God is able!


Part 2

So, here I am sitting on the outside of the pit. Able to look back on what could have possibly been the last few moments of my life as well as my children’s and I am in complete awe as I see the hand prints of God all over the experience. It happened on the ninth of last month. I had just finished spending four wonderful days in the hills of Mendocino County with my 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.

With the advice of my GPS unit, we were headed home. Returning a different way we had come in, I trusted that “Tina” knew where she was taking us. We were traveling on a one-way road in my Yukon Denali, not a small car mind you. Five minutes had passed when I had to quickly pull over to avoid being hit head on by a mini van. This was the first sign that maybe I should have gone the way I came. The near head on accident left me a little shaken and briefly questioning my decision to follow the directions of my computerized map. “Tina” had been known for getting us lost before. There was little sign of life around us and the one way paved road quickly turned into a one-way muddy dirt road that looked like it had not seen many travelers in quite sometime.

With a forest of trees all around us and signs that made it clear that trespassers were not welcomed, I started to fear that just maybe I had made a wrong choice. The road had become narrow and started to look like the shape of a snake. There had been signs that we were on a road less traveled. Not recommended for through traffic and usually closed during the winter months were just a few of the signs posted before me. If it had been that easy, I would have turned my car around.

My tires had become one with the mud and sludge and when I looked out the windows, I saw a thick ribbon of mud wrapped around each of the wheels. Things started to go very wrong at that point. Every time I put any pressure on my breaks, the sound of metal grinding would come through the floorboards. By the grace of God, I was holding it together on the outside; I knew that my children’s response would mimic mine and that loosing it was not an option. My insides were a different story, my heart was racing a mile a minute and my brain was searching frantically for some kind of answer, some kind of solution to get us out of what felt like hell.
I continued to drive and silently pray. I was crying out to God for a peace and calmness in the middle of what appeared to be the most dangerous storm, literally and figuratively of my life and that of my children’s. Feelings of helplessness, vulnerability and fear came flooding toward me. We were in the eye of the storm with no apparent way out.

I approached the first turn with caution, the wind was blowing and rain was coming down and the roads continued to make mud and sludge. I almost froze at what I saw next, or at what I did not see, no guardrails. We could actually see straight down the cliff on every turn we were making. Then I found myself without traction; the tires became impacted with the sludge. All of sudden, we felt the car start to slide. We were heading straight towards the mountain, my breaks would not respond and I had very little control over the steering wheel.

I knew at this point that the kids were old enough to understand the danger we were in with out me telling them. The look on both their faces told me that they were just as fearful as I was. As I approached the next turn, I immediately felt the car slide once again but this time towards the edge of the cliff. I quickly hit the breaks, the car started to fish tail and by the grace of God, I was able to stop the giant metal tank from plummeting over the side of the mountain with us in it.

There we were just a few feet between the back of the car and the edge of the cliff. Fear gripped me as the thoughts ran through my mind that at any moment the car with us in it could slide right off the side of the cliff. I longed to hear my husband’s voice, even for a moment. Helplessly my daughter looked at our cell phones as if magically she could make a connection happen. I quickly made a decision as we sat there in the middle of nowhere; close to sliding off the edge of a cliff, with less then a half a tank of gas and no connect with the outside world.

I made the choice to praise God regardless of the situation, regardless of the circumstance, the kids joined me as we thanked God for the food and water we had in the car, the gas to keep the motor running so we would have heat and for the very moment, we had together. I was able to share with them how easy it is to praise God when life is going good or even not so good. Never had we been put through the fire up until that moment and when it was all said and done our faith never waivered.

As we sat there thanking God for all He had done and continued to do for us, I decided to look in my rear view mirror and it hit me, how could I have forgotten. I had ON STAR! Yes, I love technology! I immediately hit the emergency button and an angel from the other side answered. Tears of relief filled my eyes when I heard, “Hi Mrs. Nole, my name is Darin, how may I help you.” I shared with him the severity of the situation and my fear of slipping of the side of the cliff.

Once again, I was in silent prayer, asking for continued strength and courage to hold it together. My daughter was curled up in the front seat making it clear of her disapproval of any attempt to try to move the car. Vito on the other hand had checked out the situation and was a little more confident in the help Darin might be sending. To be honest, from where we were it seemed impossible for any regular tow truck, emergency vehicle or rescue team to get to us.

