Whitney Cerak

We, the Cerak family, are elated beyond description at Whitney’s return home. It is so much more than we ever imagined three months ago.We would like to restate our plans of not speaking to the media. There is still much on the road to Whitney’s full recovery. We want to thank the media for the respect they have shown of our privacy in this time. And ask that the same courtesy given us would be extended to our family and friends.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

August 30,2006


“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement...” Philemon 1:4-7 NIV

As we write this final entry, we do so with heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have kept up with us and sent words of encouragement and comfort. We have been overwhelmed by the care and concern you have shown to Whitney and to our family. Your prayers have been so appreciated and we know they have been a part of Whitney’s miraculous recovery.

We continually lift up to God Almighty the families of Laurel Erb, Betsy Smith, Brad Larson, Monica Felver and Laura VanRyn. We pray for God’s comfort and strength as you deal with the heartache of your losses. To Vicki, Connie and Michelle we pray for your continued recovery. May God grant you His peace as well.

Whitney has had quite a busy schedule over the past few days. On Thursday she met with her new therapists in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. They are as high a caliber as those she has had before. We have been very thankful for the skilled and competent people that have been a part of Whit’s recovery road. God, in His faithfulness, continues to go ahead of us. We have learned over time of His constancy, but it has definitely been engraved on our hearts and in our minds throughout this journey with Whitney. Whitney will be using her course books in her speech therapy which will be an enormous help in her actual class work. The physical therapist, a London native, will be working with her to develop strength in her hip muscles so that limp will disappear, as will the pain in her lower back caused by the limp. The occupational therapy will be a big help to her as she keeps her focus on getting her drivers licence reinstated. We never stop being thankful for the able people God has put in Whitney’s journey to full recovery.

Then it was back to Grand Rapids that same day. We stayed the night with our very good friends in Rockford. Then Friday Whitney met with Dr. Vandenberg who has been the doctor that has overseen her entire therapies. He is very pleased wit her progress adding that with continued therapy she will progress just fine. Dr. Ringler, who performed the surgery on her ankle, met with Whitney next. He took x-rays that showed how well her bones are healing. We are in awe of the miracle of Whitney’s healing, both physically and mentally. Finally, we were off to Upland, Indiana and Taylor University.

On Saturday morning, Whitney, Carly, Colleen and I met with a few Taylor administrators. They have been very concerned with Whitney’s recovery as well as her return to college. They have been gracious and accommodating making Whit feel very welcomed. Then the final move onto campus and into her room. Whitney was so excited and anxious as we all were. After connecting with her roommate, Emily, all of her things were moved in and she took charge of getting it all put away. It was fun to see her interact with all who came by to greet her. She was gracious and sweet like the Whitney we know. She spent Friday night with Carly and the girls of ‘the Abby’ just off campus. It was a great night for her, tasting the independence she has cherished. Saturday night was spent in her room with Emily and it has already done her a world of good. We met Carly and Whitney for breakfast on Sunday morning and Whit had a radiant smile, a new perkiness about her and we enjoyed the laughter and treasured the moment with them. When Colleen and I left we were satisfied she was where she belonged. Whitney said something interesting on the trip to T.U. She called T.U. home and asked if it bothered us she thought of it that way. As we drove away we were thankful she did.

We will always be thankful for all of you who have prayed to the living God on our behalf. We believe still that God has been more than evident through it all. His presence has been all that we have needed and ever needed. His power and wisdom to work in the midst of this entire past four months is beyond our understanding. We praise His name for the good that has come as a result. God has been gracious to give strength and comfort, He alone deserves our worship and adoration. Even in the time of distress, heartache, uncertainty and tragedy, He remains constant and faithful. We have been to both ends of the emotional spectrum and through it all He has been there. Even in the aftermath He lovingly holds all effected by the accident. I look forward to the day when we join our voices together and sing... ‘I stand, I stand in awe of You; I stand, I stand in awe of You; Father God to whom all praise is due, I stand in awe of You.’

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2Thessalonians 2:16 NIV

In Christ alone,

Whitney’s Family

267 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAY!!!!!!!

How absolutely WONDERFUL to be greeted by a family picture!!!! You all look FANTASTIC!!!! I have never met you, but I have been following this story from the beginning. I am just thrilled to see your smiling faces. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

A sister in christ

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful family picture! Thanks for sharing it with us, and thanks for sharing your journey with us, too. What a summer for all of you and now summer ends (almost) with Whitney back at TU. Amazing. Amazing God who has carried you through the darkest times, the times of uncertainty, and now (for all of you) into another part of the journey. This blog may come to an end but your stories will continue to unfold, as will ours. May we all seek God and His will, and allow God to direct our paths.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for letting the world share your story of healing and faith.

I'm hoping someone will add the names for the photo. I'm not sure which is Carly and which is Whitney.

Blessings to all of you.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Amber in Fenwick, Mi said...

What a beautiful family. Congrats on returning to school. Here's to the best. Hope your school year goes great. Good luck with the continued therapies.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great way to end a busy day, by checking on Whitney and seeing this beautiful family photo, and reading your inspirational message!
I am truly happy for Whitney in that she has come so far in such a relatively short time considering all she has been through, and is now where she wants to be. I'm glad for the family, that after all you've been through as well, that you can return to your routine way of life, knowing that you have done a tremendous job helping Whitney all you could to get her where she's at. You have all demonstrated great faith, and have been the epitomy of a miracle because of your faith in God. After following this story from the beginning, and now see it conclude this page of your life, I want to say thank you for sharing Whitney's progress with us. I thought I would feel sadness when it came to this final message from you- but quite the contrare... for if it were not this way, it would mean that Whitney had not yet reached her goal of returning to college. But Whitney, you have made it! There's no stopping you now, girl! I know that you will achieve whatever goals you set. We are so proud of you. I pray that with every new day, your overall health will just keep getting better as you continue your recovery program with your therapists, and that all your pain will soon be gone. Have a great year at Taylor, and remember that you are loved and prayed for daily.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Edith Peters said...

It brings great joy to see the miracle in Whitney's life unfold before our eyes! It firmly underlines one of a Christian's basic beliefs...that God IS faithful! Continue to well Whit and we Taylorites here in Honduras will be praying for you.

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Han said...

Dear Cerak Family

What a Blessed family you are. I read about Whitney and Laura's story in a magazine and it left her blogspot site so i decided to log on. What a great family picture on the top. I pray for Whitney's recovery to full health.

May the Lord continue to bless your family each and every day, you have stayed strong in the most difficult of times and I admire you for doing that. Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth.

God Bless you all.
Sister in Christ

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again I will thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing your journey with us. Thru this we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, see again the faithfulness of our loving Father. What a beautiful family...both inside and out! God has great things for each one of you and although this is your final entry do know that often thousands will think of you and send a prayer to Him on your behalf. Again...thank you! It is a GREAT GOD we serve!
"A sister in Christ"

3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only word that comes to mind is AWESOME! An awesome story, and awesome family, an awesome young woman, and most important, an awesome God!

Romans 8:37-39

A Taylor Alumni

3:24 AM  
Anonymous mom from sw indiana said...

What a nice family photo, and a nice surprise this morning! I'd say life has returned to normal for the most part . . . goal achieved! Thanks again for sharing. You are very gracious. I wish you all nothing but the BEST!

4:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How great is our God!!! I rejoice with you in Whitney's return to campus and in all that God has done. I am moved by the ways you have lived out your faith from day to day! The Lord has been clealy evident in your lives, and I praise him for the honest testimony you have shared with the world. I will continue to remember all of you in my prayers.

Love from a sister in Christ and fellow Taylor Mom

4:28 AM  
Blogger annette said...

There are no words to say how seeing your picture blessed my heart...I can only say 'thank you' for your love and kindness in sharing your precious daughter with all of the world....she will forever be in my heart and prayers...God bless.
~love from a mom in mt zion~

4:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on being back at Taylor and Welcome back to Indiana...

4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Whitney, on your return to Taylor! I'd also like to thank the Cerak family for sharing your inspirational story. I truly feel closer to God since I started following your journey. I am very grateful for that.

What a beautiful family! You can just see the goodness. :) And boy, does Whitney look like her mother!

Kellie

5:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We will miss you all.

5:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God for Whitney's return to TU! We are so happy to have you back, Whitney! Newell and Colleen, I hope to see you when you're down to TU at some point!

Chrissie Spier

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing with the world your miracle. You will never know how many lives you have touched this side of heaven. I pray that Whitney continues to heal and to grow physically, mentally and especially spiritally. God is Good!!

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful family inside and out. You will never know how many lives you have touched. God bless you all.

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to Go Whitney!
Welcome Home

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read your blog since you began it. I am so pleased for you and for Whitney. You have all been very inspirational. I wish you all the very best from Australia. And, you all do look great!

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whitney is on the left, Carly is on the right. For those of you wondering...

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your faithfulness in sharing your story during a very difficult time. Our God is so amazing and this has been shown again and again over the past several months.

I pray you will continue to find comfort in our great God. He allows difficult things to happen for an eternal good we may not understand until we see Him face to face. He has brought so many of us closer to Himself and our lives will never be the same.

Please know you will continue to be in our prayers, as will the others affected by the accident. Have a fabulous year at Taylor, Whitney! The Lord is going to do amazing things at Taylor this year.

Take care and keep pressing toward the goal!

