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Not a Victim: Kevin and Melissa Valentine

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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November 24, 2022 3:00 am

Not a Victim: Kevin and Melissa Valentine

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 24, 2022 3:00 am

On FamilyLife Today, Dave and Ann Wilson host Kevin Valentine--whose nightmare began when he was hit along a highway, changing a tire. Kevin found God's goodness in the hard and determined he's not a victim.

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

I walk to the back of the minivan and I open the back, I'm leaning in to lower the spare down so we can get it from under the car and this girl driving down the road going 50 miles an hour changing radio stations, doesn't see the cars on the side of the road or anything, hits the back of the minivan at 50 miles an hour and never hits or breaks with me standing behind the minivan. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson and you can find us at or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. So I'm excited today.

I am too. We have in the studio somebody that's known us so long. They knew us when I had hair. I'm not sure that's true. That is true. Is it?

We have friends in the studio who actually live in Orlando, Kevin and Melissa Valentine. Welcome to Family Life Today. Thank you.

You guys just drove over from your house. Yep. You excited to be here? Yeah, it's cool. Yeah? It's a cool place, man. Yeah. Well, here's what people don't know.

Kevin started really our campus for Kensington Church down here in Orlando. In fact, it was sort of your idea. It kind of was.

Yeah. Let's hear it. Let's hear the real truth. I don't even know what year it was, but I'm driving home after a youth ministry party in Christmastime up in Michigan, and I'm driving past a bank. Because you're the youth leader. I'm the youth pastor at a church. And I drive past a sign that's one of those temperature signs on a bank, and it has a one on its one degree outside. And it was one of those painful nights.

You just hate living in a place like that. And my next thought was, I'm going to call Steve Andrews. He's a senior pastor of Kensington, who I've known for years. I'm going to call him and see if he wants to do a campus in Orlando. Because that sounds fun. I don't even know where the thought came from. I'm just like, this will be fun to call Steve and see what he says. It's 1030 at night. And he picks up the phone, and I don't even say hi.

I'm just like, when you're ready to launch a campus in Orlando, you give me a call. Like no greeting or anything. And he's just silent on the other end of the phone for like two heartbeats. And he's never quiet. He's a loud, boisterous guy. Oh, yeah.

Two heartbeats. And he's like, we want to launch a campus in Orlando. You go home right now, and you promise me you and Melissa will pray about it. And I'm like, what are you talking about? He's like, our dream is five national campuses by the year 2020.

Orlando's the first one. We've been waiting for six months since we've had the idea, and we don't have anybody to lead it. You promise me right now you'll go home, and you pray with Melissa. And I'm like, you're serious, aren't you? And he's like, I'm dead serious.

You know, he's just really amped up. And I'm like, okay, fine. I'm like, I'll pray. Fine. I'll go home and pray. So I go home. I tell Melissa.

Melissa, what did you think? I said, we vacationed in Orlando for probably the past five years, maybe even more. I said, why not? Let's pray about it. Really?

Yeah. That's my first response. That's a quick response from a wife saying, I'm in. And I'm thinking, I'll tell her, I say, I had this crazy conversation with Steve Andrews. I'm thinking, she's gonna go, that's stupid. She goes, well, guess we should pray. Godly things happen when it's one degrees in Michigan.

Yes, there's a lot of movement in Michigan southward. Exactly. Because there's sorrow in your heart and you're asking God for things. And so I remember, you know, when we were up in Michigan and Steve and I and Mark and others were in a room talking about this idea, you weren't there. We didn't even know you called him. I literally sat here and thought it was your idea. Well, it sort of was. But we were like, a national campus in Florida?

Will it work? So you've been doing this now, what? Twelve years. Twelve years.

Mm hmm. You're married how many years? Twenty-five next month. Twenty-five. Melissa, how old are your kids? Twenty, eighteen, fifteen and thirteen. Two boys and two girls.

Two boys and two girls. We've been wanting to have you on because you guys have a pretty unique story and you've endured some things. You've gone through some things that are really hard.

