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God Watches Over Us

I know there are a lot of beliefs and a lot of skepticism about God and what he does but *I* believe that He exists and that He watches out for ALL of us. Things He does may seem insignificant but others are an absolute 'Wow! God really watched out for me today!' kinda feeling.

I have two examples of God watching out for us.

And I'll go ahead and warn you now that this post is LONG on words (and I mean L.O.N.G.) but short on pictures.

The first example pales in comparison to the second one. I've hesitated even putting the two together in this post b/c this first one seems so trivial. So, laughable when compared to the other but in both cases, I KNOW God had a hand in them.

Back near the end of April, we had some nasty storms come through. I've always been scared of tornado watches/warnings but even more so after the tornadoes that came through April 2011. This particular evening, they were calling for the potential of tornadoes and I was on pins and needles (after all, it was around the "anniversary" of the 2011 tornadoes). John had to work the next morning but knowing my fear, told me that he was going to lay down and try to get some sleep but if a tornado warning came across, to wake him up. We'd already readied the 'storm shelter' (our basement is partially underground and we had our old queen mattress down there with blankets, lamps, weather radio and such) and I'd had John put the Kia in the garage, so there wasn't much else to do but wait.

A few hours later, a warning comes up and I wake John up. He grabs McKayla, and then we (including the dogs) head to the basement.

To try and make an already long post a little shorter; we had no tornadoes come through that night but we ended up sleeping in the basement. McKayla thought it was a fun experience anyway. :-)

Can you imagine all 4 of us sleeping on this bed? Me, John, McKayla, Katie
AND Rio.

John left for work early that morning and as I was dozing off, I heard a noise. It sounded like a garbage bag full of stuff falling.....which wasn't beyond the realm of possibility being that we were in the garage/basement. I didn't think much of it and went back to sleep.

I woke up a little later to get McKayla ready for school and when I went out the basement door and this was the sight I saw:

So it turned out that what I'd thought was a bag falling, was in fact a tree falling. Where I usually park the Kia. If the Kia had been there, the tree would have landed directly on top of it. To make it even more chill worthy (at least for me), John informed me later that he'd parked the Jeep there when he'd put the Kia in the garage. The tree fell not long after John had left for work. Not only was the Kia spared b/c of being in the garage but the Jeep was too b/c of John going to work.

Whether you believe it or not, I'M convinced that God was watching out for us.

Now for the second example. This was Mom's experience and a much BIGGER example of God's work. I couldn't do her story justice, so I'd asked her if she would type up something for me. I interjected a few times, and you'll see it in the normal color for the blog.

