A story of God’s amazing grace!
My name is Bradley DeGroat.
Growing up, I was blessed…
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was.
I grew up in a Christian household.
My mother and father are pastors, walking in God’s irrevocable gifts and calling.
I was a PK (pastor’s kid), which meant I was at church a lot, sometimes unwillingly; but, I look back at it now and I am so grateful.
As I got older and gained independence, I decided the “church” thing wasn’t for me. I still went to services, but only for the worship; to play bass.
As soon as the music stopped, I would leave- claiming I had to go to work.
I later found out that my parents pleaded, with the church to allow me to stay on the worship team, because they knew that was the only thing keeping me in church.
*Quick note to any kids or youth reading this; a lot of the time (if not all the time) parents REALLY do know what’s going on.*
My elementary and high school years are riddled with stories of God’s acts of Love, despite my rebellious heart. There were a few times in high school when it got so bad I entertained the thought of suicide, thinking no one would miss me. Although my parents loved me, I couldn’t see it. My eyes were blinded.
The day “it” happened…
I went to college for a year, decided to take a break, and then “it” happened.
The worst/best day of my life.
While living in Upstate New York, I was asked to work on a home improvement project with a friend. At some point, we realized we forgot to grab a certain tool.
My friend and I went to get the tool, kissed his baby boy on the cheek, and headed back to finish the project.
I rode in the passenger seat as my friend drove.
On our way back, we came to a stop sign; two lanes were going one way, and two lanes were going the other. We turned left.
As we turned left we were hit on the driver’s side by an SUV that was going over 85+ mph.
In a moment, we were pushed into oncoming traffic and hit again.
The people who hit us the second time were OK; their car was totaled, but they were able to walk away with minor cuts and bruises.
The SUV that initially hit us used us like a ramp, shot up in the air, and landed in somebody’s back yard.
The accident took place right next to a fire station.
Once released from the hospital I was able to go see the firemen who were there the day of the accident and say thank you! They told me they heard what sounded like a loud explosion, and because of their training, they responded so quickly that things were still spinning when they arrived.
Immediately after the accident, my friend remained in the driver’s seat, but I was no longer in the passenger seat.
I was hurled into the back seat; completely unresponsive…
Not moving, not breathing, not making noise… nothing.
They had to cut off the roof of the car to get me out.
Emergency responders rushed us to the hospital, and upon arrival, we were both declared brain dead.
We literally had to be resuscitated.
Because of the severity of the accident, doctors were urging both of our parents to pull the plug, saying, “some things are worse than death.” They actually told my parents, “It would have been better if your son would have died in the car accident.”
They said, “His brain is fully destroyed; in nontechnical terms, it’s mush.”
I ended up in a coma.
Adam died the day after the accident.
For me, the two and a half month coma was a breeze. For my parents, it was a constant battle.
Especially that first month, with the doctors constantly saying, “Let him die”, or “Find a place to ship him.”
For that first month, I didn’t hear anything or feel anything… No out of body experience.
The second month, I began doing things, ever so slightly.
Although I was still in a coma, I can remember moving my hand slowly.
I gradually got better, and one day I finally woke up.
I was in a coma for two and a half months. I had to relearn how to sit up, stand, breathe, walk, talk, everything.
My dad says, “I never thought I would have to raise my son twice”.
In addition to the physical, there’s also a spiritual aspect.
I went into a coma loving myself, serving the devil, and despising God.
When I woke up, I was a changed man.
Even in that second month of the coma, when I was doing things but I wasn’t really awake, I would signal for scripture to be read and I’d try to communicate that I wanted to pray.
Bill Alsop spoke over my life and said, “There’s a name change happening. Like Abram to Abraham.” No longer did I have a desire for things that once “satisfied” me.
I got a Bible when I was younger, and before the accident, it was never touched. Now I can barely use it because entire books and chapters are falling out.
My heart has been softened, and all callouses have been removed.
Praise God, I am a new creation!