Every couple that's been married for a while can say, yes, we identify, we've gone through some hard things. But yours was a little bit different and we just thought our listeners would benefit by hearing your story. We met in college and dated for four or five years. And then we get married in April of 1997. I had just finished a really great college golf career at Oakland University. And I wanted to go play professionally and give it a shot. It's hard to make it out there, but I had a good enough game and God just really let us know that he had different plans for me and for her and so I kind of jumped into ministry.

But always still in the back of my mind said, I still want to give it a shot. And so we get married in April of 97. I'm a youth pastor at a church. How old were you guys? Twenty-three and twenty-two.

Okay. So, rolled to the end of that year. It's December 1997, December 15th. And I am at our youth ministry Christmas party. And it ends and there's this one kid, his name's Ryan, and his mom just hasn't picked him up yet. And we're just waiting there.

And as the youth leader, you're the last one. I just want to go home. I just finished a party. Half hour goes by.

Forty-five minutes go by. Well, she comes walking up to our facility and she comes in and she's like, we need to call AAA. I got a flat tire. And in the back of my mind, I start going, AAA is so slow. No offense, AAA. They're so slow.

I don't want to wait two hours for this tire to be changed. And she had walked from her car. She had walked miles. Like it was like two or three miles to our office. And it is like 10 degrees outside. It's not like a warm night.

It's Michigan. Yeah. And so I just in the back of my mind, I'm going, I don't want to wait for this. I want to get home. And so I say, you know what, it's 10 minutes to change a flat tire.

I'll change it. So we go out to her van and it's 1030 at night and it's not a well lit road. So I parked my car.

So the headlights are on the car so we can see what we're doing. I say, hey, Ryan, he's an eighth grader. Once you head to the back of the minivan and lower the spare tire down and I'll go up to the front and start getting it ready to jack up the car.

And as he's walking over there, he, I realize I'm like, oh, that's really complicated for him. So I'm just, you know, I'll just go do it. So I say, hey, Ryan, once you come back over here, I'll go back there. I walked to the back of the minivan and I opened the back. I'm leaning in to lower the spare down so we can get it from under the car. And this girl driving down the road going 50 miles an hour, changing radio stations, doesn't see the cars on the side of the road or anything, hits the back of the minivan at 50 miles an hour and never hits her brakes with me standing behind the minivan. So for me, the lights just go out.

The van was moved 30 feet from being parked. Her car completely totaled. They found my two shoes stuffed up inside of her engine compartment of her car. I have one vague, vague memory of laying on the ground.

I can still see it when I close my eyes, laying on the ground, headlights in my eyes and asking about my legs. But that's it. And then you're out. I'm out in the story moves to what I've been told and is the lady that I was helping.

She was a nurse, which is cool. She runs over to me. I am not breathing.

She gets me breathing again. And then they call an ambulance and the ambulance picks me up, takes me to the hospital. I do not remember any of the ambulance ride. I don't remember anything.

Actually for 10 days, I'm in a coma and don't know anything has happened. So now we shift over to her part of the story of going. They're taking me to the hospital and they actually call her. So Melissa, it's late at night.

You get a call from whom? I had been at the party as well. And so I was at home getting impatient, honestly. I'm like, where is he?

He needs to be home. And it was pretty late. We lived quite a distance from where the church was and the phone rings and I'm pretty sure it's Kevin.

It's not Kevin. It was a dispatcher. And she said, hi, I'm a dispatcher.

I'm calling from the AMR. They've taken your husband in. And they used all this code language. I didn't even know what they were talking about, but they said they'd taken him to POH. And I said, I'm sorry.

I don't know what you're talking about. And she said, oh, I'm sorry. They've taken him in an ambulance to the hospital. And I said, oh, okay, what happened? And she said it was a pedestrian accident. And you know, it's freezing.

It's winter. I'm like, why was he walking? Where was he? What did you feel? You get that?

I mean, that's every person. I didn't feel anything. Because you didn't know anything. It was just, yeah, it was just like, this is crazy.

This is really weird. She talked to me for maybe a minute longer and I hung up and I immediately called my dad. And that's when it hit. When I had to tell my dad, I was like, dad, I just got this phone call.

They're taking Kevin in an ambulance to the hospital. And he said, where? And I told him, you know, it was about a half hour away and I didn't really know how to get there. And he said, I'll come pick you up. And my dad lived about 20 minutes from where I lived. And then it was another half hour to get to where we needed to go.

