By Angela Posey-Arnold
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Hi. My name is Jake and I am 16 years old. My job most days is to try and keep my sister out of trouble. Leading her in the right direction has become a mission for me. This is her story and mine.
Jade is beautiful, she really is. She just doesn’t know it. She is short and little for her age. But, she has real cool hair and dark eyes. She has a smile that brightens a room. Jade is a good kid, she just has some weird ideas about love. She wants a boyfriend so bad. Or so she thinks. This is why I have to keep a close eye on her. She is my responsibility and I take that seriously. She used to follow me around and that was easy. Lately, she don’t follow me around I have to follow her. It can be pretty exhausting.
Six years ago I was at Bible School and I learned the ABCs of salvation. You know, A-Admit you are a sinner. B-Believe in Jesus and, C-Confess to others that you are a Christian. I did all of that and that is when my life got really interesting. I had heard of Jesus but I really never realized how much I needed Him. I feel lucky that I found Him before I needed Him as much I did this last week. I prayed for Him to help me with Jade. He did. This is a story about how He really did.
I had watched my family fall apart. My Mom got tired of being a Mom a long time ago. She split and we haven’t seen her or heard from her since. Not on birthdays or Christmas. Time is making it easier to forget her. So, looking after Jade is my job. Mom left when I was ten and Jade was 8. Dad works hard but I work harder. Jade, well Jade just floats along in her own little dream world. Until last week. Funny how things can change so fast.
My Dad makes good money and when I turned 16 a month ago he bought me a new 2007 Mustang. Gun metal gray with black interior. Only a V6 and he said I really did not even need that much power. Oh, it will run and it runs smooth. I guess I could talk all day about cars but that really isn’t what I am here to tell you.
As I pulled up to the pool house to pick up Jade from swim team she wasn’t standing in her usually place waiting for me to get there. I had called her cell and she had not answered. I was getting worried about her. I pulled the car into a parking place and went inside. I looked for her at the Olympic pool and she was no where to be found. I saw two of her friends, Kristen and Katie. They saw me coming and tried to hide. Katie ran from me and I had to run to catch her. I knew something was up, big time.
Katie and Jade have been best friends since kindergarten. If anyone knew where Jade was it would be Katie.
“Hey Kate, wait up!” I ran to catch up with her. She ran, pretending not to hear me.
“KATE! STOP!” She stopped and looked up at me with an obvious guilty conscience.
“Where is Jade?” I asked. She knew she had to answer.
“Jake, don’t ask me. Please. I promised not to tell”.
“Katie, you have got till the count of 3, 1, 2, …..”
“Okay, Okay. I will tell you. Dang it Jake. Jade will hate me for telling you. She left with Todd. She didn’t stay for practice. He has a new motorcycle and she left with him. I don’t know where they were going. Maybe to his house.”
“Thanks Katie. You did her a favor.” I patted her on the head like I always do.
“Please don’t tell her I told you.” Katie yelled after me as I was already running towards my car. I knew this was bad, really bad.
Jade met Todd this year on the swim team. I knew he was trouble the minute I laid eyes on him. He is one of those swim jocks. He thinks is all that. You know, a ‘God’s gift to women’ kind of guy. He is older than me. He is 17 and out for one thing. Jade just doesn’t get it. For the last year she has been obsessed with finding “someone to love her.” She watches too much TV and she reads too much Cosmo. Jade has really missed having a Mom. She has this idea that a boyfriend will make it all ok. Dad won’t let her date yet and I discourage it too. She is just too vulnerable. She has no idea how pretty she is. She thinks she is ugly because she has a deformed right ear from birth. It is really kind of cute though.
Without getting a speeding ticket I knew I had to get to Todd’s house and fast. He lives 30 miles from the pool and traffic was terrible. I tried to call Jade’s cell again but no answer. I was almost in a panic. It was 3:00pm; I remember looking at the clock as I also remembered to pray. I had just read in my Bible about worry. Jesus said, “Don’t worry about anything, instead—pray about everything.” So I prayed. Not a long prayer just a request, an urgent request. “God, help Jade. Help me to help Jade.”
As I turned onto the street where Todd lives a fire truck passed me, sirens blaring. I could feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck as I got closer, realizing that the truck was going to the same house I was going to. When I got closer there were cops everywhere, an ambulance and two fire trucks. The house was blazing from the roof.
