This is the 23rd post for our Write 31 Days series 31 Days of Miracles: Who is Our God. Today, Ylva Reynolds (see below for her bio) shares her story.
For most of my life the words found in the book of Joshua Chapter 1, have been my anchor, they have spurred me on to be strong and courageous in the face of devastating challenges and have guided me through the darkest days of my life. The words strong and courage are an invitation to have an inner resolve, a mindset, a determination to be able to face difficulty, danger or pain without fear and to consciously draw upon that quality of God’s character.
I know without a shadow of doubt that it was only God’s grace that allowed me to face danger and difficulty on Friday 25th November 2005 without fear. This was the day that felt as though I heard the audible voice of God telling me to be strong and courageous, because He was with me. This was the day that changed both the course and destiny of my life.
On that day I was led of the Lord to pray specifically for Grace Fellowship Family Church, which we started in Johannesburg, South Africa in May 1998.
The scripture that says God’s ways are higher than our ways, in Isaiah 55:9 became very real to me only a couple of hours later when our car faced a truck head-on and crashed, killing my husband and seriously injuring me.
I remember waking up in High Care, having been in ICU on a ventilator for a couple of days, and I couldn’t move. The physical pain was unbearable. Soon the emotional pain and mental anguish was just as agonizing as the memories of that morning flooded my mind. My husband was dead. I was alive – or was I really?
In a moment of time I had lost the love of my life, I was a single mother, a widow, and now the sole-breadwinner for our family.
Reports of the extent of my injuries kept me praying and trusting God for the strength to face each day. The trauma inflicted on my L4 vertebra required a spinal fusion with the support of a titanium cage and with an external brace that supported my back. At the time of impact the corner of my right Ilium had broken off, causing great pain and discomfort. My inability to focus during my waking hours was the result of a blow-out fracture to my right orbital. This meant that I needed to have a plate and pins inserted to hold my right eye in place. Concern of possible paralysis of my bladder, bowels and sphincter due to possible spinal cord injury presented great danger.
Days and nights merged into one long tunnel of pain and darkness. I managed the pain with sleeping tablets at night and medication during the day. My body was broken but I did not want to be held captive by a disabled body for the rest of my life and so began the long and painful journey back to wholeness and health. I had made up my mind to be strong and courageous.
Facing the future without Ross was not just a challenge for our children, aged 11 and 14 at the time, but for the entire church. I prayed for God’s guidance regarding church leadership and became increasingly aware of how real and personal God’s grace is. I could feel His Presence and His pleasure as He instructed me every step of the way. The closer I followed His instructions, the more we grew spiritually and in number. I loved preaching and leading the ‘flock’ by the grace of God; but my heart was broken.
During a sabbatical the words in Isaiah 61:1 “For He was sent to heal the broken-hearted,” ministered into the depths of my soul, and restoration began.
A new chapter started, when Graeme and his boys entered my life and after a brief courtship, we married in September 2009.
Looking back I can truly say I have experienced God’s miraculous power in many ways; the first being that I was alive and walking (both great concerns at one time). Another miracle was His supernatural peace; God spoke His Word into my heart so clearly, about “not worrying about tomorrow” and so I learnt how to trust Him one day at a time. Financial concerns were obvious as you certainly “live by faith” when you are in full-time ministry, yet God showed Himself strong on my behalf and all our needs (and more) were met.
While in hospital, I had a supernatural encounter, whereby my spirit was taken out of my natural body; and while in this supernatural realm I experienced a Joy that is literally indescribable. I “flew” over great expanses of “blue” and met people, and I was shown various things, someone of which I believe are yet to come. One of those things will be a great move of God’s healing power.
I have suffered a lot but I feel I have gained more; a breadth, and length, and depth, and height of God’s love like none other.
Today I continue to preach and teach God’s Word, and share my testimony wherever God opens the door; to share His love and give Hope to those who are going through suffering.
Ylva Reynolds was involved in a serious car accident in 2005 that killed her husband and injured her severely. After her rehabilitation she took over as the Pastor of Grace Fellowship Family Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, a position her late husband once held, and continued ‘shepherding’ the body of Christ.
While still grieving her husband’s death, Ylva had to deal with the reality that she was now a widow, a single parent to two children, Mikhaila and Jordan, a woman Pastor and the sole-breadwinner for her family. Even though it would have been easy to get overwhelmed and give up, she persevered knowing that God’s grace would uphold and strengthen her.
Ylva is now married to Graeme and has two step-sons. She is in full time ministry; involved at Love Covenant Church and as a Christian radio presenter at Midcities 107.4fm and is a certified Life-Coach.