by Alicia Carlton
Beep, beep, beep. The weather radio went off just as we sat down to eat dinner. Mom raced to the bedroom where we kept the weather radio. My sister Emily looked at me with a scared look.
The sky was starting to turn green as Mom hurried back with a terrified look on her face.
“Come on, girls, let’s go downstairs. Hurry!” said Mom. “We can’t wait any longer.” The three of us hurried downstairs as the rain began to pound on our house.
Once inside the pantry, we all sat down to catch our breath. After crouching under the stairs for a few moments, Mom broke the silence.
“Grab a blanket, girls. I brought a book down to read. We might be down here a while.” Emily and I both grabbed a blanket from under the stairs and hauled it over to where Mom was sitting on the other side of the room. We sat down and waited for Mom to start reading the book.
Boom! The thunder began. We could hear the wind start to pick up speed as it began to howl. We said a prayer and then recited our favorite Bible verse, “When I am afraid I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).
The rain came down harder every minute as Mom started to read. The weather radio went off again. Mom pushed the on button to listen to the radio.
“Severe thunderstorms are located in Eau Claire, Mondovi, and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. These storms are capable of creating tornados. There is also a chance of flooding in these areas. If you are outside, take shelter in a secure building, or if such places are not available, take shelter in the nearest ditch.”
I didn’t hear the rest of the speech after that. All I could think about was one word. A word that could take our lives. A word that had never been very appealing to me. Now that word was very real: tornado.
Would this be the end of my life? Would this be the last time I saw my family? Could it be that any minute a raging storm full of wind would destroy everything I called home? I couldn’t get the thoughts out of my head! My mind was like a whirlwind. I prayed a quick prayer asking God to spare our family’s life.
Mom interrupted my thoughts with a joyful smile of relief. “The weather radio said that the storm is past.”
I hesitated before I leaped up and bounded out of the pantry. I raced up the stairs and then hesitated before slowly, carefully opening the door leading to the main level. I stepped through the doorway and slowly walked down the hallway and into my bedroom. I was overjoyed to see that my room was still there! I went into Emily’s room and saw that it was still there. Then I ventured into my parent’s room. To my relief it was still there also.
I was so happy. I had never been so thankful for my house and family as I was now.
I went into the kitchen just as Mom did. We walked over to the window and looked out. I gasped. There in the middle of the yard was the huge tree that had once been our shade tree. It now looked like a huge green rug.
I stared in amazement. If that huge tree had blown a little farther, it would have come down not on the fence where it now was, but right on top of our roof and down into the kitchen where we were now standing.
I couldn’t speak. The most dreadful thing could have occurred, but it seemed that God had put His hand down and pushed the tree down onto the fence instead of the kitchen. It was wonderful. God had spared our lives.
Mom suggested we get in the car and drive around the neighborhood to see if anyone needed help. We hopped in the car and started to drive around the familiar neighborhood. I looked out the car window in awe. There were trees on the ground in almost every yard.
Some trees had been blown right on top of people’s houses. Branches and leaves had been thrown all over. The water in some parts of the road was two feet deep.
People were out in the roads with rakes trying to get the leaves out of the storm drains, while the kids had swimming suits on and were swimming in the water. In some places there was so much water that they had closed the roads.
After about 30 minutes of touring the neighborhood, Mom turned the car around and headed home. We pulled into the driveway just as Dad rounded the last corner and started to pull into the driveway with us. We all hopped out of the cars and ran to each other. We had a very happy reunion as we went into the house.
That night as we had family worship, we thanked God again for saving us and for sparing our home.