A Taylor Mom
II. Corinthians 9:8

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7:04 AM  
Blogger Monica's Daughter, Kelly said...

Good Morning Ceraks,
What a very fitting ending to this walk that you have shared with the world. A beautiful picture of a beautiful family..... and to have Taylor University in the background. All I can say is WOW!!:o) Whit, now that you are 'home' and after things settle down. I would like to meet you. I plan on going to TU soon, to go to the DC and talk with everyone. Mom(Monica Felver) touched so many peoples' lives. She is just such an awesome person. The "Chosen 5" will NEVER be forgotten as they continue to live in our hearts and memories. I'm sending your whole family a big hug... I have received such strength from your daily blogs. Your blog has been some sort of routine, a sense or normalacy in my life life that has been so drastically changed. Time seems to have frozen.... then I see you and what AMAZING progress you've made.... takes my breathe away. Life is so hard.... but I continue to lean on the Lord, because HE IS GOOD! And you are right... HE IS ALWAYS THERE! So I rest in His Loving Arms. And the reunion we will all have at Heaven's Gates, will be such a glorious one. Thank you for continuing to witness to the world. That God is Good!!! Amen!!! Glory be to Him! Take care. You all are always in my prayers.Hugs until we meet, In Christ's Amazing Love, Kelly
Mom's blog: http://monicafelver.blogspot.com/ (If you get a chance, drop by there.)

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting your family picture. Have a great year at TU

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How wonderful you are back to Taylor! Prayers are answered. May God continue to bless you through your school year and keep you safe. Bless your whole family and my extended Taylor family.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tears of joy and thankfulness are streaming down my face as I read your final entry. We will miss the updates but are so thankful for how God has brought Whitney "home" to Taylor. My daughter is "home" at Taylor too. It is hard for me to have her gone, so I can only imagine how hard it is to have Whitney away from you but if our girls can't be under our roofs, then Taylor is the next best place. Praying for a wonderful year for Whitney and all at TU. God bless you and may God continue to use you for His glory! He is an AWESOME GOD!

A TU mom

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again I am sitting at my computer crying tears of joy after reading this most recent entry. I'm probably just one of thousands of readers who have read every day from the beginning and never posted. I just wanted to add my thanks to the many you've received and my amen to your praises of God. May you continue to feel His presence in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. With loving thanks for all you've shared and best wishes for the days ahead.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cerak family, I am a fellow Michigander living in Marietta, GA. I have followed your family's story and read your blog from the beginning. I just wanted to say congrats to Whitney on being back at school and working so hard to get there. No one can imagine what you have gone through as a family, but you have inspired and amazed the world with your faith and love for eachother. I wish you all health and happiness!

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAY! I am so so so thrilled for all of you, what an amazing end/beginning to all of this! God is so good and it has been a pleasure to read your blog! I will continue to keep all of you in my prayers as well as all the others involved!

I loved the picture! God bless you!

Deni

8:18 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

You all look so great! ALL of you!!! Wow. What a journey. What can be said that hasn't been said before? I do know that I can't wait to see how God continues to move and work in and through each Cerak--because God will continue to do powerful things in each of your lives. He isn't done yet! GOOD JOB WHITNEY!!! Welcome back to Taylor...and I completely understand the "home" comment. Seattle is my home...and then Gaylord is my home...and even Canada is occasionally my home. I love you guys so much, and you will always (and the other families) remain in my prayers! It is right that I feel this way, because I hold you all in my heart. ;-)

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW!!!!
I will miss your daily messages and prayers. I can't tell you the amount of comfort you brought me during a very trying time in MY life.....My problems are minute compared to what Whitney and your family have endured. I will never forget you! God bless you all.

A RENEWED believer in Illinois!

8:48 AM  
Blogger Girl in Love said...

Yeah!!! Praise God!!! God is SO GOOD! I"m so glad for you guys that life is beginning to return to something more familiar! I will continue to rejoice with you as God continues the healing and recovery process. What an amazing journey! Have a great year Cerak family...be blessed!!!

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Kimbo in Illinois said...

Whitney looks just like her mother, Carly looks just like her father. (Did I get that right?) Great picture. Thanks for the journey. NOW I believe in Miracles! God Bless you all!!!

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you and your family,,thank-you for sharing whitneys journey, what a beautiful picture ,,good luck at TU . will miss reading your blogs....god bless......

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know you have stated that you do not want to be in the media or interviewed. I can certainly respect that but I wanted to note that Whitney's story touched so many lives.
I'd like to suggest you do give a family interview for a few reasons. Formost to share the story of how God has touched your lives and how your faith carried you through such an ordeal. It would also bring closure to the story for so many people who followed this story for so long and prayed for all involved.
I am a reporter but I do not think my paper is a proper venue but there are some national news outlets that given the proper ground rules would do justice to your story and not disolve the message of faith and trust in God.
I for one would like to hear you speak as a family. It's just a thought. Good luck in this semester and thank you for sharing Whitney's journey.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you have shared this wonderful final blog...I share with you one final thank you. Thank you for sharing this story. Most of all thank you for unashamedly proclaiming the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It has been evident that you have trusted him every step of the way. What an amazing journey this has been. I continue to lift your entire family up in prayer. Whitney...God has used you in ways you will not fathom until you step into eternity. Cerak family...may God continue to give you his peace which passes all understanding. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

A sister in Christ
from Ohio

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Cerak family for sharing this incredibly amazing story with us these past few months. To think back of what the crash sight pictures looked like, reading Whitney's obituary and to now, see her standing there with her family...simply AMAZING! Our God is truly an AWESOME God! God bless each and everyone of you. Whitney may the Lord continue to use you as His vessel and may you have a wonderful LONG life!
A sister in Christ~

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodbye Friends,
We will miss you. Blessings until we meet in the Kingdom of God.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Jeanette said...

Oh, how this warms our hearts. We love you, Ceraks! We are praising God with you!!!

the Hoeksemas

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your family photo-what a great looking group you are! It was so gracious of you to share your journey with all of us around the globe. We are thankful.

God is so good!

10:38 AM  
Anonymous a student from TU said...

Welcome back whit! Know that you have the entire campus behind you and praying for you!

To the family-thank you so much for sharing your story with us and for being vulnerable. For sharing the pain, heartache, trials, and amazing Joy. It's refreshing and your comments and verses have been a huge help and encouragement to me.
I look forward to seeing all the plans God has for each of you and this campus as a result of this.

To God alone be the glory...

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Texas and had heard of your wreck/circumstance of the families but had not heard anything else, until, today I came across the update on you headed off to school--WOW,Go Girl GO!! I began to read the blog journal,truely moved & amazed at this wonderful family I feel I almost know in person! This amazing journey of your lives which you've shared..I stand in awe of your commitment to Christ and the testimoney of your lives to so many..thankyou for the example you've made for so many of us---In the movie with Kevin Costner,Field of Dreams,he made the comment we've all heard "If you build it,they will come"---in ya'lls case, "When you shine the light,they will come"---No doubt the light you've shown has drawn in countless lives to the Cross.

Best of everything to you Whitney and to your family as well..

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Kris from KC said...

Thank you for sharing Whitney's recovery with all of us out here in blogworld. I have checked on you all everyday and will miss hearing about how everything is going. I have a 19 year old daughter who attends a small Christian college in AR, so could almost imagine your journey from the accident to now. Your faith in the Lord has encouraged me everytime I read your news. I will continue to pray for Whitney and the other families. The number of people who have learned about God's blessing from your blog are like the "grains of sand" too innumerable to count. Thank you.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations and welcome home!!! What a great picture, thank you for posting it. Finally, a beautiful face and family to put with such an amazing story. Your family has touched so many lives, including mine. Forever edged in my memory and heart. Good luck in school and your future endeavors.
Again, welcome home Whitney.

Forever in Christ,
Indianapolis

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ceraks,
I remember standing outside Whitney's room on 1EO last May while I moved my daughter's things home. It was gut-wrenching to think about your sadness as you moved her things out, but God has turned the tears to joy!!! Praise his holy name! And praise the Day when the Smith's, Larson's, VanRyn's, Erb's, and Felver's tears will also be turned to joy. We'll all be there rejoicing with them at the feet of Jesus, our real Home!
I'll be anxious to hear of Whit's continued recovery among her "sisters" at Taylor.
In Christ Alone,
A Taylor Mom

11:23 AM  
Blogger Regan said...

So good to hear that Whitney is back at Taylor. We will continue to pray for your family as you adjust to your girls being back at Taylor. God is truly amazing.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a mighty God we serve!! Praise him who has done exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think!! WOW!! May he continue to bless all of you!! I would definitely agree that TU is an excellent place to be - we have been blessed by Taylor in many ways! Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for sharing your lives with strangers!! Great is your reward in heaven!!

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems as if once a day I take a moment to remember my friends lost in the accident. I hope that Whitney's recovery and return to TU will bring closure to me and to the many other affected by all of this. Good luck Whitney! Though I don't know you personally, I share the TU bond and have prayed for you consistently. Though I mourn for the loss of friends, I rejoice with your family through your recovery!!

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for making us apart of your daily experiences. We will all miss you. Thanks for the great family picture. Good bye, good luck and THANK YOU.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. Isaiah 51:11

Congratulations on returning home Whitney. Thank you for sharing your journey with us Cerak Family.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ceraks,

What a beutiful picture!! Thank you so much for ending your blog this way. Now we have a beautiful picture to remember you all with.

