If you haven’t encountered pain in your life, than you
haven’t been alive long. Life’s challenges
come in with a blazing speed often with zero time to prepare or brace ourselves. When we are faced with the devastation that breaks
the routine of busyness encircling our lives, we have a decision to make. Will this make us bitter or will this make us
better? That was the case for Josh and
Katie Redding just 3 weeks ago.
While coming home from a family camping trip, the Reddings
were in a devastating car accident.
While driving home on route 97, a tractor trailer sped by creating a strong
draft that unsettled the RV they were pulling.
This caused the RV to roll, which then pulled their SUV over with
How many times have you sat in a back up, cursing under your
breath for the delays it caused you, completely unaware of the devastation a
stranger was neck deep in? We’ve all
been there/done that. What if we
considered exchanging the curses for prayers to intervene on behalf of those
whose accident has caused our minor delay to our business as usual.
Katie’s mom woke the morning of the accident to a feeling of
dread deep in her soul. However, she knew
no amount of worry changes the course of life.
‘Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its
strength.’ She would not allow worry to
trap her. Instead this dread led her into
prayer. No obligatory 30-second generic
prayer. Her prayers flooded God’s heavenly
throne for 3 hours that morning!
This prayer vigil, held without a definite understanding of
why at the time, is what Josh and Katie attribute their lives to today. Their three young children, Brady, Luke and Tali
all walked away from the accident. Josh
walked away fine as well. So amazing how her obedience to that call to prayer changed her family forever!
Katie was stuck in the car for an hour hanging partially upside
down. She had to be cut out. By most people’s accounts she should have
been wailing. Instead she was
celebrating that although she knew she had sustained serious injuries, she was
fully aware she could move her feet! This
was cause for celebration!
Katie and the kids were taken to Baltimore Washington Medical Center immediately. Katie was then sent on to Shock Trauma. Thorough
examinations revealed her kids were fine.
Josh held out on being checked out until he knew things were fine with his
precious wife and children. He was
stepping into the gap for what he holds most dear in this life—his family.
This would start the journey that would lead to the
realization that Katie’s upper back was broken and parts of her neck. Many would have given in to despair at this
point. Josh and Katie began recounting
God’s blessing to have them at one of the finest medical facilities in the
world. Josh fell to his knees and with
tears said, ‘thank You Jesus that my wife is alive, she can move and my children
are alive and physically fine.’
Josh’s tears through this journey have never been a ‘why me’
but instead have been a very real acknowledgement of God’s provision through
this valley. He is repeatedly brought
back to humbling praise for miracle after miracle through this journey.
Katie’s journey to recovery started at Shock Trauma where
she received amazing care and her first surgery. She transitioned to Kernan Hospital which
specializes in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. The
hope was that the broken C1 part of Katie’s spine would heal to avoid surgery
that would require a halo to be installed.
A halo would immobilize her upper body by bolting into her skull…think
head gear for the whole upper part of your body.
Last week, a much anticipated CT scan revealed God would
have other plans that did not involve healing Katie’s C1. Her scan revealed the C1 did not heal and
instead the base of Katie’s skull is turning in the wrong direction. This alarming news means Katie will require
an invasive surgery asap to correct this turn of the skull.
The medical team at Shock Trauma wanted to prep Katie for
surgery immediately after viewing the CT scan results. However, one of the medications she is on
necessitated they wait a week before performing the surgery.
Josh and Katie’s response to this devastating news—Thank
You Lord for this incredible medical team you have placed in our path. Thank You Lord we will get time with the
children before the surgery as Katie was discharged from Kernan to her home for
several days to await her surgery. She
remains in her immobilizing neck brace as they anticipate the surgery coming
The Reddings wanted to share this story with their dear
friends and family who have surrounded them with prayer, brought meals, visited
with hospital with homemade chicken soup, sat vigil with them, raised their
children, sent worship music, cards and flowers and flooded them with support
in countless other ways. We are throwing the prayer net wider through
my portrait blog to garner more prayer support.
Currently Josh’s mom and dad have moved into the Redding
home to be a constant source of support and presence for Brady, Luke and
Tali. Josh and Katie are overwhelmed
with gratitude for the stability this is providing their children and the
ability this has given Josh to be by Katie’s side daily at the hospital.
Katie’s remarked Josh’s mom, Patty, appears invigorated and
energized by her time with her grandchildren!
