January 24, 1982. West Michigan was hit with a snowstorm with high winds. 5:45am. I was sound asleep in my waterbed, when I heard a very loud noise. A noise I had only ever heard during the daytime. Immediately I knew something wasn’t right.
I walked outside of my bedroom door, and heard the smoke alarm going off. I remember saying to my younger sister, “Kelly, stop playing with the smoke alarm. You’re going to wake up Mom and Dad”. She wasn’t playing with it. In fact, she was still asleep. It was that moment I realized I was smelling smoke in the house.
I ran down the hallway and woke up my parents, and my sister. “FIRE!” In a panic, we all ran down the hallway, through the kitchen, and straight to the garage door. The four of us made it that far, but that night, my Uncle Rick decided to stay the night. He was sleeping in the basement. The exact area where the smoke was coming from. We yelled several times downstairs, but he never heard us.
I remember my Dad running toward the garage, looking for an axe, in hopes of trying to break a bedroom window where my Uncle was sleeping. Just then, Uncle Rick came running up the stairs in a panic. We all got in the car, to try and stay warm, backed out of the driveway, and sat and watched the flames reflecting off of the snow covered trees in the backyard.
Due to the bad Michigan weather, it took the fire department several extra minutes to arrive at our house. Then, like a convoy of Fire Trucks in a parade, they made their way to our house. I remember my Mom crying in the front seat, as she watched her house, and belongings, go up in smoke. I was a kid in shock, just trying to put it all together.
Later in the day, sitting at a neighbor’s house, trying to recall all that happened, my Uncle Rick said something I will never forget. “Who came downstairs to get me?” “What are you talking about?” We said in unison. “Who came downstairs and grabbed my hand? Someone grabbed my hand and led me upstairs.” Silence. We all sat in silence. “Nobody. Nobody grabbed your hand.” Almost in a panic, Uncle Rick said, “Someone grabbed my hand!”
To this day, I truly believe that God sent an Angel to my house that night. You see, just hours before the fire had started, I had fallen asleep on the couch. My Mom insisted on me going to sleep in my bed upstairs. Good thing she trusted her gut, as the couch was only about 10 feet from the source of the fire, the wood burning stove.
The fire chief said that we had about 10 minutes left to live, before the smoke and fire consumed us. To this day, Uncle Rick still remembers someone grabbing his hand.
I thank God for the 1982 miracle in my house. And I thank Him for His protection, and Angels.
God wasn’t done with me in 1982. And, He isn’t done with you!
Be mindful of your choices. Go make a difference. Always Run By Faith.