I’ve been MIA for quite some time now and it’s kind of a long story. To make it brief the apartment building we were living in caught on fire and displaced us and seven other families. Naturally, we’ve been quite busy since then, what with salvaging everything we could and trying to find a new place to live and then getting settled once we did find a new home. I know this is going to sound absolutely crazy, but I promise I’m not trying to be brave or lie about what we really went through. It didn’t end up being this tragic event for us. I’m not trying to make light of what the other families may have gone through, because it is fairly traumatic, but all I could see in our own situation was God reaching His hand down to help us in big and very obvious ways.
My husband was at work and I had put our daughter down for a nap. I use naptime as a little bit of me-time so I was working on my quilting stuff when someone knocked on the door. Our upstairs neighbor told me to call 911 because the apartment next door to hers was on fire. I never smelled or heard a thing, so thank you Jesus she was home. She was actually supposed to be out of town, so it was fortunate she was there. I remember being alarmed but not overly concerned. I figured it could be easily contained, but I still booked it out of there pretty quickly. When I thought about what was important to grab (after I’d gotten the baby and the dog) I really couldn’t think of anything. I happened to see my camera on the way out so I grabbed it, but that was it. A game warden showed up a few minutes later and asked me to move my car so the fire truck could park closely when they arrived. My sweet neighbor held Izzy and the dog for me while I ran in and grabbed my keys. Not ten minutes after the fire started, some people from church showed up to see how we were doing. They held Izzy for me while I called my husband, parents and in-laws to let them know what was going on. And they waited with me for hours while we watched the fire and the firemen. More people from our church showed to offer their support and to simply stand there with us.
I was in a state of shock for the most part and at first I thought, “Well, I guess we’ll need to stay somewhere for a couple of nights until the smoke smell goes away.” …Naïve, I know. When the flames burst through the roof, I caught on to the fact that we were going to have to find a new place to live. Duh! At some point while the fire was going on another church showed up with some tents, chairs, snacks and water for those of us involved and they also went and bought food for everyone. Our church, which was directly across the street, opened up their doors so we had a cool place to go and rest and eat. My husbands boss showed up at one point and handed us a room key and a gift card so we no longer had to worry about finding a place to stay for the immediate future. The Red Cross showed up that night and gave us some basic necessities and money based on the needs of our family size. We were also given money and clothes by several people throughout the course of the day. Once the fire was quelled and the firemen assessed each apartment we were allowed to go in and salvage what we could. Alone, we would have been instantly overwhelmed, but we had so many people helping us. Everyone kept asking if I wanted to keep this or that and I was so numb that it took me painfully long seconds to process what they even asked and usually the best answer I could come up with was, “I guess. I don’t know.” The church we attend brought their trailer over and someone my husband works with brought a trailer as well. Complete strangers donated their time and vehicles to help us haul away our things and one of the local storage rental places donated us a storage unit for free for a month. By the end of the day we were exhausted and numb and slowly processing everything that had happened that day. But we were safe and nobody was hurt, and that’s what really mattered.
The support and outreach of the community was overwhelming and I can’t even begin to express how thankful I was for all their support and generosity. It was truly a beautiful thing in the midst of something that could have been so much more tragic and it was very indicative of God’s love being poured out through so many people. Yes, we were in a state of shock the first couple of days, but it never seemed overwhelming and it never really became a thing where we wondered why God would let this happen to us. It just was what it was and we dealt with it and became stronger and closer because of it.
Of course there is a lot more to the story, but we stayed in a camper in the church parking lot for about 10 days and then we found a rental, which is hard to do in a small town, but I knew God was faithful and that He was caring for and providing for us every step of the way. I think our over-all state of well being stemmed from one simple principle that’s mentioned several times in the Bible: Contentment. Facing the fact that we may lose every earthly possession we have was okay and it really shed some light on a couple of verses that I had read countless times but had not really understood until now or at least had not been tested in such an extreme manner before. “…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing of it.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7
So, to close, we are doing better than ever and I’m happy to have finally gotten back into blog world! I hope you all have a blessed day.