Bear With Me….

Some days are just easy to skip through.  Exciting times.  Joyful events.

Then there are other days.  
The kind that are marked by grief.  
Or sadness.
Or trauma. 
Still others serve as a solemn reminder of events that were difficult or painful.
For one bloggy friend, today is the birthday of her oldest son.
For me, today is the anniversary of our house fire.
Today I pray that you’ll allow me to share a few random thoughts this 14th of January.  If 
talking about it for some reason makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s okay.  You can exit now and come back tomorrow.  
Tomorrow will be a bright, new day!!  
For the rest still here….
Let me be real honest…
I find it kind of odd how the day feels.  I’ve cried off and on all morning.
I’m not sitting around thinking of the fire.  I’m really not.  But it’s there.  It just is.
There is just an overwhelming feeling of that day.  And if I stop and think, it’s in my face. The thoughts.  Remembering. 
Recalling how hard I tried to speak slowly so the 9-1-1 operator would understand me.
I was so convinced that I was speaking so slooooowly.  Yet, I would later listen to the tape of my
actual phone call and find that I was speaking at 90 miles an hour.  It was so weird. I remember 
telling myself, “This is critical.  Speak slowly.  Speak clearly.”  
I totally thought I was. I would have put my life savings on it.  

However the 9-1-1 tapes don’t lie.
It’s true.  
I was panicky.  She kept saying, “I can’t understand you.”  
Of course it didn’t help that the home phone was muffled because it wasn’t a great quality.
 It also didn’t help that my cell phone {which would have had a clearer sound} was dead.  
We call today Our Holy Ground.
We know that without a doubt it was only Almighty God who spared our lives that day.
And so today we again praise His name that He rescued us!  That He met 
every need we had that day.  That He was completely faithful.
Our God who Protected the kids and I that day had prompted us to have the only smoke alarm 
that would work that awful day fixed the very day before the fire broke out!  
He is so faithful.  
I can so clearly remember telling Dw on about the 9th of January that we needed to get that smoke alarm fixed before he went away.  I even told him that I kind of felt an urgency to do it.  Only God.  
That smoke alarm had been broken since Thanksgiving!  But suddenly I felt an urgency!
We called the man who could fix it and he had an opening on the 13th of January.  
Only God.
And although I have probably mentioned it before…the entire day of the 13th I knew something 
was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew it.    
That pre-fire evening, the littles and  I took Graham and Emma to worship practice.  The littles and I then went to the grocery store and back to the church to pick Emma and Graham up.  While shopping I had the idea that we would have a picnic up in the church offices to break up the 
monotony of daddy being away and the frigid-house-confining temperatures we had been having.
After we our little picnic we headed to dollar scoop night at the local ice cream shop.  But all the while I felt uneasy.  Something was up.  But what was it?
That night after tucking the littles into bed, I actually mentioned to Emma that something felt wrong.  I wondered if I should go get curtains to hang, even just at Walmart, since maybe that was what seemed wrong.  
But decided that I didn’t want to leave them alone.  Things just felt off kilter.  
Before long Emma and Graham were goofing around messaging friends on Facebook.  There was a lot of laughter.   But the feeling lingered in my heart.  What was wrong?
We all headed for bed at about 12:30am.  
At 1:30am I semi-woke to the beeping of a smoke alarm.  In my sleepy state I tried to 
incorporate the smoke alarm’s beeping into my dream.  When I realized it wasn’t a dream I got up 
and stumbled around trying to see what was wrong.  I was more asleep than awake – 
after all – I’d only been asleep for an hour!  Then the smoke alarm stopped on it’s own!  
I am 100% confident 
{and no one will ever convince me otherwise} 
that the true angel of the Lord was 
keeping the wood wet long enough until 
I was more awake to deal with it.  

At 3:30am the smoke alarm started beeping again.  This time I wandered around, less sleepy 
then the first time, but still, much more asleep than awake.
Now at this point, all I could think was that the repair job that had been done hours before 
had not been right.  After all, we had a few other free standing smoke alarms and
they had not beeped even once {and never did the entire time, even after the house
burst into flames}.  
Well the rest is history and in wee hours of daylight our sweet little log home burst into
flames.  I loved that log home!  All 2,011 square feet of it of it’s 30 year old being. 
It oozed Simplicity.  It felt cozy. Snuggly.  And in a matter of hours it was gone.  Ever grateful we had the privilege of calling it home for that season.  We made so many memories in it.  It was a beautiful, simple, little place.  
A Place Called Simplicity
But today, as weepy as somehow it still makes me, it causes me to bow in humble adoration
that the God of the Universe sent the Angel of the Lord to rescue us!  
He is so faithful!!
As I look back with a worship filled heart, there are some things that just stand out – 
Like the faithful friends who ministered and loved us unconditionally during that season.  One friend came and just stood with me as it burned.  Two of Dw’s buddies {Terry and Jerry} came.  Some friends, like Tom and Pat,  worked alongside of us for weeks as we inventoried all the stuff we could.  Irma and Sara had a set of clothes for each of us laying out when we got to Seth and Maria’s house.  We had run in our jammies that morning.  
I admit I was fragile.  My emotions were off the charts.  I could hardly stand Dw being away from me.   After all, we had almost lost our lives.  It was close.  So very close.  We can hear on the 9-1-1 tape just how close it was.  The moment of combustion was not even a minute after we left the house. 

