It was a Monday morning unlike any other. It was 15 years ago and I can still recall every detail of that day, as if permanently burned into my memory. I replay the events in my mind and it feels as if my life is flashing before my eyes every time I tell the tale. I woke up and started getting ready for work just like every other morning before, completely unaware that my life and the lives of my children would be spared from a terrible fate. That morning I experienced a miracle that changed my life and the way I view life forever.
It was a cold spring morning in early April; I rushed around the house getting ready for work and coaxed my two little ones out of bed to bring them to day care. Still snuggly and warm in their pajamas and smelling the wonderful aroma in their soft hair from the bath the night before, I bundled them up in their winter coats and carefully latched them into their car seats. I offered Lauren, who was 7 months old at the time, her bottle to soothe her on the car ride. Phillip, 5 years old and used to the routine, climbed into his seat as if pre-programmed like a little robot going through the motions.
We lived quite a ways out in the country on a gravel road, and in the spring sometimes as the frost comes out of the earth, it will cause the gravel roads to heave erupting the soil, leaving large rough holes and mounds of frozen dirt in the road. As I sped along trying to get the kids dropped off on time so I would not be late for work, I crested a hill and saw the ominous sight, the black outline of one of these obstacles in my path. I was unable to redirect my impact and avoid hitting the frost heave because either side of the road had a pond that hugged tightly to the shoulder. I braced myself, tightening my grip on the wheel preparing for the impact. As I hit the crater in the road, my car lunged and the loose gravel spun beneath my tires, sending me into a frightening spinning motion that I could not pull out of.
“Oh, God, please help me through this!” I cried out as I felt the speed of my car come to a brutal halt as it slammed into the icy waters behind me. I could feel the momentum of my car drag against the water as the vehicle began to float out backwards deeper, deeper, and deeper.
The black icy water began to bubble up around my feet from below. Powered by self-preservation and fear, my instincts took over. I tried to reach and open my car door to escape. My fear of water and inability to swim caused me to panic and react without thinking of my children buckled into their car seats in the back. The car door thankfully would not open as if being held shut by a ton of bricks; the pressure of the water pressing on my door would not allow me to open it.
That moment gave me time to gather my senses, “Oh, God, please not my babies!” I shouted as my children cried in fear.
I reached back and unbuckled the kids from their car seats. I unbuckled Phillip, who scurried over the seats and into my lap. Then I reached for Lauren, unbuckled her, and grabbed her out of her seat. I gathered them up into my arms as the water rose higher and higher in the vehicle was now above my knees. The frigid cold burned my skin, not knowing the depth of the pond, I feared the car would fill completely with water and we would all drown. I had no choice but to try to escape. I grabbed my little ones one in each arm and reached for the passenger door handle, pulled it open and kicked at the door. As it opened, the black water rushed in with intense pressure and force. The deep penetrating cold shocked my senses and robbed me of my breath. I remember gasping at the pain of the intense cold and clenching by babies close to my body as I prayed, “LORD, I can’t do this without you!” and then nothing.
I remember nothing, not one detail of anything else that happened until I found myself gripping the frozen dirty grass in my fist on the bank of the pond with my son sitting on the edge of the road in front of me and my baby in my arms. I struggled to lift her cold, crying, wet little body out of the water because of the weight of her wet winter clothing. I then gathered my strength and pulled myself up onto the road. I stood up and scooped my babies into my arms, thankful that were alive. Crying and in shock of what had just happened, I carried them both in my arms all the way to a farm house ¼ mile down the road. Frozen solid, dripping wet, terrified, and thankful, I called my husband to come pick us up.
Still clutching the children in my arms, my husband arrived at the door moments later. Thankful to find us all safe, we stood embracing each other in that stranger’s kitchen. Then while telling the story of what happened and going over the details of the events that morning, we realized that my hair shoulder length at the time was not even damp!
Friends and relatives joked saying, “You must have walked on water. “ But I believe my children and I experienced a miracle, and when I called out to God for help, he sent angels to carry me and my children to shore.
That Monday morning was unlike any other. I experienced a miracle that strengthened my faith, beliefs, and values about life and how precious it is. To all those willing to listen, believe in miracles, hold tight to your children, and cherish your loved ones: you never know what each day brings.
by Jana Wegener