That was a pretty excruciating wait, honestly. Because you don't know anything, really. Yeah. I'm like, he could, in my mind, I didn't think it was that serious.

I don't know why. I just was, he's going to be fine. I'm going to get there and it's going to be okay. I'm thinking pedestrian, you know, if a vehicle was involved, you think, oh, that could be catastrophic. But was Kevin walking? Right.

Right. So my dad came and picked me up. I remember him driving very, very slowly to the hospital just thinking, dad, this is like, let's go.

Was he really driving slowly or did he just feel that way? I doubt it. And then when we got there, I don't remember exactly what happened, but I remember being relieved to get there. I remember them, you know, me walking in and them telling me, yeah, they've taken him upstairs and they're looking at him.

They might be bringing him down in an elevator in a little bit and you can see him. And I said, okay. At this time, you know, I was getting more emotional now.

I was kind of realizing this is kind of serious. And then I remember them calling me over, come, come, he's coming. You know, it's going to be a quick little transition. We're taking him from one place to another. When I saw him, he was not able to talk or awake, but he was on a bed and they had him covered up. And they were like, we're going to take him to surgery and try and find out what's happening. And people started coming to the hospital.

You know, my mom came and family and friends from the church started to get doctor's reports about what was happening. And I don't remember very much about what order things happened in. But I'm just thinking here you are, this 22-year-old young bride, you've only been married how many months? Seven.

Seven months. You're living something that is a nightmare, but you have all these friends surrounding you. I mean, at some point did they say he was smashed between a car going 50 miles an hour with no brakes? I don't remember ever being told that. I'm sure I was. I just remember being in the hospital and starting to pray with people and think about things. And initially, I just wanted him to be 100% on the other side of it. I remember praying and thinking, okay, I just want him to be okay. I want him to be fully present mentally and not be a different person. And then I remember kind of shifting my prayers like, it doesn't matter, I just want him to be around.

Just saving. Yeah. And he started to talk to me about how serious it was and what was happening and more doctors would come out. And it was really a blur, though. It was pretty... I'm sure you were in shock. Yeah.

Yeah, for sure. And during the time she's out in the waiting room, I'm on a backboard and they start checking my legs, my feet, and they find out that I don't have a pulse in either foot. They can't find a pulse. They rushed me to the top right on them. And they were able to kind of set my right leg and get a pulse and get it kind of worked out. And when I got to work on my left leg, it was so bad that they immediately went to just major surgery to try and repair the veins going down to the bones. I've seen the x-rays of my legs, both of them in the left one. It's just, it's shocking that I'm even here. Oh, it's just, there's just shards everywhere.

It's just like a glass breaking, you know, just looks like that. So they get to work on my legs. And this is really cool, the stories that I heard afterwards, because we had so many people come visit us after I made it through this and was in the hospital. They had these two doctors that came in that were the vein guys to try and reconnect the veins and they're both Christian guys and they had Christian music playing on the radio in the operating room.

This is where God kind of starts showing up. While one would be working, the other would pray and they would swap because it was so tedious. They needed to kind of spell each other off for 12 hours.

They worked on me. These two doctors working on you and just praying. Yeah, one's praying, the other one's working and then they would just swap places, you know. And so it's just, it's really cool moments where they tried for 12 hours to save my left leg below the knee was the most damage. And they actually got the veins fixed twice and then they would pull the leg to set the bones and the veins would fail. So they would have to kind of go back in, but they ended up losing me twice on the operating table. I went into some condition, you doctors out there will know, it's called DIC. Back then, your blood basically turns to Kool-Aid, stops clotting. At the time when you hit that condition, from what the doctors told me, it was 50% of the time fatal, like they couldn't get you back. So I hit it twice.

They got me back both times. And then in the middle of that, they have to call Melissa for permission to amputate my leg. Oh, Melissa. Yeah.

I had gone home actually to sleep or to try and rest and just be away from people. I think I got a phone call from the doctor and he said, he basically made the decision very easy. He said, it's his leg or his life. Do you give me permission to do this? And I was like, absolutely. Like I'm so thankful that God made that decision that easy from day one, from moment one. He said, do you give permission? And I was like, absolutely. And from that moment until he woke up, I questioned that decision, but it was still something that... So how many, you said you were in a coma for 10 days, Kevin?

