This afternoon the girls and I decided to celebrate the warm weather by finishing school early and heading to the lake front We ate sandwiches, played at the park and met an amazing mom of twin boys from South Africa, and then walked down to the beach for some frolicking in the sand. My crazies even went in the frigid water! We then headed back to our car and the girls were still wearing their suits (the showers and locker rooms not open yet) and were just wrapped in kangas and barefoot (memo to self: buy flip flops for them asap). It was a bit of a walk since we parked in the free lot next to the pay lot so we were walking along the lake front path to the car. The girls were a few steps in front of me as I was carrying a beach chair and our beach bag. This is where the story of our day was vastly altered.
We heard screeching tires and saw smoke from a sudden stop of a black Mercedes that was apparently drag racing with another car around the bend in the parking lot. Then another black car that was following the first car lost control and smashed into a car that was parked in the lot. It was all a blur: the second car then came toward us still going so fast (they estimated 40 miles per hour). I yelled to the girls "come!" and thankfully they both ran toward me immediately and I grabbed them and dragged them out of the way. The car had smashed into the side of the parked car and pushed it halfway onto the grass and then continued for at least 30 feet into the path and finally stopped about 5-10 feet from where we had been walking. My heart was pounding and I yelled to the driver through the open window "you almost killed my children!" My Mama instincts were so hard core and even though I was feeling weak and exhausted I would have been able to carry the girls miles. The young woman driving seemed shocked but immediately through the car in reverse and drove back over the path, grass, and curb and tried to take off. The first car had already left speeding through the parking lot and I think her first reaction was to flee when she knew how serious the accident was. I started bawling and held the girls while calling 911. Three other people who had seen everything had already called the police and a crowd soon gathered. Another women was almost hit from the other side of the car that was hit in the parking lot and she was very shook up as well. Another man who witnessed everything got in is his car and tried to follow the car that had almost hit us which was leaking fluid and smoking and finally died at the end of the Foster Beach parking lot. The police arrived within 10 minutes and took down all our stories and took the driver who is only an 18 year old high school student into custody. We had to wait with the other witnesses for over an hour until everything was filled out and the police started to impound the car as evidence. The girls were awesome and chatted up everyone while we waited. We are fine. Blessed. Safe.
I'm grateful for so many things. I'm grateful I felt well enough to take my girls to the beach. I'm thankful Evy and Anni were dawdling and singing and walking slow as a few seconds could have meant a different outcome. I'm grateful Annikah shared with the crowd of folks that God saved them before and we were able to pray and thank Him for everyone's safety. I'm thankful to the Dad and his adorable daughter in the stroller who came up and comforted me. I'm grateful for the man who got the license numbers of the cars involved because I was too shaken to even think of it and then waited with me until he knew we were ok. I'm thankful for Bree and Stephanie; two students at North Park who stayed with us and offered the girls their clean, dry towels because they were cold (they also helped hold up said towel so Evy could pee in the grass :) We joked with the police that she would have to promise to not write me a ticket for public urination. I'm thankful for the police in America who respond quickly and do their jobs to protect us and I'm glad we got to tell them how thankful we are for them. I'm grateful for Omar; the brother of the car owner, who even though he was not involved came over and apologized to me. I'm thankful for the opportunity to talk to the young woman who was driving through the bars in the back of the police car. I told her I was thankful she was ok. She was sobbing and scared and apologized and I told her I forgive her because I am forgiven much by Jesus and told her I just wanted her to learn from this and be safe since God saved her as well. And I am profoundly grateful that God saved us and everyone else involved and the only thing damaged was property that is replaceable.
Our first of many beach days was eventful for sure!
As Annikah said "God saved us two times!" and as I told Jason what happened I came to tears realizing that if we had walked a tad faster or left the beach 1 minute earlier things could have been very different today. But God knew and was with us and protected them again. God is worthy of praise in any outcome but I'm so thankful we are all ok. Each step made a difference today.
Today made me think of the verse
"A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.
How then can anyone understand their own way?" Psalm 20:24.
I'm grateful our steps are known to Him,
We moved this week
5 days ago