I woke up Saturday morning and began to pray. All I could find myself saying was, “Thank you, God,” over and over. Though tears almost hit my eyes a few times over this past week, I hadn’t shed any yet over the events of Hurricane Harvey. I guess my mind had just gone into survival mode and there wasn’t any time for me to really think about the devastation that our communities were undergoing. On this morning, all the emotions flooded in for a moment as I started to remember briefly some of the events, but I still had to get home early that morning from our place of evacuation so I had to cut the tears off. I’m sure writing this will bring it all back for me to have my “good cry” especially as I remember how God was working and saying yes to so many of our prayers through the whole disaster. Books can not contain the multitude of prayers I offered and gratitude I felt over positive answers from God these last days. Here is only a snippet of my thank yous.

My husband leaves for work Monday morning. There’s been constant flash flood and tornado warnings for over 24 hours. Flood waters are occurring in the city where he works with the heavy down pours. He makes it safely to work. Thank you, God!

Pinewood, Northwest Forest, and a few other neighborhoods that many of our friends live in are being flooded. I see pictures of some being rescued by boats. Phone calls and texts confirm others are safe. Thank you, God!

A Facebook post of a friend asks for rescue of her family. There is water in the home and they can’t get anyone on the line to save them. This was my first almost overwhelmment of tears. A text eventually confirms that the Cajun Navy rescued them. Thank you, God!

My sister-in-law and her family are flooding. They need out. Another bout of tears tries to well up. They escape in their boat. They still need somewheres to go. No family can get to them. Our Uncle and Aunt is eventually able to. Thank you, God!

I’m at home alone with the kids with treacherous rains all day. The water is almost in the house. I hear of sandbags available at the fire department. A few men pick them up and put them around my house. The water never gets in. Thank you, God!

Still alone. More and more people are flooding. I feel anxiety welling up, but I know I can handle this on my own with my children if I need to. Yet, the comfort of having my husband home would give relief. It’s too flooded; no way he’s going to be able to make it home. There’s a knock at the locked front door. As the door opens, he’s standing there drenched from rain. He scarcely made it back in his truck. Thank you, God!

My daughter’s best friend, and her family that we have grown close to, eventually get water in their home. As I’m texting her mother, we remind each other that God’s hand is there in all this. Thank you, God!

There’s a Facebook video of a group of college age Christians singing “We Are One.” Four congregations had gathered for prayer and song for Harvey victims. A preacher friend is doing live bible reading and prayer. His wife and I are encouraging each other through texts. A friend posts a reminder that Peter was overwhelmed in the storm when he took his eyes off Jesus. Another post, from a friend who had to be rescued in Pinewood, reminds us to focus on what’s most important for today and eternally. Gobs of encouraging texts, phone calls, and Facebook posts bring to remembrance what is truly relevant through all of this. Thank you, God!

More stories of family and friends flooding. The storm continues. Roads are unusable. Nowheres to go unless you have a boat. As we get out to assess the damage around us in our truck, there are people rushing in with their boats to save others. Thank you, God!

All I can do is sit in my home, pray, give encouraging words through text and Facebook while watching all this happen. I want to do something. I want to help. I get a call from a friend in need who has dogs with nowheres to go as her and a friend are out rescuing others. There’s a small dry spot in my back fence for them to stay. Thank you, God!

Electricity has been out all day. Cell service is spotty. Phone calls keep dropping, texts are hardly going through, and it’s difficult to check weather and flooding status. A friend’s electricity comes on so they brave the flood waters to bring us the generator they no longer need against our advisement. Thank you, God!

A friend coordinating boat rescues and transportation texts my husband to see if we want to evacuate. There are brethren waiting a few hours away to take people into their homes. Also, his coworker, who lives closer, offers a place of refuge. We now have no electricity, no running water, and are unsure about surrounding dams and other bodies of water causing more flooding. We are able to evacuate to the coworker’s house, still having to wade through high levels of water in our diesel truck. Thank you, God!

Some neighbors who don’t want to evacuate will take care of the animals while we are gone. Thank you, God!

We are loading up the truck to leave to our temporary destination. A phone call comes in that the entrance into Louisiana from Texas may be closing soon. We rush to depart and make it across the state line just fine. Thank you, God!

There are rumors of mandatory evacuation of the county that we live in. Both our parents and others are surrounded by water with no current way out. Another tearful opportunity subsides for now. Even though they never left, they remained safe through it all. Thank you, God!

The home of my husband’s brother and his family, who live by the marsh in a house that has flooded before, stayed dry. Thank you, God!

We make it to the home of people I have personally never met before with open, loving arms. There’s another man there whose wife has been displaced for almost a week because of the storm. Through much turmoil, she finally makes it. Their reunion was beautiful to see! Thank you, God!

Another coworker treats us to dinner with his family. How wonderful it is to be in the company and comfort of such caring people! Thank you, God!

After two days of surrounding floods, not being able to work, and itching to dive in to restore power to our communities, my husband is picked up by helicopter to finally be able to help get electricity to his neighbors. Thank you, God!

Electricity and water has been restored to our home. It is time to go. We only stayed a few days, but we shared a precious gift with the charitable hearts of great people who will forever be our friends. We can look forward to future get-togethers that don’t involve a hurricane. Thank you, God!

We are able to get what we need and a few extra supplies for others at the store before driving back. We make it home safely. Thank you, God!

Two 18 wheeler trucks delivered supplies to the church building. There’s more to come. Others are sending money and offering their services to help with rebuilding. Thank you, God!

My fibromyalgia causes me to be weak and unable often. Somehow, I was able to do everything needed and more. The weakness never came until it all slowed down. Thank you, God!

Many of our brethren were able to gather for worship Sunday morning. There were hugs, tears, smiles, and joy as we comforted each other, prayed, sang, read scripture, and celebrated our hope in Christ that no hurricane can ever take away. Thank you, God!

My good cry finally did come, but in an unexpected way. A text from my sister-in-law, who was cleaning up their damaged home, brought to the forefront the true reality that there’s still tons that needs to be done; so many that need help to rebuild. My deepest desire is to be constantly right there helping my family, brethren, friends, and community. Yet, my body had reached its point of exhaustion. All I could do was lay in bed and let the tears flow of things I wish I could do. However, there will be better health and opportunities in the days to come for me to assist in the best ways that I can. How wonderful that there are numerous others who are willing and able to serve in ways that I am hindered. Thank you, God!

Though we may experience disasters, there is always reasons by God’s will in Christ for us to say, “Thank you, God!” 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18

Prayer:
Thank you, God, for all that You provided through Hurricane Harvey and all that You will provide afterwards. For all the people that encouraged and rescued so many. For all the people that will continue to give and help our communities. For those who have lost loved ones, give us opportunity to be a comfort and support to them. We will rejoice in what is most important by keeping our eyes on Jesus throughout this whole tragedy. Amen.

Truth in love,
Heather

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