Dw was granted some time by the church board.  He told them just how fragile I was. 
For the next months, my friend Carie, {who came and stood beside me during the fire} helped me in more ways then I can list or possibly remember!  She even got me a little calendar to help me keep track of everything.  She’s an amazing friend!    

Carie on her wedding day on our front porch.
I had the beautiful privilege of being her Matron of Honor.

Some of you will remember that the day after the fire Graham ended up in the hospital with an emergency appendectomy.  One thoughtful friend, Liz, brought a set of comfortable jammie-ish clothes to the hospital to let him recoup in – she knew we had nothing!   
Destini shared with her bff, Emma,  bags of her favorite clothes.  Such beautiful love shown.  My sweet friend, Robin, wrote out pages of Bible verses for me to read over and over about God’s deep love and faithfulness.  I have treasured her handwritten pages.    
While we lived in the hotel, Tavvy and Terry showed up with flowers, just cause, 
on more than one occasion.  {They did lots of other things too!}  
JD brought donuts one day to the hotel and just sat with us.   {Donuts do cure almost everything! Ha!}  I remember crying with JD as we all talked.  JD and Irma had our pile for a home cooked meal and helped us sort through fire stuff. 
Celestia and Steve came all the way from Phoenix with a crockpot full of homemade chili to eat!  The crockpot was for us to keep too!  Steve and Sara took Dw and I each shopping downtown!  They outfitted us!  
Then there were those who helped us sort through the remains.  For weeks which turned into months – Tom and Pat, you were steadfast!  Robin, you took your only days off to become a soot-covered mess alongside us.   
There were even people in our community, whom we had never met, who came to lend a hand when they heard – amazing!
So many random acts of beautiful, thoughtful and generous kindness!!
And you bloggy friends – you blessed us like crazy.  Box after box arrived at the hotel and church we pastored.  Toys, clothes, all kinds of things.  One of my favorite things is a rug someone sent.  It’s green with white flowers.  It’s in our bathroom.  I have planned bathroom colors around that rug!!  And bloggy friend who sent it – almost daily I smile at it…remembering you!  A couple people sent towels with the kids names on them – which are still in use.   Another favorite were the backpacks with the kids names embroidered on them.  They still use those too!  There were so many wonderful blessings from so many of you!  Thank you to all who ministered so graciously to our family.  
I close with this….

When {not “if”} you hear of someone walking through a traumatic event – seize the opportunity to be His hands and feet.  Love them.  Unconditionally.  Help.  Sacrifice of your own time to stand beside them.  Even if their season is long.  Be His hands and feet! Or even if that means just bringing donuts and sitting.  
We cannot ever thank enough all the people who loved us during our fire.  Each were true friends. We pray God’s richest outpouring of love on their lives.  They were His hands and feet and we are so grateful for their friendship as we walked that rough season. 
And we cannot ever thank the Lord for preserving and protecting that bitter cold day!
You oh mighty one – you rescued us us – 
we cannot ever praise you enough!

“The angel of the LORD encamps around those 
who fear Him, and rescues them.” 
Psalm 34:7

6 thoughts on “Bear With Me….

  1. God is awesome, Linny, and your story of how he protected you all in the fire, is such a wonderful testimony of His greatness. Hugs and love coming your way as you grieve and revisit the anniversary of that awful day. Love the Bible verse… your honest share….

  2. I don't believe I ever read all of this before… at least not at once. But wow – it's so incredible to look back and see his hand in everything. Hind sight is 20/20 after all… and maybe that's why – so that we can see clearly enough to find his hand weaved all throughout our past. But my oh my how incredible.

  3. I remember that day like yesterday. I remember your text saying your house was on fire and "walking" the day with you, hanging on for every ounce of information. Thankful for our God that is always with us and never forsakes us!!

  4. Wow! That is true that only God can give us feelings when something is about to happen! He is the only one who knows our future! It's good to know He has kept you and your family safe! May God bless you :)!

  5. Big hugs Linny. our internet has been all over the place today…perhaps the high winds. But this morning I just knew I had to pray for you. Something about being there 'on your own'. I don't even know the time zone difference. (But if this was for yesterday…well He is the One who answers before they call!)
    I am so glad Our wonderful God rescued you and your family on that day so you can still continue to be used day after day now.
    I am still praying about Emma getting to come back to America to see the littles.
    Much love in Him,
    Sandy in the UK

  6. Sorry, I commented before but I guess it got lost. What a truly awful experience. My stomach was knotting up just reading it. Intuition is never wrong, in my experience. So glad G-d spoke through yours.

    You know my story of how a black date turned into a miracle date some years later. I pray that will happen for you (but maybe in less than 25 years in your case!!).

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