Thursday, February 5, 2015

JT Lives, but I think you already knew that???

Four little girls and I stood on the front porch of a neighbor’s house. Nightgowns. Wet hair. Bare feet. I barely recall my own feet beginning to feel prickly from the temperatures. But, the most prominent memory I have is standing there not knowing where JT was. Smoke was pouring out every window. Glass was shattering. Flames were climbing the walls. I watched helplessly.

I prayed fervently that the Lord would allow my husband to survive the fire. As smoke billowed out the broken windows, I could hear more explosions from the back of the house. What I didn’t know at the time was that the kitchen fire had blown out the bay windows, eradicated the deck and sent several kitchen items on a projectile path into the back yard (finding our engraved wedding server in the wooded section of our lot was a blessing). The kitchen fire also jumped up the back side of the house and moved into the attic. With fire above and below, the heat caused the room in between (Kaitlyn’s) to spontaneously combust.

Meanwhile, I am pleading with the Lord and debating coming back into the house to find my husband. I am straining to see him anywhere, and the girls are beginning to sense the desperation in my voice as I cry out to the Lord. Just like a dramatic take from a movie, I see the front door open wide and something fly out onto the lawn. It was as if the whole scene was in slow motion. Seeing the colors that were on the ground, I realize that JT has thrown my scrapbook photo albums outside. That means he went into the smoke to rescue those pictures. My heart overflows with gratefulness that JT was alive! At that moment I also recognize that those photo albums are nothing compared to the family I have been given. Every tangible item in our house is eternally worthless. And God breaks my heart for ever considering those things as valuable.

To backtrack just for a second, JT had waited to make sure we were all out of the house. Then, he had the presence of mind (bless him) to turn off the gas on the fireplace and the gas on the grill located on the back deck. When he went upstairs, the house was already beginning to fill with smoke. After grabbing the photo albums, he dashed back to the steps but had to feel along the wall to find them. He couldn’t see one single step but since he had walked up them a few hundred times before, he knew how far down it would be. He jumped as hard and as far as he could. His shoulder hit the wall at the bottom of the steps (thus, the rotator cuff surgery years later). He was able to get out with smoke inhalation and a messed up shoulder only…praise God Almighty!

The details begin to get foggy at this point because the girls were still crying and screaming. I do remember trying to process what needed to happen as quickly as possible but my brain kept stopping and starting in random places. I just needed the Lord to calm my spirit. And He did. I looked across the neighbor’s yard into my own surreal dream. My house was burning to the ground. No firetrucks had arrived. My husband was on his knees in the driveway with his hands lifted to the Father. I KNEW what he was saying, and he confirmed it later. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Amen and amen.

The fire truck arrived and I do not even recall where the girls were at this point. Were they on the porch with me still or inside with our neighbors (that we barely knew)? I’ll have to ask them. Twenty-six minutes after the call was placed, the fire department arrived at our home. Now, at the time I was more than a little upset that it took so long for the arrival of the emergency personnel. The security system company had called, I had called, three sets of neighbors had called. But now, I can tell you this with assurance….it was God’s plan that they arrived when they did. It allowed our house to burn all the way with no hope of salvaging any of it. That was God indeed.

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