I jumped out of the car. I really don’t even remember putting it into park. I ran towards the house and a cop stopped me. He said, “You can’t go in there, son.” I told him my sister was in there. He said, “I think she may be the one in the ambulance.” Panic and fear rushed over me as I could only see Jade in my mind as an 8 year old little girl wanting her mom. The fear was overwhelming. As I rushed to the ambulance I realized that it was Jade on the gurney. She was lying there, lifeless. So still. The EMTs had oxygen on her and said they were taking her to the hospital. They said she had smoke inhalation but no burns and she would be fine. They were leaving with her. I followed the ambulance to the hospital.
I don’t remember seeing Todd or anyone else at the scene. We rushed to the hospital and I called Dad on the way. The rest of the time I prayed. Thankful for Jesus being with me. I knew I could not have handled this alone. Alone would have been terrible. Thankful that I had met Jesus long before I needed Him as much as I needed Him that day.
When we got into the ER Jade was awake and crying. I ran into the room and she hugged me so tight. She just kept saying, “I am so sorry, Jake. I am so sorry.” I assured her that everything was going to be okay. I was comforting her and Jesus was comforting me.
The nurses and doctors were starting an IV and treating her for smoke inhalation. She was still panicked and they said she was in shock so I knew that I would have to wait to find out what had happened. It really didn’t matter. What mattered was that she would be okay. I could feel rage building up side me as I thought about what could have possibly happened. Finding Todd and whipping up on him would have made me feel much better. I knew that wasn’t right but I couldn’t help but feel that somehow this was his entire fault. I kept thinking, “what did he do, what did he do?”
Dad came in and he was upset to say the least. Of course he was blaming me like always. He always blames me. Dad is pretty high strung. He usually finds his comfort in a glass of Jack Daniels. He didn’t know what to do. I knew I was the only one who could be calm in this storm. I could be calm because of Jesus calming me.
“Jake, why did you let this happen? You are supposed to be taking care of her. Tell me what happened.”
“Look Dad.” I said. “I don’t know what happened yet. I went to pick her up at the pool and she had left with Todd. I drove there as fast as I could and when I got there they were putting her in the ambulance. I don’t know what happened. She will be okay. Dad, we are going to pray. You are going to have to have some faith. Dear, Jesus please help Jade.”
At that instance I heard Jesus say, “I heard your prayer in the car, I did help Jade and she is going to be fine, the fire saved Jade.”
Dad calmed down and we waited as the nurses finished their work. Jade was awake and breathing better so we were allowed to go in. When I went in, she smiled and said, “Jake, I am really sorry. You were right about Todd. He is trouble. We rode on his motorcycle for a while and then went to his house. I really didn’t feel right being there with him but I couldn’t find my cell phone to call you. I really got afraid. I did not know how I was going to get out of there. He just kept on coming at me. He had lit some candles and I knocked one over trying to get away from him. The candle lit the curtains on fire and before I knew it the whole house was filled with smoke. I lost my way to the door and Todd ran out, he just left me in there. He is such a jerk. You were right, Jake. You were right about everything. I will listen to you from now on, I promise.”
“I crawled on the floor trying to find the door. That is where I was when the fireman found me. And Jake, I prayed. I prayed really hard. Jesus was helping me. I just know it. I could feel His arms around me. I was following His voice. The fireman said I was about 2 feet from the door. Jake, I think Jesus used the fire to save me from Todd.”
I wish I could tell you that I still did not have the overwhelming need and desire to find Todd and whip up on him. I do want to. And when I see him I know it is going to be really hard. I could take him. I am a pretty big guy. But, I know I am going to have to use my strength for God. So, I started praying for Todd and for myself.
For a while after I became a Christian I really wasn’t sure that Jesus heard me when I prayed. I had prayed about some test I had, I still failed chemistry. I had prayed about Dad and his drinking, he still drinks. I was beginning to wonder if Jesus really heard my prayers. Now, I know for sure that He hears my prayers. He really does hear me.
And Jade, well she is doing great. She had to stay over night in the hospital but she came home the next day. She learned a lesson about guys. She learned something better though. She found Jesus. Or maybe Jesus found her. Either way, I don’t have to worry so much about Jade now. She has a new best friend. She is spending more time reading her Bible than Cosmo.
Katie came over today and before she and Jade skipped off to their next big adventure, we had a talk about taking care of each other, and looking out for each other. We all promised that we would look after each other especially when someone decides to do something really stupid.
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