Sweetwater Youth Ranch

Just Seven Minutes

December 26, 1994; the day after Christmas and I was exhausted! Natalie was 3 1/2, Andrea was almost 2. The past few days had been rather hectic with last minute shopping, baking, wrapping and making our rounds to the grandparents houses. This was the day I was looking forward to. I already had plans to stay home, sleep late, eat left overs, take it easy and watch my babies play with their new toys.

Six o’clock A.M. in bright red letters glared at me as I rolled over in a huff and looked at the clock to see what time it was. The bedroom windows in our little single wide mobile home were frosted over and for good reason, it was 13 degrees outside. I was in a huff because I had been woken abruptly. I just hadn’t figured out what it was that woke me up. It was almost like someone had hit me to wake me up. I looked over at my husband and he was sound asleep, then I looked to the other side to see if one of the girls had gotten out of bed and wanted to wake me up, but no one was there. I lay there in the silence for a moment listening closely to see if I could hear little foot steps in the house or even big ones from an intruder, but there was only silence. No one was in the house, my babies and hubby were fast asleep but not ME!  I rolled over to fall back asleep but a gnawing feeling loomed over me.  I could smell the water pot that sat on the wood stove which usually meant it was empty. Contemplating whether it was really necessary to get up and put water in the pot was keeping me from falling back to sleep. I decided this feeling wasn’t going to go away on its own so I threw the covers off and trekked off to the living room where my eyes landed on the water pot that was half full! WHAT!!! Disgruntled, I turned to head back to my cozy bed when I noticed a flicker on the ceiling right beside the wood stove pipe. It took me a minute to focus because it was just a flicker and my eyes were still half shut but as I focused I realized it was a flicker of fire. I quickly made my way back to the bedroom where I woke my husband and announced  “I think we are on fire!” He sat straight up and replied “you THINK we are on FIRE!?” He jumped out of bed and followed me to the living room to see the flicker that by now had spread farther around the pipe and without hesitation jumped into action. He said “call 911, then get the girls out of the house!” He grabbed his gloves and started ripping out the ceiling around the pipe removing the fire into the ash bucket while I called 911. I then turned around to see he had the front door propped open so he could without hindrance carry the ash bucket out to the yard and dump the embers of ceiling tiles onto the frozen ground. I immediately commenced to filling an empty box sitting in the living room floor with pictures and followed him out the door. He turned to me and not so calmly said “GET THE GIRLS, NOT THE PICTURES!”  Feeling the need to instruct me further he said to start the truck and move it away from the house, then strap the girls in and take them to grandma’s.

It was a short drive to the grandma’s house and as I was coming back into the driveway I was met by the firemen looking for our home. They followed me in where we found my husband already had the fire under control. After assessing the situation the fireman said we were very fortunate considering the age and construction of our little mobile home, it would have gone up in a blaze in seven minutes had I not woken up… Seven minutes!

As I stood there letting it sink in that our lives were spared by a margin of 7 minutes…I was over whelmed. I looked around at the room; the charred hole in the ceiling, the black ashes ground into the carpet beneath it, the smell of smoke in the air, the few pictures left on the wall and Phillips burnt gloves laying on the table…I thought, why? Why were we alive? Why did I wake up? Who woke me up? Was it an angel…my guardian angel? We had just spent the past few weeks talking to the girls about the angel of the Lord that appeared to Mary, to Joseph, and to shepherds. Was I in a huff because of an angel? The answer is Yes! I believe with every fiber of my being that an angel, my angel, had shook me just a few hours earlier and whispered into my heart that I could not go back to sleep. I needed to get up…get up…GET UP!

Fast forward many years to today; yet another frozen, day after Christmas morning, I am reminded that  I am here for a reason. Am I fulfilling that reason? That is the question I will ponder all day today and will no doubt lay at the feet of my Lord, thanking Him for His grace and the chance to do so!



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