Messy Life, Faithful God
by Rebekah Gregory
On April 15, 2013, the world came to know me as “Rebekah Gregory—Boston Marathon bombing victim.”
I’d gone to Boston to cheer on a runner participating in the marathon. What should have been a day of celebration turned into the second largest terrorist attack on United States soil and the first time the American public heard of using pressure cookers to concentrate bomb blasts.
I almost died that day.
My son was sitting at my feet when the bomb went off behind me. My legs saved his life, and eventually I would lose my left leg despite valiant efforts to save it.
While my physical recovery is a credit to the excellent doctors and nurses who provided weeks and months of wonderful medical care, I believe with all my heart that I survived this traumatic experience to help others.
I have had many opportunities to tell my story of what happened that day, and people often share with me their own personal struggles with pain and loss. I’m always struck by how often we can relate to each other even though our circumstances vary.
Do I wish things were different? Every day. There is nothing I wouldn’t give to have one more afternoon with my precious son before terrorism became part of our lives. But that is not possible. Instead, what is possible is to cherish the life God has blessed me with, because I have seen what it is like to almost lose it for good.
That is one of my main reasons for writing this book. It is less about my personal struggles and more about what each one has taught me: life is short. This is not just a cliché. It was not until a bomb shattered my world that I realized I had been doing everything wrong.
These chapters were painful to write. Even my closest friends don’t know some of the details. So, if you expect to read about a perfect Christian life with a pretty little bow on it, you have picked up the wrong memoir. What you will read about is someone who tries to live the Christian life, who tries to walk with God, and who has not always succeeded in getting things right.
Life is messy and complicated. Things happen every day that can cause us to lose sight of our joy. Yet we were never promised a life without hardship. I have learned that firsthand. And I can tell you that every obstacle I have experienced and decision I have made have helped me become a stronger person.
Who knows—if my story would’ve started the day of the bombing, my feelings might not be the same. But it didn’t. And looking back now, at every obstacle I have encountered prior to April 15, 2013, I wonder if I was being prepared to tackle the biggest one of all just a little bit better.
While we cannot predict what will happen to us or if a bomb will go off at a marathon we are attending, I believe we can take comfort that God is in control.
In the media, I’m often referred to as a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing. I am not a victim. I refuse to see myself as a victim.
I am a survivor.
Excerpted from Taking My Life Back by Rebekah Gregory. Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2017. Used by permission. www.BakerPublishingGroup.com
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