Yeah. So they finally amputated my left leg, about three inches below the knee. And then they fixed up my right leg, 20 hours of surgery, like 24 units of blood is what they told me. All in one long surgery? For 20 hours. I was in surgery. So you can see why she might've gone home.

She's like, okay, this is taking a while. But they then put me in a coma for the next seven days, drug induced, because they just said my body needed to heal. And at this time, I still don't know anything's happened. Like I literally have no... You're asleep.

Yeah. I'm just asleep. Melissa is questioning your decision.

What's going through your head, Melissa? I was questioning my decision, but I was also... There was also still a fight for his life. I mean, they were concerned about infection.

He had gotten a lot of debris within his body from being on the road. And so we were watching his numbers really close and just being in the hospital, visiting with them, even though he wasn't fully there. He was actually on pretty good pain medication and was present, so he would think crazy things were happening in the room. Like he was able to talk and he was there, but he wasn't necessarily fully himself. Yeah.

I think for seven days I was in deep, but then they started letting me out of the coma and I was just more on more morphine than the stuff that makes you sleep. So you're hallucinating. So I just start seeing the craziest stuff, you know?

And I have no idea what's going on. Like there's, I remember early on I would wake up and there were just little kids in the room all the time and I could never see their faces. All I could see were the tops of their heads around the bed. And every time I'd try and see them, they would not be there, but I would yet see them all the time. Like that was just kind of a constant thing, you know, that I would see. There was another time I, you know, and these are just, these are funny stories.

I mean, these, this was so real to me. I woke up one morning in the, in the three days I was awake on the morphine. It's two weeks of time in my brain and I can tell you what room I was in and what happened for two weeks of time.

It was only three days, but that's just the way the mind works on morphine. So I wake up and I'm in this little hospital up north and they ran out of beds. And so I'm laying on a washer and dryer.

It's amazing you can still remember this hallucination. And I was, I was getting angry because they kept using the washer and dryer. So like I'm sitting there and I'm like, I feel like I'm just being jostled around. And so I finally get mad enough. And I think were you in the room or was it your mom?

It was your mom or your dad. And I'm just like, can you please fix the washer and washing machine? And she's like, what? Cause the washing machine, one of the legs was screwed into tight, so it was like wobbling back and forth like this. I'm like, can you fix the washing machine? And she's like, what, what washing machine? And I'm like the washing machine, can you just fix the washing machine? She's like, what are you talking about? The washing machine I'm laying on, can you just fix it? And she's like, what do you need me to do?

You know? So I'm like, just fix the legs. The legs are off. And so she starts playing along. So she bends down and she doesn't do anything, but she comes back up. She's like, is that better? And I'm like, thank you. Another time this nurse, I'm laying on my back and this nurse comes over my bed and she's doing something.

And again, I'm on morphine, but she was so beautiful. Like I'm like, wow. And I'm sitting there, I'm like, wow, how old are you? And she says, she says, I'm 35.

And I'm like, you look good for 35 and my mother-in-law's standing at the end of my bed. It was so funny. Do you remember all of this? Yes.

Yes. What were you thinking? I was trying to figure out if I should play along or if I should bring him back to reality and try and tell him what was really happening. And I think after a while I just realized, just play along.

Just play along. What were your prayers like in those 10 days? What was going on? I prayed a lot to know the right thing to do. I just wanted to know what God wanted from me during that time. I was really thankful he was still here.

I was trying to focus on that kind of stuff and all the numbers and the things that were coming back from the nurses and doctors that he was getting better, trying to be thankful for that. But I think as somebody who was kind of private and kind of quiet, it was hard to have so many people around. And so I felt like I really needed to be there for the people that were coming to visit Kevin and let everyone know that I was okay. And so I think I just leaned on God a lot. You know, in hindsight, people were trying to be there for me, but I think I felt like I needed to be there for them. Yeah, that's interesting. And you probably process alone.

And so to have that many people around you, it was probably hard to even process what was happening. Yeah. Yeah.

So take us to waking up. It's the first thing I remember that's real. Melissa and the doctor are talking about this guy that had lost his leg. And I'm listening to him talk and I am starting to feel really sorry for this guy because it's just a sad story. And she's asking a lot of questions and I cannot figure out why she keeps asking so many questions.

