The Nightmare Before the Christmas Blessing
The news reporter had threatened another huge storm to hit Michigan. Typically, storms either blew over us or went around us. Of course the one time they are predicting a terrible ice storm, we end up smack dab in the middle of it.
I was a little nervous when the rain started freezing, especially since it was my husband, John's last night of work before Christmas break. Little didn't I know the worst was yet to come. The roadways thawed so we could get our last minute shopping done. Then, kabbam! We were hit again by a another more serious ice storm. That storm came with a vengeance, turning porches, walkways, and roads into ice skating rinks. Even worse, as temperatures dipped lower, the crisp air crackled as branches snapped off trees like toothpicks and toppled power lines to the ground. Our lights and power went off with a boom, twice, but thankfully, both times came back on.
We hurried around to grab flashlights, candles, and other necessities in case we lost power too. Hearing more explosions and crackling, I opened the door and peered out into the eerie darkness. It was still dark we couldn't see all the damage, just that some neighbors trees had fallen and one massive limb was laying on a power line across the street.
Although it was 4 a.m., the phone rang, so I hurried over to pick it up. It was the police department declaring Shiawassee County, a state of emergency. No one was supposed to drive, and those without power were supposed to call 2-1-1 for help. The man emphasized, "It is not safe on any roadways. Please stay inside."
Words I thought I'd never hear sent chills through my entire body and I began to pray. Still, I didn't know how serious this storm was. We learned our daughter was without power, so she brought our three grand dogs over and they warmed up a bit. Throughout the day we lost internet and phone service, but we still had electricity. I kept our cell phones charged just in case.
We were able to watch the news, that's when we learned that 250,000 families in Michigan had lost power, 9,000 in our county, and many would not have power for 5-7 days. Christmas was just three days away. I started to think, this truly is a nightmare before Christmas. God, please do something to turn this around for good. That's when my eyes were enlightened. When my internet came back on, I logged onto facebook to check with family and friends and found that many of them had already come together, were opening their homes, donating food and blankets, and making hot meals.
There were still many cold, hungry individuals still in need, so I reached out to them and made them aware of what charities were open for food and shelter, and also invited them into our home. One family with a baby had tried to reach 2-1-1 all day for a ride to our home from the next city over. They never got through. Thankfully someone they knew came and picked them up and they arrived just in time for bed.
As one of the ladies stepped in, she said, "Wow, it was creepy coming up here. All the trees are bending halfway over in the road, everything's totally dark, and I don't even know how you have power, when no one else does."
That touched my heart and opened my eyes more to what God was doing. He not only protected us, but He was using our home as a lighthouse to help others in need and to draw them to safety out of the storm. It has been a nightmare before Christmas for many people in Michigan, but with God on our side, we were watching him turn even this most wicked storm into a blessing!
So, I challenge you, this Christmas season, please pray for those who are in need, thank God for what you have, but also show your neighbors true mercy and love and see if there is anything they need or are without. By doing this, you will open the door to bring Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all men, women, and children (and even animals).
Merry CHRISTmas to All--I love each and every one of you :) -Lisa Freeman
Picture of a Car Demolished by Trees in the city next to us: Car Demolished By Ice Storm