Katie expected to see her ragged and instead is amazed at her ability to
step into the role so seamlessly. What
an incredible peace of mind this has given Josh and Katie! Patty’s service to her grandchildren is
certainly a milestone marker in this journey!
Katie’s sister Stacy has also stepped in to care for the children.
Both extended families have stepped in in countless ways to
carry Josh and Katie through this. When many would have their hearts flooded with
fear, the Reddings are awash in gratitude right now.
After visiting with Katie in the hospital I noticed
she had photos from a portrait session I did with her family when I first began
my business. I decided Katie needed to
have some updated portraits in her hospital room as she undergoes these
surgeries and the long road to rehabilitation that lies ahead.
This swirled in my brain while I was making dinner the day I
visited her in Shock Trauma. Operation ‘unplanned
photo shoot’ was born. I knew I wanted
to surprise Katie with some portraits but fall is an especially challenging
time for a portrait business, aka it’s our busiest time of the year. Time was of the essence because I wanted to
get her the photos prior to any additional surgeries. Falls weather can be challenging and I knew
if we needed a reschedule the plan would fall apart.
While preparing dinner I mulled over how to make this work. I
noticed how beautiful it was and thought, what if I could do the session right
I called Patty and found she was home with the kids. I said, ‘what are you guys doing?’ I informed her of my plan, which she was
excited about. So I went out on a limb
and said, ‘I will have exactly 30 minutes to shoot before sunset if I leave
right now. Can you fly by the seat of
your pants and do this?’ To which super-Mom
Mom said, ‘yes, let’s do it!’
Josh and Katie had no idea.
They knew I had taken a few photos while we all prayed at Shock Trauma
for their record of the story God is writing into their lives. They had no idea photos of their babies were
coming. It’s been especially hard for
Katie to be away from her babies for 3 weeks and the plan was for this to ease
that pain a bit.
Just prior to the accident the Redding’s were studying the
Old Testament book of Joshua as a family.
God was teaching them about the stones of Gilgal where the leaders of
the 12 tribes of Israel each took up a stone from the Jordan river after the
Lord stopped the river from flowing. They made a monument to remember what God
had done so they could tell future generations of God’s great deed.
Often times in the Old Testament God calls His people to
raise up tangible reminders to His faithfulness. When He does something big, He says, ‘build a
monument here where I performed this miracle, so when your children ask, you
can tell them of My provision.’ He knows
our children will ask us questions all day long and uses those questions as a
means to point them to His great love. This is how our faith is passed onto the next
Josh and Katie strongly desire to raise up their monument to
God’s faithfulness during this whole ordeal.
They shared with me they are learning intimately that God places us in
situations we would never choose for ourselves in order to produce things in us
that we would never be able to produce or imagine in ourselves. He is
certainly the Master at bringing beauty from our ashes.
Josh and Katie are looking to God for continued care and
provision during this next phase and every phase of this journey. I’ve encouraged them to remember they don’t
have to be strong every step along the way.
His power is perfected in our weakness.
Josh’s care for Katie has been the model of Christ like
servanthood. He is her champion, her
prayer warrior, her advocate with the medical staff, her bather, her hand holder,
her comic relief, her confidant, and her constant encourager. To watch how this has knit them even more
tightly together as husband and wife has been an amazing thing to behold.
I’ve seen a new side of Josh during this ordeal. God is certainly growing His child to know
Him more and taking Him deeper into the Kingdom. Josh and Katie are learning as a couple
what a sacrifice of praise is….they are learning the truths learned and
proclaimed in the light still hold true in the dark.
Josh and Katie’s rally cry since the beginning has been,
“God is in control and God is good!” No
matter what lies ahead they cling to this truth. They are finding a fellowship with our sweet
Lord that is not found in busyness as usual.
Please join in praying for Josh and Katie on this
journey. Specifically, prayer for the
doctors whose hands will operate on Katie Wednesday at Shock Trauma are
coveted. They want to say thank you
again for all the many, many hands that have stepped in with service and love
for their family! Hug your family
PS– almost forgot, but another cool reminder that has to be added to this story—Josh has shared with all three of the children that God has saved them from this crash because He has big plans for their lives. He is speaking blessing and vision into their lives to be on the look out for what God wants to do in their lives! Awesome!