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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Wednesday 27th March 2013

#TellHisStory: When You Need Rescued

The man scrambled down the side of the snowy ditch, arms stretched out like a scarecrow to balance himself.

He ran as fast as a guy can run through crusty snow — snow that was a foot deep but not solid enough to keep a grown man from falling in with each step. This is winter’s quicksand, the kind of snow that gets up under the hem of your jeans, cutting at your ankles with icy blades.

But he ran anyway.

He feared that the person in the van was dying, or was maybe dead already, with that whole front end smashed in like it was.

He had seen accidents like this, and he’d seen mortals die before. He had volunteered for years on the local fire department, and had been summoned to more accident scenes than he cared to remember. But he ran brave and sure, his breath making tiny white bursts of determined little clouds.

He was running.

And he was running late.

He would have been ten miles farther down the road, if it weren’t for the marshmallow. Had he been on time, he would have driven past here before the crash happened, and he would have been at the church by now, sipping Folgers from Styrofoam.

The man was supposed to be sharing his testimony with a group of Iowa men that morning, and he wanted to burn a marshmallow at the podium, until it turned ash-black. He wanted to show those farmers and accountants and grandpas and truck drivers what he thought his heart might have looked like, during all those years when he kept shutting Jesus out. It burned his insides, that heart of his on a campfire stick.

But he’d forgotten his marshmallow-exhibit on the kitchen table back home, so he had to stop at the corner store for a whole bag of them.

And that’s why he was running late, and why he was running strong, where you see him now, racing down into a crooked ditch toward a smashed-up van.

 

* * *

She was stuck in the driver’s seat.

She was stuck, not dead. But bleeding. Stuff hurt.

She could see the shape of a man running, and he was some kind of hope careening into the ditch, like an answer to that one shaky prayer playing on repeat: “Help me, God. Help me, God.” Through the shattered windshield, she saw a figure, with arms stretched out, but it was a blur of color, like stained-glass. He was running. She knew that. But to her, it felt like he was crawling.

“Come quickly.” She may not have said it, but she thought it.

She hurt all over, and the wind slapped her cheeks red, right through the broken window. That’s how she knew she was alive. Because she could feel.

She saw his hand first, reaching in through the broken window, and then his face. He gasped.

“Jennifer!”

She reached up and grabbed his hands.

“Rob!”

She said it again. And she sobbed.

“Rob. Rob, I’m scared. Pray for me.”

It was her neighbor, the husband of her best friend, the woman who was her very first soul-friend after she’d moved to the farm. That man’s wife was the woman who rescued her from loneliness. And now her husband was reaching in through the window, like an answer to prayer.

He slipped in through the passenger-side door and waited until the paramedics could get her out of her smashed-up van.

And that took a while.

Finally, sirens.

 

* * *


It’s been four years now, four years since she sat trapped in a car with a friend whose marshmallows sat in a paper bag in his car, parked at the side of the road.

She’s been thinking about that moment this week, this Holy Week, and she figures this is why:

When you’re wrecked and cold, and can barely see through the shattered glass in front of you, you kind of want to lose hope. And who can blame you? You think no one will come. And if they are coming, it feels much too slow.

But Someone is running for you, right for you, even if you can’t see it.

That’s how it went down 2,000 years ago, you know. Hope ran, even when it hurt. Even when it felt slow, and they’d been waiting for hundreds of years. They call it the “silent age.” And who could blame any of them if they gave up hope?

But it happened like this, all of a sudden —

Hope hurtled itself toward Earth, then reached out a hand, the same hand that would open up for a spike all on account of people trapped and cold and scared and crying out, “Help me, God,” again and again.

Hope answers. Hope leaves the throne, to claim His own. Passes up comfort, for the cross.

And we are alive — crucified with Christ, yet we live.

And I feel it again, because I was that woman trapped in the van, with the cold wind on my reddening cheeks watching that one brave hand reaching in through the broken window. I see how a hand can reach straight into a mess, straight into the places that hurt.

Straight into the places to be redeemed.

ice on barbed wire

Related: The Woman Who Kept Me Warm and There’s Just Something About Those Y’s. 

 

So, what’s your Story? A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God. From now through Easter, I encourage you to consider stories that center around our Lenten journey, as we move toward the cross and resurrection of our Savior. (However, you are free to share any story that God is speaking into your life this week.)

To participate in the #TellHisStory linkup, simply:

1. Write your #TellHisStory post, from your heart, straight onto your blog. A #TellHisStory is any story that connects YOUR STORY into the story of God. What story is God telling in your life this week?

2. Link here and invite friends to join in by posting the #TellHisStory badge on your post.

3. Copy the permalink of your post.

4. Using the linky tool, paste your link in.

5. Find someone (or two) in the link-up to encourage with a comment.

6. Come back on Friday to visit our Featured #TellHisStory, in the sidebar.

Your words matter to God. They matter to people. And they matter to me!

~Jennifer



  • I felt as if I could see the story unfold before my eyes. I am so thankful for God’s grace and that you are here to minister to us today! I am also thankful for the hope we have in Him, hope that we when stretch our hands out wide, He is there to carry us through.