April 27, 2011 ~ I'll never forget the date of the day I should have died.
          The Southeast United States had been experiencing what the meteorologists call 'unstable' weather conditions for several days. As a matter of fact, high winds the night before had caused a limb to fall on our power line, leaving us without electricity all day.
          Late in the afternoon my husband, Sonny, and I decided to ride around to see if we could find where the lines were down and possibly get an idea of how long we'd be without power. We turned left out of our driveway and had traveled less than a mile when we came upon several cars stopped because of half a dozen very large trees down over the road and power lines. This was in an area with open fields on both sides of the road and just a few trees along the edge -- those that were now blocking the road. It could have been worse in the wooded area that we weren't close enough to see. We'd found out that we would be days without power.
          We turned around and drove back to our house while discussing what our options were. We knew we could go to Sonny's mom's house and that even if her power were out, we would still have light because she had propane lamps. While Sonny went in our house to gather a few things, I decided to call my parents to let them know we were all right, knowing that they would have heard about our severe weather and would have been worried. {Jennifer here. I'm interjecting to say that Mom tried calling me too but due to lines down and the general chaos, she couldn't get through. However, she DID leave a voice mail letting me know where they were going..............I still have that message saved.}
          Sonny returned to the car and we left, turning right out of our driveway this time and headed for Sonny's mom's house about ten miles away. I was a little spooked and kept checking the sky in the distance, which was difficult because of hills and forested areas we passed on our way. At one point, I caught a glimpse of a dark cloud with a perfectly level bottom -- the kind I thought tornadoes dropped down from. I sat anxiously waiting until we got to another open area and was relieved that I didn't see anything even resembling a funnel.
          Less than a tenth of a mile further, Sonny made a right turn and we had traveled less than a tenth of a mile when a small tree, about six inches in diameter, fell across the road directly in front of us. I tend to speak what I think and considering that the possibility of tornadoes had been predicted, my first thought (and word) was "Debriss!" (Reference the Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton movie Tornado!) Because it was a small tree I wasn't too concerned. After all, the limb in our yard that was brought down by high winds the night before was much larger.
          But, less than ten seconds later, a much larger tree crashed down on top of our car, almost in the middle, narrowly missing both Sonny and me and shattering the windshield. At this point, I was beginning to get concerned. (Oddly enough, no pithy Tornado! quotes were coming to me!)
          Sonny told me later that, looking through the shattered windshield, he could see a brown wall coming toward us. Then, when he looked out his side window, he watched as a mobile home seemingly melted into the darkness.
          My attention was on my side window. Try to imagine what it would look like being inside a blender full of moldy chocolate milk. That was my view. And the noise! Add a gallon of nuts and bolts to that blender and that would approximate what I heard.
          Next, the front of the car began sliding to the left. Sliding, wheels not turning -- sliding. Referring again to Tornado! which is, of course the authority on the subject, I started thinking about the scene in the red truck between the two lakes -- you know, the "We've got cows!" scene -- and still wasn't too concerned. After all, the movie characters had escaped without injury!
          But then, my side of the car started lifting off the ground. I guess the left front tire was about a foot or so off the ground when it finally occurred to me that we were in trouble.
          I gained consciousness lying on my side on the ground. I rolled onto my stomach, closed my eyes, put my hands on over my head and turned my face away from the wind -- all I could do to protect myself. I was wearing a house dress that the wind had blown almost over my head so I could feel every single thing that hit my right side -- thousands of pin pricks and about the same number of bee stings. I thought 'I can handle this, this isn't so bad'. But then I began thinking about what could be in the wind -- limbs, trees, parts of roofs --it seems that at that moment that thought occurred to me, something very hard and heavy hit my upper back. I had to know what had attempted to flatten me, so I opened my eyes slightly. Of all the things that the tornado could have picked up then dropped on me, imagine how amazed I was when what I saw was our car, upside down! Just as everyone who has experienced a dramatic event describes it, everything seemed to move in slow motion. Our car seemed to be slowly rotating and, floating away, came to rest on its wheels within ten feet of where the tornado had picked it up.
          I laid there for several minutes until the tornado had passed on, then sat up and began looking for Sonny. Since I had been ejected from the car, I assumed he had been too, but I didn't see him anywhere. I started calling for him, getting more panicked after each time I called but he didn't answer. Finally he answered -- from inside the car! Even though he had been driving, he was now in the passenger seat.
          He got out of the car, came to me, helped me up and back to the car. It was still stormy so we took what shelter we could in the car. Two of the doors wouldn't open -- and two wouldn't close.
          We began taking stock of our injuries as well as what we had and what was missing. Sonny's cell phone was gone but mine was still plugged into the charger so Sonny was able to, after several tries, reach his mom and tell her what happened, where we were and that we and others needed help. We could hear cries for help from at least two other people.
          We heard sirens within fifteen minutes but there was no way the ambulances could get to us because of downed trees and power lines. After about forty-five minutes we saw flashlights. Two EMTs had finally made it almost a mile to us by crawling over, under and around all the debris.
          The EMTs decided that, because there was still a likelihood of severe weather, they needed to get us to a safer place. There was a house about 100 yards away that was damaged but would still provide shelter. We made our way over and under power lines to the house. There we waited over three hours until our rescuers could clear the road enough to get a side-by-side ATV to the house. They then drove us to the waiting ambulance.
          The ride to the hospital took almost an hour because of downed trees causing the driver to repeatedly have to turn around and search out another route. Once there, we found ourselves lost in a waiting room crowded with probably hundreds of other victims waiting to be seen. Since I had been ejected from our car I had been put on a gurney, but whether because of adrenalin or extreme nervousness or something else, I found it impossible to lie still. When the nurses noticed me standing beside the gurney, they gave up and got a wheelchair for me.
          Sonny and I sat in our wheelchairs, occasionally comparing stories with others also waiting, for almost eight hours. We were finally taken to a hospital room, then to have MRIs done.
          After being examined we were put in side-by-side beds. (I received so much comfort from having Sonny close by!) Sonny's two sisters came to visit and were standing by our beds when a nurse suddenly appeared at the foot of my bed. She informed that I wasn't to move my head at all because my neck was broken! My first thought was 'Hang on! I walked fifteen feet to my car immediately after the tornado, then 100 yards to the house where we took refuge (falling twice in the process), then rode in an ATV and an hour in an ambulance, not to mention sitting for eight hours in a wheelchair, freely turning my head, leaning over -- basically moving normally -- and now you tell me not to move?! Huh?!
          I almost immediately had three nurses hovering around me, trying to put a neck brace on me without moving my head. I can tell you from experience, it's impossible when the patient is lying down! They finally got the brace on (with considerable movement of my head!) and I was admitted to the hospital until they could decided what to do to, uh, for me.
          Now a quick wrap-up of the epic you just read:
          We found out during the ride to the hospital that there had been four fatalities within 200 yards of us -- one of them was the one of those we'd heard crying for help. She was the daughter of the lady in whose home we took refuge. The other voice we head was the daughter's ex-husband. He survived with a crushed elbow and a severe laceration on his head.
          I have to make sure you get this -- the four fatalities were all in houses. We were in a car. A couple of weeks later we were watching TV as a storm chaser was reporting live on another EF4 tornado, this time in Missouri. He said, "Folks, this isn't of those tornadoes when you go to the center of your house away from windows. This isn't when you get in the bathtub and pull a mattress on top of you. If you want to survive an EF4 tornado, you go underground into a storm shelter." We were in a car. In an EF4 tornado. Only ten MPH from an EF5 -- the strongest tornado possible.
          Sonny had several minor lacerations on the top of his head, a few ribs loosened and a huge bruise about eight inches at its widest and shaped roughly like the Nike "swish" that began in the middle of his chest and wrapped all the way around his side almost reaching his backbone.
          I had hundreds of small scratches, mostly on my unprotected right side. Thankfully, very few were deep enough to bleed. I also had numerous bruises on my back side. After a more thorough examination of the MRI, the doctor determined that not only was my neck broken, but my upper back as well. After four days in the hospital I was released, along with a very attractive neck/back brace that I had to wear for almost four months.