I started sharing with Darin about the kids and I choosing to praise God in this storm, he just came into agreement with us and continued to talk to us at the same time as working on getting us help. His conversation with us helped keep us calm and brought peace to the situation. He repeatedly reminded us that we were not alone and that he was still there with us. Darin was finally able to patch us through to 911, search and rescue. This angels name was Sherri and she knew from her map that the road we were on was not meant for regular travel. She was working with a team of people on her side as Darin continued to talk to us and help us stay in the moment without drifting off to the what ifs.

It had started to rain again and Sherri from 911 made it clear that we needed to prepare to jump out of the car if it started to slide again. It was not like I was talking to the operators over the phone. Everything they said came through an intercom in the car and this information made my daughter extremely nervous and brought me to a place of anxiousness where I had to completely cry out to God for help. There we were the five of us. My two kids, myself and our two virtual angels. Anytime silence took over, Darin would pipe in and remind us that he was still there. I felt God’s presence through this total stranger who kept on encouraging and letting us know we were not alone.

Darin had tried earlier to patch us through to my husband but we had no luck getting through. He asked if he could try again and Sherri agreed that it would be a good idea. I was at the end of myself; feeling like I was unable to protect my children from the danger that possible was before us. However, when the kids heard Darin ask me about the call they both yelled out “yes, call him again”. I had a need to hear his voice and tell him how much I loved him.

Here was the problem, the minute I heard his voice I completely fell apart and so did the kids, tears flowed like a running faucet that I could not stop. The operators had informed him of the situation and the severity of our circumstance and his response to me was that he wanted to come to us. That is why I love him so much. What I needed from him that moment was his prayers and that is just what he gave us, as he finished praying you could hear an echo through out the car from the operators. I knew I could not hold myself together and stay on the line with him, so we said our goodbyes and our I love yous, praying all along that his would not be the last time we would hear each other’s voices.

With our goodbyes said, we let each other go. The three of us just sat there silently in shock. I gripped the stirring wheel, dropped my head and shut my shut my eyes. Once again silently crying out to God, knowing that to be absent from this life meant I would be present with Him. I was at the end of myself and it seemed like we were looking at an impossible situation. I had not given up but I did surrender completely to God, knowing that man had no answers for us either.

At that very moment a man appeared out of nowhere, my window was down and he reached out his hand and I took his and he said, “ my name is Able.” As we shook hands, I asked him if he was with search and rescues. Of course, he said “no”, I just continued to shake his hand and introduced myself as well. Able our angel had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen and I knew the moment he spoke that the Lord had sent him to us.

5 comments:

Eliveleth said...

Dearest Cris,
Thank you for sharing this awesome experience. At the time that these things happen, we never know what a testimony of God's goodness is taking place. In the moment, we only know the fear and if we choose to, the presence of God. The apprehension continues even after the event is over, but then the realization of God's love and power takes over and our testimony is born.
I believe that He allows, even orchestrates, these events as a testimony of how much He loves and cares for us. After something like this happens, we realize that there is nothing to fear, that He is always in control and all we have to do is wait on Him.
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog to experience this with you. I am looking forward to the "rest of the story".
Love and hugs,
Velta

Chrissy W said...

Cris --

Thank you for being willing to write about this event. I know it was hard for you to do, but I'm so glad you did.

I hope your story gives others hope for their own situations. Total surrender is SO hard to do, but you're right -- God IS faithful, and he rescues us even when it's our own bad choices that got us into trouble. (Speaking from personal experience, of course.)

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your story. Thank you for being so transparent.

Lots of love,

Chris W.

Neal said...

Chris,

Your blog is always an inspiration to me. Your true heart for God comes through everytime you set words to page. I count it an honor that I know you and your fantastic family personally. My love to you, Tony, Sammi and, especially, don Vito.

- Neal

Anonymous said...

Cris,
Thanks for sharing your story and ALWAYS giving us hope and reminding us to trust in God.
I hope this was therapy for you getting the story out. You have told me the story in person but I can't wait to hear the rest.
Praise be to God...thanks for sharing your heart
Sherri T

Anonymous said...

I love you Cris. I wish I had the same faith and peace you always show in the midst of chaos. You are such a blessing to me and in showing me that God is still real even when I do not feel him at all. I thank God for his presence with you that day. Thank you for sharing.

Tiff