“We’re rich, we’re rich!” proclaimed Charlotte Brewster as her hand clenched their future. Her pony-tailed blonde hair rhythmically bounced from side to side as she ran to throw her arms around her husband Charlie. He clasped his shaking hands around her baby-bump waist and spun her around.
“Okay,” said Charlie.”Write those numbers down. I want to check them again.” Charlotte dutifully did as Charlie asked and repeated the numbers to him. “Yup, they’re winners alright!”
They suddenly looked at one another and burst out laughing hysterically. Charlotte began to sing. “We’re in the money, we’re in the money…” And that they were; they had just listened to the winning numbers of the Iowa State Lottery and were going to pocket one million dollars.
“Now what do we do, Charlie? We have a winning lottery ticket, but what do we do with it?”
“We need to take it down to the State Lottery Office.”
“Charlie, let’s take it down on my birthday at the end of the month.”
“I don’t know about that, Charlotte. That’s three weeks away. I don’t know if I can wait that long. What if something happens to the ticket?”
“We’ll put it one of our nightstands. What could happen to it there?”
“That’s probably as good as any place, I guess,” responded Charlie as he finally allowed himself to sit down.
During the next three weeks, Charlie and Charlotte discussed repeatedly what they would do with the winnings. They both agreed their first priority would be to build their dream home. Baby Christine would be born in less than five months. Their one-bedroom apartment was wall-to-wall full. Where ever would they find room for the baby?
Just days before Charlotte’s 25th birthday, she woke up to the wind whipping a loose shutter on the house. She pulled back the hand-made bedroom curtains to see outside their window. The sky had turned a strange greenish-yellow color. As her knees made a dent in their foam mattress, she noticed the distant mountains had taken on a deepening blue hue. From past experience, she knew those signs meant only one thing, As she continued to observe her surroundings, the freakish-looking clouds began to funnel. She knew it didn’t necessarily mean a tornado every time, but they definitely were a warning sign.
She frantically grabbed her cell phone from the night stand and punched in Charlie’s work number. No connection. She couldn’t ignore the warning signs and immediately went to the only safe area of the apartment…their bedroom closet. She grabbed a blanket from the shelf, covered her head and began praying.
Charlotte always felt her prayers lacked the eloquence of those much older in Christ, but she knew God would take this one seriously . Suddenly she heard what sounded like a freight train and she knew the tornado had found its target. She closed her eyes and focused on her Heavenly Father.
Where am I? What’s going on? thought Charlotte. Why was she so cold? It did not take her long to come to the realization that she was no longer in her apartment closet, but was lying in a pile of destruction. In the background, she heard sirens.
Thoughts of her unborn child surfaced with fear; but she didn’t feel injured. Around her stood nothing, absolutely nothing! As she lay there, she could faintly hear a voice calling her name. It was Charlie. They both cried as they embraced and thanked God for their survival.
As they sat together wondering what to do next, Charlie sheepishly said; “well, so much for our winning lottery ticket. Easy come, easy go!
“Not so fast, Mr. Doom and Gloom,” said Charlotte as she pulled off one of her husband’s socks she always wore to bed. She reached inside and pulled out the ticket in question.
“Why on earth do you have that lottery ticket in your sock, Charlotte?” Charlie questioned.
“I’ve done that since the night we discovered we had the winning ticket. I didn’t like it just sitting in that open night stand,” she answered.
“Well, we certainly are going to need it now to start building a new home. And you know what, Charlotte, I think we should share our newfound wealth with those around us.
Charlotte couldn’t answer because she was blinded by the tears that had welled up in her eyes. What a tender heart her husband had for others. They embraced once again and began looking for neighbors who could use a hand.
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