Chelsey Lauren offers comfort and hope in Jesus Christ to people with spinal cord and brain injuries and their families. After a devastating car accident severed her spinal cord, Chelsey’s life was forever changed. As a miracle of God’s grace, she has regained the use of most of her body and now uses her energy to encourage others.
Throughout her recovery and the continuing struggles of daily life, Christ’s abiding presence has been her source of strength and peace in suffering. And it is the source of her message to others.
Continue reading Chelsey’s inspiring story below.
How one school pick-up changed forever
By her own account, Chelsey Lauren lived an ordinary life as a young, middle-class wife and mother in Rock Hill, South Carolina. When a tragic car accident left her near death and completely paralyzed, her life became anything but ordinary—forever.
On May 11, 2010, Chelsey left home to pick up her son from preschool. While turning off her street, a pickup truck struck her car, crushing it and sending it 90 feet in the opposite direction. She sustained a C1 spinal cord injury and a traumatic brain stem injury, leaving her skull detached from her spine by a centimeter.
By God’s grace, Chelsey made it to the hospital alive, but she was in a stage 3 coma and placed on life support. Expectations of survival were extremely low. Nearly two weeks later, she miraculously started to breath on her own and was able to move her eyes in response to questions.
How hope came packaged with hard
The jubilation over that recovery soon turned into heartache. Chelsey was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome (LIS). LIS is a very rare neurological condition where a person is completely cognitively aware but is paralyzed below the eyes. Unable to coordinate breathing and vocal cords, a person can only communicate through vertical eye movements and blinking. Doctors gave a prognosis of permanent LIS.
Having placed her faith in Jesus Christ as a child and faithfully walking with him her entire life, Chelsey was now being drawn even closer to God through suffering. “Christ covered me in peace during what should have been an overwhelmingly frightening time,” Chelsey says with conviction. “I knew God was with me, and I knew I would not always be where I was at that time. No one told me that, but I knew it.”
She resolved to push for greater recovery, placing all hope in God for what no one else thought possible. Defying all odds and medical explanation, Chelsey began to regain use of her facial muscles, arms, and body. Today, though she spends most of her day in a wheelchair, she can walk! “I still struggle daily, but Jesus is with me.” She says. “It causes me to fix my eyes on him.”
How life is still hard, but God is there
A shy person by nature, God’s overwhelming love and faithfulness has compelled Chelsey to share her story. Her theme is always the assurance found in 2 Corinthians 1:4. “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (New Living Translation)
Chelsey shares her story locally in congregations in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She speaks regularly to patients and their families at the Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta. Encouraging listeners that, no matter what happens in their lives, “Jesus is there.” She challenges others to change their perspective of suffering, their personal expectations, and their purpose in life.
“I hope that my message brings glory to God. He saved my life. Not just that, but he helps me make it through every day. He is so good and glorious and worthy of praise. I hope that when people hear my story, they think, ‘Wow, God is awesome! I want to know more about him.”