My (Abridged) Story

Dayton and surrounding mountains

Dayton area and surrounding mountains in the Fall

On October 2, 1981, a bevy of mostly college upperclassmen, including myself—guys and gals, evenly paired—were stumping through eastern Tennessee’s Cumberland Mountains high above the charmingly throwback town of Dayton and the expansive Pocket Wilderness. Around nine o’clock on that fateful night, I took a harrowing spill from one of the cliffs to its rocky base twenty feet below. Landing full-force on a jagged rock, I broke my back which permanently damaged my spinal cord. There I lay, well out of reach of my friends, paralyzed, gasping for breath, well aware my life was ebbing away.

Three nights earlier, quite in soulful desperation, I had prayed to the Lord, pleading with Him to make a difference in my spiritually paralyzed life, even to the point of saying,

“Whatever it takes, LORD, to be Your man, I gladly pay the price. Even if it means I lose my legs in an accident.”

Why my legs? I may never know except for the fact that I DO know God is omniscient. He knows the end from the beginning, so I would think He knew on Tuesday what would happen 72 hours later. I believe it is quite likely my Lord was giving me a chance to surrender fully to Him what would be taken from me on Friday night. After all, “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he can never lose.”

Having surrendered my life for the ministry as a young teenager, I had kept watch over my soul and remained unspotted from the world for the most part. Until college, that is. The school to which the Lord led me was a Christian university, of Baptist origin, and served to train young people for the ministry, both vocationally and in the marketplace. It was in this era of my life, completely on my own, where new freedoms were discovered and worldly possibilities became freely accessible, I was drawn away like a fly to a spider’s web. My spiritual descent was not sudden but more like dipping my toes in the shallow end of the pool, wading out, then treading and, finally, at the end of my junior year, diving in headlong.

After the accident, thankfully and remarkably, there was a discernible change in my life. Praise be, I was coming into intimate knowledge of the revelation of Paul who said, “That I may (experientially) know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings…” Now, thirty-two years later, I look back and see the journey has been worth it. By God’s grace, He is making me an overcomer, one who has come to know Him in the valley as well as on the mountain.

My life’s text is taken from Psalm 37:23,24—

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he will not be utterly cast down, for the LORD upholds him with His hand.”

I do not pretend life in a wheelchair context is easy. It can be hard labor, seven days a week, hour after hour, year by arduous year. Not walking is the easiest part. It’s the other stuff that comes with the package that can break your heart over and over again.

But that is not THE story, dear reader.

The Lamb that was crucified is worthy of the reward of His suffering. This has been the work of the cross in my life and I do not regret it. It’s worth it. And I want more than anything for my life to be a praise to the One who is teaching me what walking really feels like.

38 thoughts on “My (Abridged) Story

  1. KaKa says:

    As my dear friend Sandy would say, “that’ll preach!”

    Love that last line ” teaching me what walking really feels like”

    Love you friend

    • pasturescott says:

      Thank you, KaKa, for being my constant companion in encouragement and for helping me walk this walk. I love that the LORD brought you into Sandy’s and my life. I will always be “Pasture” to you…

      • Don Jennings says:

        Scott,

        My dear friend, how long has it been? I have tried repeatedly to make contact with you but for some reason to no avail. I hope that this message makes its way to you – please let me know if it does.

        I would love to touch base with you again and to hear of how you are doing and of what God has been doing in and through your life.

        Lisa sends her love – greet Sandy and Graham for us!

        Don Jennings

        • pasturescott says:

          Wow, Don! Talk about a blast from a very treasured past! Thank you for tracking me down and please excuse my oversight in responding. I’ve only of late begun tackling the blog again and spotted your good post. I’ve missed you, friend! Have thought of you repeatedly through the years – wonder why the disconnect, but know all things are ultimately in the Lord – and look forward to catching up.

          Bless you, “old” friend, overcomer, encourager, man of God. Love to you and Lisa. Scott.

  2. Carla Belisle says:

    Hello, “Pasture” Scott –

    Though I was not on the mountain when you fell, I was a student at TTU and graduate in 1983. I recall most vividly you coming down the isle to graduate and recall much of your song, “I’ve been through the fire which is deepened my desire, to know the living God more and more. It has been much fun, but the work that it has done, has really been worth the hurt. You see, sometimes we need the hard times, to bring us to our knees . . .” and that’s about all I remember.

    Since that time, the Lord has taken me through some fires, chronic hepatitis and removing me from the mission field, after 14 years, in order to bring me home “to know Him.” I could teach all about Him, but couldn’t teach what I didn’t know, which was basically trusting Him for Who He is and not for how He answers prayer. I know now, after eleven years of being ‘set aside’, I’m sorta thick headed :-),that I want the Lord and will look to Him and trust Him though He never answer a request – in other words, He is all I need. My, how He has shown me His creativity, orderliness, detailed character! I’ve gone back to school to get my degree and I’ve been amazed, excited and thrilled to see Him help me with even homework!

