportunity to be a mother and do the things that I love and enjoy. And I just view my role now as more divine, it's something more. Not just a mother who wakes up and makes her kids food, it's a mother who enriches and teaches about the gospel of Jesus Christ. But it's a privilege, and I see it more as a privilege than anything.
To me, beauty and motherhood are one, they're really the same thing. There is a plan for us, and it's a plan that will ultimately give us the greatest joy and happiness that we will ever experience. And that is only possible through Jesus Christ. And I am grateful for this trial, and it's a blessing, even though it's hard, and it's challenging, and it will be for a while.
It's our spiritual nature though to turn to our God who gave us life, and has given us this mortal experience to turn to Him, either to thank Him for the happy times, or to pray for His help in the hard times.
I think my relationship with Heavenly Father before was really good, and it still is really good. But spiritually now, I have a better sense of who I am, what my divine purpose is, what I'm doing here on earth, why I'm still here. Life has a different meaning to me than it did before.
There are moments in my life when I feel like my spirit is tapping my heart to remind me just why I still mortally exist. Today I had more more of those tapping moments. It was in the deep brown eyes of Nicholas, laughing and tackling Jimmy over, and over, and over again.
It was in Claire's desire to help me with anything-- today it was groceries. It was Mr. Nelson who I watched outside my window early this morning, ride his bike to school with the girls. Their faces beamed like they were the luckiest girls ever, and they are, including me.
When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we've ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would be temple. Regarding our earthly journey, the Lord has promised, "I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left. My spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you to bear you up."
That is an everlasting declaration of God's love and care for us, including and perhaps especially, in times of trouble.