Saturday, May 17, 2008

Danger, Fear and Deliverance In The Water

I have a slideshow of pictures from this time in our lives...I hope you will take the time to watch it and get more of a visual picture than just what our words can paint for you.

I want to share a very frightful, unforgettable, heart stopping but yet very praise worthy time in our life.

It all began on our annual trip to the beach...we had gotten to where we would go to the beach every year for Thanksgiving. Normally, we went alone...just the 4 of us and spend Thanksgiving in Orange Beach, Alabama on the beach. It is the best time of the year for us to go because the condo rent (3 bedroom) is less than a hotel room, the weather is perfect (around 75 degrees), the beach is less crowded and we both usually had 2 days off already for the holiday so we took less vacation days which made it a long and enjoyable holiday "week".

However, this year we talked my mother into going with us to the beach and leaving the whole family Thanksgiving at Mom's in the dust. My brother-in-law is a football coach and was in the they couldn't come, my brother was going hunting and wouldn't be why not? She agreed and we headed for the beach.

Now, all this sounds like the "perfect" family vacation, right? Wrong! It started much like all our other family trips....fighting to the point of explosions long before we got to the bad that Roger threatened to turn around and go home. Actually, I think he said that he would find a way home and we could go without him. It was either Brandon and Tyler fighting or Brandon being controversial and trying to start a fight. All I know is by the time we got to the beach...I was ready to strangle him...the attitudes continued long after we got to our "new home away from home". We always tried to put the fights, attitudes and bad moods behind us and enjoy our trip.

The days on the beach were like they had been in the past...sleep in, get up, head to the beach, come in for lunch, hit the beach again, come back in and get ready for dinner. The temperatures during the day are extremely pleasant but the water is normally too cold for me to get it. I had a scare during my childhood with a shark, Brandon and Tyler both have had terrible experiences with jellyfish, getting in the ocean is just not something that I cared that much about doing anymore. Now, don't get me wrong...I LOVE the beach, the sound of the waves crashing into the shore, the smell of the ocean in the air, the atmosphere that revolves around the whole "beachy" feel...but I don't like the salt water in my eyes or the sand in my bathing suit!!!

On Friday, Brandon wanted to get in the ocean with his body board and ride the waves. The waves were unusually big this year for the Gulf of, he hit the waves. He wasn't in there very long and Tyler got in to ride the waves also but closer to the shore. They were having a blast. Then, Brandon talks Roger into getting in with them. Roger being the "big kid" that he right in. It wasn't long and Tyler said it was too cold and he got out. My mom and I were sitting on the beach in our nice, warm and sand-free chairs watching them. The waves were huge to us and it was very, very tempting to get it. I could hear the waves calling..."Jennifer, come on and get is so much fun...remember how much fun you used to have when you were a kids and loved to ride them in..." Well, I said tempting....but way too cold for me. The water was about 50 degrees that time of year. Needless to say...I didn't get it.

They were having so much fun and I had forgot to get my video camera when we came back down that I told my mom that I was going to run back upstairs to get it. We were on the 11th floor and had a great view of the ocean and the beach. When I got back to our condo, I grabbed the video camera but I went out on the balcony first before heading back down because I wanted to video Roger and Brandon in the water riding the waves from our balcony. The people were so small from there that I had a hard time finding them...I video someones family and still not sure if it was my family or not. Then I headed back down to the beach before they decided to come in because it was getting late and the temperature was starting to drop for the evening.

When I got down to the boardwalk and was walking as fast as my legs would carry me...I met Roger coming up the boardwalk with sand all over him, towel wrapped around him and looked like he was pretty shaken up. I asked him what was wrong and what he told me next of the events that had just happened...sent me into panic mode first, take charge mode next and when it was all over....then I broke down.

