"Until death do us part" took on new meaning for Kim Carpenter when he and his wife Krickitt were in a serious car accident.
They met in September 1992 when Kim, an assistant athletic director and head baseball coach in New Mexico, called a California sports wear company to purchase team jackets. Krickitt Pappas took his order. They discovered they had much in common and were both Christians. Soon they were talking for several hours a week. In April they met in person for the first time. Kim would later say, “It was like I had known her all my life.” He proposed two months later, and they married September 18, 1993.
Less than ten weeks after their wedding, their vows were put to the ultimate test. As they drove to visit Krickitt’s parents for Thanksgiving, Krickitt swerved to miss a slow-moving vehicle but was broadsided by a truck. Their car flipped twice before landing upside down. Kim suffered a broken rib and contusions to his heart and lungs, a concussion, and a broken hand. But the car’s roof collapsed around Krickitt and fractured her skull. She hung upside down for 70 minutes before rescuers were able to free her. The doctors doubted she would survive.
Krickitt’s parents arrived the next day. Told of the slim chance of recovery, they joined Kim in prayer. That day the swelling in her brain started to subside, and her dangerously low blood pressure began to rise. Within ten days she was off life support but remained in a coma. As Krickitt awoke 21 days later, Kim soon discovered that she would never be the same.
The trauma to her brain caused retrograde and posttraumatic amnesia—erasing from her memory virtually all of the two years surrounding the accident. Kim was heartbroken the day he heard his wife say she wasn’t married. She had no memory of her husband either in her head or in her heart.
During the initial weeks of Krickitt’s neurological rehabilitation, Kim was by her side pushing her toward recovery and trying to jog her memory with stories and photos. Krickitt, though, resented “that stranger” and told him that she hated him.
With medical bills soaring, Kim returned to work. Many in his position might have left to make a fresh start; after all, 90 percent of the bills belonged to a woman who didn’t know him. Kim did have doubts about their future, but he had made a vow to God and to Krickitt.
Krickitt was confused as to who she had been. The old Krickitt was gone; instead there was a new blend of traits and characteristics. Upon the advice of their therapist, the couple began dating again to reestablish the emotional bonds that develop in the early days of a relationship. New memories and new love emerged.
On May 25, 1996, they married again, exchanging new vows and rings. “Only one thing can surpass forever the painful events we have felt. That is the love I have for you,” Kim promised. Now, though they experience ups and downs like every other couple, they know that the love they share, a love based on their commitment to Christ and to one another, can overcome all adversity.
You might envy the love the Carpenters share, but you can experience an even greater love. It’s the love that your Heavenly Father has for you. In His Word He proclaims, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3). But God did not just say “I love you” with words; He said them through His actions. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God loves us very much, but our sins and disbelief would prevent us from spending eternity with the One who created us. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). How amazing! It is our sins that create a barrier, but it’s God’s love that removes it. Due to her brain injury we could respond like Krickitt initially did—“I don’t know you. Go back to where you came from.” But just as Kim refused to give up and continued to show Krickitt his love, God is committed to showing us His love. He has demonstrated His love by creating a way for you to have eternal life with Him, and all He asks is that you accept His love and sacrifice. You need only pray these words from your heart: “Father, I know that you love me so much that You gave Your one and only Son, Jesus Christ, that I might not die but have eternal life with You. I need You and ask that You forgive my sins. I give You my life. Come into my heart and fill me with Your love.”