Especially For You
Renee Bondi –
Living Life with a Purpose
by Renée Bondi
of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it
on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians
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
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."
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.
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).
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!"
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
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.
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.
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
Renée is a featured singer
of Friday Study Ministries, The First Church on the Net:
For more information about Renée's
ministry, call (949) 493-0282
to Renée through
Used with permission
from Capo Recording