October 10, 2006

Holding Fast to His Promise

"I establish my covenant with you: Never again will life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a food to destroy the earth." --Genesis 9:11

Last month, my hometown marked the 7th anniversary of "The Flood". The one that creeps into our conversations at least once a month (or so it seems), as in, "I'm sorry, sir, but we can't access your old file. We lost it in the flood." Or, "How high did you say the water in your office was?" (6' 8"). Or, "They relocated their business after the flood."

You see, our entire down - and by entire town, I mean the post office, City Hall, the telephone company, the electric company, the oil company, the funeral home, the banks, the waste water plant, and our primary industry which contributes the most to our economy - were all under at least 6 feet of water. I can't even begin to describe it in words, but the images still haunt me. My job wasn't affected, but my husband's was for a brief time. We were blessed. We had close friends who struggled through the loss of a business in their busiest season and at the height of their inventory. Unimaginable. Horrible. Devastating.

More than 100 families lost their homes. FEMA became a household word. Many are finally putting their lives back together.

Through the entire experience was that people banded together. God was glorified. Many proclaimed His Name. Through the struggle, He was there.

Just last week, a co-worker and I were discussing the fact that we'll never stop talking about the flood. Then came yesterday. And now, we'll have to specify which flood we're talking about.

My town is once again under water. The river is expected to crest this morning. Not as high as 7 years ago. But R just called to tell me that from what he can see, our office has about 8" of water. Other business have not fared nearly as well.

Fortunately, we had more warning this time. Most businesses spent Sunday evening and yesterday morning getting everything out of the buildings. We moved all of the furniture, files, and computers out of our office. I'm able to set up shop in my boss' home, and be nearly fully functional. The town should recover in a few months, rather than years.

I'm running on little sleep, lots of adrenaline and coffee. The task is overwhelming, and we haven't even begun. Yet, a song by Casting Crowns keeps running through my head,

I will praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands.
You are Who you Are, no matter where I am.
And every tear I cry, You hold in Your hands.
You never left my side, and though my heart is torn,
I will praise You in this storm.

I WANT to praise God in this storm. But more than that, I want others to praise Him. And that's going to be tough. How do you tell someone who's lost their business AGAIN during the fall retail season that God is in control...how do they trust Him when they hold Him completely responsible and feel He must be wicked or He wouldn't have allowed this to happen again? How do you comfort someone who's lost a home AGAIN when they've finally gotten settled?

My mind is reeling. As the first HAZMAT truck appeared yesterday and the news helicopters buzzed overhead, all I could think about was "Why, God? Why do this AGAIN? These people need to know You're here and that You're good." And the song comes back into my mind.

He reminded me, it's easy to praise Him when life is good. I do that all the time. Now, it's time for me to praise Him to others, even when life is senseless. When His promises seem to be nothing but lies and false hope. When it just seems too awful to be true.

So I'm asking you, please pray for my small area of Virginia. Please pray that the Christians here can serve God as He wants during this time. That we can shine His light in this hopelesly dark situation. That we ourselves can believe He is worthy of all praise...and that we can praise Him and testify to His love and mercy.

He worked a miracle before, and I know He can do it again. I'm counting on it.

October 5, 2006

13 October HAP-NINS (in my corner of the world)

1. My niece's 16th birthday. Man, my brother is O.L.D. :-)

2. CJ's 8th birthday. See, I'M not so old ;-)

3. Eight 8-year olds in my house...TOMORROW NIGHT! Am I CRAZY?!

4. Two road trips to my alma mater for football games.

5. Women of Faith conference in Charlotte, NC.

6. Visiting with a very close friend who moved away...she's coming to the conference with me!

7. CJ's spending the weekend with my sister while I'm gone.

8. CJ's first report card with actual letter grades. I'm a little nervous. She freaks out when she get a "B" on a paper (wonder WHERE she gets that from!)

9. I'm starting a new Bible study in my home. It's For Women Only, and I can't wait to get into it!

10. Our 2nd annual Halloween bonfire. We trick-or-treat in the neighborhood, then have make s'mores in the back yard. Yummy!

11. One of CJ's friends is spending the weekend with us while her parents are out of town.

12. October 28th...my favorite night of the year. Look at your calendar to figure out why. (Hint: it involves CLOCKS!)

13. Oh, yeah. Did I mention EIGHT 8-year olds coming to my house tomorrow night?! I'm off to buy some aspirin...