As usual, I'm reading your blog with tears in my eyes. It is so encouraging to see the faith that you all have. Your daily scriptures were very encouraging -helping us all to remember that God is with you no matter what you are facing.

I followed the VanRyn's blog and was so glad you continued on - so that we could know Whitney's progress. How lucky you were to have the VanRyns come into your life.

I am so happy that Whitney is back at TU and wish her the very best!!!!

I will certainly miss reading your blog every day but that only means that Whitney is where she is meant to be. THANK YOU again for sharing with us and I will always remember your family and the faith you have shown us all. Your family and all the other families will stay in my prayers.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your family has shown such faith in all of this; what amazing disciples of Christ you are. You've been an inspiration to everyone who has followed your story - believers and yet-to-become-believers alike. You will continue in my prayers.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am inspired by your true and unshakeable faith.
Whitney looks beautiful and we wish her only the best!! What a wonderful family. Good Luck Whitney!!!

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am inspired by your true and unshakeable faith.
Whitney looks beautiful and we wish her only the best!! What a wonderful family. Good Luck Whitney!!!

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless each of you as you continue your lives in service to our Lord and Savior. Thank you for sharing such personal details of your lives amidst such tragedy.
Looking forward to seeing you in heaven someday!
A sister in Christ

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless each of you as you continue your lives in service to our Lord and Savior. Thank you for sharing such personal details of your lives amidst such tragedy.
Looking forward to seeing you in heaven someday!
A sister in Christ

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Whitney does resemble Laura. It helps it all make more sense. We are praying for everyone involved in the accident. May your life, Whitney, forever be a beacon of light in a bleak situation.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! Thank you for keeping us posted so we could pray. Thank you for sharing your faith so ours could grow. Thank you for using this tool to show Christ's amazing love to the world even in the midst of your terrible pain and suffering! May God bless you richly! And YES we look forward to sharing Heaven with you!!

2:27 PM  
Anonymous A Taylor Mom said...

Cereks,

THANK YOU ! THANK YOU ! THANK YOU ! For the picture and the final entry. I have this huge lump in my throat & tears in my eyes as I have read your entry & looked into all of your eyes and replayed all of the events since the accident.
God is so good ! You all are so special !
Thank you for allowing all of us to become a part of your family.
I know that is how we all feel.

My prayers continue to be w/ Whitney & all of you as you all begin this new chapter of your lives.

Praise our GOD !

Sincerely,
A Taylor Mom

Marion, IN
(Son gradutaed from TU in 2005)

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Rick Green, Ballwin, MO said...

Like I've written before, thank you for this wonderful blog. I too pray for the other families and think your mentioning it as much as you do shows how wonderful of a family you are. I hope you leave this blog up for us to go back to every now and then to remind us of how good people can be. I feel like I've gotten to know the family through all of this and regret that we'll probably never meet. Please know that there is someone in St. Louis that thinks about your family quite often. Good luck at school Whitney.

Rick Green
Ballwin, MO
rgreen7576@aol.com
myspace.com/rickmga

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whitney, There is an old saying..."Home is where you hang your heart", whether it is Upland or Gaylord...there's no place like home. Welcome home Whitney.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Kim and Rudy Burton said...

I join with so many others in thanking you Colleen and Newell for the lovely family picture and mostly for sharing this journey with us. It could not have been easy to sit at the end of an emotional day and take the time to record Whitney's progress. I have come to know your family a bit more and especially know the faithfulness of our God even more. Again, I join with the others and telling you I rejoice in the end of this blog because I know it signals the beginning of "normal" life routine for Whitney and the rest of you. However, I also am saddened because I will now lose touch with a very special family. BUT, then again, I have the hope and joyful knowledge that we WILL be together in the Lord's kingdom!
May our gracious Lord continue to bless you.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cerak Family,

It was a wonderful surprize to open your latest entry and see the wonderful & happy picture of your family...Praise the Lord! I know you had said that this entry would be your last, but I hope you will leave the blog up for awhile, so others may be blessed by the last 3 months of your faithfulness & God's healing & blessing on Whitney & your family. We have prayed, cried and laughed with you these past three months and are very grateful that you allowed us all to be a part of your very private process. You have all been wonderful examples of true Christ-followers, and I was especially touched by Whitney's own entry.

We continue to remember the VanRyns, Erbs, Larsons, Smiths and Felvers in our prayers. Monica's duaghter Kelly has a very touching and God-honoring blog as well. We were glad to hear of the return of Vickie, Connie and Michelle to their jobs.

Thank you again for sharing this very difficult time in all of your lives with us. I was personally challenged on a daily basis by your thoughtful choice of Scriptures and stories. May God continue to fully restore Whitney to health and bless your family.

In Christ's Love,
A TU mom from IL

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Brenda D in MD said...

I am going to miss your "online ministry," but I understand the need to return to normalcy. God bless.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good-bye precious Cerak family!

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I do not watch the news regularly however I knew about your family and happened to catch the quick update they gave on WTHR the other day.

I just have to say it must have been meant to be for me to see that and read your messages here. I lost my son two years ago, I was a "pilar" of strength and faith for a while but somehow from the hurt and pain of it all I have become numb. The mere thought of Whitney coming back to you has caused an awakening in me...a spiritual awakening of the hope that lies in our belief that Christ did conquer death and that some day we will all experience this too. And we will see our beloved children that have been "lost" from us on earth. Just imagining what you have experienced has stirred something within me.

I can not thank you enough for sharing your story and your faith. Thank you SO MUCH for your openess and sharing in the way that you have, you have no idea the gift I feel this has given to me and ultimately my family as I can feel myself coming back to life, through all of the tears I shed reading your journal entries. Tears I shed for the loss I have endured but also for the VanRyns and also tears of hope and joy. I am just overwhelmed.

Thank you again. I feel you have touched my spirit, thank you this has been a pivotal moment for me in my spiritual life. I felt like I was slipping away for a while but always holding on to God by a thread...Recently this verse came to my attention..."a bruised reed He shall not break a smoldering wick He will not extinguish..." Isaiah 42:3. I held onto that verse for weeks now thinking "okay God at some point you are going to have to wake me up and turn it back on within me"...and tonight reading this I feel that is what is happening.
God bless us all...
Love and Gratitude In Christ

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your faith. What an inspiration your whole family is.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Along with all the others I want to thank you for posting your family picture. Whitney looks radiant and healthy.

What a precious gift your family has been given. God will use your experience in amazing ways. II Corinthians 1:3-5 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

Grace and peace to your family.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful way to end this blog- a family picture! God bless you Cerak family and thank you for taking the time to keep up this blog all these months! You are truly an amazing family. May the Lord keep watch over you Whitney as you begin another year at school...you are such an inspiration!
With fond admiration, a sister in Christ

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Luck Whitney!

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Congratulations Whitney!

Thank you all very much for sharing this season of your lives with us. From reading your posts I feel like you are old friends and I am so incredibly happy for you. I wish you all the best! Thank you for showing the world your commitment to Christ, you are an inspiration to us all.

A sister in Christ in Seattle

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a beautiful family in every way! Thanks for sharing your story with us. "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev. 19:10c) May God's divine justice restore to you far beyond all that was taken from you. (And this is for all the families.)

I also suggest that you leave the blog up for awhile. Perhaps you can post a very brief note when Whitney finishes her therapy, just to let us know she is fully recovered? No obligation to tell us anything more about her life. However, you might see if the Taylor staff can put you in touch with someone from the media who can be trusted to be sympathetic and treat your faith with respect, and then grant an interview with that one reporter. That would make the most of the opportunity you have to speak a testimony for Jesus!

While I'll probably see you only in heaven (and will be glad when I do!) I have continually been touched in my heart by your openness and God's faithfulness, as seen in what you have written. Thanks again for thinking of us all during this difficult time.

Fare well Whitney,

Larry from California
A follower of Jesus

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOUR SMILES ARE PRECIOUS GIFTS!
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY!

Thank you for sharing this most tremendous journey of your lives. My heart rejoices with you and for you. Thank you for sharing to changing hearts and changing lives.

While mourning and missing my friend Betsy Smith, the pain has become easier and easier each time I connected with you here.

Thank you Jesus for the Ceraks!

Blessings to All of You!
God is Good - All The Time!
All The Time - God is Good!

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God for your strength! I am an attorney in Oklahoma and I lost my brother my first week of my freshman year in college. Things have never been the same. I can't imagine the emotions you have been through - successfully! It just shows you what a great family can do! I have never been a truly religious person until I followed Whit's blog! Thank YOU! Give us an update every so often!

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely surprise to see your photo. It only reinforces to us all of your evident closeness. I have found it uplifting following Whitney's recovery over the past few months. I can only imagine the extreme lows & highs you have gone through over this entire experience, only someone who had thought they had lost a loved one only to find out it was not true could relate to this feeling.

I have followed your recovery from Australia, well done, I hope life soon gets back to complete normalcy..

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Former TUFW Student said...

Praise God! This has been such an increadible story of faith and healing to follow and I have enjoyed hearing how Whitney was doing with each update. I'm thrilled she was able to return to Taylor, that is such a huge step and they will take great care of her there. I will miss the updates like so many, more than I will miss them - I am glad there is no longer need for them. I'm happy your lives are returning to normal. You all, along with the other 5 families will remain in my thoughts and prayers.

4:32 AM  
Anonymous A Believer in KY said...

