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What’s the most crucial thing you’ve ever learnt?

That is the question of the week at David McMahon’s, Authorblog. Eight little words, and it has crowded my head with so many thoughts and memories, I can’t sort them fast enough and pin — or pen — them all down.

My first thought was: How to keep my mouth shut! But then my next thought was: No, when to speak up! That thought was followed by: Tact! But my conscience prompted, You know you haven’t really got that down yet. And so it continued …. Until God tapped me on the shoulder. Hello, he said, What about me? And all my confusion fled.

Bottom line, the most important thing I have learned in my life — the bedrock of who I am and how I tick — comes from the knowledge that I am a child of God and he loves me. For those interested, I offer my testamony:

My Personal Testimony

I was driving to work one morning minding my own worrisome business when I suddenly found myself stalled by road construction. I could not move. There were cars in front of me, cars behind me and cars to the right of me. To my left was a cement meridian, two empty lanes for west bound traffic, and a north-south side road that formed a T-intersection.

Barreling down that road was an 18-wheeler.

Time stalled. My attention focused solely on that rig. It wasn’t going to stop. For a brief eternity my gaze locked with the truck driver’s. I could tell that we both knew I was going to die.

As he shot into the intersection my breath caught. I closed my eyes and tightened my grip on the steering wheel. I thought of my family; my students who weren’t going to have a teacher that day; my friends; and my God.

When was the last time I’d given God a thought? What part of my life held any eternal value? When I stood before him what could I possibly say to defend the life I’d lived?

Before despair could claim me I heard my soul cry out, “Father, I know I’m not ready, but I’m coming home. Please, please, forgive me.”

Instantly my car filled up with so much love and so much peace and so much joy it overflowed. I was held fast in the serene embrace of God.

Slowly the intensity faded. Was I alive? I hadn’t heard a crash. I felt no pain.

This world filtered back to me one sense at a time. My hands were clutching the steering wheel. The radio was playing. I could feel sunshine on my face. I opened my eyes. There, outside my driver’s window was the grill of the semi, just a hair-span from my door. On the grill of the truck was a dead fly. I could see the veins in its iridescent wings.

I was alive. Alive in a way I had never been before. The joy and the peace of God still reside within me today, and the next time I find myself standing before the throne of God, I will still be unworthy, but I will remember the mercy the Lord has already showered upon this disobedient child whom he loves.

In my life, there is nothing more important than that.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Thank you for sharing that incredible story. God is so very amazing! I would have to agree that He is the most important thing I have ever learned too.

  2. The grace and mercy of God is amazing. So dear woman it seems to me that God is not done with you yet there is still a perpose and plan for your life. One which is to bless us with these wonderful postings.

  3. Really glad you survived it and had that wonderful encounter with God.
    I have also had that feeling of love & peace engulfing me & I can’t conjure it up ……. which I could!

  4. I love this story and the one about you giving your favorite quilt away to a homeless person…I tell it often to remind myself that if we can helps others, we should because maybe we are that person’s angel that day.

    Glad you didn’t join the fly on the semi’s grill.

  5. You had me sweating on the outcome.

    I had an experience rather similar to this and like you, I can still hot the mental replay button and the images are crystal-clear.

  6. WOW!! That is an awesome testimony!
    It immediately brought to mind a similar experience Libby and I had this last year. One I’ll never forget and neither will she, I’m sure. As David M said- the images are crystal clear.

  7. AMEN! Praise Him! AMEN!!! Whoooooo! Well… that was gonna be MY answer too — but without the great testimony! AWESOME! That is just AWESOME! And He IS an awesome God!!! YES He is!!!

    By the way… I bought BOTH of your friend’s books today… 😉

  8. Jules — God is good all the time!

    Kelly Ann — since the time that this happened, I have gone on to lead an inner-city youth program for 6 years, become a certified lay speaker and worship leader in my church, lead worship services and publish a couple of inspirational stories.

    Shrinky — apparently there is still something God wants me to do.

    Maggie May — if we could call it up on our own, we’d have less need of God — or at least we’d think we did!.

    Kat — can I hear an “Amen”?

    Dr. John — so do I.

    Lori — maybe I’ll reprint the other one here someday as well. I’ve pretty much abandoned that other blog.

    Doug — It may well have been a thousand blogs ago … I have so many, how will I ever know?

    Polona — those are God bumps!

    David — [smiling] you thought I died?
    Seriously, I tried very hard to write this so the reader would be in the car with me. Thanks for sharing your reaction.

    Cindy — similar stories are a common denominator for many Christians.

    Melli — why without the great testimony? Your story may not come on the front of a semi-tractor, but there is still someone — probably several someones — somewhere who needs to hear it.

    And you’re going to love Kate!

  9. Wow Quilly that is very powerful. Thanks for sharing this. So glad you survived to write about it.

    And so glad it gave you a relationship with God, or improved it I should say. We can all work on that!

    Oh and the “keeping my mouth shut”? – that’s me too! And tact – still working on that one too. And God. :-/

  10. CrazyCath — we’ll all be working on our relationship with God until the day we die — even those folks who don’t know they have a relationship with God.

  11. Oh I know how you feel. God has been very good to me, and I try to always give Him the credit. A very wonderful post, so glad that David gave you the honor and me the address

  12. Quilly, this is such a beautiful story. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I thank God (the One, the Only) for stopping that rig just in the breath of time. You are Perfect. God created you, so how could you possibly be anything less?

    Sending you love… and peace.

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