This past April (the 13th-20th to be exact) was spring break for our family. Since it was my oldest son’s senior year, we wanted to do something special, so I booked a cruise! We invited my newly widowed mom to join us and my oldest got to bring a friend, which made seven of us. The ship’s port was Mobile, Alabama, so we decided to drive the 15 hours down.
We were SOOOOO excited…spring break was late (mid-April) and we were all ready to get out of dodge and get some sunshine. We got into our flip flops and shorts and we all loaded into to my mom’s almost new Denali Yukon (nice car!) and we headed south. Great plan…until we get into central Illinois and run into a terrible snowstorm (IN APRIL!!!!). It came out of nowhere. We had no idea or warning that we were going to hit snow on the way down, but we did. There were no plows on the roads, it was white-out conditions and well, we hit some ruts in the snow and my moms big Yukon Denali started sliding out of control and as the road was making a bend, our car was going straight…straight down a steep ditch. Now, I know that many of you have probably been in a ditch before, but this was something new for us. I was seated in the 3rdrow on the right side and that was the direction the car was sliding. It felt like we were sliding for hours. The car was at an angle that felt like the car was going to roll and then BOOM!!! The car finally slid and hit the bottom of the ditch and the side airbags deployed. Curtains of airbags came out of the ceiling and covered the windows so we did not hit our heads. Smoke filled the car and everyone just sat there in a state of shock. Shock that we just slid off the road. Shock at how hard we hit the embankment. Shock at the smell and the smoke of the airbag deployment and SHOCK THAT WE HAD NO CHANCE OF MAKING OUR CRUISE!! We were in flip flops and shorts in the middle of nowhere with a car PACKED with our vacation stuff at the bottom of a ditch in the middle of a snowstorm (in April).
We say a prayer and invite God into our fiasco! Our minds are going crazy trying to figure out how we are going to find a 7 passenger vehicle on a Sunday in the middle of nowhere to get us 800 miles to Mobile. After about 45 minutes a state trooper shows up and calls a tow truck. While we were waiting, we ask the trooper if the car is fine, could we drive it to Alabama. He laughs and says, “in the 13 years I’ve been doing this job, I have never seen a vehicle with airbags deployed drive off the scene, but if you can, go for it!” The tow truck driver pulls the Yukon and all seven of us back up to the side of the road (that was a miracle in itself!). The tow truck driver inspects the car and says that he doesn’t see anything wrong with the car except that the two wheel wells were completely full of mud and that the car would be very shaky until we got those wells cleaned out. He suggested we find a car wash to spray them out.
We said our goodbyes, rolled up and tucked the airbags back into the ceiling and slowly made our way back on the highway. The car was very shaky so we pull over at the next exit, and directly off the exit, there is a CAR WASH WITH SPRAYERS!!!! We pull into the car wash (in the middle of a snow storm…people probably thought we were crazy!) and my husband cleans out the wheel wells and off we go back onto the highway. We are all holding our breath for the next 10 minutes until we realize the car was running totally fine!! Onward we went 800 more miles and we made it in time for our cruise!!!!
After we had gotten back on the road and we had been cruising for a while, I pull out my journal and my Bible. I study the Word for a bit and then went into a time of prayer. As I was thanking and praising God for this miracle that we were back on the road and that we were going to make our cruise after all, the Lord spoke to my heart. He said, “Angela, there are going to be many times in your life that you are going to end up in a ditch. It’s going to seem hopeless, it’s going to seem like there is no way out, and it’s going to seem scary. But I want you to know that I will always be with you when you go into the ditch. I will always show you a way out. I will always reveal myself in your troubles, just like I did today.”
“God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13