Monday, February 23, 2015

You are My Shelter...

The first few weeks after the fire are a total blur in my brain. As the years have passed, I am able to slowly but vividly remember a few things:

As we sang in church on January 30, 2005, one song stood out above all the rest. The words, “You are my Shelter, strong Tower, my very present Help in time of need,” was my heart’s cry that day. We knew that all we had was God, and He was enough. He was all we needed. In fact, just yesterday, our worship team led us in “Shout to the Lord” which was another song we heard that day. As we sang these words, my heart began to burst:

My Jesus, my Savior,
Lord, there is none like You;
All of my days
I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength;
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You.

I thought I would jump out of my skin in praise of the One who provided so much for us. He knew what we did not know. He saw the three kids of varying shades standing next to us ten years later. Oh, I cannot adequately explain the gratefulness I feel just at the thought of that day.

Pastor Rick mentioned our fire in the service and asked people to pray for us. As people surrounded us and called out to the Father on our behalf, my heart was overwhelmed with gratitude for the saints of the Body of Christ. After the service a gentleman approached the pastor and told him that his mom had just moved to an nursing home. Her house in Inverness (close to the church) was available for us to live in for six months. God provided exactly what we needed when we needed it. What a huge blessing!

Friends spending the night in the home God provided for us free of charge!!!

We moved out of the Acton's home (where we were generously taken care of and didn’t have to think about anything) and into the house God provided. We were able to get back to homeschooling to provide some normalcy for our girls. We immediately put the girls into counseling so that they could deal with their feelings about the fire. Little did we know this would come in handy years later when the adoptions brought a great sense of loss and grieving.

You remember the yard sale we were going to host? Yeah, me too. I was so prepared for that sale...I mean like "proud of myself, hear me roar" proud. I had sorted through every closet, drawer, cabinet, shelf, and bag in our house. I had touched it all. I knew everything we had. That was God’s timing and His prodding for sure! The insurance company required a list of the contents of our home with an estimated year of purchase and value. When I submitted that Excel spreadsheet, the agent said, “This is the most thorough list I have ever seen.” Ha! God reminded me of every bottle of shampoo, place setting, toy, and book that we owned.

People from the church filled our pantry and refrigerator. They brought us meal after meal. Gift cards and cash randomly appeared in our mailbox. We saw God’s hand providing for us through the Body of Christ for months.

And the house, well it was torn down, and we watched it fall to the ground. And God reminded us that He was in control. He had a far bigger plan than we did.

I recall the new house plan which looked much like the old house except with a larger kitchen and dining room. We wanted to add a couple of hundred feet to the existing layout. Everything else would be the same. Brian Roberson, a friend from our church and small group, drew the plans, and we were so happy with how it was going to look.

Fast forward a few weeks and we get a call that the city of Alabaster has denied our plans. WHAT? We were devastated. What was the problem?

Well, I don’t know about you, but our family has never kept up with zoning requirements and laws. It’s not really an area of interest or concern for us. But, apparently, it should have been. You see, our neighborhood had been built out ten years prior, and the authorities that be had decided that the zoning laws wouldn’t allow for any new houses to be built without being a certain square footage and have certain acreage requirements. Who knew?

So, to accommodate our city’s laws, the house had to be reworked. But, the insurance company insisted that the house had to look similar to the way it did before. So, God took a 1800 square foot home and allowed it to burn to the ground. He used zoning laws to require the main floor to be 1600 square feet. Then, he used the insurance companies regulations to make it have 3 floors like it had previously. Do you get it? Now, there had to be 1600 square feet on the main floor with a basement the same size and another floor on top with 1600 square feet. Yeah, my God TRIPLED our living space, and the insurance company paid for it. Ha!!! God did that. We had no clue, and we had no idea what He planned for our future.

Praise God Almighty from Whom all blessings flow!!!!

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