Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Surviving an Earthquake

Around 2 P.M. this afternoon Alexis, Josiah, Lydia, Judah, and I were sitting around the kitchen table finishing up lunch.  I was feeding Judah and everyone else was talking, eating, etc.
Then we felt it.

A steady, deep rumble.

At first I dismissed it from my mind as "just some heavy machinery moving around" (we're surrounded by farms :) but the rumble got bigger. 

And everything began to shake.

As the shaking and rumbling got bigger, so many thoughts raced through my mind.  All of us were perfect statues as we carefully waited for what would come next.

Oh God, no, please no were my first thoughts.  I didn't even dare utter the word that has killed millions of people and that I thought I was experiencing now.

Surely, this couldn't be that.  It really must be just a big truck or something.

Yet the rumbling continued increasing and I started getting serious.  Everything whirled through my head at a million miles an hour.  I looked at the ceiling and wondered what it would be like to see that ceiling come crashing down on me in a few seconds.  

Should I run outside?  Where's the safest place to go?

I realized next that if it really was what I thought it was, then I probably didn't have time to run outside.

Realizing how little precious time I had, my next thought was to rip Judah's tray off his highchair and grab him to my chest.  

But where could we go?  

My eyes went to the clearest spot on the kitchen floor and it was there I quickly decided I was going to lay with Judah underneath me until it was over.  

My mind continued screaming please, God, no, not now as all these thoughts ran through my head. 

Then slowly, oh so painstakingly slowly, the rumbling and shaking decreased little by little.

Then it was over.  And I might have breathed again. :)
[All this happened in only a matter of seconds....or at the most, one minute.]

We yelled to Mom who was in the other room cellercising "Did you feel that Mama?"   She sure did and we were all shaken (ha - literally and mentally! :).

Not knowing if something else was going to come we just waited for a little bit.  After awhile nothing happened and life hesitatingly resumed.

Lexi started calling various people and family members who lived nearby to see if they had felt the rumbles.  (We still weren't sure of what happened.  It came and went so fast, yet seemed to stay forever, if you know what I mean.)  Adding to the eeriness of the situation, all of the cell phones she called would just beep or not even call.  Only the home phones (via landlines) would ring.  And no one picked up.

Lunch was now over and I went to celllercise myself (still confused).  I picked up my weights and turned the radio on and then I started bouncing.  

After one song played, one of the Positive Hits PER 90.5 announcers came on.  "Well, I'm sure all of you felt that rumbling.  Mineral, VA has just experienced a 5.8-6.0 earthquake.  So far we have no reports of any deaths or damages."

And I yelled out "Mama, did you hear that?  Virginia just had an earthquake!"  Those rumblings really were what I hoped with all my heart they were not.

All of a sudden, the sky seemed bluer and the day seemed absolutely perfect.  I was alive!

As I continued jumping I thought about so many things.

A few minutes ago, I could've died.
I wasn't scared of what came after dying (I'm going to see Jesus and live in paradise!!!) but I definitely wasn't stoked about the possibility of being crushed by our house.

It's amazing how precious life becomes when you're acutely aware how soon it could be ended.
How easily I take life for granted.  I grumble about it being "too hot" or "too cold" and yet, in just one minute, none of it mattered.  I only wanted to live.

I could've died, but I didn't.  Why?
I serve a God who is in control of everything and when something uncontrollable (i.e. weather) happens, I'm painfully aware of God's sovereignty.  He rules over everything.  I often think that I'm sort of invincible ("nothing will happen to me because I'm young and healthy - ha!") but, in just a minute, I could have been dead.  But I didn't die because that isn't God's plan for me right now (which I'm quite happy with ;).

How many people could've died if this earthquake had been bigger?  How many would have died without You, God?
   Suddenly the Great Commission was a lot more urgent.

In just a few seconds, my family could've been torn apart.  I might have survived...but what about my siblings and parents?  
Now my family is more precious to me than ever before (and they were really precious before).  I can also sympathize a little more with the families who have lost 1-?? family members from the various earthquakes.  

So, this is sort of what it felt like for the people in Haiti and Japan?  Except their ceilings did crash down on them and they did lose family members, homes, and limbs.
I now have more compassion for those who have experienced damage from an earthquake.
But more than all the above thoughts, the biggest one I had was thoughts full of gratefulness for God's mercy today.  So much could have gone wrong and my life (if I survived) could have drastically changed, but it didn't.  And it's all thanks to Jesus.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
         And all that is within me,
bless His holy name!
  Bless the LORD, O my soul,
         And forget not all His benefits:
  Who forgives all your iniquities,
         Who heals all your diseases,
  Who redeems your life from destruction,
         Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
  Who satisfies your mouth with good
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
  The LORD executes righteousness
         And justice for all who are oppressed.
  He made known His ways to Moses,
         His acts to the children of Israel.
  The LORD
is merciful and gracious,
         Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
  He will not always strive
with us,
         Nor will He keep
His anger forever.
  He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
         Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
  For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
  As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
  As a father pities
his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
  For He knows our frame;
         He remembers that we
are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
         As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
  For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
         And its place remembers it no more.
  But the mercy of the LORD
is from everlasting to everlasting
         On those who fear Him,
         And His righteousness to children’s children,
  To such as keep His covenant,
         And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
  The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
         And His kingdom rules over all.
  Bless the LORD, you His angels,
         Who excel in strength, who do His word,
         Heeding the voice of His word.
  Bless the LORD, all
you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
  Bless the LORD, all His works,
         In all places of His dominion.
         Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Psalm 103
I love my Jesus!


  1. I know how you feel! I was in Mechanicsville when it hit and even now my legs are slightly shaking. The Lord protected during the quake! I haven't heard of any injury reports, even though it went all the way up to Canada.
    The Lord IS good!

  2. Oh my, We where on our way to the last drop off when it happened. We just hit Light foot exit on 64 when someone called and the phone stopped ringing. After that, nothing worked. Later, Grandpa called mom, who was at the voting place and grandma was at home alone, and said that there had been an earthquake that had shook our place up. You should have seen moms expressions. She thought he was kidding. It was really freaky. Mom couldn't get a hold of anyone because The cell phone lines where jammed with panicking people from who knows where. HAHA Dad was in a hole at the time just south of Richmond. He said that he felt the rumbling, but he thought it was just the compacting machinery, until he looked UP!! Traffic lights where swinging and dirt was moving, so he scrambled out and saw tons of people pour out of the nearby buildings, staring at them. They where blaming the crew for the rumblings!! We heard many more stories, but I don't have time. When you all drop off the jugs, we can exchange.

  3. Hey Matthew and Jeffrey,
    My dad and I were fishing when the earthquake hit. First we thought it might of been a military vehicle until it gradually grew louder and the ground more violently and the pound started to bubble every 12" or so from the air underneath the ground!
    It was a neat experience! We were definitely in the Lords hands!

    In His Service,

  4. Oh, that was TERRIFYING!! I had never experienced an earthquake before. I was walking around our kitchen making lunch, and I heard a low rumble. I though maybe Mum was doing something in the laundry room (which we are fixing up) or maybe a big truck was driving by. Then everything started to vibrate, and I stood motionless, holding onto the counter. The dishes may have clattered, or I may have immagined it...But it was scary. I began to really pray. Like many others, I had unconsciously thought nothing could happen to me, because I was young and healthy. My life could have been over, or drastically changed...I am so grateful for the life I have now!!

    His Princess,