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Renee Bondi
Phil. 1:6

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Especially For You
Renee Bondi –

Living Life with a Purpose

by Renée Bondi

"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

Thirteen years ago, life was great; in fact, life was wonderful! I had a job I loved, teaching vocal music at a local public high school in Southern California, and had just been awarded "Teacher of the Year." I was engaged to Mike, an incredible man I had met through church. Our wedding was just two months away, and I was smack dab in the middle of preparations for the big event. With details like picking up the bridesmaids' dresses, having a final fitting for my bridal gown, and invitations to get in the mail, life was busy.

My walk with the Lord was good. I had always included Him in all the big things in my life, like who to marry and what career to pursue. But did I really include Him in all the itty-bitty things, like "What do you have planned for me today, Lord?" Rarely did He get invited into those parts of my life. Indeed, at 29 years old, I don't think I was really aware of God's presence in my everyday life.

Then came Sunday, May 16, 1988. Just the night before, Mike and I had chaperoned the high school prom. Before heading to the prom, we went to a nice, fancy restaurant. After dinner, Mike pulled out a beautiful wooden heart-shaped box and placed it in my hand. I opened it to find a gorgeous diamond engagement ring. Wow! How it glistened! Even though we had been engaged for an entire year, he had not been able to afford "my rock."

After making many payments, he was anxious to present it to me. Through tears and laughter, we finished dessert and ended the evening jitterbugging at the prom. The next day I went to the high school to conduct the orchestra for the spring musical. Later that night I wrote out my lesson plans for the week and went to bed feeling very excited about my life.

The next thing I knew, I woke up out of a sound, deep sleep diving off the foot of my bed. I woke up mid-air and thought, "Huh?" I hit my head on the floor and finished the flip with my feet halfway in the closet and my head up against the dust ruffle. Dazed, I tried to get up.

As I rolled over on my left shoulder, I felt a piercing pain in my neck. After trying to get up several times, I was in excruciating pain. I called for my roommate Dorothy, but all that came out was a whisper. Now I was frightened. "She'll never hear me!" But within a minute, I heard, "Renée?" Dorothy entered my room, saw me on the floor, and asked, "What are you doing on the floor? It's 2:00 in the morning!" I whispered, "I don't know what I did, but my neck is killing me. It's serious. Call 911!"

The rest is history. I woke up in the hospital with news that I had broken my neck and was paralyzed from the neck down. The fall from my bed had left me quadriplegic, permanently confined to a wheelchair. My life had dramatically changed overnight. How could this be? Just the night before, I was dancing with my fiancé, looking toward the future. Now I was unable to dress myself, brush my hair, blow my own nose, or even wipe my bottom, much less walk hand-in-hand with Mike.

Now, thirteen years later, my arms move, but my wrists, hands, fingers, and legs do not. We still have no idea what happened. I have no history of sleepwalking, no history of disease that would cause seizures. The only thing we can think is that I must have been having a dream where I was diving, because that is literally the position I was in when I woke up in mid-air.

Often, I am asked, "How can you have peace sitting in that wheelchair? If that were me, I'd be a raging idiot!" Although I certainly have days when my anger and frustration are front and center, I can look back and see God's provision every step of the way. My family, friends, students and church community have played a vital role in my rehabilitation, both physical and mental. But I have to say, I learned early on that I needed to be the kind of person people wanted to be around.

No matter how frustrated or bitter I felt at times, seeing other women with perfect bodies, dressed in darling outfits or dancing at a wedding reception, I still needed to say, "Please" and "Thank you." I needed to be sincere in showing my appreciation when people helped me. Sure, there were times when I was shaking my fist at God, and no, I am not proud of some of the things I said to Him. But I never left Him, and He certainly never left me!

One year after I got out of the hospital, Mike and I got married. Five years later, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. My singing voice has returned, with my recordings selling over 50,000 copies. Now I am blessed with the opportunity to speak and share of God's grace to thousands of people each year. My life verse certainly has become Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (NIV).

Until recently, I couldn't see a clear purpose for my injury, but as I rolled out onto the stage at the Anaheim Convention Center to witness to 10,000 teenagers, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. God is using such a bizarre accident to open the eyes of others to His peace that surpasses all understanding. In a convention center full of teenagers, with silence so loud you could hear a pin drop, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has been, and is still today, at work. I looked up with a big smile on my face, thinking, "Lord, you are so funny! You did it. I am teaching again, and boy, the classroom is a lot bigger!"

Life rarely turns out the way we plan, and it is easy to focus on what is missing. Although I have not received what some people would call the "ultimate miracle" of being able to walk again, I can see how the Lord set things in motion early in my life to enable me to work with, listen to, and encourage people through difficult times.

As a wife and mother, I don't always have 10,000 people cheering me on. Neither do most other people I know. I have to continually separate and prioritize the different purposes in my life. My son started kindergarten this past September, and as he climbed up onto my lap to give me a kiss and say "Goodbye" – I knew that my purpose at that moment was front and center.

Watching the kindergarten door close, with tears in my eyes, I realized the Lord had trusted my husband and me with His most valuable and precious gift. Finding your purpose in life is not always as difficult as most people think it is. Many times, it's right where you are.

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Renée Bondi is a Christian speaker and singer who travels throughout the United States reminding all of God's presence in our everyday life. She has appeared on "Life Today With James Robison", "The Hour of Power with Robert Schuller", and "Life on the Rock" with Jeff Cavins. Renée lives in California with her husband and son. 

Renée is a featured singer of Friday Study Ministries, The First Church on the Net:  www.fridaystudy.org

For more information about Renée's ministry, call (949) 493-0282
or visit

http://www.reneebondi.com

Write to Renée through Ron@fridaystudy.org

Used with permission from Capo Recording

Friday Study Ministries
www.fridaystudy.org