Like, why does she care about this guy so much? And so as I'm listening to him, I start kind of, it's just like you see in the movies, it's like all of a sudden I realize I'm like, I'm in a hospital. How did I get in a hospital? Like, I don't remember coming to a hospital. You know, a few seconds go by and I'm like, I'm in a hospital bed.

Like, how did I get in a hospital bed? And it hits me that I think they're talking about me. And I just stopped them in the middle of their conversation because they thought I knew because I had been lucid enough that, you know, they're assuming that I know. I just stopped and I'm like, hey, are you guys talking about me? And the look on their face, they didn't say a word.

Just the look. And I just knew. And so I looked down at the bed and where my right foot is, there's a lump.

And where my left foot is supposed to be, it is undisturbed. And it just hit me, I'm the guy. And I just start bawling, like legit can't stop crying. And you know, Melissa is looking at me and she's just tears rolling down her face. And what's interesting is we were crying for very different reasons.

Like for me, I'm a two sport athlete in college, and I was looking at going professional. And now I don't even know if I'm going to walk again. Like I just it just felt like loss for her. Like it's like you were crying for a very different reason. I knew you were back. I knew he was Kevin still, you know, the the part that made him Kevin was still there.

And so I was, I was happy. But I was also nervous for his reaction what, you know, he's still here, but how is he going to deal with this? Is he going to be mad at me?

Is he going to become a victim for the rest of his life? How is this going to play out? This is pretty, this is a pretty big change.

You guys are 22 and 23. You just got married. And now life is going to look really different. And I don't know if I'm exaggerating, but I think we cried for a couple hours like I couldn't stop.

I just couldn't stop. You're listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Melissa and Kevin Valentine on Family Life Today. We'll hear how they're able to not be bitter, but actually thankful for their trials in just a minute. But first, speaking of thankful, Happy Thanksgiving. You know, today is an important day, but tomorrow we immediately start thinking about the Christmas season. Well, we at Family Life have made Christmas shopping this year easier than ever by creating a list of our 12 favorite gift ideas. All of them are up to 60% off through November 28th, including the Weekend to Remember gift card for 50% off. Each of these items will truly allow you to invest in the lives of your loved ones this Christmas season.

But we're especially excited to offer the 50% off Weekend to Remember gift card because let's talk truth. We're around family right now, and it can be difficult, and we realize that very easily, and marriage takes work. You can ask your parents, ask your pastor, ask any couple you know. Great marriages don't just happen. And at Family Life's Weekend to Remember marriage getaway, couples really get the time and opportunity to intentionally grow with one another.

These Weekend to Remember getaways are happening all over the country, so bless someone you love with a Weekend to Remember gift card or other gift from the Family Life Christmas gift guide by visiting Okay, here's Kevin and how he's able to be thankful even for his trials. Some of the bonding of this experience for Melissa and I are, they're so strong of the experience that we had together. It's like I would wait, I cried every day for two months, like at some point I would break down. But what ended up happening is she would go home at night, and I would hold in all of the tears until she came. And literally the moment she would step in the door, like and we would cry together. And it was like that for about two months because I just, we just grieved together. And you needed each other?

Oh, yeah. You know, I'm like I held on because I didn't want to be, you know, I didn't know what to do with the feelings. But when we were together, and we would cry together, I wasn't alone. And we were kind of going through it together.

And those were like, it's crazy. Some of our best memories are of those two or three months where we were completely dependent on each other. And it's like, we just worked through the hardest hardest parts as a team. You know, you feel that closeness?

Oh, absolutely. I think that was the hardest part of the first 10 days was when something that traumatic happens to you and your best friend isn't around. I kept waiting for Kevin to come to the hospital like, why isn't Kevin here to help me through this? He was the one that was hurt.

Obviously, he couldn't be there. But you know, you realize that you need each other and that you want to be there for each other. Now, coming up tomorrow on Family Life Today, Dave and Ann Wilson continue the story with Kevin and Melissa Valentine on how Kevin found strength and created a new dream. That's tomorrow. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-27 10:57:20 / 2022-11-27 11:09:37 / 12

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