Thru my tears of joy, I just want to say, You are one awesome family! May God continue to bless you always!

6:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much for sharing your family with us during your journey. What a feeling you must have to know that our almighty God spared Whitney's life in such an unusual way. I cannot fathom the plans He must have for her! I do hope you will share Whitney's recovery with the media on at least a limited basis. This story is just so God. There's simply no other explanation for it, and people need to hear it. May God continue to bless your faithful family.

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your courage and faith. May Christ be praised in all He chooses to continue to do in and through you.
Earl Cecil
FEC International Ministries

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your "blog" has been an inspiration to everyone who has read it. Especially me. You'll never know how much my faith has grown over the past few months and I owe it all to your family. You are all amazing. I will SO miss reading your entries but am happy that your lives are finally back to "normal." Your family picture is beautiful. God Bless.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the photo! What a true miracle for your family to be able to have that, when in April it would have been unimaginable.

Also, thank you for having shared your journey with us. I know you all want to get back to normal, but part of me is always going to wonder how Whitney is doing, even a couple years from now.

You are truly an amazing family with a lot of faith in God.

I wish your family the best, and hope Whitney has a great year at Taylor.

-Jen from Howell

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At last! What an amazing journey! Thank you for allowing us to 'watch' the progress of Whitney's recovery. Here's my virtual embrace in celebration of the survival and recovery of a beautiful young woman.

God be with you all!
South Georgia Sally

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whitney and family,

To see your smiling and loving faces does my heart good! What a beautiful story and family. I have followed you daily, and you inspire me. Know that you continue to be in my prayers, as are all the families and loved ones from this accident.

Love,
Cilla from Shreveport, La

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing your lives with us. This entire situation has revolutionized my walk with the Lord. I will continue to pray for your family and the families of the five who died, long after this blog is gone.

A friend in Texas.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen! Praise be to God!

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the photo, and will miss hearing about your life. May God bless all of you!
You probably have no idea how many people made it a regular practice to read about your life. Thanks for sharing with us. I am no stranger to hospitals and sickness as my Dad suffered for about 1 year with brain cancer. We spent many hours in hospitals with him. So, I understand a little of what you have experienced.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise be to Our Father. WE will always continue to pray for Whitney and your family. You have become our family. Especially the Taylor family. May God continue to bless you forever. Amen.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise be to Our Father. WE will always continue to pray for Whitney and your family. You have become our family. Especially the Taylor family. May God continue to bless you forever. Amen.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise be to Our Father. WE will always continue to pray for Whitney and your family. You have become our family. Especially the Taylor family. May God continue to bless you forever. Amen.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whitney and Family,
Now such high highs from such low lows. All the while praising the ONE TRUE GOD!! Praise GOD!!

Louise from New Albany, Ohio

9:57 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

What an awesome God. I will be sharing your story with my 8th grade volleyball team today and will read and discuss with them this final blog.
God has used this in ways that you will never know...and how true it is that all things work togther for good to those who love God and are called according to HIS purpose.
I continue to pray for the families who did not have the same outcome as you and trust that God will also use each detail of this for HIS glory and good.
Praise be to God. I rejoice with you.
Deb in Fort Wayne

10:53 AM  
Blogger John said...

It is with extreme sadness to see this is to be your last entry. Having followed your adventure from the beginning, Its absense will leave a void in my life. However I realise you must end sometime and get on with your lives. This is just a thank you for sharing with the world your amazing story.

John

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all of you! Returning to your more normal lives is such a HUGE blessing!! Continued best wishes to you, Whitney as you continue your therapies and grow stronger. You have such a wonderful future to look ahead to -- blessed by SO many people who love and care for you.

I'll miss checking your updates, but knowing you are back at school and in the swing of things does give me closure -- thanks for that! Thanks too for your entry and for posting your family picture. So great to put faces to all of the names. :<)
Take care and God Bless,
A Mom in South Dakota

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing a lovely picture of the family we've all been praying for these past few months. So happy to see Whitney back at Taylor. Your family has shown such grace. You are a true testimony for Christ.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Danielle Paulson said...

So glad you're home, hon. Can't wait to meet you!

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your entry with tears of thankfulness, so happy to see the photo of the four of you together, and moved beyond words by Whitney's return to health.

Your family will continue to be in our prayers.

Your Upland neighbors,
Scott and Mitzi
Alex, Aaron, Samuel, and Ethan

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Marci said...

How awesome! Thanks for sharing the picture, thanks for the note in the mail, and thanks for caring about others so much. I treasure my TU days and am so excited for Whitney that she gets to continue in that Taylor journey. Much love to you all.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story with the world. I have enjoyed the messages.

Ft. Lauderdale, Floida

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read this blog every day...I am in prayer for Whit's year at Taylor...while I remember all the families at this difficult time. The driver has just been charged and my heart feels pain again for this tragedy...its been so difficult for everyone involved even him. Your family has been such an example to the people who don't know Jesus and to those that do.
A TU mom

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been following since the beginning when your story captured my attention. I am glad to hear that Whitney and all of the family is back to the basics of life. God Bless! Illinois Reader

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, like many others, have read these entries, especially the one by Whitney herself, with tears streaming down my face. What an AWESOME God we serve! Thank you for sharing your journey through this blog.

Robert in AL

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a journey this has been, it started for me at MGH where I met Carly just as she learned of what everyone thought was Whits death Then with a twist usually found only in movies Whitney returned to her family and your blog started sharing with the world Gods love and your family's journey of recovery. now Whitneys return to taylor. Your williness to include strangers in what could only be labled a very difficult time and life changing events speaks volumes about your family williness to used by God to benefit Gods kingdom. I will miss the daily contact with your family.
I will continue to pray as Whitney continues her therapy and settles back into the swing of TU I also will be praying for Mom and Dad since as a parent I can't fathom the feelings you must have on bringing her back to Upland.

Thank you and God bless.
I will Miss Your Family.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I will say I am very happy everything is turning out well in the end of this tragedy for your family!
Second, I was a bit disappointed that the orginal blogs from Laura VanRyn's family were no longer here. It portrayed a heartfelt story of the beginning of the journey that your daughter has taken that led her here today. And a journal of their journey up to the point where it was realized their daughter had died.
I wonder if this was something both families decided to do, remove the previous related blogs, or was this something your family decided to do...
The whole situation is sad. There is not much coverage on their daughter now. I miss seeing the blog here of the initial feelings when they thought she was in a coma, & lovingly attended to her, right beside the progress of Whitney's recovery. It just doesn't seem complete without the early blogs.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cerak's
Your feelings at this point must be utterly amazing. You have gone from dispair to delight. I hope you all continue to heal and Whitney realizes that she was spared for a greater plan. I know she will have a wonderful life ahead. Best wishes from a Mom in Ohio.

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you keep this blog up, that way when I think I am having a rough day with things, I can come here and realize what I might be going through may not be so tough afterall. Love the picture, even though I know your family I am so glad you posted it, because if I didn't know you guys it would have drove me crazy not to know what you all looked like :)

6:27 AM  
Blogger gina said...

I don't think I've ever written, but I've followed your story and prayed faithfully for your family and for your recovery. Whitney, God is already using your story in great and mighty ways, and through your story, Laura's family's story as well. God is a loving, gracious god and he has blessed beyond measure. Congratulations on the culmination of all of your hard work and perseverance. You deserve all success and happiness.

Still praying,
gina in texas
www.gina-everydaylife.blogspot.com

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How amazing is our God...Bless you all and thank you for sharing your miracle with us. You are a wonderful family and a great mentor to the world. Blessings to you all.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone relpied ealier but for those who aren't sure...Whitney's on the left, Carly on the right.
What a beautiful family (and I mean that physically but, more importantly, spiritually). Thanks for sharing your journey of life with all of us. Love & Prayers from Fort Wayne, IN.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Vicky said...

Cerak Family --
It has been a blessing to so many that you have kept your focus on our Lord and his glory in this miraculous recovery. So many have been touched and continue to be moved by your strength of faith. Glory be to God!!

5:37 PM  
Blogger V0NE* said...

Hello. I'm a blogger and I come from Singapore. Read about the article on the indentity mix up between Whitney and Laura. May God bless all ^^

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Whitney! You are back!! Thank you to you and your family for sharing this part of your lives with all of us. You all look so very happy. May God continue to bless each and every one of you!

2:44 AM  
Blogger JolinDDiva said...

Hi Whitney,
I'm from Singapore. I'm so happy to read on your blog that you are recovering very well and that you have the support of your wonderful family.

May you recover fully and may god bless you always. All the best in your life, and take care.

-a sincere msg from a Singaporean.

3:31 AM  
Blogger LittleMissSmiley said...

