Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Isaiah 26:3

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You."

You've no doubt seen the news. You probably know that some 240 tornados over numerous states took the lives, homes, and peace of countless Americans from Oklahoma to Virginia. In North Carolina, the radar picture looked like a giant claw mark of parallel storm paths that covered almost half the state.

I'd heard a bad storm system was headed our way, but we frequently have such warnings, and the systems usually break up coming over the mountains resulting in only scattered storms. Not this time.

After a breakfast meeting with a writing buddy, I met my oldest daughter at the mall to do some shopping for her fast-approaching study abroad trip.

We had made little progress when my husband called and said a tornado had touched down south of Raleigh and was headed in our general direction. He suggested we come home, but since my other daughter was headed to the mall to work, we decided it would be better to have one of us with her, just in case the storm hit the mall.

Thirty minutes later, he called to check in, saying it was getting pretty bad at the house - as it was at the mall five minutes away. As we were talking the call dropped and the power went out at both the house and the mall. My oldest daughter and I ducked into one of the protected hallways of the mall and she said, "I think we should pray." We began praying that God would divert the path of the storm to protect us and Randy and my sons and that He would even cause the storm to dissipate so that no one would be hurt. As I was praying, I felt a hand on my arm as a stranger joined us in prayer.

Within a few minutes, the backup generator kicked in and the lights in the mall began to come on. Randy called back and said, "The house across the street is gone." I believe he had to repeat that for me a couple of times before I grasped what he was saying. Finally I understood that he and the boys were fine, but that the home that stood 50-100 feet in front of our was completely demolished.

This is the view from our front door. The couple who lived in this home had moved out just weeks ago. You can see the foundation of the home and some of the debris that is left of the home - yet their mailbox and shrubs survived unharmed.

This home took the brunt of the debris from the home next door to it. The family who lives there was inside but no one was harmed.

This is our backyard where about half a dozen very large pine trees fell - away from the house. 

As the reality of how nearly I came to losing half my family dawned and I recalled the words we had prayed, I was completely overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for answering our prayers! I'm quite sure (and not terribly concerned) that I made a total spectacle of myself in my earnest and joy-filled praise. Several strangers asked if I was all right and I had to tell them that my Lord had just answered my prayers and protected my husband and sons.

Our next door neighbor also had significant damage, including our tree and his tree landing on his cars! They are an elderly couple who hid in their bathroom to escape injury. The husband told me one of their windows blew open and some things inside the home were blown around but nothing was broken.

And here is our home following the storm....

We do have a few repairs...some shingles, a few pieces of siding, and some gutters. A few items, like our grill, disappeared and probably ended up in another county.

I wish I could explain why God spared our home and our lives, when others were lost. My heart breaks for the families who lost loved ones, especially children. I know that God is sovereign and that He has a plan for each of our lives. I pray that God will give us many opportunities to share His love with those around us who are suffering. And I am so very thankful for His hand of protection covering us.
Thank you for your prayers for those who are still recovering.

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