parting the white sea

I hate to be a drama queen, but it was the worst half hour of my life.

Let me back up. Friday morning, I left Columbus, OH at 7:45 a.m. amidst threats of a Winter Storm Warning. The snow was supposed to start at 4:00 a.m., but when I left the house, there was nothing. Gabe called while I was on the road and said, “Be careful. It’s supposed to be icy in Marysville (30 minutes away).” But when I got to Marysville, nothing.

I got to Bellefontaine and stopped for a quick visit with Heather, my old neighbor (Hi, Heather!). Then on to my friend Courtney’s. We left her house at 9:00 a.m. Several local schools were canceled. Some had already planned early dismissal. But not a flake had fallen.

We hopped in Courtney’s SUV, leaving Gabe’s little Civic parked on the street, windshield wipers in the air (at his request), and headed due north. We chatted without ceasing, interrupted only by a phone call from Gabe. “It’s dumping snow here. Dumping.” Courtney and I saw nary a flake.

An hour later, Courtney’s husband had the same news. “Here comes the snow!” We saw nothing.

At 2:00 p.m. we had arrived safely in Michigan, the only danger being food poisoning from some of the nastiest “Mexican” food ever. If you should happen to be hungry and see Panchero’s, run the other way. As a Chipotle fan (and now, a Freebirds fan), I thought it might be worth a try. Now I know why a glance at the map shows Ohio and Texas to be mercifully Panchero’s-free.

The single mom’s retreat was awesome (my reason for going to Michigan), and I’ll blog about it tomorrow, but this post is about the snow.

Courtney and I were on the road by 9:30 Saturday morning. Courtney checked her phone messages and gasped when she saw the pic her husband Brad had sent her. It was their 6yo daughter standing in a snow drift OVER HER HEAD. Were we going to make it home?

There was the tiniest, finest dusting of snow on her SUV when we left, but it wasn’t snowing anymore. The sun was shining brightly, and a couple times during the first 2-3 hours of our trip, we drove under “snow clouds” for 5-6 minutes, then it was over.

As we left “Pure Michigan” behind (do any of you Michiganders want to explain your sign?), we noticed that not only did the speed limit change from 70mph to 65mph (drat), we saw a lot more snow on the ground.

Long story short, on the last 90 minutes of our trip, we began to see what all the fuss was about. Piles of snow on the sides of the road, then snow covering the roads, people driving slowly, snow plows everywhere. Cars, trucks, semis in the ditch all over the place. Surreal.

Twenty minutes from Courtney’s house, we turned the radio on. I joked about it probably being a Level 3 emergency and we weren’t supposed to be out in it. Two minutes later, a squeaky-voiced teenage DJ says, “Logan County is under a Level 3 Snow Emergency. Stay home! Any vehicles out on the road are subject to arrest.”


Thanks to Courtney’s mad driving skillz and her fabulous Honda Pilot, we made it to her house unscathed. Every car on her street was buried in snow, except for mine (bless you, Brad!). Courtney let me leave, against her better judgment. I promised her I had a great story should I be pulled over by a cop. I hoped and prayed the main road from Bellefontaine to Columbus would be clear.

It was not. And thus began the scariest half hour of my life. The 4-lane road was solid snow and ice. It might’ve been plowed at one time, but plenty more snow had dumped since. My car slipped and slid, and I couldn’t see the center line. I knew people wanted to pass me, so I tried to give them room without swerving into the ditch. Everyone who passed me was in some sort of huge truck or SUV. My head hurt, my chest hurt, I never stopped praying for even one second. I honestly thought there was no way I was going to survive. When would it end?

There was no place to pull over, and that wouldn’t help anyway. I couldn’t ask Gabe to drive (with the girls) 45 miles to rescue me and leave the car on the side of the road.

I kept going. It got worse. A semi passed me, and I could feel my car sliding. What would I do if I slid into him? After he passed, I couldn’t take it any longer and burst into tears.

“I can’t do this, God!”

And then I kid you not. 10 seconds later, I looked up ahead. A green sign on my right. Leaving Logan County, Entering Union County. There was a line in the middle of the road. On my side–2 or 3 inches of ice and snow. On the Union County side? 100% clear roads. Surreal.

I burst into tears again. This time thankful, grateful, unbelieving tears. I flipped on the radio and sang praise songs all the way home. On clear, clear roads.