Hi I read Whitney's story in shout magazine, it's great that she's made a full recovery.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Ceraks,
God Bless all of you. You all have truely been an example of what Christians should be in this world. A light to a darken world.
You have shown us your sorrow, hurt, tiredness,frustration, peace, happiness and joy.
You have praised God thru it all. As the song mention You have learned to trust in Jesus. I am also sure that the families of those whose life was cut short that night are learning to trust in Jesus. We do not understand why that night happened at that point and time, but God has turned something beautiful out of your lives and those at Taylor and also to the rest of the world. People have renewed their faith. Where they have lost a loved one at some point in time, you have given them a sence of purpose to go on. There were some who did not have peace and have found forgiveness. May you know that the testimony you carry will continue to reach around the world. God Bless you and Whit welcome back to Taylor. You are in the prayers of many and don't hesitate to ask for help if times get tough. I am glad Carley is there to help you. She has been an inspiration to many. Keep up the great work you have accomplished to get back to the Whit we all know and love.
God be with all of you
In Christ
Upland resident

9:27 AM  
Anonymous dylla said...

hey whitney...
to tell u d truth, i read of ur accident thru my newspaper.
(fyi: i live in singapore)

i was quite terrified when i read on about the accident n the bad mix up. but it's gonna b ok now. u're up n experiencing live thru new eyes i believe. a couple of weeks, or maybe even months of therapy, n u'll recover fully.

my best wishes to u n ur family, may u have a speedy recovery soon ok?

loads luv..

10:39 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

We share your joy and adoration to God for Whitney's recovery and continued healing. You all have been an example to us all in faithfulness, courage, hope, and peace with God's will for your lives. Good luck and best wishes, Whitney!!

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cerak family,
This is a wonderful way to end this blog, the picture is a bonus, however many of us do not know which one is Whitney????? Please try to address this somehow! Good luck at TU.
May God keep all of you in his care.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an exciting story and what a fabulous testimony for the power of God working in your life and those who read your story. It's easy to say how amazing God is when the news is good, but look at how your family leaned on God during those five awful weeks after the accident. That is REAL faith, and I know you have it too, Whitney. I'm glad things are working out for you. Kelly

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very happy for the Cerak's. I ache daily for the VanRyn's and the other families. That will not change. What I do not understand are those reading this blog? They do not want it to end. Like this is about them. I think of the person who led this blog to have a moderator. What he was writing was bad but do all these people reading this blog just want to stay in their circle or will they realize this person was who Jesus came for? What about the man driving the truck that hit the Taylor van? Is anyone praying for him. I know his isn't the typical response and it may not even get past the moderator but I just hope now that this blog has ended, people will do God's work and not just feed themselves on another blog. I hope Whit has a very "normal" year at Taylor.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous **lachicabonita** said...

Dear Whitney and Family,

Your story made it all the way to Singapore and I can see in the comments that already, a few fellow Singaporeans have posted comments.

I wanna say the story has touched all of us and I'm so happy that you've recovered well!! This is truly amazing! God bless and take care.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most inspirational part of your family story is your spirit. Your commitment to God is so touching; I have so much admiration for your strength and praise of Him. I cannot help but believe it is your family's spirituality that has carried you through.

Congratulations, and may God be with you as you continue in your life journeys!

9:10 PM  
Blogger 27hcram said...

Yeah! God is an omnipotent God always. Hope you guys have a great time with your daughter. All the best to you and your family. May all the praises be to the Lord.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Move into the next season of your lives knowing that you have witnessed to the world and brought the news of God's presence to many...even during a most difficult time. God Bless all of you as well as those who suffered devastating loss.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy this next chapter of your Taylor experience. Blessings on you and the campus as you return to that blessed place. You are in our thoughts and prayers!

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cerak's:

Thank you so much for sharing your story and yourselves with the world. I am from Gaylord and although do not know you personally, I have followed this story from the beginning.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of the journey and for allowing us to rejoice with you and God for all the wonderous things he does for us. You have been an inspiration to me and I know many, many more!

Whitney, you are an amazing young lady. I admire your determination, persistance and your faith in God. Although you are extraordinary in my book, my hope is for you to have a "normal" life. I am sure that there are many good things in store for your future. Good luck in all you do!

My thoughts and prayers and with all those involved in this tragedy and that your lives will one day be filled with joy. God Bless you all!

6:45 PM  
Blogger Krystle said...

Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful! You're family looks great... :) May god continue to bless you and your family.

God Bless You All..With Love,
Krystle

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing and letting us lift you to the Lord in prayer.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only God knows what HE has done for so many of us out here who have prayed for you, have learned to love you, but more importantly, made us want to know the God who you serve, to love Him as you have through anything life brings our way. To know Him intimately and trust Him totally. Ceraks, never quit standing in awe of Him. We will meet you one day at the feet of King Jesus. Thank you God for your absolute faithfulness.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cerak family--
I have never commented before, but felt the need to now since this blog is coming to an end. You do not know me, but I feel like I know you through this daily glimpse into your lives. I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reminding me of the simple things. Since I started reading your blog (when the identity mix up was first discovered) I have tried not to take anything for granted. I constantly cherish the touch of my 3-year old daughter's hand on mine, I breathe in the smell of her hair and baby lotioned skin, and I revel in the sound of her contagious laughter. Your journey has taught me that these simple things are the most precious and should be treasured every minute of every day. Time goes by so quickly and all too often these special, simple moments pass by so easily without appreciation. Loved ones can be taken from our lives in an instant and all we are left with are memories. The more we treasure and recognize, the easier it is to keep those simple moments alive in our hearts and lives. I have taken more pictures and videos of my daughter than ever before. And I no longer tell her I am too busy to play dress up, have tea parties, or play princess castle games. I enjoy all of these things more and more every day because I am lucky enough to be able to experience them. You have shown me how lucky I really am. I thought I was a religious person. Through your blog I have realized I have so far to go. You have given me the determination and the desire to grow even further in my faith. I have been through alot of tough times in my life. I lost my mom less then 2 years ago and I struggle daily with her absence from my life. My husband and I suffered through years of infertility and miscarriages before we were blessed with the adoption of our daughter. I know I did not handle those hurdles in my life the way God would have wanted me to. I wish I had the faith and strength to handle my trials as graciously as you all have. You have shown me what it means to be a true Christian. I hope that one day I can be as strong in my faith as you all are. I am somewhat involved with the Youth Group at my church and definitely plan to use your blog (and many of the comments left daily by all who have read it) as an example to our students on how to handle life's trials and to portray what it means to be a true Christian. I really hope that you plan to leave this blog up and 'active' for all to read for months to come. You have such an opportunity to reach so many. More than you already have. I also hope that you plan to write a book, and/or agree to a movie, as this would be an even greater opportunity to portray YOUR experience without having to compromise your faith and religion. I know you have already been through so much and this would just be one more thing to deal with. But, please consider it. I hope you realize the impact you have had on thousands of lives. Mine being one of them. Thank you for that gift. I wish you all the best in the world and thank you, again, for touching my life in ways that you will never know or realize.
In Christian Love,
A thankful admirer from New Jersey

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope people who have followed your story, and have young children, that they also follow the example you set... by taking their kids to church, teaching them about Jesus, and learning about God. So that the children will grow up with the Word of God instilled in them, and be prepared for whatever the future may bring. I regret not having done that with my own family. My kids are grown now, and how I wish I would have taken them to church and been a better Christian example. I pray that it's not too late. If I would have, they would not question "The Way, the Truth and The Life" but it would be natural knowledge for them. Please, parents of young ones, do not put it off. They grow up way too fast, and before you know it even your best intentions, if you do not follow through with them, will not be an option anymore. Someday you'll be glad you did; especially when they go through the valleys of life. They will stand firm, and you and they will have the comfort of a loving God to help you get through whatever life has in store.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Suze said...

Talk about mixed emotions!!! I have several fighting for dominance at the moment.
I am thrilled for Whitney ~ what an incredible journey to arrive back at school after all she has been through. I wish the best for her and her family, and pray she makes a full recovery!
I am also a little bereft that the blog is "over". I know it feels like it's "time" to her family to move on, but after reading this story for months, it's hard to go cold turkey, LOL. It has been an inspiration to me to read ~ it has made me extremely curious how to find faith and grace like the Ceraks have, and the Vanryns as well, judging from their blog entries from Laura's blog. I cannot honestly tell you I could have handled this as well as they have, it has been amazing to see.
Last, but not least, my heart is still broken for the five people who died in that accident and their families, and even for the driver of the vehicle that hit them. May God bless them all.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHITNEY is on the LEFT.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your family photo, but most importantly with sharing Jesus with the world.

God is so good!

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely a most precious and beautiful photo! How wonderful to finally see your family. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts as I rejoice with you the work that God has done and continues to do. With much much love - from Chicago

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best wishes to you all. You look great!!

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL FAMILY PICTURE. Enjoy your life Whitney and I will always wonder about you in the years to come!

Have a Great Life, from NJ

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the AWESOME Cerak family:
Thank you for sharing your journey with us, those who are so touched by both your love and the triumph of God's will. The example you set for all of us, in both your faith, your evangalism and your unfaltering dedication to each other is amazing. Whitney's recovery (while still many challenges ahead - of course) is testimony to the fact that she has a God inspired purpose here on earth. The others who did not survive the crash had already fulfilled their role in God's plan here on earth and are continuing their roles on a more heavenly plane. May Whitney's road to her final purpose be as blessed as her journey through this experience. Again - thank you for sharing your family, your lives and this amazing journey with the world.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been consumed with a personal battle for the last week that will continue for a time unknown. Came to your site tonight and it was just the reminder I needed that nothing is impossible for God. I just need to keep trusting Him. Thanks for all you have done and the courtesy you have shown the world thru this chapter in your lives. I will probably never meet you this side of heaven but know that all of us that put our faith and trust in Jesus will have eternity to celebrate and worship. In Christ

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am truly happy for you and your family that Whitney has returned to your lives after you thought you lost her to eternity. Even though we know that we are all in God's hands, it has been a cruel thing that happened to your family and the others, especially the VanRyns also. May you all live in peace and find the serenity that you deserve as you are good people. God's blessing certainly flowed thru you and yours. Connie Zuber

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the person who wanted to find the blog from the begining it is at whitneysstory.blogspot

Hope you can find it...this blog has the very first posting made by Laura's family after the accident.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never posted here before, but I have followed this story throughout...

