Monday, February 16, 2015

After the Fire

Just last Sunday one of our pastors taught from 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. What a great reminder to our family about how God comforted us after the fire! And I wish I could honestly tell you that I remember how people cared for us during that time, but it is an overwhelming blur. I do recall a few things though:

As we got in our van that night, Barry and Joy Coffee took some of our clothes (our closet just had smoke damage) to their house and washed them for us. Somehow those clothes magically appeared back in our possession.

Jim Houston showed up at our neighbor’s house the night of the fire. He immediately secured a hotel nearby for three days so that we didn’t have to worry about shelter. Without a doubt, Pastor Jim is one of those people that arrives before anyone even knows there’s a crisis. And he genuinely cares for people.

The ladies of our small group led by Pansy Merriwether knocked on our hotel door just a few hours later. They had clothes for our girls, toiletries for all of us (we hadn’t even considered the fact that we had no toothbrushes), and essentials for the next few days. Just seeing their faces brought us to our knees with gratefulness.

Jodi Oliver brought us a meal the very next day. Chicken spaghetti. I can still remember it not because it was delicious (which it was…in fact, it was amazing) but because she took the time to make us food and we had ability to do that.

The Church at Brook Hills….our home church. We showed up the next morning because it was Sunday, and that’s where we NEEDED to be. Our pastor, Rick Ousley, called us by name that day and had the people around us pray over us. I remember this well because our friends had intentionally surrounded us that day (not where they normally sat) just to provide a sense of family and comfort.

Jim and Kristen Acton offered to let us live in their home that week. And I had to swallow my pride big time because I never wanted to be a burden to someone else. Living in another person’s house…well, that takes a lot of inconvenience and thought and cleaning and you get the idea. What a blessing to have a place that we could relax and regroup!

My dad. I have never missed the ability to talk to my dad more than the week that followed the fire. I can’t just call him since he’s in prison, and I had no way to get him to call me. But someone did. And my dad was able to use the phone in the chaplain’s office to call my cell phone. Obviously, I wasn’t expecting his call, so when I heard his voice, I wept. And like my dad always does, he wept with and for me.

Jim and Pansy Merriwether were our small group leaders at the time. They called us almost daily for several weeks. They were shoulders to cry on and ears to listen when we needed them the most.

The countless people at our church who brought meals, gave sacrificial gifts to our girls, provided gift cards, and asked how we were doing…just a word aptly spoken, a smile, a hug…it was a blessing beyond measure.

We were comforted in countless ways…ways that I can no longer vividly recall. I wish I could. Perhaps I should have recorded them all. But I know this. God comforted us through His body. And we were forever changed by the people who obeyed Him. And now we can comfort those who experience the same tragedy. Praise His great name!

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