After I posted yesterday, we got considerably more information on the situation back home. Not much of it was good. I have yet to get confirmation about my neighborhood or the area where I parked my car, but my parent's home is almost definately underwater, as are the homes of almost everyone in my family and most of the people I go to church with.
If this wasn't the big one, the thought of what that might be is frightening.
In truth this wasn't the big one. The area where I live (just outside of New Orleans) and the city itself were only grazed by this monster of a storm, and though it is gone from us, the effects remain and worsen. Levess are breaking, buildings are collapsing under the strain of floodwaters, and the places we called home are now more like cesspools. And not just homes, but grocery stores, hospitals, churches...everything is either partially or completely covered in water. Conservative estimates say that we should be able to get home to survey the damage and begin clean-up by Friday or Monday at the earliest...power may take up to 2 months to restore.
So is it all bad news?
No. It isn't
This morning I was reading in 2 Corinthians 4..."we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perlexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not destroyed, always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies."
I was greatful for the reminder. As I read that, I felt the Lord also reminding me of how much preparation He has done in me and my life for this. Over the past year or so, my desire for material things, attachment to my stuff, preoccupation with my own comfort has lessened. The Lord also took me through a period of stern attitude adjustment regarding my job.
Honestly, that has been my biggest concern in all of this. If the city is without power for month I can't work. If I can't work, I don't get paid. I will need money to survive and pay remaining bills like car insurance (if I still have a car) and cell phone and my student loan. But again, the Lord was faithful to show me months ago (and remind me this morning) that He is my provision, not my employer. He also reminded me that I work for civil engineers so they will have plenty of work on their hands in the months to come...so at least I will have a job to go back to.
I've been asking me to remind me of His mercies and His goodness because if I lose sight of that and the potential loss or fears become my focus, I will lose it...and my lost family will not see the treasure I have and will not see the surpassing greatness of my God.
We've been so blessed here in Dallas. My family's kindness has been amazing. We are staying in a "spare" house they have here. As we were driving from the spare house to my uncle's house my niece wanted to sing. She likes to sing two songs with me "Jesus" and "Hands". That is "Jesus Loves Me" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." We sang Jesus first and I could see my mom's face harden...then we sang "hands"
"He's got the wind and rain, in His hands..."
I could barely sing it. But was so grateful for that testimony and prayed silently that the Lord would let those words penetrate my mom's hardening heart.
Please pray for us. First for me that my focus would be on Christ and remember His kindness and point that out and praise Him aloud. That I would be faithful to the Lord through this...no matter what we go home to...and that He would be faithful to not let His word return void. Pray for my family, that the Lord would use this to draw them in rather than push them away and that His kindness would be evident to them. Pray for my friends and church family as almost all of them will come home to loss as well. And pray that the word of prophesy given last year will come to pass...that this loss and devastation will cause revival and purity. That he has stripped all away not to exercise His wrath, but as a means of grace and restoration to bring us to the place we need to be...for His purpose and glory.
I had to walk away from the computer to help my sister-in-law with the kids. I got my youngest niece and fed her a bottle and put her to sleep. As I rocked her, I sang "Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him. How I've proved Him over and over. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus. Oh for grace to trust Him more.
Lord, give me that grace...give it to all of us. Though you flood us and take our homes and every earthly thing...may we hope in and praise you. May our praise rise like incense to you...and be a light to those in darkness. May it proclaim your surpassing greatness and power and goodness!