To the family of Whitney, it's not often such a miracle occurs, may you always cherrish what you have been (twice) blessed with for the rest of your lives...

To Whitney, What an amazing story to share with your grandchildren! I know that through gods grace, you have lived and learned through your experiences, and I look forward to knowing the difference you will make in this world...we have not heard the last from you...

~Rose

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Others have expressed what is on my heart - appreciation for your faithfulness to God throughout this journey and your compassion for the others involved and affected by this accident. Most of all I appreciate your Scripture selections - they have often been what I needed to see. You have given much that we can take from your postings. I trust that each of you continue to sense God's presence and peace. My husband and I recall each of our children referring to their respective campuses as "home," and it was so good to know that each was happy being where they were, and felt that we had done at least some things right in raising them to that point in their lives. Thank you for sharing and encouraging so many of us!

10:50 PM  
Blogger Robyn Scott said...

To the entire Cerak Family:

I to am a stranger by face, but a member of your spritual family! I have been following your story along with the rest of the country. All I can say, is Praise His Majestic Name! What a GOD we serve! He is still on the throne & is God all by hiself! :) Thank you for sharing the most intimate
details of your life! You and Laura's family showed so much GRACE! I was TOTALLY amazed. I have prayed for you, cried with you & now I rejoice with you. I hate that the blog will be ending, but I totally understand about closure (having gone from being a sexual abuse victim to a survivor!) I KNOW what our God is capable of! I pray God will continue to use all of you, for HIS glory! Whitney, you are an amazing woman of God. Continue to seek Him in all you do. Remember His word says that all things work togther for the good of those who are called according to His purpose; not all good things, but FOR THE GOOD. Listen to Him as he leads you...For His name sake.

May God continue to shine His face upon all of you.

Have a Jesus filled day.
Robyn

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Whit,
We miss you but many of us still keep you and your family and especially the families and friends of those who went on to the Kingdom in our hearts. It is by God's AMAZING grace that you will have an awesome year this year. In many respects, it may be the best year ever. I am happy for you and for your second chance. Blessings!

6:58 PM  
Blogger Al B. said...

Newell, Colleen, Carly, Sandra and WHIT,

What a wonderful family picture and truley a nice end to a heartbreaking story!!!

I still am going through withdrawl from not reading the daily updates on Whit's progress, but on the other hand, I'm so glad that the need for updates is gone.

As I've said before, I've come to feel like I know all of you personally even though I do not. Thank you again, so much, for sharing this story with us. For me personally, it's restored a part of my faith that I thought I had lost when we lost my mother to cancer in 1989.

I will always remember your entire family, as well as the families of the others.

Whit, thanks again for fighting so very hard and as I said in my last post, you are "my hero."

Oh heck, I'll say it one more time: GO WHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I miss hearing about all of you and hope all going well!!! :-)

Al from Pittsburgh

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing your journey with us, for being so transparent with your faith as it was stretched from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. Your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is evident and is a testimony to the world of an awesome God. May He continue to hold your family in His hand and lead you as you live life to the fullest. Do well at TU, Whitney.
Kathy in Miami

8:26 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful testimony! It has really touched my heart to read of God's faithfulness and healing. Have a GREAT year Whitney!

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have been in my prayers since the accident and praise be to the Lord for your recovery. You look fantastic and I know God will be with you as you continue with your studies at Taylor!

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely amazing! Have a wonderful life...

7:00 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

My thoughts and prayers remain with all of you.

I know GOD has a an beautiful plan for you.

Passing on your very powerful example of "WALKING IN FAITH" carries a humbling message, all of you have shared so unselfishly.

Your inspiration has given me the strength to face some really hard issues in my life. Carrying the message of HIS WORD has been a wonderful gift you have given... so freely.

I just wanted to let you know you are in my heart.
My continued thoughts and prayers to all of you.
Paula

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still praying for you guys. Hope all is going well. May God richly bless you.

9:45 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

Whitney,
From the moment you had your accident, you have held a special spot in our hearts. And though we have never met, we prayed fervently for you. I can't tell you the joy I feel to know that you have been able to return to college. As I was riding in the car yesterday, my five year old asked me how you were doing. It was with great excitement that I said, "Great!". May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you.
In Christ,
Friends from FHBC
Grand Rapids, MI

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still praying for you guys. Hope all is going well. May God richly bless you all.

A believer in Texas

7:05 AM  
Anonymous venetia owyong shi hui said...

hey! im happy to hear that u have recovered ! im venetia from singapore may god bless u and p.s ur family looks great in the picture

4:27 AM  
Blogger Ang said...

I hope everything is going well for you, Whitney! I was inspired all summer by your story.

Good luck in school!

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to you guys. Still remembering you all in prayer along with the other five families.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Whitney said...

Here it is, the year 2008, and I still come back to read these blog entries. My name is Whitney too, and I am from Indiana. I can't help but wonder how my family would have dealt with a situation like this. I feel you are all so strong. Both families have endured struggle beyond any of our imaginations. This was no normal occurrence. How bittersweet. I will be watching Dateline tonight. Both the Cerak's and the VanRyn's will be in my prayers tonight! God Bless.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think its wonderful Whitney is doing so well and recovering good.
But at the same time I feel so sorry for laura's family. On one end there is happiness for one family who buried the other families daughter, and the other family who sat by Whitney day and night, and in the end suffered the lose of there daughter. Somebody in that hospital is at fault. And needs to held responsible.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

I was surprised to wake up and find your families on the Today Show this morning. God brought you to my mind last night while sleeping and I prayed for you and the Van Ryn family. May God bless you and may His name be glorified through this. Kathy

5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for getting on the "Today Show" and giving praise to our God. You and your family are great witnesses to Him.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently watched your special on the Today show and I can honestly say that I have been moved in such an extraordinary way. There are no words that I could say to this story besides God is good. Whitney, I don't know if you will ever read this but your story is such an awesome testimony of faith. You have challenged me to check myself and align myself in God's will. I started to tear up when you said how humbling that it is that the "Maker of Heaven and Earth would choose me,". What powerful words. The thing that I loved the most about you, your family, and the Van Ryn's was that not once did you say that you guys were ever angry with God. What a typical response nowadays. I hear God being blamed for such minute things. But you all never doubted that God has a plan and a reason for everything that occurs. I will hold both your family, the Ceraks, and the Van Ryn's up in prayer. Thank you for stepping out to share your story. You have encouraged me in a way that you will probably never know. I look forward to the hope that I will meet everyone of you in Heaven...

Tonya from Ohio

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if any of you still read these comments but I didn't know of any other way to share my thoughts with all of you. I just want you to know what an impact your story can have on the world by allowing NBC and Matt Lauer to tell your story. I just finished watching the last of the Today Show spots and I cannot wait to see Dateline tonight. God is so awesome to be using primetime television to get His message out. Don't ever doubt the incredible influence this can have on our world. This is the type of story that can no doubt have an intelligent man of the world like Matt Lauer stopping one day to say you know I just don't have that. I don't have that kind of peace...but I want it! Oh, it's just so awesome watching God work in such incredible ways. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind can conceive what God has in store for us" I know God will continue to bless you all in so many ways. Thank You for sharing!!

8:42 AM  
Blogger Al B. said...

3/28/2008

Hi Cerak Family!!

I just finished watching the clips from the Today Show and can't wait to see everything on Dateline NBC tonight. I still think of all of you often as well as the Van Ryn's.

It hardly seems like it's been two years since that horrible day. I remember sitting here every morning with both blogs, checking for updates while I had my morning coffee.

From what I saw on TV this morning, it seems like everyone is doing very well. I'm so glad to see that too.

Thanks again to both you guys and the Van Ryns. Both of your families have touched me in an incredible way. You are all in my thoughts and prayers daily.

GO WHIT!!!! I'm SO happy that you're doing well!!!!

Al
(from Pittsburgh)

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your family's love for the Lord is inspirational and encouraging! I know you have touched many lives with your faith! I know you have touched mine.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Whitney Evans said...

My name is Whitney. I have followed your story. God has blessed you all... the VanRyn's very much included. In high school I lived a similar situation when two dear friends of mine were in an auto accident.One young man was pronounced DOA and the other in critical condition. For them, the story did not last 5 weeks, but 5 days when the families realized the mistake that had been made. Unfortunately both friends ultimately perished from the accident. God bless you, my Whitney friend, and carry on with the brave life you are living.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were saved for a reason, You are Blessed to do God's great works.
Love & many Blessings
Terry
Carencro LA

7:40 PM  
OpenID freelme said...

Where do I even begin, being from the Gas City area and living in Fl, I was saddened by the news of the accident I felt great sorrow for both families and the pain they all must be going thru. All I knew was that something troubled me and wasn't sure why but the Cerak Name was ringing a bell with me. Tonight as I watched Dateline about your story and saw your picture it was deja vu...Colleen was my Jr. High Volleyball coach and I always thought highly of her. My prayers are with you and your family in hopes that you heal.

Melani Freel- Lumpkins

8:13 PM  
Blogger stampinsilvia said...

