life had been chugging along full speed. From fall of 2010 to Spring of 2011; Jeremy had collided with another player while playing softball, requiring emergency surgery and 8 weeks with his jaw wired shut. i’d taken a trip to Uganda, there had been visits from friends and family from out of town and out of the country. my dad had had heart surgery out of state and i’d traveled to support him and my mom. we were heavily involved with a homeless ministry through our church, in leadership with Bible Study Fellowship, i was homeschooling the two boys (5 and 3) while Hannah (9) was off at our neighborhood public school. plus there were the weekly sessions with Zeke’s OT where wonderful progress was being made, but not without persevering work.
on the tail end of all of that, i wrote in my journal:
April-Friday the first-quiet day-mel cleans classroom, kids play.
Saturday the 2nd we go to Property for a day with the Hansons, take Janet her bench we purchased for birthday/memory of the sudden passing of Ames’ (their dog) the previous week. We walk together, look at our logs, map out Jeremy’s Frisbee golf course, the kids play all day, we visit about life, spiritual things, real and deep. It is a beautiful day. we leave around 10.
amidst the crazy, we’d carved out a Saturday to spend the day up on the property. we checked on our logs adjusting the tarps where needed, walked inside our foundation and talked a little about when we’d ever get to start building again. then we walked on up the hill to visit our dear friends who’d built their house on the property next to ours. it was always a treat to get to visit and let the kids play and hike and catch up on things. we laughed together, grieved losses together and broke bread together. we stayed up way to late, and drove back to town in the dark satisfied and filled.
my journal continues:
at midnight Adonai wakes Janet-they have 15 minutes to evacuate-due to sudden fire. Jon calls us at 12:30am to let us know.
while we were driving home a fire that had been burning miles away intersected with that hurricane wind creating a giant blow torch. we’d just laid down our heads when we received the call. the next day we spend with our dear friends. waiting and waiting and waiting to be given permission to drive up to see-to know what has happened to our property; their house and our land.
finally we are granted access. we drive up together with them and their oldest son. we read the psalms. i just open my bible and start reading -its psalm 116. i get to verse 7 before i realize this is my ‘property psalm’ but the One who is ever present knew that. unable to read now through my tears, i hand my bible over to Jeremy and he flips the pages and resumes reading. psalm 16. this is Janet’s ‘property psalm’. Jeremy of course didn’t know that. but the One who comforts as no one else knew. His nearness is deeply felt.
We arrive just barely in time to see the damage before dark. The entire hill destroyed by fire. our logs evaporated in thin air. Hanson’s house dust and ashes.
it’s snowing-which is bizarre to see white flakes falling on black ashes. we stand in silence and awe as the darkness of night moves in. in the days that follow we will return as a family and walk our now barren land.
I love the Lord, because He hears [and continues to hear]
My voice and my supplications (my pleas, my cries, my specific needs).
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.
The cords and sorrows of death encompassed me,
And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, please save my life!”
Gracious is the Lord, and [consistently] righteous;
Yes, our God is compassionate.
The Lord protects the simple (childlike);
I was brought low [humbled and discouraged], and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For You have rescued my life from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from stumbling and falling.
I will walk [in submissive wonder] before the Lord
In the land of the living.
I believed [and clung to my God] when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
I said in my alarm,
“All men are liars.”
What will I give to the Lord [in return]
For all His benefits toward me?
[How can I repay Him for His precious blessings?]
I will lift up the cup of salvation
And call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord,
Yes, in the presence of all His people.
Precious [and of great consequence] in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His godly ones [so He watches over them].
O Lord, truly I am Your servant;
I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid;
You have unfastened my chains.
I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord,
Yes, in the presence of all His people,
In the courts of the Lord’s house (temple)—
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
to draw further in: Psalm 116, 51:12 (quoted above,) 117, 118; Psalm 16; and various verses throughout chapters 30-60 of the book of Isaiah-there were many that were personally and specifically life giving to me during that season.