“”He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.” (2 Samuel 22:17 NIV)

It had been the best day of fishing yet. Myself and the three littlest of my children Chase (5), Justice (4), and Selah (2) had just spent several hours pulling in bass, catfish, and perch. My two oldest girls (Jordyn (16), and McKenna (14) had come for the trip but had decided to spend the majority of their time hanging out in the van. They had been working on their Bible studies for a discipleship group we have in our home with area teenagers and young adults that we were to have the next evening.
All I can say is that it was just one of those days where we were enjoying each other and our time together. I captured many pictures with my cell that day of many of the kids prize catches.

The two oldest eventually emerged from the van and took out the rowboat to have a little fun themselves before leaving for the day. I began to video the two of them as they started wrestling in the boat trying to throw each other in the pond. Both are strong swimmers and enjoy doing zany things like this.
It seems surreal even now as I write about this and the image continues to roll in my mind like a scene from a horror film. I looked to my left just in time to see our 15 passenger van rolling at a fast speed and then plunging into our 2 acre pond. I knew that my little ones had gone into the vehicle just minutes before to get warm as it had been sprinkling while we were fishing and had become cold. It turned out that Chase, my five year old had climbed into the drivers side window (as all the doors were locked), and then unlocked the doors allowing the other two children to enter the van.
She then must have seen the keys that had been placed in one of the cup holders and placed them into the ignition turning the key (not starting the car, but turning the key in the ignition). She then was able to manipulate the gear shift until it went into neutral and began to roll down the hill.
I’m still in shock as I write this plagued at moments with images of what could have been. I’m so thankful that the Lord gave me, Jordyn, and McKenna the ability to respond quickly.
I threw my cell down as I had been recording the girls having fun in the boat and ran into the pond chasing after the van that held my precious babies. I could hear the screams and later heard from the girls that they were in the front window crying and screaming. I don’t know how I even reached the van as it had already drifted away from shore. (There is only about a five foot ledge and then the pond drops quickly to a depth of 12 feet.)
With the front end and doors already submerged and sinking quickly I was able to open the back door and enter into the van. The little ones were screaming, crying, and calling to me. I told them to climb over the seats to me and immediately even though they were in shock the two oldest obeyed and began climbing their way to the back of the van. Selah, my two year old who was in the second bench in the front of the van was not able to climb fast enough so I climbed over the benches and pulled her to me over the seats. I had already called to my daughters who had immediately jumped into the water and had begun swimming to the van.
With water rushing in through the front window and water now coming in through the open back door I handed Selah to McKenna, and Justice to Jordyn and ordered them to start swimming to shore. By the time I took Chase and exited the van we realized how far we had drifted out into the pond. I have to admit with the children panicking and the distance we had to swim to get to shore I had concern that we would not make it. McKenna carrying Selah made it first with Jordyn and Justice following. I began to struggle as me and Chase had the farthest to swim because of the vans continued drifting. I called to the girls to help and after reaching shore Jordyn turned grabbing my hand and pulled us to the ledge to safety.
By the time we reached the edge and looked back, the van had completely vanished under the water submerged and was now sitting at the bottom of our pond.

I am overwhelmed and grateful at the same time. Overwhelmed at what could have been, grateful for what was. I know without a doubt that it was God who held the van up for us until we were able to rescue our babies. I am overwhelmed by His love and His mercy towards our family.
In an instant everything changed! I have heard and seen so many stories where people jumped into action and did the impossible. I have often wondered if I would be capable of saving someone if I were in those circumstances. My husband calls me his hero. I don’t feel like one. All I know is that I am a mom and I could never, ever, imagine my life without any one of my children. I knew that me and the girls would have gotten them out or would have died trying.