Roger said...we almost drowned...both of us...I thought I wasn't going to be able to save him...I was going to die with him before I let him drown alone! I was panicked but asking who are you talking about? Where are my kids? Roger....where are my kids? He said their still on the beach with Nanny (my mom) and their ok. He looked terrible and he said "I think I'm going into shock, I can't feel anything, it was so cold, I was so scared....I think, I have hypothermia. I immediately kicked into take charge mode and rushed him...pulling and pushing him up the boardwalk to the outside shower to get the sand off him. You will have to imagine him...6'2", very athletic guy, very strong, dark skinned.(Indian blood in his veins), like a rock...covered...I mean, literally covered in white sand. There was so much in his black hair that he nearly looked blond, his shoulders, chest, back, arms and legs were covered. His chest, arms and back were red from the abrasion of the sand while in the water.

Now, Roger's story...I was watching Brandon ride the waves and I began to think...he is getting out too far and needs to come back. I yelled at him to come back in some but he didn't seem to hear me.

Brandon was still trying to ride the waves in and he wasn't successful. With each try, he was getting further out. He called me and said that he needed some help and I stated toward him. He called me again in a voice that only a parent would recognize as to say "help me, Dad...I'm in trouble". I looked back toward the shore to find his body board that he had been riding but I didn't think that I had time to get his board and get back to him. I started swimming (Roger is a very strong swimmer) toward him while letting him know that I was coming to get him and he was going to be ok. When I was almost to him, I could tell that he was scared and very tired. I tried pushing him toward shore while riding the waves but that was not successful either. I looked to the shore, tried to signal for some help as I was getting very tired myself but I couldn't get any one's attention to help us. So, I began to pull him parallel to shore to get out of the riptide, only to find out later that I was going in the wrong direction. We did this for 3-5 minutes but it seemed like eternity and still no one noticed that we were in trouble. Even though, Nanny and Tyler were on the beach and he was playing in the sand...she was watching him and would look up to watch us as well...she never notice that we were in trouble either. I knew it was up to me to save us both or we would both drown.

I began to realize that I was losing my strength, was becoming extremely exhausted and we were both going to be in trouble. So, I stopped again to try to get someones attention on the shore, but no one even noticed. I was getting scare myself and wanted to let someone know that we were going to drown right there. I grabbed onto Brandon and tried to keep him by my side. I was too tired to go any further and I was hoping that someone would see us. I looked back, saw a wave coming which broke right on top of us, breaking my grip that I had on Brandon and I lost him. I looked around and he began to yell again for help. I knew that there wasn't anything that I could do because I was exhausted, I knew that I was going to drown but I had already decided that I wasn't going to leave him by himself out there and I would drown with him. Regardless of the many problems that we had over the past 10 years, he was still MY son and I would die with him rather than come out alone without him. I had hoped that we would be side by side because we were too tired to swim anymore but that is when the wave hit us, separated us and I went under. I remember the sand and water around my face like I was on the bottom of the ocean. I knew in my mind that it was over...this was the end and I was going to die. When I could get my eyes open...I was on my knees in shallow water with my head up out of the water, close to the shore and Brandon was walking toward me.

The view that Brandon told me at that time of what happened. He recalled the same thing that Roger has just told expect for how he got on the shore. He knew that they were both going to drown and no one would see them. After they were separated, Brandon said he was too tired to try anymore to get to, just as another wave crashed down on top of him... Brandon said that he prayed "Lord, don't let us die, help us"...he went under, he felt a huge push, that propelled him forward with a great thrust, he felt the sand scrape his stomach, looked up and he was on the shore.

Roger said that he had tried to do everything that he could to save them both, not to drown in the ocean, he used all the knowledge that he had to try and get them out, used all his physical strength but the one thing that he never did was stop and ask God to save them. He said that he was trying frantically to save them but he was trying to do it on his own...not with God's help. He said that all his life he has prayed for God to help him, protect him and his family but when the crisis or death...he leaned on his own ability to save them...not on God. It was Brandon who in time of need, knowing he was about to die...cried out to God to save them. God hear the cries of my 15 year old son and saved them both. I have never experienced such a helpless feeling in all my life...but I knew then and I still know now that when I feel helpless in my God...I'm not hopeless. Thank you, Jesus!

