Mama of 3. Founder of and Click Retreat, a photography and social media retreat for bloggers. TEDx: What?

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God Could Have Stopped This

But He didn’t . . . and I’m ok with that. A lot of people have spent a bit of time wondering what could have changed the car accident that my husband was in after hiking the Grand Tetons.

What if they left 5 minutes later? What if they had taken a longer nap in meadow coming down? What if he had stayed up on the mountain longer. What if he hadn’t gotten sick? What if I hadn’t let him go on the trip in the first place . . .

I’ve had a few “what if “ questions run through my mind. But they can’t stay long because I can’t change anything. It’s a pretty defeating mindset to be in.

I do have a few other questions that do come to mind: What if his back injury had been a centimeter closer to his spinal cord? What if he were paralyzed? What if the kayaks that flew through the window would have hit him in the head? What if he had head trauma? What if he died in the O.R. (because he almost did)?

I’ve always said that God is a grand orchestrator. And truthfully, if He wanted to stop this accident from happening, He would have. Because He can. I don’t doubt that for a moment.

I also don’t think that God likes for us to hurt any more than I like to see my children hurt. But I think it’s part of what we came here to do. There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that says “Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.” I fully believe that God intends for me, for Mark, for our little family to be happy. But I also believe to fully know happiness we have to experience the opposite.

I’ve also been taught for most of my life that we came here to exercise our free agency and to make choices. I also believe that we existed before we came here, and that we will also exist after we leave this place. In my mind, I don’t think that free agency could be complete without the opportunity to accept or reject some of these majors trials we would face before we came for this experience. I believe this for myself, I believe it for Mark, I believe it for my sister who passed away 2 years ago next month.

I know we are being blessed beyond measure and I’m grateful for it. The “what if’s” paralyze me to consider how much worse things could be. And most of all I’m extremely grateful to be surrounded by so many amazing people who love Mark, me, and our family.

We’ve got a big 6 months ahead of us, but I’m glad we have it. And I’m grateful to all of you who are helping us through it.

Signing off with a (pretty blurry) picture of my very handsome husband smiling yesterday – a big milestone I’ve been waiting for. 🙂

Editor’s Update: A charitable account has been set up at America First Credit Union (in Utah) to financially aid Mark’s recovery. To make a donation: visit any AFCU branch and request to make a donation to the Mark Herrscher Charitable account OR mail a check with Mark Herrscher in the “To” field and Charitable in the “Memo” field to PO BOX 9199 Ogden, UT 84409.

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Comments (17)

  1. Ashley Lawson 09/13/2010 at 8:38 am

    I have never met you before but I love you and your beautiful family! Thank you so much for sharing this journey with all of us, I will keep your family in my prayers and I wish you all the very best!

  2. Emily 08/24/2010 at 4:52 pm

    Beautiful post, Rachael. Thanks for the reminder. I need them!

  3. Tauni 08/24/2010 at 4:48 pm

    This is a beautiful post. Thank you! And, I am glad you were able to capture that smile!

  4. Carriefinlinson 08/24/2010 at 1:20 pm

    You're so right to focus on what you do have. I'm so glad he is going to be okay. I really appreciate you sharing your testimony here. Thanks and best to you and your family.

  5. jennyonthespot 08/24/2010 at 11:05 am

    This was actually Jenny… but was logged into a different Twitter account. Silly me.

  6. Mindbloom 08/24/2010 at 11:04 am

    Oh lady. I adore you more with each passing day. I agree. God COULD, and to focus on why he didn't (because he didn't) is a dead end. He DOES love us as we love our own children and there is something good… something we cannot see that is growing… and perhaps we can see some of that already. Blessings, hugs and continued love and prayers…

  7. kristaparry 08/24/2010 at 1:44 am

    Your faith and positive update are a great inspiration to me. You guys are in my prayers daily.

  8. greeblemonkey 08/23/2010 at 11:04 pm

    I am not religious, so I have no idea what anyone has planned… but I do know that YOU are amazing and I believe in YOUR faith. Sending lots of love to you all.

  9. Jerica 08/23/2010 at 11:24 am

    Rachael, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. If you need anything or just need someone to talk to, I am here.

  10. thinkmaya 08/23/2010 at 10:02 am

    OMG Rachel, I caught some updates on fb and thought your husband was having back surgery … just realizing what actually happened.
    Thank you for your constant updates.
    You are gorgeous inside out and I wish you mountains of strength.
    Praying for you.

  11. Danielle Smith 08/23/2010 at 7:27 am

    Your faith and beautiful spirit continue to amaze me. Sending you millions of hugs and lots more prayer to get you through the next 6 months….

  12. Emily 08/22/2010 at 9:57 pm

    3 years ago my brother in law was in a snow mobile accident & is now paralyzed from the waist down. With 5 kids my sister went through a lot of what ifs. I don't think God causes bad things to happen, or that He goes around & only saves certain people. Each of our journeys here are unique, the real question is whatever trail we encounter- can we endure it & move on with JOY. It seems you have done that before & your doing it again. I need to remember the joy part more often, thanks for your example! Wish you & Mark the best…

  13. Jackiejames 08/22/2010 at 7:34 pm

    It's by the grace of God that any of us are here and recognizing that is monumental, especially at a time like this. I applaude your strength in this difficult time. And I absolutely agree with you: how do we appreciate all the wonderful things in life without having to weather the bad? I wish your husband a very speedy recovery.

  14. Nancyjones 08/22/2010 at 5:51 pm

    hugs hugs to you and big prayers. The 28th is the anniversary of the death of my father. He was killed in line of duty (he was a police officer) I was the last one to talk to him and I kinda rushed off the phone I was at lunch. I beat myself up all the time with what if's He took that call and went out on it. I always kept beating myself what If I had stayed on the phone with him 10 more minutes ya know my daddy may not have gotten killed the whole chain of events could have been different. You can really make yourself crazy doing that trust me. I HAVE. It doesn't change the fact it happens . So for your husband and your childrens sake. take care of you and him and them and dont let the what ifs get ya! Thank the lord you still have him. dont focus on that. Be grateful, everything happens for a reason. I have learned this also. we don't know why but in his time he will show us. so please just focus on grateful. please. dont what if! (((Hugs))) from someone that has just about lost her mind with whatifs!

  15. Anna 08/22/2010 at 3:35 pm

    You are amazing. I am continually impressed by the strength you and Mark show. Love you to pieces. Brandon thinks you would have been a good Pearl Harbor nurse because you take the chaos and manage it all.

  16. Laura 08/22/2010 at 3:13 pm


    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. You are truly an inspiration. Being a preacher's kid, I can say that after many sermons about God's grace – I finally understand. God's grace is sufficient and he will give you the strength and wisdom to get through this. You and your family will be in my prayers.

    Laura Pulido

  17. petit_elefant 08/22/2010 at 3:13 pm

    yay and hooray, and much love sent your way.