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Laurie's Story: Discovering Joy In Adversity

Laurie's Story: Discovering Joy In Adversity

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Laurie's Story: Discovering Joy In Adversity

183 pages
1 hour
Oct 25, 2013


Laurie Thompson should be in a wheelchair—in fact, she should be dead. At 14 a drunk driver smashed into the truck Laurie was riding in, throwing her from the vehicle and into a wheelchair. Laurie dipped into depression, devastated by the idea of a future filled with struggle. Eventually Laurie found triumph through the Lord, and it’s adversity that’s brought her closer to Him.
Oct 25, 2013

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Laurie's Story - Laurie Thompson





Table of Contents

Title Page





Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Laurie’s Story

Discovering Joy in Adversity

© 2011 by Laurie Elmore Thompson

All rights reserved

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN: 9781935507772

Scripture quoted by permission.

Cover Design by David Siglin of A&E Media

Page Layout by Kelley Moore of Points & Picas


Emerald House

427 Wade Hampton Blvd.

Greenville, SC 29609, USA



The Mount

2 Woodstock Link

Belfast, BT6 8DD, Northern Ireland, UK


The colophon is a trademark of Ambassador


I, first and foremost, dedicate this book to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him, I would have no story.

To my family, this book is in honor of all we have overcome together.

To Dad, thank you for remembering horrific details so I could be accurate in my representation here.

To Kevin, you are such a gift from God. Thank you for being my helpmate, lover and best friend.

To Luke, Lydiaruth and Canaan, I praise God for allowing me to be your mother. May this book inspire you to know your Savior more deeply, so that He permeates every aspect of your lives for eternity.

Laurie has chosen to use her unique, challenging life experiences to write an honest perspective that speaks to the faithfulness of God no matter what our circumstances. Individuals, with and without a disability, will be encouraged and challenged to see our response to adversity as a choice…. to draw closer to the One who loves us unconditionally and as a result, be used by God! Laurie has made that choice and it is powerfully reflective in her speaking, singing and life.

—Christine Hillesheim, Director, Joni and Friends Charlotte

Laurie’s Story: Discovering Joy in Adversity powerfully communicates the story of a young woman’s struggle to overcome a tragic accident which left her paralyzed from the waist down. The vulnerability with which she shares her journey will cause the reader’s heart to ache with empathy. Yet, her focus on the grace of God draws one’s eyes heavenward to gaze upon the All Sufficient One.

—Bill Jones, D. Min.

President, Columbia International University

Someone has wisely said, ‘The mark of the mature Christian is not what happens to them, but how they respond to what happens to them! In this wonderful book, Laurie Thompson clearly shows that she has that special touch of maturity. Her response to a tragic accident is an incredible testimony to her love for Jesus and her determination to be above her problems" rather than beneath them. All who read this book will be greatly blessed by this remarkable and gifted Christian.

—Evangelist Junior Hill


Teaching a class at the American Christian Writers Workshop in Anderson, South Carolina, I couldn’t take my eyes off a striking young woman who soon became a dear friend—and one of the most fascinating Christian women I’ve ever met. She was young and beautiful, with the most gorgeous green eyes and strawberry-blond hair I had ever seen. Oh, yes, and one other remarkable characteristic I noticed as she stood to leave the class: she walked by slinging her feet ahead of her, one at the time, supported by one cane, as she walked vigorously out of the room.

Laurie was a leader among the other writers, driving them to the restaurant for lunch, encouraging first one, then another. She chatted cheerfully, yet spent tender times with each new friend, learning about them, asking about their lives and their families. Her laugh was contagious. I felt privileged to meet this exceptionally talented Christian, who lived life to the fullest. Since that writers’ workshop, I have grown to respect Laurie even more as a sister in Christ, a humble Christian wife and mother, and one of the most capable Christians I know.

This book flows easily, portraying a realistic version of Laurie’s life story. You’ll find her special personality on its pages. She’ll take you through the initial journey of her family as a drunken driver crossed the median on a large highway one night and destroyed their pickup truck with two sleeping girls in the back under the camper top. You will go along with her to a hospital where a drunken doctor left her bleeding, lying on a gurney for hours in a broom closet, and removed the neck brace from her younger sister, who had spine damage. When he was about to perform surgery on her mother in a hallway, Laurie’s loving father, with the help of a sheriff, had the courage to move his family to another hospital.