          I am very grateful that those were the only bodily injuries suffered, and although the car was totaled, it was the only property damaged. (I'm sure Jennifer will include pictures. {you'll find those below the story}).
          The tornado never got closer than a couple of miles from our house. So, yes, had we stayed at home we would have both been fine!
          Because of the damage to the car and wheel prints on the ground, we know that it landed at least twice on its top -- once on the street and once on the ground -- and at least four times on its wheels. And remember, Sonny was in it the entire time!
          I've told our story dozens of times {one of those times was for the local news station} and I always say that we know we had an entire army of angels with us that night. We should have been killed. The statistics say so. The meteorologists say so. But God saw things differently so we lived. Had I not believed in God and His ability to control the elements and the outcome of any event, I certainly would now!
          One last thought; as I stated before, both Sonny and I were unconscious for the majority of the experience. The last thing I remember before 'coming to' lying on the ground was the car beginning to lift. Sonny remembers the car beginning to lift but he didn't 'come to' until the tornado had passed and I had called out to him several times. Without giving it any real thought, I had assumed that I had been knocked unconscious, probably when I was ejected, and that Sonny's head had struck something inside the car as it bounced around. The realization finally hit me nearly two years after the tornado that neither of us had even the tiniest of bruise on our head. We couldn't have been knocked out.
          Not only had God spared us from what should have been certain death, He put us to sleep to protect us from the terror of the experience!
          How great is my God!!

I've heard this story a few times. I received the phone call the next morning from my Step-Dad informing me that Mom was in the hospital and telling me what had happened. I stayed with Mom in the hospital for a few days and saw first hand the injuries they both sustained. I saw their car in person and saw the damage that it had. After all of that, reading and then typing this out STILL gave me chills and tears.

That tornado (there was more than one but this particular one) could have taken so much from me as it had others. That same tornado tore a path across the mountain side within miles of MY house and wiped out the hill side across from my neighborhood (about 300 hundred yards across from my house). That same tornado had my Dad and brother stuck inside Wal*mart, locked in the backroom section. That tornado, that could've caused so much havoc and devastation in my family, didn't. I believe with ALL my heart that it was through the grace of God.

So in both cases, God protected us in some shape, form or fashion. The first example protected both of our cars from damage, damage we couldn't have afforded immediately. It may seem trivial to some, that it was just pure "luck" or whatever but I had a STRONG feeling that I NEEDED to have the Kia in the garage. It was like when you've forgotten something and have this niggling suspicion in the back of your mind. I couldn't rest easy, breath easy until the Kia was in the garage. The second example was to me at least, a GLARING example of God protecting Mom and Sonny. How else could you explain what they went through? Where they should've died! But they didn't. And they're both walking and talking like nothing happened. Like they hadn't almost lost their lives.

God is amazing. He watches over us and He protects us. Next time you have something happen and you think it was luck that saved you, think strongly about and I'd say it wasn't luck but God who saved you.


  1. This post has me in tears. It hits too close to home. I can't go into details here because it would give away my location (I think), but I'll email you. I'm glad your family was okay and that your husband wasn't in the car when that tree fell where the Jeep was.

    1. Thanks. Tornadoes are scary for sure and for us to not get them often before and now yearly, frightening.


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