    When I first returned to the States, I was chomping on the bit to return overseas, but no door ever opened. The Lord put me in a wonderful Church, Southwest Baptist Church, OKC, OK, and nearly 4 years ago, my eyes finally started opening to what He was trying to teach me. I stopped searching for a field to go to submitted to the fact that I wasn’t ready to return. What a switch! God is a jealous God and He desires to be rightfully represented. Now I don’t want to return until He is ready.

    I praise His name for His perservering love!

    Well, I need to close and go study. Thank you for your testimony. Carla Belisle

    • pasturescott says:

      Carla, I think I don’t even have to pull out the ol’ yearbook to see the picture that will bring back remembrance of you! The memory doesn’t serve as well as it did when I had to remember all those verses for Dr. Porter, but I believe it can still pull up your face. I surprise myself sometimes…

      What a story of ongoing redemption you have, Carla! Thank you for putting it here for me and the readers (all three or four of them :-?). It is a story of grace and, as you said, His relentless, persevering and pursuing love.

      I too am back to my studies to further my education. The Lord has me on a path to teach and I am excited about this new journey. I am blessed you have taken the time to find and write me. God’s mercy rain so hard around you that you continue to float in it!

  3. Susan Choy Lee says:

    Hi Scott and Sandy!!!

    I can’t believe I finally tracked you down again!!! I met you when I was a teenager attending Turnpike Baptist Church (youth pastor Jeff & Sherri Vick). I got to know you both at different Christian camps you were speaking at. I spoke to Sherri a few months ago and sadly, she didn’t know how to get in touch with you either. Do you remember any of us?!?

    I would love to hear from you again—you both made a huge impact on my life and I remember your testimony vividly.

    Blessings!!!
    Susan
    Jer 29:11

    • pasturescott says:

      Susan, I do remember you and the Vicks! Sandy too. I was recently remarking to her that the older I get (50 on Sept 3!), the more I long to reconnect with those who have been on the journey with us–even if through a blog! Bless you for writing! Know that your memories are sweet to us and He continues to live through us in grace and overcoming power!

      May He bless and make you smile this day, Susan!

  4. Beverly Ann Steed says:

    Good Afternoon Pasture Scott(You explained why the title as pasture; and children have the most difficult time sounding the (“T”),
    It is such a Blessing and a Pleasure to come to know you from this great website, and your experience which assisted in bringing you closer to the Lord. God taught me to extend his love and this is what I did by saying hi that if you need help with landscape or cleaning, I will be happy to. You remember the coins on the ground near your table at Starbucks. I picked them up and later that day placed them into a container from an organization seeking donations. It has been a while in tithing and giving. Thank you for that moment of reflection.
    I could sense a great calm and honor to be in your presence. I am glad that you are here and alive on Earth. Thank you Pastor Scott for making a difference for me and my family from that day on and for the rest of my life. Best wishes to your family and Your Church Family.
    God Bless You!
    Beverly Steed

  5. Mandy Houk says:

    Scott, I am so glad you’re still writing! I checked a few months ago and you were “gone” (as I have been!). I love your redesign, too. Keep writing — I look forward to “hearing” from you regularly again.

    • pasturescott says:

      Thank you, Mandy. I am so incredibly touched. You have been such an encourager to me these years I’ve been blogging–one of the first I ever put up on my blogroll! I pray for your success in getting those novels published. I count it high privilege that you would read me here. May the Lord show kindness to you and yours and ever be your Home.

  6. Good Afternoon Pasture Scott(You explained why the title as pasture; and children have the most difficult time sounding the (“T”),It is such a Blessing and a Pleasure to come to know you from this great website, and your experience which assisted in bringing you closer to the Lord. God taught me to extend his love and this is what I did by saying hi that if you need help with landscape or cleaning, I will be happy to. You remember the coins on the ground near your table at Starbucks. I picked them up and later that day placed them into a container from an organization seeking donations. It has been a while in tithing and giving. Thank you for that moment of reflection.I could sense a great calm and honor to be in your presence. I am glad that you are here and alive on Earth. Thank you Pastor Scott for making a difference for me and my family from that day on and for the rest of my life. Best wishes to your family and Your Church Family. God Bless You!Beverly Steed
    +1

  7. Janine says:

    Hi Scott,

    Just stopping by to say hello and to tell you how much I enjoy your posts. Jesus shines thru you not only in person but in your writings as well.

    I heard a pastor recently tell the story that he needed to be wheeled thru the airport due to back surgery. The attendant was halfway to the gate when she asked him who he was. He responded that he was a speaker. About three-fourths of the way to the gate the attendant stopped the wheelchair and with tears streaming down her face told the pastor that she wanted to be saved.

    You can always tell when someone has been in the presence of the Savior.

    Shalom,

    Janine

    • pasturescott says:

      Dear one, I could not desire or ask for anything more than what you wrote here! Oh, to dwell always in His presence, drawing on His Life, satisfied with His sufficiency and reflecting His Life as it shone on Moses’ face…thank you for the Shalom word over me. I receive it in Jesus’ Name and return the same for you and Chuck–and the boys!

      It was great seeing you the other day. What a word from Paul Washer, huh?