WOW is all I can say! I just saw your amazing story on dateline and am still in shock! I am greatful for God and the plans he has for you and all of us! Our God is an awesome God and I am sooo glad to be a part of His family! I will be praying for you, your family and the Van Ryn family, you all have an amazing connection and I pray that youw ill always remain close...God has a purpose for all of this and I know it will be reveal to you!

Let us all be good and faithful servants until we meet Him face to face!

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just watched the NBC special on the wonderful miracle your family has received from God, and the unbelievable tragedy the Van Ryn family has had to go through. Through it all, your two families have maintained your unwavering faith in God and I just wanted to tell you how amazingly awe-inspiring your devotion to Christ is to me. I have always been a child of God, but you have shown me a deeper faith in Christ than I have ever experienced in my life. Through this tragedy comes enriched faith in Christ, hope and love for our neighbors. May God continue to bless you and your family as you continue to rejoice in Whitney's renewed youth... may He continue to comfort the family of Laura Van Ryn and reassure them that she lives in a better place and that her spirit lives on in all of them. I hope you continue to share your story with the world and inspire and ignite the faith in others and show them the awesome benevolence of Jesus Christ.

Best Wishes,
M.J.
Washington, DC

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anybody talked to Connie Magers? She was the Taylor University employee in the van on the passenger side the night of the accident.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Jennifer L. Griffith said...

I am blown away by the faith of you, your family and Laura's family. What a wonderful testimony of the Living God.

Thanks for sharing and encouraging me to press on and stay close to my Redeemer.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Tyler Anderson said...

I don't know how to start and what I am about to say I pray that this makes sense to all who read this. It is late so bare with me...

You know I am just in Shivers and Goose bumps as I watched the Date Line NBC tonight. As I write this right now I am just looking in my bible and reading Ephesians 5:1-17.I read "Our Daily Bread" everyday or night and I didn't get to read it today yet, so after I watched the show I turned to this page and how awesome to me on how it relates to what the Families here have done. You have given Thanksgiving to the Lord on both parts for what has happened. I am sure this is only a letter of repeats you have heard. I truly and honestly and never have had a tear drop from my eye till i watched and heard all this on TV. A tear of how life can turn our selves from one way to the complete opposite and being a Christian we are able to handle it with nothing but the best responses and knowing we will be ok knowing God is with us through all this. The whole passage of the Ephesian book is so wonderful and reading chapter 5 is very coincidental after watching and hearing about what had happened. I am sorry this is so long of a blog and I wish the best to both of the families and I will say a prayer tonight for you ! Amen!

Tyler A.
Butler Pa

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure if you still check this blog, but I wanted to thank your family for sharing your story on Dateline. What a wonderful testimony. I was so proud of both families stating that "God is Good" through all times, the tough times and the good times. Thanks also to the Vanryn family. What a wonderful way to end the Dateline story with the blog entry. Well done, Good and faithful servants!!!

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hope you never delete this blog as the scribtures are very important!

9:21 AM  
Blogger LifeSource said...

Watching the two families on the Today Show and then last night on Dateline, we were struck by the gentleness, compassion, grace, and love of the Lord that was SO evident in both families.

We prayed that viewers would recognize that that kind of peace and forgiveness is only possible through the Lord Jesus! It's impossible to imagine that lives were not impacted!

We prayed very specifically for Matt's heart to be open to the message of your lives.

Thank you for the vulnerability of all concerned.

We didn't know how to contact the Van Ryns so please pass this on to them.

In His grip,
Ramsey & Bette Reasoner

2:24 PM  
Blogger Mommy to those Special Ks said...

I'm watching Whitney's story right now... so amazing. Two wonderful families. I pray Whitney is doing well and will have a long, happy life. My prayers go up for the Vanryn family as well. Even almost 2 years later, I know their pain must be indescribeable as they miss their daughter.
God bless.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was truly a blessing to have your daughter back. This story touched my heart when I heard about it. I feel very badly for the Vanryn family. I hope Whitney continues to live a great life & live everyday as if it were her last. I'm sure this opened her eyes on life. You all have a beautiful family.

God Bless

12:56 PM  
OpenID kaitland99 said...

I just watched your story on Dateline. I am filled with such joy and sorrow for both families. My prayers are with you all as you continue to rebuild your lives.
God Bless You All...

Christy G. Wilmore, Ky

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just wanted to say, that I was extremely touched by your story. Whitney you truly are a remarkable girl, and you have taught me a wonderful lesson. Also, I wanted to say that you look absolutely stunning and are extremely georgeous!! I was so inspired by your story that I have decided to write my eigth grade speech on it. I wish I could meet you, you truly are evidence of God's miracled.
Wishing you continued good health

Christina

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Whitney, I have recently become aware of your story, and as I was watching your interview, and you stated you have a slogan that you keep with you all the time.." well done my good and faithful servant." Well, immediately, I thought of a christian band, out of Ft. Smith Arkansas, who I have the honor and blessing to know. They have a song on their CD titled "WELL DONE"...if there is a way you can listen to their song, it is so right on. I think of your story everytime I hear that song now. THe name of the group is called, CO3...Cord of 3. God bless you and your family, along with Laurens family as well.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I just finished watching the episode on Oprah that you all were on. I was brought to tears by your testimony and I am so proud of my brothers and sisters in Christ; that you boldly proclaimed your relationship with Him on national television! I know God will continue to bless you for giving Him the glory. Thank you so much for sharing. You are all in my prayers.

Rachel Lock, Gainesville VA

2:05 PM  
OpenID lady-alyson said...

My tears are for the sheer happiness, devastation, and the recovery Whitney has gone through. On March 21,2006 I was in a devastating car accident which left me with not just 1 head injury, but 2 seperate in the frontal lobe. I was ejected from the car, and it landed on my back & head. Still to this day all involved in my recovery we believe it was a miracle from God. I am with you on every step of your recovery, I am with the Van Ryan family with how they let go and let God help through prayer as they never gave up. Since the dateline airing, I have returned to my state of mind in the beginning and remember every little step I had to take to recover. Everybody connected to you has been blessed by God.

Warm Wishes,
Alyson
alyson.demalta@hotmail.com

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whitney,

There was a part of the epilogue where you said that there was a point you weren't sure what God wanted you to do to change lives. Just stop and think how many people's lives you have changed by sharing your story with the world. People have come to Christ in your name. You have touched thousands of lives before you even knew it.

God Bless

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for being such wonderful ambassadors for Christ. What a light you were to many in your boldness on Oprah when you gave all the credit to Jesus Christ!!! Not her any God is fine, you are your own God, etc etc....You were a light to her, we need to pray for her, she needs Jesus. I thank God in all my remembrances of you.
My brother was killed in a car accident on Dec 7th, 1984 and I relived it all watching the show today. I am so thankful how you all handled yourself and gave other's hope in Jesus.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Just watched your Dateline show. Wow.. I was so praiseworthy of how the truth of who God is, shined through. God works all things together for His good.

I could only imagine your pain. I had tears in my eyes the whole time for both families. But I am just so inspired and encouraged of your faithfulness through it all. I know the Lord gives us what we need when we need it. May God continue to bless you in your faithfullness. With love, Erin

8:00 AM  
Blogger abrook8 said...

04/04/08

To Lisa Van Ryn,

The Lord says that he is so proud of you and the way you acted so unselfishly. You gave and gave and continued to give even though you knew something was not right. He was watching you be a cheerleader for Laura/Whitney, how you said, "Come on I know your going to make it! I believe in you! You are loved!” He heard your every prayer. He was standing over you as you looked around to make sure that no one was watching, and you then bowed your head in silence and implored him to bring her back all the way to complete fullness. He watched you as you loved on this dear sister in the bed, and he is so happy with your attitude and your faith. He says that Laura is with him now and that she is so happy! She also saw your love and knew that you thought that Whitney was her, and she was amazed at your steadfast love for her. “I didn’t know that you had that kind of depth and love in you, but you do. Thank you for being my sister!”

Then the Lord pins a spiritual medal on your chest as a reward for showing his pure love. He says, “Lisa, in the moments that counted, heaven was watching, and so was I. This a small reward from me to you because you loved as I would have loved, with a selfless concern. And that type of love catches my attention. Very few love like that. And I want you to know that Laura has asked me to open some new doors for you, and I have granted her request. I shall open doors for you, for you are not the type who would push open the doors yourself, and so my angels will go before you with “unexpected favor.” And the doors will open before you.

It is written, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I tell you that you shall know what this verse means.”

The Lord then shows a picture of you studying and when things get difficult to understand, he assigns an angel to “help you.” He says that he will turn your mourning into joy, and that he will give you opportunities to tell your story to many people. And you shall also pray for people and they shall be touched as you pray. And even though you may pray in silence, he hears you, and he will answer your prayers.

He takes you hand in his and places it over your heart and says, “Lisa, I am healing your heart.” Then he places his hand on your head and says, “I am healing your memories.”
And even though you may have wondered why all this had to happen, he says that he will make it all work together for your good in the end, according to Romans 8:28.

The he shows a picture of you getting married, and everything is just like a dream or a fairy tale. You will say, “This is so much God! I can't believe all this has happened to me!”
And the Lord answers you “that he who is faithful in the small things will be made ruler over much.” And because you have been faithful, he shall reward you with a large reward. He says that many things will fall into place for you, and you shall have the desires of your heart.