Did you pray for me? Praising God for you!

25 thoughts on “parting the white sea

  1. Tiffani

    So very glad He made a way for you! I just love that about Him…His eye is on the sparrow (and on a Mama that is driving in the snow to get home to their family)!!


  2. Kimberly

    I would rather have the flu and a sunburn at the same time than drive on ice or snow (thus my living in South Texas) I’m glad you made it home safely. He is good, isn’t He? 🙂

  3. Carol Anne

    So grateful your journey ended with this blog entry!
    I’m originally from Wisconsin, now living in Maryland, experiencing a Wisconsin winter this week. I had a few moments on driving back from WI to MD where we prayed that we would make it home safely. We gave up on winter driving after that. We couldn’t beleive how trecherous things could become in a matter of moments and then a few moments later we were in ideal conditions. Thanks for your blog tonight – it will serve as a reminder for future travels!

  4. Adam

    I had the pleasure of driving in Logan County a number of times this winter after bad snow storms. On Friday, in the middle of the storm, I drove through it on state routes and it was pretty horrible. On Sunday it was pretty rough as well. The problem with Logan County is that they do not even attempt to clear the roads. They don’t salt them and they don’t even run a plow down them very much.

    I feel your pain!

  5. Amy S

    Gotta LOVE Logan County. If it makes you feel better….everyone there was driving against the law to get out to “The Mountain”.

    p.s. super jealous that you got to spend the weekend with Court in MI!!!! Next time, invite a single-sister, ok???? 😉

  6. meghan @ spicy magnolia

    Oh, Marla, I’m so glad you made it home safely!! Certainly the Lord had His angels watching over you.

    Sorry to hear about your rough day; I hope your night has gone well and you enjoyed your comfort food.

    Oh, and the taxes are solely a love for numbers/forms kinda thing. 🙂

  7. whimzie

    I was white-knuckled, holding on to my chair reading that story. I know I’ve lived in MA and RI, but I don’t speak snow fluently. I’ve only driven on a slick road once and it was just a few streets away from my house. I can’t imagine 30 minutes of that. SCARY STORY!!! Glad you’re home safe and sound with the fam!

  8. Kaye

    So thankful you made it home safe and sound. What a trip!
    And thankful for your new healthy niece, she is beatiful….praying for all of you without ceasing,
    Matthew 21:22

  9. Lee Detrick

    Logan County is snow country……we have been hunkered down since Friday morning, and will probably be the same place during the next snowstorm………..

  10. Denise

    I would have been just as scared! I hate driving in snow. I remember the near blizzard of 08, I refused to try to drive to work. I was pregnant and I was not about to stress my body out.

    Thankfully this year, Parker and I hunkered down inside. I am glad you made it back in one piece. Love you!

  11. Cheryl

    Oh my goodness. 33 is ALWAYS terrible in snow. I guess ODOT thought they should focus their attention on other roads instead. My dad spent 12 days at OSU hospital last month and we drove that road every day in some terrible weather. The worst part is always the big hill heading down to the Mad River Mt. exit. We stopped and helped a girl who slid into the guardrail on our way to the hospital one day. My mom didn’t want to but I said “What if it was Lacey (my 23 yr old daughter)? You’d want somebody to stop for her.”

  12. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    We drove through the Oklahoma ice-snow situation post-Christmas that Amanda mentioned. It reminds me again that I HATE WINTER. We are getting more snow today. Boo.

    Anyway, I can only imagine how terrified you must have been. Incredible how God allows us to experience Him in the midst of such fear! So, so glad you were kept safe, warm, and un-stuck.

  13. The Secret Life of Kat

    Awesome Mexican food, perfectly clear roads, we have a lot to offer here in Texas if you ever want to move. 🙂

    Seriously, though, that sounds horrible. I’m so glad you made it home safely and have a wonderful story to share about God’s goodness.

  14. Amanda

    Oh my! I’m so glad you made it home. We drove through awful snow and ice in Oklahoma the day after Christmas. For 2 hours we went 25 mph and there were abandoned vehicles everywhere. It was so scary. I can’t imagine how freaked out you were going it alone.

  15. Emily Kay

    Wow, what a testimony to God’s faithfulness! And let me just say, SO GLAD I live in Texas and don’t have to deal with snow and ice! That would scare me to death!!

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