I am all too aware (especially with the latest shooting in Colorado) that we can never be sure of what this life holds. One of the reporters asked me yesterday as we met them out at the land to discuss our ordeal, “Do you think this has changed you?” I cannot imagine ever being the same again. I look at my children and am constantly holding their hands thankful for the warmth that is there testifying that they are alive. I look at their faces and melt at their smiles.
It also helps me realize that we never know when our last breath will be and we need to make the decision to receive the free gift we have of eternal life we have been offered through a relationship with Jesus Christ. I know that without a doubt had the Lord not chose to save us from this tragic accident we would have all stepped out of this life and into eternal life which He has promised to those who love Him.
We could have never imagined what would have happened. In an instant things changed. Please make the decision today to repent of your sins and secure your eternal destiny by asking Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins and to come into your life. You will never be sorry! He loves you and longs to provide you with the same power and protection that He provided for us. It was a miracle that we survived as the odds were not in our favor and I will forever be indebted to Him and will give my life to sharing of His love for all of us.
I leave you with the song that Selah (our two year old) was singing on the way to the land as we returned to it yesterday to meet with the local media.

“God’s not dead… He’s surely alive! He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion!”

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9 Responses to "So Thankful, So Very Thankful!"

  1. sherrie

    July 21, 2012

    Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement for our family. We are spending time together and plan on going out to our land to fish again. We refuse to live in fear!

    • Linda Cook

      July 22, 2012

      My dear Sherrie,
      I thank God for your life and stand. You and your family are such an inspiration, your example is so needed in the body of Christ and the lives of so many. May our God continue to strengthen and uphold you as you claim authority over darkness and fear. I love you precious lady!

      Linda

  2. Lynda Shults

    July 21, 2012

    Sherrie, Rejoicing with you. You truly are precious in His sight! Love you and so thankful He has chosen to take you and your family forward!

  3. John

    July 23, 2012

    Thank the Lord He was with you all. HE obviously has work for your children to do to save them! (Having said this, and not to sound critical but it must be said not just to parents but EVERYONE…1. Safety First; 2. Auto manufacturers install parking brakes on vehicles for a reason. Use them ALL the time even when parked at home. AS you engage and disengage, you are maintaining their auto-adjust feature. If you don’t use them, they wear out quickly and when you need them, they don’t work. )

    • sherrie

      July 25, 2012

      Thank you John! You are absolutely right about safety and my parking brake has become my new best friend. We are very thankful and realize though that this could happen to anyone, no matter what precautions you take as accidents do happen in this fallen world we live in.. But God! He acted mightily on our behalf and we are so grateful that He gives us what we need to make quick decisions and the power through the Holy Spirit to actually accomplish that which we never could on our own. Blessings to you and to yours and thanks for your comment!

  4. binky lim

    July 24, 2012

    i’m overwhelmed by what you shared. i donot know what else to say.i have been a backslider for so many years i cant find my way back.

    • sherrie

      July 25, 2012

      You are in a good place right now though, because you are at a place where you can acknowledge your need for Him. No need to find your way back dear one. Just bow your heart before the King of grace and He will lead you home as only He knows your future.
      He is the Master Recycler and there is NOTHING that He cannot create something beautiful out of!! I will be praying for you as you draw near to receive His lordship over your life. You will never regret it!!
      Please let us know how we can continue to pray for you and I recommend that you read the book of John & or Romans in this season. Also, begin praying for the Lord to lead you to a healthy church in your area where you can find encouragers in this season.
      We all started out the same way and He is faithful to lead each and every one that look to Him!
      “I run in the paths of your commands for you have set my heart free.” Psalm 119

  5. Tanya Gmitter

    August 17, 2012

    As I was reading your blog, all I could say is.. Praise the Lord for the ending….. I knew how it ended, as I read the story on-line and on the news. However, reading from your point of view and being a mother, my heart was heavy – It was the Lord who gave you direction on that day. :) All the Glory to Jesus.

    • sherrie

      August 17, 2012

      Thank you Tanya! A mother’s heart is something wonderous and painful at the same time. I never knew I could ever love so deeply that after holding one of my babies for all of one minute after giving birth to them I would be willing to lay down my life for them. We are so aware that things could have turned out very differently and are thankful that we were spared from having to walk that path. The Lord was merciful and mighty to save and I will spend the rest of my life sharing about His mercy towards our family. Again thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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