Hands and house

Hands and house

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Raft Trip - Memorial Box Monday

This story happened a little over a month ago...

we have a dear group of friends that we have known forever.

The guys went to college together,

we all dated around the same time (many double dates!),

were in each others weddings...

have rejoiced over new babies, wept over lost ones, prayed and prayed and prayed together over the years.

They are the friends who make it seem like no time has gone by and you can pick up right where you left off no matter how long it has been or what has happened in between...

I am such a blessed woman to have them in my life!

Well, a few years ago we started trying to camp together once a year.

This year we got together in Eastern, WA...a whole gaggle of us!

Four couples and nine children age 8 and under!

We cooked and talked and laughed and chased wild children and talked and talked some more...

all in this great campground nestled in by a sweet meandering river.

In the planning of the trip the guys got a wild idea to bring our raft, the one our friends filled up for us...in our living room last Christmas!

The river was a really mellow one...class I and II, it looked like something one would float in an inner tube.

So, the guys pumped up the raft and went down for a test float. They brought the "big" girls with them and it went so well that Ravenna was asking Doug, "Daddy when are the big rapids going to happen?"

So...we decided it was time for the Mamas and little ones to have a turn.

We had our friend Will at the helm and four Mamas with 6 little kids age 6-3.

Another Mom and I were in the front with Parker and Georgia and her son.

It was all totally calm.

So calm that we had the kids stand up and do a dance for the people we were passing on the shore,
so calm that I let Georgia dangle her feet over the side...

Totally calm and fun,

Except for one little corner...

Let me say that we have learned a lot from this trip, all kids DID have on helmets and life jackets but the one thing we did not have was a metal frame for our raft. Never again will we raft without one...but we just didn't know how important it would be.

So laughing and joking we began to round a corner of the river...

...it had a giant log jam on one side,

you know the kind that has about 12 logs all criss-crossed over and under each other at crazy angles?

 (the one we hit was bigger and more spread out)

Still, even seeing it I had no idea how fast the water was running on that particular corner.

Will told us to paddle backwards,

He yelled it loud...and louder.

Then it all happened.

We did not make the corner.

The raft hit a huge rootball straight on.

Did I mention that my friend and I were in the front?

there was a pause...

and then the boat buckled.

Water rushed over the side.

I looked to my right just as Georgia slipped out of the boat.

She was up to her neck in the water and going under...right under the root ball...fast.

I grabbed her life jacket and ripped her up and literally threw her to my friend behind me...

Just in time to see Parker up to his chin going under.

I grabbed him too and threw him as well.

Everything then happened in a blur.

All of the kids were evacuated to the closest log...miraculously they all sat still.

They were terrified and had incredibly fast rushing water flying right past them in front and behind as their feet barely dangled out of the reach of the water.

That is when I looked down and realized my foot was pinned in the raft.

I looked next to me and my friend was pinned up to her knees, both legs.

We could not move an inch and I could feel the pressure getting tighter and tighter by the second.

We had no idea what would happen, water was filling the raft and pouring over the side.

I honestly thought, "well Lord, this may be it."

There was this weird calm pause.

Then Will was back in the boat and somehow he reached down trying to pull the pinned part of the raft apart...and miraculously my foot slipped free and so did my friend's legs!

We scrambled onto the log with the kids.

I looked at my friend Pamela and said, "We need to pray." We prayed thanking God that He was there, praying that He would keep us safe and asking Him to be glorified in what was happening."

As soon as we said "amen"...literally the second we stopped praying,

the log broke.

I looked over and saw all 6 kids sink waist deep into the water.

Pamela screamed, "We have to get the kids off of here!"

We all sprang into action. The adults were sort of spread out at the front and back of the kids. So the middle section of kids had no help from adults.

They had to climb across another giant root ball...like rock climbing moves. One slip of the foot and they would fall into rushing water and be swept under the log jam.

Miraculously each and every child made it across...I still have no idea how.

Then, we came to the next log.

We had to cross two sections of waist deep (on me) rushing water to get them to a big log (as high as my shoulders), get them up on it and then somehow hoist them onto the high bank beyond and to safety.

I waded in and started hauling kids, knowing if they slipped from my hands, again they would be washed down under the logs.

Quickly we realized they could not sit on the high log alone. I somehow got on it (no idea how) and my friend Pamela climbed miraculously up onto the bank that was about to her shoulders. Somehow, as another friend ferried kids, I hoisted, pushed and Pamela pulled....we got every single child to safety.

Looking back it ONLY could have been the hand of God that held every foot and hand in place, that kept every child calm, that released my foot and Cheri's legs...only God that caused me to look right as Georgia and then Parker slipped under the water rushing to where we would not have been able to save them.

I do not know why it had to happen but I do know that it was only God that saved that day from complete tragedy.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
  My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth. 
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber; 
 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 
 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm —
    he will watch over your life; 
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121

In my Memorial box? A little piece of wood that looks like a log to remind me that no matter how much it feels like my world is shifting around, God will keep my footsteps firm.

To read another amazing story of what God has done...check out Linny's Blog she's the incredible woman who started Memorial Box Mondays :)


Renee said...

Oh. my. goodness. This gave me chills, tears, and anxiety and I was not even there! Praise God for His faithfulness, His goodness....You must be doing a happy dance still over that adventure and rescue from God.

Joe and Alice Waarvik said...

That is a terrifying yet incredible story! Thanking God for being with you all on that day!

Unknown said...

so grateful for God's angels around you all!!!!

julie said...

God's angels were very busy that day. PTL


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