There are so many times in life you think, “I don’t know if I could survive _____ happening to me.” Then it happens to you and you not only survive, but you discover more of who God is and how deeply He cares for you and how strong you are.
One of those fears I had was a house fire. I mean, losing the things you love that you worked hard to put together or collect. The effort of recovering. The fear of the unknown of not having a place to live and what happens next. How do you get through it?
Well friends, today I am getting the opportunity to show myself that I can live through the aftermath of a house fire. And I am thankful for the opportunity to grow in whatever ways God wants to stretch me
Last Friday while I was at the Winter Summit with hundreds of women worshipping and lifting each other up I got a call from my husband that my house was on fire.
First, and most importantly, everyone got out and were all fine. My family was safe. After knowing that I really wasn’t all too concerned with my stuff. The firemen were there and getting it under control. Thanks to their efforts it was confined to one side of the house and didn’t spread.
It started with a power strip. That’s all we know. Nothing unusual…..just that a power strip seems to be at the center. It was in our upstairs boys’ bedroom which is above my bedroom. Their room and much of my room is destroyed. Those boys have nothing but what was on their backs when they ran out. I am waiting to be able to dig through my bathroom and closet to see what of mine I can keep.
The rest of the house, the part that didn’t have a fire, is so filled with fumes and a light layer of soot that we can’t go in for more than a few minutes at a time. So even though it didn’t burn, it’s not habitable at the moment. Therefore….we are homeless (wow I just said that for the first time).
All through the weekend my husband was giving me updates and keeping me filled in on the situation. It didn’t fully hit me until I saw it for myself on Sunday night. It was hard to look at all of our things having been burned, covered in smoke, flooded or trampled. My boys’ collections of clothes and books and so much more. All gone.
I have cried much more over their things than my own. Losing my favorite pillow is not as upsetting to me as the loss of Adam’s favorite SnapBack hat that we bought when we went to Universal together and every time he wears it we laugh about the funny story that led to us buying it. Every 10 minutes another object of loss pops into my mind and I grieve.
But then the light shines through the grief and I move on. We all move on. We are making lists and waiting for the insurance company to show up (don’t even get me started on their ineptness) and wondering what’s going to happen with the fume-filled intact part of the house. It will be so great when we can move back in the intact parts and just live more normally. Although I have no idea when that will be….a week? A month? 3 months? More?
The fire and water damaged area, well, it will definitely be months at least before that’s usable again. Everything will have to be torn out and rebuilt. I’m tired just thinking about it all.
So to keep our spirits up we are making a thankful list. All of the things we have to be thankful for that keep popping up all around us, showing us God’s love and the joy from the ashes. Only a few days in and the list is really long!
He makes Himself known in the trials and how delightful it is to have a loving Father to go running to for comfort. He knows our needs and He gives us peace and He shows us so much good through our struggles.
Yesterday while we were shopping for clothes for one of my boys who lost everything I started to cry. Just standing in Walmart with tears streaming down my face while he was in the dressing room trying to find jeans that will fit his tall, thin body (finding pants for that boys is so hard y’all). A woman walked past me and noticed my tears and she just touched my should and said “It’s all going to be OK, honey. God loves you,” and walked on. And I felt it to my bones. He does love me. It will be OK. I have no doubt.
For now we are staying in an empty house down the street. Our wonderful neighbor is letting us use it, but it’s only for a week or so. Then we have to find another place to stay. For now we have a few items of clothing and we are going to spend today together picking up more of what we need to just get through the next few weeks. For now we have been playing games and eating pizza and taking walks. For now we are all safe and sound and looking for the good in the rubble. For now I’m spending lots of time in prayer and in God’s Word while I wait for Him to show us the next move.
If you have been through this I’d love to know what you learned. I have so many questions. I need tips and tricks for post-house-fire survival.
And we would surely appreciate your prayers!