In spite of the tragedy, Laurie’s life has been filled with grace and dignity. She has learned to walk, ride horseback, swim, graduate from college and seminaries, work to put her husband through school, give birth to three children, and engage in a vibrant singing and speaking ministry.

The closing chapters of the book will inspire you as Laurie shares her understanding of God’s truth about suffering and adversity. She defines the Adversity Effect, giving a clear explanation of God’s will for our lives and the value of adversity in any Christian’s life. Her words of wisdom will encourage teens and adults alike. I am honored to write the foreword to this worthy book.


Speaker, Humorist and Christian Mentoring Guru


Me with Mom, Kim and Uncle Ty in his citrus grove in Clermont, Florida


The Accident

THE FALL QUARTER OF SCHOOL was drawing to a close, and the Thanksgiving holiday was rapidly approaching. My parents, Wayne and Sue Elmore, were busy with preparations for the holiday. My nine-year-old sister, Kim, and I were ecstatic to be getting out of school for several days and heading to Florida for Thanksgiving break. I was fourteen years old at the time.

My family was looking forward to spending the holiday in Clermont, Florida, where we traditionally vacationed twice a year. We would be staying with my Uncle Ty, Mom’s youngest brother. Kim and I could hardly contain our excitement.

Our previous visits to Uncle Ty’s house had been so much fun. Kim and I thought his bachelor pad was pretty cool. A lake right across from his front porch provided activities such as swimming, fishing, and boating. The lake was always so warm. I savored the feeling of the sand oozing between my toes and the water rising around my ankles and up my legs as I waded into the water. It was all I could think about during those cold November days in South Carolina before we left.

Uncle Ty owned a nursery and landscaping business. His shop was entertaining because Kim and I helped customers and pretended we were running the business. We thought we were pretty big stuff.

Because we were going to travel through the night, Dad fixed up the camper part of our silver Chevrolet pickup with a large piece of carpet, a dome light, a beanbag chair, a portable television set, two folding chairs, and our walkie-talkies. Kim and I packed several items to keep us occupied on the trip. We took various toys, games, cards, and, most importantly, snacks.

Finally, the day arrived. It was the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, November 24, 1982. As soon as school let out that afternoon, we were anxious to get on the road. After making sure the dogs were taken care of and locking the house, there was only one thing left to do before driving off. As we sat on the tailgate of the truck, Mom prayed as she usually did prior to our leaving on a trip. She simply prayed for safety in travel and gave thanks for our family.

We all took the prayer time very seriously, but with Mom’s amen barely out of her mouth, Kim and I scrambled into the back of the truck. Smiling, Mom joined Dad in the cab of the truck. The plan was to travel through the night and arrive in Clermont early the next morning. Dad’s rationale was that since there weren’t usually many drivers on the road late at night, it would be the safest time to travel.

Kim and I were having a lot of fun as we played games and talked girl talk. It wasn’t long before we grew tired after having spent all day in school. Shortly after dark, we were fast asleep.

Dad pulled into Atlanta for a bathroom break, and we got ice cream cones while he filled the truck with gas. This far into the trip, it was all still an adventure. Having had a quick nap, Kim and I enjoyed the ice cream while we talked. But once the ice cream was finished, we quickly fell asleep. Shortly thereafter, Dad stopped again right outside of Atlanta.

Me with Mom, Kim, Uncle Ty and Uncle Travis at the Matlack Foliage Mart store

We stopped at a friend’s Christmas tree farm to pick up a trailer-load of Christmas trees that Uncle Ty planned to sell at his shop, Matlack’s Foliage Mart. Neither of us girls were pleased at being roused from our sleep a second time and having to sit in the cab while the adults hitched up the trailer. It was cold, and we were ready to be in Florida. The warm sand oozing around my toes was quickly becoming unimaginable. After what seemed like forever to us, we were finally on our way again.

In the early hours of Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 25, 1982, we were traveling on a four-lane highway, I-75 south, through the southern part of Georgia. It was approximately 12:30 a.m. when my dad noticed headlights swerving in the I-75 northbound lanes. The vehicle proceeded to come across the grassy median onto our side of the highway, hundreds of yards in front of our truck.

Just as quickly, the headlights disappeared, and Dad thought it must have been a highway patrolman turning around to go after someone. He dismissed any concerns until seconds later when the headlights returned from the right shoulder of the interstate. They seemed to bounce out of the grass right toward

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