The first time my faith was tested scarred me for life, literally. What started off as the best day ever ended with my face scalded. I was 23 years old and naïve to hardships when I was suddenly thrust into this moment of chaos and uncertainty.
It was a warm summer afternoon in 2004. I was dressed in my favorite blue and white halter top (that bared my flat belly) and white linen pants. My hair was in a light, bouncy bob that evaded the evil clutches of Mississippi’s humidity. Feeling gorgeous, I hopped in my car, turned up the radio, and started my day. I was headed to an important work event. It would be my first public appearance since my promotion to midday personality. I was very excited! There was going to be music, food, and cute guys. There was no reason to anticipate disaster.
As I was driving, I noticed a little smoke coming from the hood of my black Toyota Camry. This wasn’t a surprise. The car was an older model hand-me-down. It had a notorious oil leak, but the smoke was new. What else could be wrong? Why now? I called a family member for advice. After describing my car’s symptoms, he surmised that the radiator needed water. His explanation for quick repair sounded simple enough, so I decided to replenish the water as I’d done with my oil many times before.
I took a quick detour to my grandmother’s old house to manage it. When I arrived, a family friend who was renting the home was there. He was in a wheelchair, so he waved at me from behind the screen door. I returned the sentiment and made my way to the water hose. It took less than two minutes for me to drag the hose to my car and pop the hood. All I had to do was fill up the radiator to resume my day. Unfortunately, I was too distracted to notice how hot my car was. Before I could ‘lefty-loosey’ the radiator cap one good time, I was blasted by a fiery surge of water.
My face began to burn raw in the summer sun. I panicked. I screamed. Questions flooded my mind. What is happening to me? What am I going to do? How do I get help? How do I stop this burning?
My greatest fears answered back. You have been burned and you are dying. There is no one here that can help you. There is nothing you can do. Your life is over.
Thankfully, the piping hot water missed my eyes. I spotted the hose I’d dropped, grabbed it, and doused my face. The water was warm but not soothing at all. The neighbor yelled for me to come inside the house and rinse my face. I shot through the door and straight into the restroom for relief. As I cooled my face, my skin felt weird. I looked in the mirror to find my skin melting off my face. I cried out in horror. My skin is falling off! My skin is falling off! He tried to reassure me from the other room. I stepped out of the restroom to prove it, and I saw his face drop. He saw what I saw: wide, pink strips across my cheeks, nose, and chin where my dark brown skin used to be.
As I returned to the restroom, my mind sunk into hopelessness. My life is over! My face is ruined! Why, God? Why did You let this happen? Then it was as if my mind changed the dial. I asked myself: Why are you crying and screaming? What is this helping? How can you help yourself? Before I knew it, I’d dropped to my knees. With tears in my eyes, I prayed. I don’t remember exactly what I asked of God, but I assume “peace” was mentioned because it filled me. After a while, I got off my knees with emotions intact, took one more look at the damage, and left the restroom.
There was no way of knowing my fate in that moment or throughout the healing process. Would I be scarred for life? How long would the pain last? How would I be able to look at myself again? The level of faith and peace that situation unlocked within me carried me through. I am still amazed at how I made it through that difficult time. It also armed me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to overcome challenges that would eventually shake me—but fail to break me.
When was the first time your faith was tested? How did you get through it? How has it helped you push through other challenges?Leave a Comment
Gilda Opher says
I had just got married and moved away from family. New life with my husband excited and scared at the same time. When we arrived to the house it was cute but, I didn’t know anyone except him and my daughter.
As days past there were no people who looked like me. The children outside playing and running around with no shoes on babies outside with just a diaper, the men with no shirts on pale skinned. Let me say I came from Philly we did not come outside like this.
Asking my husband do you have some black friends? He liked to surf and go to the beach mind you I could not swim and had never gone to the beach. He had been in the Navy and never moved back to Philly. His life was so different. I cried a many day what did I get myself into.
Fast forward my first experience with hurricanes. Fearful for my life and people in the stores trying to get supplies and some speaking of hurricane parties. As things became more intense all I wanted was to go back to Philly frightened for my life. No flights were going out needless to say I didn’t even have the funds if I could have left. I remember getting my daughter and a blanket and hid in the closet and prayed to keep us safe with the scripture in Proverbs 3:5&6 “Trust in the Lord with all your and lean not to your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” God did keep us but, when I went out in the backyard there had been a tree uprooted out of the ground. I remember saying and people are partying and not afraid.
Alfreda Goods says
When I was being viciously attacked by my manager and coworker both of which were set to ruin my career and reputation. At first I was afraid and then I turned to God in prayer.
To God be the glory for His peace and presence! I went through a difficult marriage where my life was threatened yet God covered me & kept me through it all.
Catt WP says
When my son was shot two times and I prayed my way through it for 25 long days. I had not ever trusted God with so much but every day he gave me peace and patience in my waiting.