(The story of Carol Kopp written by Mary Alysse Dodds)
Sitting on our deck we agreed to lead life group with another couple. It was the first time saying yes to leadership since South Africa. An hour later I fell down the stairs and broke my neck.
“Can you feel anything? Where do you feel it?” my husband asked. I didn’t know I’d broken my neck. He helped me from the fetal position on the floor to bed.
The next morning I had to hold my head up with both hands. “Honey, I think we need to get some help.”
“Let me go to the loo quick,” Tim said. He heard an almighty crash, as he puts it, and found me fainted on the floor. Feeling MacGyverish, he wrapped a styrofoam back support around my neck and drove me to the hospital.
My neck is broken, I kept thinking, but I can feel my legs, I’m not paralyzed, I’m not dead. I was in wonder, really euphoric, just seeing God in the moment.
“You really fell on an angel’s wing,” someone said, and I did. These last five years have been the most difficult and the most precious. God has refocused us and brought so much freedom through our health problems.
We were needed in South Africa, but traveling non-stop to resolve intense issues in ministry leadership drained us. Back in the states we stayed on the sidelines recovering, not even going to church every Sunday and definitely not taking leadership positions.
We finally said we’d lead a small group, and then I broke my neck.
“Don’t worry. Just trust me,” God said. Just like he told Jairus when his daughter died. “The voices of life or of censure, of blame or of fear, don’t listen to them. Just trust me.”
Every time we tried to do our duty as missionaries, God absolutely slammed the door. I broke my neck, Tim had back surgery, I had foot surgery, Tim suffered transient global amnesia. It’s like we were taking turns.
God circled, and highlighted, and underscored, “Wait, wait. Be still and wait.”
Some mornings I’ve cried, holding on with my fingernails saying God show me a picture of you so I can make it through the day. Life hurt, an hour on the computer did me in, I’d have leaky-eyed, pity parties thinking this was my new normal, I broke my foot and couldn’t stand because my other knee was bad. Then evening came and we’d think, “We’ve made it. I don’t know how, but we’ve made it.”
Being the needy one made me build relationships and humbled me to be filled back up again. People brought meals. Sometimes they’d stay and talk or play games. Our deck became our ministry because God wouldn’t let us go anywhere, and that’s given us time to enjoy what we love doing most–mentoring others.
I don’t want to ask for an easy life. I just want the hope of knowing God is here in my life, making my perspective different as life is happening. Life is going to be difficult, but one thing I’m in control of is my attitude.
Am I going to hiss and spit? Well, sometimes. But he says don’t worry, just trust me. And I’ve watched him take us from the desert to blooming where we’re planted.
Carol Kopp is a missionary, wife, mother, and mentor. After ____ years in the African bush, teaching at ministry schools, and serving in missionary leadership for SIM in Great Britain and the U.S., she now mentors from her deck and kitchen. Carol has a sweet, strong, and honest spirit, and she loves seeing others thrive.