  8. mindy Elliott says:

    Scott and Sandy, I am so glad I found your website. I am also so glad we reconnected on facebook. You remain in my prayers. I have thought about you guys often. Your writings mean a lot to me and now I have some place to visit to learn and help my faith grow. Thank you for all you do. Love to you both. Mindy

    • pasturescott says:

      Oh, how we love you Mindy! You are one of my greatest joys in ministry, Sitting at y’alls table those many years ago, seeing your eagerness to become a follower of Jesus and watching you grow in Him through those years has blessed me more than you could know. Yes, please visit here and if the posts bless you, I give thanks to our Lord. We love you guys always in Christ!

  9. Paul Jayne says:

    Scott,
    It was neat finding this site. I was at TTU when you were and have often wondered how God was using you. I marked Psalm 37:23-24 in my Bible when you spoke in chapel after your accident. I run across it from time to time and think about you. May God continue to bless you and your ministry.
    Paul Jayne

    • pasturescott says:

      Paul, I would love to have a reunion of sorts someday and sit with you and compare notes on this great journey our Lord has had us on. A long way from Phillips Second, eh? Little did we know how much even those years would graciously usher us into the deeper places with God. I don’t regret a thing. It was a joy to hear from you, Paul. Thank you for your many times of encouragement to this pilgrim.

  10. Jeff Anderson says:

    Scott,

    Jeff Anderson here. I doubt you remember me, but we lived next to each in the dorms when your accident occurred. Lori Canaday Ellwanger posted your blog which caught me up on your life. I have often thought about you, and in those times prayed for you, while not nearly enough, and wondered what that the events of that fall had produced.

    Thankfully, it was not bitterness. Sovereignty is such a difficult theology. If God brings the blessings, he allows (gives) the suffering. Hard to think of them as gifts though.

    It is nice to read about your journey and to see how God is using you for His Glory.

    Blessings,

    Jeff

    • pasturescott says:

      I absolutely remember you, Jeff! Yes, it is hard theology, but tender and gracious to those who are trained by it and succumb to its majesty and mystery. Thank you for your encouraging words, your obvious walk of life-ing out the things that have captured you! All the best and God’s great grace to you, brother.

  11. Neal Beard says:

    Scott, Charlotte and I, and our dear church family pray for you and Sandy daily. You two are super saints in our eyes. I know you’re too far down the path to question our God’s sovereign ways, yet, though the spirit is willing, the flesh is sometimes weak, therefore, our prayers are for the flesh. God somehow uses our weak flesh to make us strong spiritually. That being said, perhaps our prayer should be, “bring on the weakness” that “in all things He might have the preeminence.”

    • pasturescott says:

      I’m so glad I was privileged to convey to you and the family at DBT my absolute gratitude for those very prayers–insightful, I might add, and necessary!–personally this past Sunday. I crave to hear the word expounded with passion and insight as I always receive from you, Bro Neal. You are (and I don’t just fling these words around) one of my heroes, and I am humbled to call you friend. Bless you for fathering me in my walk of faith all these many years. Love to you and precious Charlotte.

  12. Touching story of faith and how GOD answers prayers in ways we sometimes never understand, how he uses us in ways that we could never realize.
    Look forward to following your blog and learning more as I venture on my journey and share my thoughts.
    God bless,

    Michael

    • pasturescott says:

      Michael, I am honored to have you come and sit a spell with me. Blessings on you, and for entering this wonderful world of blogdom, I wish you abundant satisfaction and success! If we can convince a few hearts along the way, all the better, eh?

  13. Encouraging story. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Tim Shirey says:

    Hi Scott,
    Not sure if you would remember me from TTU (Philips Dorm, ’80-’84). Your testimony in word, song and action has had an impact in my life well beyond those years at TTU. Thank you.

    Blessings,
    Tim
    (I found this site via your Google+ profile)

    • pasturescott says:

      Tim, bless you brother! Love my Phillips’ brothers from that era…many times I wish I could go back – just for a moment – and relive that awesome fellowship and growth time! I’m honored and blessed you found me here, Tim!

  15. Joy Blaak says:

    So good to find you and yours.
    God bless.
    E. Negley
    graduated 1985 from T.T.U.

  16. Kathleen says:

    Scott and Sandy:
    I have been curious about you folks! I grew up at First Baptist Church in Grove City PA:) my dad ran sound and my mom played the organ… I used to LOVE your music. I don’t have any copies today:(
    Anyway, just curious to find out how you two are! Do you have a website or just the blog?

    Kathleen

    • pasturescott says:

      Kathleen, we remember FONDLY our visits with you all. Loved staying in the old hotel and being blessed by your welcoming us into your lives! Thank you for your kind words. Sandy and I are completely well in the Lord and enjoying this season of our lives. A bit more “low key” but fulfilling. It is wonderful to hear from you! Say hi to the folks and our friends up your way!

  17. Linda Cutlip says:

    Remarkable!

  18. Diane says:

    Like to get your blogs. Thsnks

  19. Donna Warren says:

    Blessed.

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