Friday, January 11, 2013

The Miracle of Prayer

About two weeks ago, my sister, her friend, and I decided to go on a trip up in Wyoming for a friend's wedding reception. It was going to be a four to five hour drive from our hometown in Utah, so we were going to stay the night and go back home in the morning. I could tell my mom was worried, and she probably should have been because this was the first road trip me and my sister had ever gone on alone. In all honesty, I was worried too, after all, I was still in high school and my sister and her friend were only freshmen in college; this was going to be a new experience for all of us. My mom had made a mental checklist for us and ran it by as we were walking out the door.

"Do you have coats?" she asked.
"I have two jackets and a thick sweatshirt," I replied and my sister responded with something similar.
"Blankets and sleeping bags?" she said counting off her fingers.
"We don't need them, they're going to have beds for us," my sister said, but my mom crossed her arms.
"You will take our two warmest sleeping bags, what if you were to get stranded somewhere and froze?" Slowly, we agreed to everything our mom told us to bring and we were on our way.

After we picked up my sister's friend we turned off the car and faced each other.
"Will you pray?" my sister asked me, and a nodded. My prayer was short and far from anything extravagant, I simply asked that we'd be protected on our journey and that we'd all return home safely. After we said amen, we started the car and drove away.

We'd were about an hour away from our destination, and I was half asleep in the back of our car, my ipod in one hand and my head leaning on the other. We were driving down a narrow two way highway in the middle of nowhere Wyoming going about sixty mph when suddenly the car jerked to the left. My eyes popped open and my head flew up as I felt the jarring impact of our car hitting a large semi truck. A wall of red flashed by my window and I heard someone scream, later I realized it had been me. Then, without time for me to comprehend what was happening we were swerving right and sliding down a snowy hill. Our smoking car came to a stop and I was vaguely aware of my sisters friend reaching over and taking the keys out of the ignition.

My hands were trembling as I looked around, examining the scene around me. My sister was in tears, her friend trying to reassure her, our windshield looked like a spiderweb, and I was grateful it hadn't shattered. We were missing the left side view mirror, and I couldn't open any of the drivers side doors. Later, when I got out of the car, I realized the damage was much worse than I had thought. The whole drivers side of the car was either crushed, dented, or twisted in some bizarre form. The front tire was so mangled I could hardly recognize it and I immediately knew the car was totaled. It was near zero degrees outside, well below freezing, and our once warm car was already starting to feel cold.

Many people stopped on the side of the road to help us, and it was then I was able to get the whole story of the crash from my sister.We had been coming around a bend in the road when we'd hit a patch of black ice. Our car slid over the line, into the oncoming traffic of the semi, and we should have hit him head on. Instead our car fishtailed and we moved enough to just hit his wheel, then our car was thrown in the opposite direction and slid down the snowy hill. Everyone we talked to was surprised we hadn't rolled because of the slope of the hill and we were just grateful.

As we waited in our freezing car for three hours for the policeman and the tow-truck to come, I started to count the miracles I'd seen.

1. We were alive and no one had been hurt, not even a single scratch or bruise. If we'd hit the semi head on, my sister and her friend would be dead, and I would either be with them or seriously injured. If we had missed the wheel and gone underneath the truck, we would have been crushed. It seemed to me that we hit the only place on which we could have received the least amount of damage and injuries and we didn't roll down a hill like we should have. I was not about to just leave it there and say it was luck, no, it was the first of my miracles.

2. While neither my sister nor I had ever been in an accident, our friend had and she knew what we were supposed to do. She helped to calm us down in a scary situation by remaining in control. She had us call our parents while she called 911 and reported the accident. She helped talk to all the people stopping and asking if we were okay and showed my sister what she needed for when the police officer came. It would have been a much more frightening situation without her.

3. Cell phone reception. In the middle of nowhere Wyoming, forty-five minutes away from the closest city, we had cell reception. At first this didn't seem like a miracle until everyone that stopped to help us couldn't find a signal. We were the only ones in the area that had reception, and without it we wouldn't have been able to notify our family or the police of our accident.

4. We had sleeping bags to keep warm. My mother had been inspired that afternoon when she'd told us to bring the sleeping bags. It was well below freezing and we had to wait in our car for three hours before help arrived. We all huddled in the back seat, the two sleeping bags unzipped with one on the bottom and one on the top. We had warm clothes too, but even with all that we could still feel the chill and our feet were so cold they hurt because we'd been walking out in the snow, but without my mom's inspiration to bring the sleeping bags, we would've been a lot colder.

5. We all got home safely. After the accident we'd called my dad and he'd left right away to come get us, but it was going to be a long drive. The tow-truck finally arrived three hours later and we met my dad in a small city forty-five minutes back towards home where we got into his car and completed the journey home safely.

This is a day I will never forget. I believe we were protected out there on that freezing day because of the prayer we'd offered before we'd left. After the accident, while we were waiting in our car, we'd offered a prayer of thanks and thanked our Heavenly Father for protecting us. I know that sometimes we feel unimportant, but in the eyes of our Father in Heaven, we are all precious, and he loves and cares for us. He cared enough to keep three young girls, a sixteen year old and two eighteen year old, safe from harm and returned us safely to our families. I know he's watching out for us, and knows who we are and what we're doing. He want to be a part of our lives and will help us in any way He can, if we only ask for that help. He is my Father, and I love and appreciate all He's done for me. I know prayer is a powerful tool and that we can all use it whenever we need it, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Bridget said...

I was blown away when I heard about this! I am so grateful you are all okay! We were also in a car accident in WY with a semi and it is amazing to think about the miracles that accompany people when they are safe in these kind of crazy things. I'm so thankful for a Heavenly Father who watches over us!

Michaela Stephens said...

Thanks for sharing this story. I was inspired by it.