My story: I got the sand washed off of Roger and to the heated indoor pool where I put him the the hot tub. I sat there pouring hot water over his body while he cried...out of fear, relief, disbelief and raw emotion at how close he came to letting Brandon drown and dying himself. We stayed in the hot tub for a long time and finally Brandon, Nanny and Tyler came inside as well.

My mother and Tyler never knew anything was wrong until she saw both of them laying on the edge of the shoreline, exhausted and a big distance between where Brandon came out and where Roger came out. Brandon was closer to where she was and Roger was on down the beach. Brandon seemed to be perfectly fine, not cold but still in a little shock due to the events that he and his Dad had just survived.

Roger kept telling Brandon that he was so sorry that he could not save them both. That is when Brandon told us that he knew that they were both going to drown if they went under one more time. He said that all he knew to do then was to pray that God would get them out of this mess and save them. He just kept saying that it was the weirdest thing how he prayed, went under, felt propelled forward and the next thing he knew...he was able to stand up on the shore and start walking, looking for his Dad.

It wasn't until after we got back upstairs and I went to take a hot shower that I fell to pieces...just knowing how close I came to losing my husband and my son...when it should have been just another day at the beach. I began to cry and thank God for His mercy and grace once again in our lives. I wept so hard and for so long out of shock and out of joy. God is so good!!!! I am so thankful that God promises in His Word over and over again that He is there for us and all we have to do is call on Him.

We heard on the news that night that a father in his 30's had gotten caught in the riptide about 30 miles from where we were and drown. That weekend alone...there were 3 deaths due to the riptide and thank 2 didn't make it 5. There was a strong storm brewing, the water was unusually rough with "high" waves more so than normal and I guess, we should have known and learn. I can promise you that we now know all the facts about riptides and how to escape them...physically, and not just by praying. Praying is the most important but God wants us to use common sense, be aware of our surroundings and always be as prepared as possible....He will take care of the rest.

Did my family deserve to live another day, another week, another month or another year? more than any other family, but God chose to save them through His mercy and grace. I know without a doubt that God wasn't finished with either one of them and still isnt' or Brandon wouldn't have lived through his car wreck on April 12th, 2008. My prayer is that we all see our potential through God's eyes, our purpose through God's eyes, our value through God's eyes and NEVER let our pain or life's lessons be in vain but that we would seek God to find out exactly what He is trying to tell us....Through The Storms Of Life.

Psalm 46:1 (KJV)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 34:17 (Message)
Is anyone crying for help? God is listening and ready to rescue you.

Isaiah 43:2 (Message)
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end--

(NIV) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Romans 8:38, 39 (Message)
I'm absolutely convinced that nothing--nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, (39) high or low, thinkable or unthinkable--absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Isaiah 41:10 (Message)
Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

(NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

1 comment:

  1. what a miracle! I was in tears after I read the story. amazing! and to think that your hubby and son knew how to swim, and still were helpless, how much more with someone who doesnt know how to swim like me and my hubby and my boys, thanks for sharing this Jen, the Lord is our great HELP! over and over again and for many many years He proved Himself that He is our GOD, our savior, redeemer, our help in times on needs. Its scary, cant imagine myself being in your place when that time happened. God truly is a great and mighty! this week I just want to read others TT, it makes me really encouraged and praise the Lord. Didn't have time to post but I sure going to read more TT. God bless Jen, please tell us more stories.


Thank you for stopping by today and sharing your heart felt thoughts with me. As we ride "Through the Storms of Life" together, chances are...your situation is different than mine. However, we serve the same awesome God, King of Kings who is in complete control and it all belongs to Him anyway...He wants to give you the very best. Be encouraged my friend, God loves you!

Thank you again for taking the time to visit me at "Through the Storms of Life".


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