    Blessings~
    Shari

  • So glad Jesus had feet willing to go where you were that morning! Beautiful.

  • Such a beautiful story, Jennifer. I once heard a co-worker say that when she was involved in an accident and felt pain, she was thankful. It meant she was still alive. Your story reminded me of two things: when I was stabbed by addicts and swimming in the pool of my own blood. I hadn’t yet received Jesus then. But I prayed to God to make me live to make things right in my life… Eight years later, my health and strength were all taken away with only a faint breath in my nostrils… I was scared to death. The kind of fear that paralyzed. It was in this state that Jesus found me… When we are gasping for very life – He comes through. With His light. His hope. His healing. I love Him so (now I’m crying).

    Thank you, Jennifer, for the opportunity to witness.

  • This is hugely powerful, Jennifer, and the perfect Holy Week story.

  • What an amazing analogy! Wow. So appreciate your sharing – and the beauty with which you did. Hugs, Michelle

  • A beautiful story, Jennifer. Love this:'”But Someone is running for you, right for you, even if you can’t see it.” Amen! That is ALWAYS good news, for all people in all times.

  • Kim

    I have goosebumps. Beautiful and powerful. Thank you!

  • Amy

    I have tears in my eyes. What a story teller you are, girl! And what a powerful podium He has you on to tell these important and purpose-filled stories. Hallelujah!

  • thank you for being His vessel – for allowing Him to pour His beautiful words out of you. God so blesses.

  • Thanks for sharing again of this pivotal moment in your story. I know God has used this to shape your life. I wrote a story this week that I thought I would link in the community #Tell His Story this week— but I don’t think I can. If you read it, I think you’ll understand. Thank you for reminding us of the power of story. I am so thankful that God has given you this platform so that you can encourage us to embrace our stories, the joyful ones and the difficult ones—and to take our place in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

  • My friend, I am so thankful that you are still here telling stories. Thank you, Jesus, for your ministering angels — those you send with skin on and those who guard us unseen in the spiritual realm.

    • Jillie

      Amen, Sister. Amen!

  • Wow this is stunningly beautiful.

  • And this is how and why I met you… another farmer’s wife linked you for prayer (and hers was only the 4th blog I’d ever read online).

    You used to have a little blurb at the bottom of your home page, underneath or next to a horizon-type image of your farmstead that said something about yours maybe looking like a life all neat and tidy, but really, looks can be deceiving — right? (or maybe i’ve already been into the loco weed this morning)

    blessings.

  • Jennifer: this is awesome!!! Just what I needed today…..thank you my friend. Have an awesome Easter

  • Tears here. Again. This story. So powerful. What a picture of hope.

    And all because of a forgotten marshmallow on a crusty, cold day.

  • Kristin Hill Taylor

    And I have chills. Whew. Thanks for sharing this story and making me feel like I was there.

  • Your story brings tears to me, again…so glad Rob was there and God was, too, for you, my friend 🙂

  • Floyd

    Amazing how God can use the tragedies of life and turn them into pure gold of the heart. Awesome story and reminder. He’s always there…

  • I don’t think I’ve heard Rob’s side of the story before. It shows that our stories are bigger than ourselves.

    As is the message I remember from Marcus: “Pray for our friend, Jennifer, in Iowa. She’s been in a car accident.” Lots of us came to know you then. And now … most everything good that has happened to you comes out of that “and now.”

  • Jennifer, I have loved getting to know you and appreciate the word picture of hope hurtling itself to earth only to open his hand to accept the spike of pain so that I can unclench my fist grasping my own pain to embrace the hope he freely offers. Thank-you my friend and have a blessed Easter.

  • Powerful, beautiful words here in this, your story and with a profound reflection on the Greatest story of rescue. Thank you

  • I can feel Him running for me. Usually, I miss it, but your words bring it home and this Holy Week pulls me in. So much that my chest is tight and I’m out of breath.

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  • Amen and amen and AMEN!!! Hope is running towards us all! Oh how beautiful that hope is!!! 🙂 Blessings to you Jennifer.

  • Jillie

    Oh Jennifer, what a story. I thank God you are here to tell it. He obviously had more for you to do here on this earth…and you are doing it. You speak His truth into our lives with every post you write, and you lift up weary hearts.
    Oh the nail-pierced Hand that reaches out to you and me. And to anyone who cries out, “Help me, God!”

  • My heart was in my mouth and WOW what a story! He was late, but God sent him right on time.

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  • As another said, “This is hugely powerful!” I found myself reading and reading and wanting to know, wanting to feel the hand come in and touch to know that someone knew and would help, get help. Yes, that is how Jesus is. How God sent Him to rescue us, to bring through those shattered windshields, those shattered lives. How Jesus would be the 911 for any and for all our needs. Thank you for writing this, Jennifer. Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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Here is my heart in Laurie's hands. I don't know how many books are in me but this one - the 1st - will always hold an extra-special place. twitter.com/laurieschmid18…