April 3, 2014

The Winter of 1993

It happened in the winter of 1993.

A huge storm rolled through Iowa, coating everything in sight with a thick layer of ice—roads, tree branches, cars, street signs, and homes. The storm lasted for several days, continuing to layer sheets of ice on everything.

I was in kindergarten.

At that time, my elementary school was just a block away from home. So, I walked to school with my big brother, Todd.

It was the first day of the storm. My mom stayed indoors all day long—she was busy with two little ones still at home. She heard the storm, but had no idea how icy everything outside had become.

Suddenly, Todd slammed open the front door.

“Mom! Mom! Help!” he yelled, with an edge of desperation. Mom came rushing to him. “What’s the matter?” she asked, looking him over with concern. Todd was out of breath from running.

“It’s Laurel,” he said, panting. “She can’t walk home from school. She’s afraid of the ice. She’s standing on the road crying!”

Mom didn’t wait to hear any more. She scrambled to grab her boots and winter coat. “Go back to Laurel to keep her company,” she said. “Tell her I’ll be there in just a few minutes.” Meanwhile, my little brother, Ryan—hearing all the commotion—got into his little boots and jacket and scooted out the door.

Less than a minute later, Mom had her boots and coat on and walked out through the door. She was—to her great surprise—greeted by both Ryan and Todd. “Laurel’s coming!” they told her.

Looking down the street, Mom saw me moving calmly and steadily towards home.

Mom walked quickly across the slippery ice to my side. As she approached, she was startled to see a look of pure serenity on my face. She knelt by my side, noting a remnant of the tears that had streamed down my cheeks earlier.

“Honey, are you okay?” Mom asked me.

“I prayed to Jesus, Mom,” I said, smiling peacefully. “And Jesus’ angels helped me get across the ice, so I wasn’t afraid anymore.”

My mom never forgot this incident and still recalls it vividly to this day.

Thinking back on this story recently, I was struck by what a great picture it is of my relationship with God. Life seems to be a lot of slippery ice … and sometimes the uncertainty of it scares the crap out of me. I wonder how I am ever going to make it through—and the truth is, I can’t. Not on my own. I am completely dependent on Jesus.

I feel like kids have a much greater understanding of what it means to really depend on God. After all, they depend on their parents to clothe, feed, and provide for them. Dependence is ingrained into their daily existence. But something about adulthood makes us feel like it’s all up to us. We have to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” and carry on. We have to walk the ice alone.

But I’m so glad that that’s not true.

I’m so thankful to have a relationship with God—the God who walks with me during trying and scary times. The God who walks across the ice with me.



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