He says, “Continue to be steadfast, Dear Lisa. Remember that my word says that you are surrounded a great cloud of witnessess, and Laura in indeed one of them. And now she will be your cheerleader, cheering you on from heaven.”

In Him,

Alan Brooks abrook8@aol.com

10:20 AM  
Blogger abrook8 said...

04/04/08

To Lisa Van Ryn,

The Lord says that he is so proud of you and the way you acted so unselfishly. You gave and gave and continued to give even though you knew something was not right. He was watching you be a cheerleader for Laura/Whitney, how you said, "Come on I know your going to make it! I believe in you! You are loved!” He heard your every prayer. He was standing over you as you looked around to make sure that no one was watching, and you then bowed your head in silence and implored him to bring her back all the way to complete fullness. He watched you as you loved on this dear sister in the bed, and he is so happy with your attitude and your faith. He says that Laura is with him now and that she is so happy! She also saw your love and knew that you thought that Whitney was her, and she was amazed at your steadfast love for her. “I didn’t know that you had that kind of depth and love in you, but you do. Thank you for being my sister!”

Then the Lord pins a spiritual medal on your chest as a reward for showing his pure love. He says, “Lisa, in the moments that counted, heaven was watching, and so was I. This a small reward from me to you because you loved as I would have loved, with a selfless concern. And that type of love catches my attention. Very few love like that. And I want you to know that Laura has asked me to open some new doors for you, and I have granted her request. I shall open doors for you, for you are not the type who would push open the doors yourself, and so my angels will go before you with “unexpected favor.” And the doors will open before you.

It is written, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I tell you that you shall know what this verse means.”

The Lord then shows a picture of you studying and when things get difficult to understand, he assigns an angel to “help you.” He says that he will turn your mourning into joy, and that he will give you opportunities to tell your story to many people. And you shall also pray for people and they shall be touched as you pray. And even though you may pray in silence, he hears you, and he will answer your prayers.

He takes you hand in his and places it over your heart and says, “Lisa, I am healing your heart.” Then he places his hand on your head and says, “I am healing your memories.”
And even though you may have wondered why all this had to happen, he says that he will make it all work together for your good in the end, according to Romans 8:28.

The he shows a picture of you getting married, and everything is just like a dream or a fairy tale. You will say, “This is so much God! I can't believe all this has happened to me!”
And the Lord answers you “that he who is faithful in the small things will be made ruler over much.” And because you have been faithful, he shall reward you with a large reward. He says that many things will fall into place for you, and you shall have the desires of your heart.

He says, “Continue to be steadfast, Dear Lisa. Remember that my word says that you are surrounded a great cloud of witnessess, and Laura in indeed one of them. And now she will be your cheerleader, cheering you on from heaven.”

In Him,

Alan Brooks abrook8@aol.com

10:22 AM  
Blogger Jen L said...

I'm watching MSNBC's coverage of the accident and I'm weeping - for joy and in sorrow. As a believer in our Lord, your words and the words of the Van Ryn family encourage me. I prayed for your families in the days following the accident and I've continued to pray as I hear updates. Thank you for your courage to speak of our Saviour's strengthening power.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the book.....OMW! I could NOT put it down. I finished it in 24 hours' time and now I want our daughter to go to Taylor University too! I want to have a heart after God like the Van Ryn family and the Cerak family. Thank you for sharing this incredible story with us. I will NEVER forgot how you handled the indescribable circumstances in which you all found yourselves.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm only 14 years old and I just finished reading your book "Mistaken Identity". I have an extremely strong faith in God and your story has just made it stronger. I found myself in different chapters of your book stopping and crying. Its truely amazing how I don't even know you at all, and yet God can still touch my heart through you. I was truely astonished to read about your strong faith in God throughout your stressful adventure. I don't know if your ever going to read this, but I hope that if you do, you know that God has helped many people through you!

someone who cares

1:39 PM  
Blogger Chasity Wyatt said...

I just read the book that was published and I have to say that you are wonderful people. The lord has really blessed all of you and I am sure he will continue to. Always thinking of you, your friend in christ.

8:00 AM  
Blogger OP SuZ Q said...

Thanks so much for sharing with 20/20 - that was an awesome story - and we appreciate it!!! I now you didn't "have" to do that!!

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Whitney for sharing your story and your family. All of you, as well as Laura's family are truly an inspiration to more then you'll ever realize.

I just finished the book and it was so well written and not "blow by blow of tragedy" but of love and struggles that triumph in the end.

I've had the book for several weeks, but was afraid to begin reading as I was afraid of the "ugliness" that 'might' be depicted. It was graceful, tasteful and awe/love inspired.

Again, thank you for sharing. I am glad you are doing well, and continue to gain back the forest that was torn apart.

And FYI: I love the new whitney too, even if I don't know you, and I never knew the old whitney.

God bless us every one. You, your family, and laura's family, exude what christianity is all about.

Hugs from Oklahoma and prayers all around. Cheryl@seminoleoklahoma.com

12:50 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

I hope you're still checking this blog - and its comments. I just wanted to share that I just finished your book and my only disappointment is that it ended! I have 2 little boys and scarcely find time to read... but I literally could not put this book down. You are all such an example to me... and I can only pray that my boys will grow up to have half the faith that all of you girls (Carly, Lisa, Whitney, Laura) exhibit! I am truly inspired!

Should you choose one day to write the sequel.. I'll be among the first in line!

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you are still checking your blog. I live in southern Illinois and remember when the story first broke about the accident. I have no connections to the families or TU, but for some reason, I listened anyway.

I am about halfway into your book and am really enjoying it. As a nurse, I understand how important it is to properly identify someone at such a tragic time. I, myself, have been involved in the identification process after a complete stranger has passed. It is very difficult to identify someone just by a driver's license picture or by a check stub you find in the purse that is found with the body. I am sure that if I would have been on the scene of the accident that night, I most likely would have done the same thing that the coroner did...mis-identify the girls. Laura and Whitney are both beautiful and to complete strangers look very much alike.

I believe God put your family and the Van Ryn family together this way for a reason. I hope your friendship lives on forever.

When I read the parts about the different things that didn't seem right to the Van Ryn family, it shocks me. The fact that "Laura" wasn't wearing her own clothes, had her naval pierced without telling anyone, her teeth looked different, her eyes were a different color, etc. And to see that the family just brushed it off thinking they were just imagining things or that things happened from the accident. It is so amazing to me that no one questioned anything. But, again, as a nurse, I can see how they wouldn't have. I see patients in ICU all the time that I have known for years and all of a sudden, it just doesn't look like them...they are so swollen and have lost all their color. They have their eyes closed and their mouths are filled with tubes. This is a very understandable, yet not so understandable thing.

Your story is very inspiring to me. How your faith in God pulled you through every day. I especially liked to see that your family had morning prayer sessions and placed "Do Not Disturb" signs on the doors and turned off the phone. The music must have helped tremendously at that time. Carly seemed to have really stepped up to the plate and let everyone know what needed to be done in order for everyone to be able to get through each day.

Thank you for sharing your story. This has brought me one step (if not more) closer to God. I am ashamed to say that I don't go to church. I do, however, pray every day. I know that God listens, no matter where you speak to him from.

God bless you all and good luck, Whitney, in your future.

crstl96@hotmail.com

11:10 PM  
Blogger Kupiec Baby Blog said...

Just finished your book. Such an amazing story.

God Bless.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Whitney,

I am 12 years old and i read your book it was amazing! I live in Illinois. My family and I watched the news every single night when the crash happened we prayed for you and for Laura. When i recently saw Oprah and you on it it was really cool. When i saw the book i had to get it so i did! Now im in 6th grade and im doing a huge book report on this book. I know i seem a little young for reading this book but i love it. You are so lucky to be alive and God is defently in you. All my best wishes to you and your family.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just finished reading your book...I picked it up and could not put it down! Your faith in God is amazing! I am a Christian and have always believed in God, but I have never had the love for God as you and your family and the Van Ryns' have...but now I want it! You guys are a true inspiration and I wonder if the purpose to all of this, was to show the world that while there is sooo much wrong with this world, there is still alot of good. Of course, the accident was horrible, but the way you found strength and love through God and did not question Him nor become mad at anyone, was truly amazing, and a lesson to all of us. So many people would have become mad at God, the world, the coroner, the Van Ryns', etc etc etc, but you guys didn't. That is a wonderful wonderful thing. You all are truly an example. Becoming angry does no good, but not everyone realizes that.

In the book, I really felt for you Whitney, when you said you felt that because of what happened, you had to do something wonderful and amazing with your life, so that the others did not die in vain. I am glad you realized that all you have to do is live your life for God, and spread his word, and that is your "big" thing. And you have done it, it sounds as though you ALWAYS have!! I know it must have been hard to make this such a public story, but I am glad you did. You made me feel closer to God, and I am sure I am not the only one. I hope you all can get back to a normal life as much as possible, and know that people are still praying for you and the families of all involved in the accident.

God bless you all

4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read your entire book in less than four hours. I have followed your story since it all began and my thoughts and prayers have been with all of you since the beginning. Your story has made me reflect on my own life and I hope that you continue to tell your story and update us on the progress your family has made throughout the years. You are an inspiration to the world. Your love for God especially touched me and I was overjoyed to see how you handled this situation by allowing yourselves to be taken care of by Christ. Thank you for being a voice and a reminder of his good work. May God bless you and everyone you have touched.
A friend from Howell, MI

4:21 PM  

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