Tracy Traylor

  • Sept. 24, 2012
  • #7931

When Tracy Traylor’s car hydroplaned, leaving the freshman at Baylor University with a traumatic brain injury, it seemed as if her dreams of becoming a designer were over. 

Tracy Traylor

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I’d like to tell you about my friend, Tracy.

It was in 1988 and Tracy Traylor was 19 years old and studying interior design as a freshman at Baylor University. She had everything going for her until one night, she was driving home in a rainstorm and her car hydroplaned and hit a tree. Tracy was rushed to the hospital, and then transferred to ICU where she stayed in a coma for five months. Although Tracy went through a year of rehabilitation, she was sent home not able to talk or walk normally. Even though this young woman is in a wheelchair with lots of limitations from her traumatic brain injury, it doesn’t stop her. Through perseverance and a lot of hard work, Tracy kept pursuing her interest in design. And now this woman makes beautiful jewelry – I found that out in the mid 1990’s when I met Tracy and her mother, Ginny, at a Ligonier Conference where I was speaking. When we were introduced, she wheeled close to me and gave me a lovely necklace she had made (Tracy works on the design of the necklace but uses her mother’s hands to put it together).

But this wasn’t any ordinary necklace—the clay medallion on it was imprinted with the image of a leaping deer. The little tag on the necklace that Tracy had tied there explained the image: it was from Isaiah chapter 35, verse 6, which says that when God comes back, the lame shall leap like deer. For me that verse is so precious. And for Tracy sitting in her wheelchair, it’s just as precious! One day when the Lord returns, we’ll have our brand new bodies: no more paralysis, no more quadriplegia or brain injury, hallelujah! That day at the Ligonier Conference, we struck up a friendship that has lasted for almost 20 years—and not only a friendship, but Tracy and I enjoy a ministry together.

I know many women in wheelchairs who need Tracy’s outlook on life. They feel stuck; depressed and discouraged. And so I purchase necklaces from Tracy that have the leaping deer on them and I give them to disabled women who need to be reminded that God's grace is sufficient, their suffering has a purpose, and that Jesus will one day give the lame the power to leap like deer. I want these women to get to know Tracy like I’ve come to know her. In fact, recently Tracy wrote me, “Joni, God has the power to turn me, a head-injured girl into a real jewelry designer and people have been able to share the Gospel through my jewelry. I live for him now, not for me, not for Tracy. My problems haven’t gone away, but I can handle them better because of God.” And then she adds, “This life will end, but a life with Him will never end and I wouldn’t trade normal life for all that God has taught me.” Wow!

Friend, I want you to see a photo of my necklace with the leaping deer on it, and I’d like you to see Tracy’s photo, too. So please visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org where I have both of these photos posted. And by the way, I have a wonderful 12-page booklet I just completed writing on the subject of miracles and I’d love for you to have your own copy; it’s all there for you, right on my radio page at joniandfriends.org. And friend, if you are struggling with the limitations of your body today, then please remember that incredible promise from Isaiah chapter 35, for the eyes will soon be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, those who cannot speak will be given a voice, and the lame shall leap like deer. It’s a promise Tracy is holding onto, and a promise you can hold onto as well.

© Joni and Friends

 

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