Well, folks! It really is a miracle that I am able to write this post today. We survived an F3 tornado that hit Greene County, Tennessee last Wednesday at around 10:56 p.m. We lost almost all that we own, but the Lord saw fit to protect my family and spare our lives. There is a lot of devastation and sadness to the story, but there is also a bit of humor. I like to focus on the humorous parts, as the sad parts in life are all to common!
The tornado watch had been declared earlier in the day, and Camp Creek Elementary school even let out at 1:30 for the weather forecast. Most folks around our area just thought we were going to have yet another day with high winds!….we were slightly wrong…..
David left work early to go get the younger kids from school, and I got home from work around six that evening. There was no rain, or even much wind at that time. We proceeded as usual; getting supper on the table, taking baths, doing homework, etc… Around nine, we put the kids to bed, and for some strange reason, Eden Rose wanted to sleep with us. I usually don’t let her on a school night, but I did anyway. She fell asleep in between David and I, as we both goofed off on our laptops for our “evening entertainment” haha… Around 10:45, the sky was looking really bright, so we both stepped out onto the back steps to check it out. It was so unusual~ the sky looked like a light show, with occasional bolts of lightning. Just a constant flashing. I was telling David how awesome it was, and how I had never seen anything like it. I didn’t think about how calm the air was at the time. Now, I KNOW the meaning of the term: The calm before the storm! I started to get a little chilly, so I said that I was going back inside the house. No sooner had we crawled back in bed and got our laptops situated on our laps, the hail started coming down. We jumped up, and went to the front door, to look at the size of the hail balls. Some were around golf ball size. While we were standing there looking out, rain started coming..well..I would say “coming down”, but it wasn’t coming “down” at all. It was raining straight ACROSS! It was totally weird! I was hysterically saying how I had never seen anything like it!!! David said it was because of the wind funnel, then he looked at me and said, “Go get the boys and get down in their bedroom. I ran like the wind (David still laughs and says that he can still picture me running down that hallway like my life depended on it!) and jerked poor Ethan out of the top bunk. David, in the mean time, had run to the opposite end of the house to grab Eden Rose off our bed, and bring her to the boys’ room. Mind you, the power had gone off at this time, so he’s running through the house in the dark..sounded like a herd of elephants! He scraped poor Eden’s back while running through the hall, and she was screaming from the pain, and the disorientation of being jerked from a peaceful sleep. David had to threaten Israel, who thought I was just waking him up for school, and he finally jumped down to huddle beside us in front of the bottom bunk. No sooner had we all got down, the window beside us blew out, and we heard the house start ripping apart. I’m going to tell you what…I have never prayed so hard in my life. At first, I just knew that we were going to die right then and there, but as I kept calling on the name of the Lord to keep us safe from harm, I felt a peace come over me. The whole episode was over in just a minute or two. When we felt like it had calmed, David said that he was going to find a flashlight. He only got a few steps into the hall, when he turned back around and said to me: Jenny, the house is gone. Get up, and let’s get out of here.
I wanted him to go back to the bedroom and get my purse, so he tried to get to it. The roof had fallen and he couldn’t even get past the hall. We grabbed some shoes that were close to the door, and took off to the neighbor’s house. As soon as we walked out the doors, it looked like a war zone. All the neighbors were accounted for, thank goodness, and we all proceeded to go over to the only neighbor’s house who had a basement.
Now, the fun begins..keep in mind that we are in our Pajama’s! Poor David has only his pajama pants on, and I’m running around like a complete heathen, with only my pajama pants and t-shirt on….
An old, dear friend of ours risked his life to drive out to Greeneville and rescue us, but he couldn’t get passed all the trees and debris that was down on the roads. When he finally called to say he could go no farther, he was about half a mile down the road from us. We had already been told that a second tornado was on its way to the area, so David said we needed to make a run for it. Ummm….ok……twenty-five trees down, power lines swinging like grapevines, debris flying around everywhere….BRING IT! David starts down the road with Eden Rose on his hip..no shirt on, jumping over trees and debris, looking like Tarzan, for all he’s worth. Me, Jane, jumping right behind him, dragging the two boys with me, and praying to God that Israel’s heart doesnt’ stop from the panic attack he is suffering from…flying over and under downed trees, sliding in and between poison ivy, skipping over snaked power lines…we were a SIGHT! We finally make it to our rescuer’s vehicle, jump in, and..I’m not sure if I actually said this or just thought it, said….STEP ON IT! ROTFL…………………………………………………
I have never been so relieved in my life to “get out of Dodge”!
Each day, as we head back to Greeneville to finish out the school year, and pick up the pieces of our lives, I see the devastation and heartbreak that has followed this horrible night. And each day, I thank God, who spared our lives, and has given us yet another day to testify of His goodness and grace to us. We have no home to call our own. We have few possessions left on this earth. But, we have each other. We have the Lord. We have wonderful friends, family, and brothers/sisters in Christ. We will SURVIVE! We ask that each of you remember us in your prayers. This will be a long road to recovery. Thanks to all of you who have so generously given to us in our time of need. We pray that the Lord will bless each and every one of you abundantly!