If God showed us a timeline of all the occurrences that would happen in our lives, we would most assuredly start hyperventilating and bargaining with Him to remove such things. In no way, shape or form would we ever think we could survive such difficult circumstances. Death of a loved one, Infidelity by a spouse, the loss of every material possession we own. It’s more than our finite minds can even begin to fathom. And because of that, He doesn’t show us. What He does do is give us the grace we need to get through things as they come.
I have walked through a myriad of experiences in my nearly 43 years of life. Some of them I’ve acted like a child and thrown an all out temper tantrum complete with kicking, screaming and the occasional cuss word. Others, by the grace of God and burden-bearing friends, I’ve walked through them with joy in my heart and hope in my soul.
I’ve heard people say that they “escaped with only the shirt on their back”. Until June 30, 2013, I never even knew what that felt like. Couldn’t even fathom it. Quite frankly, didn’t want to. But as I was standing barefoot on my lawn at 1:00 a.m. in my Fila running shorts and hot pink camisole tank top watching the firefighters trying to put out the flames that were engulfing my home, I knew.
I’ve got a new file.
I now know the feeling of losing every material possession you own. And this new file will permit me access to a family when they walk through this situation in the future. Because when I hug the momma who just realizes she has lost the early pictures of her oldest child, I’ll remember and understand. And when I hold her close because it just hit her that the Christmas ornaments her children made for her are gone, I’ll remember and understand. And I’ll hold her hand when she wishes she had remembered to put those baby books “somewhere safe”. I’ll remember and be able to understand that feeling. That feeling of knowing you’ve lost everything but still not quite knowing what you’ve lost until it hits you.
Because I’ve got a file on that now.
The shell of our home stands on our street. While many look at it and are sad for us, I see life. I see five beating hearts. I see amazing neighbors and friends who stayed up all night with us asking what we needed. I see my friend take her own shoes off so that I would have some to wear. I see people who don’t even know us pouring out their financial resources to make sure we have toothbrushes and underwear and t-shirts and food to eat. I see the body of Christ come to our aid. I’m blessed, touched, moved…humbled.
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear. Though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to see Him in His temple. (Psalm 27:1-4)
I have nothing but I have everything. So I will rejoice.