About a year ago when my family and I were in the midst of a very dark valley, God gave me two verses as if Isaiah wrote them directly to me. These verses were Isaiah 43:18-19, a portion of which says "Behold! I will do something new, now it will spring forth. Will you not be aware of it?"
Wow, am I aware.
And since I process through writing, I am sharing with you just a few of the many ways God has proved His love and grace and faithfulness and power through the last few days.
For those of you who don't know, at the end of September I accepted a job as the Children's Ministry Director at our church. It was not even on my radar of options for life, and then it happened so fast. And I have enjoyed it so much, I can't believe I didn't know I should want to do this. I get to work at one of my favorite places with some of my favorite people doing something I'm passionate about. I am so thankful.
On Thursday night, a fire started in our church building. In our infant nursery to be exact. The children's ministry hallway of our church building is a complete loss. I am going back in tomorrow to see if anything is worth saving, but it's not looking good.
Processing this has been hard. I got dressed for my wedding in that toddler nursery. I cried with my grandma that day on that north stairwell. My kids love those halls, those rooms. It's safe space for them. Ava was playing on the floor in the nursery four hours before the fire started. So many memories. How many times have the preschoolers jumped during music and it sounded like the building was falling over? How many times did I look in that doorway and see Mindi rocking a baby to sleep? How many times have I walked by and seen Virginia with her Bible open on her lap and her felt people walking across the flannel board?
You don't need all my memories because most of you have thousands of your own.
What I really want to share with you is a list of things you should praise God for with me. I know I have a unique perspective, and I think He should receive all the glory for the things He has done!
* The thing that has not left my head for three days now is - praise God there were not kids in the building when that fire started! We had literally just been planning a fire evacuation system for our children's ministry in the office Thursday afternoon. We have absolutely zero plan for evacuating our kids, and while I'm confident teachers would have led their children out, in the chaos of parents running up to rescue their kids, and everyone trying to get out quickly, it would have been so so easy to miss a child. There are no words.
* I took my laptop home. Not a normal thing. And get this, to type up a fire evacuation procedure. Not kidding. My desk is water damaged from wet ceiling tiles collapsing on it, but our laptop is safe at home with me.
* The amazing Central City Fire Department. I was not personally there watching them work Thursday night, but they saved our building from complete destruction by putting themselves at risk and working so quickly. They were on the roof with the flames shooting out. I just want to thank all those firefighter's wives. I would not be happy if that were my husband.
* Several of our faithful volunteers were in the building working on different issues to serve our kids on Thursday afternoon. Praise God that it was quickly obvious that none of their hard work had unintentionally caused this fire.
* We've been doing a Beth Moore study on the Fruit of the Spirit, and we've just been talking about how what's inside me will come out. If I allow God to control me, what comes out is love, joy, peace, patience, etc. (Galatians 5:22-23) It's not something I can work to do. It just happens because it's His nature coming out through me. I have seen the Spirit of God in the people around me in so many ways I think you'd get bored and stop reading if I named them all. Here are just a few.
Ok, as many as I could manage to limit myself to. =)
So many people have offered to donate or let us borrow toys, I've had to ask people to just wait. Mindi, Christi, Judi, Sarah's friend, Niki, Jennifer, and whoever else offered and I forgot, Thank you!
My husband for being mommy and daddy for days and folding laundry and washing dishes and brushing little girls' hair. There is no way I could have dealt with this without you. You are the best.
So many people have offered to help with kids on Sunday mornings. I am overwhelmed. Thank you so much. I will have jobs for all of you and more. =)
Jamie for being my personal assistant Saturday. I didn't know how badly I needed you until you texted and asked for a job.
Mindi, Sarah, Jamie, Kate, Aiden, Claire, the Stromsburg E-Free church people, Kristy, Larry, and everyone else who set up our nursery for our littles Sunday morning with such concern for their comfort in a new place.
Sandy for giving me a hug in the parking lot. I just needed a hug that day.
What would I do without Tracy? For telling me when I've gotten carried away and when to go home. And modeling a true servant's heart. And for so many, many other things. I will be happy to have my desk next to yours again.
Our pastors and elders and staff and their spouses for walking with God and loving our community with their best energy.
Tara for asking how I was doing at just the right time. And making me feel a little less crazy.
Niki for taking Ava last minute and telling me which totes I need and doing Valentine's Day card for my kids for school and making us supper and listening to me process. I hope all of you have such an amazing friend.
Everyone who is praying! Keep it up! We need the Spirit of God to walk us through this just as badly today as we did Friday. And we're more tired and farther behind on laundry today.
All these people and so many more have showed up and been the body of Christ these last few days because of the power of the Holy Spirit. I would have given up without them.
"O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge."