Last Monday was a beautiful Spring day here in Tennessee. Mini just finished her junior year of high school and she and I bummed around the house all day. While cleaning, I unloaded the dishwasher and set a stack of Fiesta plates on the counter next to the flowers my spare daughter Bri gave me for Mother's Day and saw how beautifully they matched. Ah ha....beautiful day, beautiful flowers and matching plates = dinner on the deck!
Nothing fancy or really blog worthy but I was excited to shift dinner outdoors and I love the colors. We prepared Chicken Pasta Florentine (Mini's new favorite dish) and a nice salad (which Mini made a homemade Italian dressing for) and were looking forward to a relaxing dinner.
We set out the dishes, gather the napkins and rings and found a cloth that was just perfect. I prepped the salad and the pasta ingredients early around 2:30.
I was just finishing up the prep work when I decided to flip on the tv and catch a bit of Dr. Phil. I had checked in on the latest on the Jodi Arias trial earlier in the day so when I flipped on the tv it was already on HLN. I expected to see trial coverage but instead saw tornado video. I assumed they were showing footage from last Sunday's Oklahoma tornado and flipped the channel.
Fast forward 45 minutes, Wonder Hubby, Mini and I were catching up on our day and flipped on the tv to see the tornado footage again, only this time we realized what we were watching was live. Live as the first helicopter flew over the devastation of a tornado that has just disappated after literally wiping the lives of many completely away.
For a good hour we sat shocked and mesmerized by the overwhelming devastation and praying feveriously for all the people in this area. How could this happen? Why did this happen? How could schools in this area not have storm shelters? What will the people that lost their homes, cars and possibly their employment do? How will the families of lost children deal?
Suddenly, a dinner on the deck with matching flowers and plates seemed so indulgent. I could only think how I was heartbroken for those that were in harms way and give thanks that we were given the opportunity to gather together around the table together.
The Oklahoma tornados (including those just yesterday since it is now 5/31/13) have weighed heavily on me and I have been out of sorts with Mini gone to Girls State.
I knew Mini was terribly troubled about the tornados as well, but she was busy all last week packing and preparing to leave. It wasn't until today when I picked up the local paper and read her most recent column that I realized she was just as deeply affected. Below is her latest article, I think she does a wonderful job of putting it all in perspective.
Words of Hope - God's Faithfulness
As many of you know, an F5 tornado recently ripped through Oklahoma, killing a few and completely devastating many. If you were anything like my family, you were glued to the television, scanning the debris left in the path of the tornado in complete disbelief. Shortly after the disaster hit, my mother quickly logged onto Facebook to see what everyone else was saying about this horrific natural phenomenon and she came across a picture of one of the victims who had literally lost everything. In the caption of the picture he was quoted saying “It’s not my stuff, it’s God’s. It’s His decision what He wants to do with it”. As she read off that quote to me, I let it sink in.
Yes, this is a powerful quote at face value, but take a minute to really think about it. This is coming from a man who literally lost everything he had mere hours before he was quoted saying this. I took a minute right then and thought about how I would respond to being in the same situation. No hot shower to go to or warm bed to crawl into anymore. My entire clothing collection (which is a BIG collection) would be completely gone. No shoes or electronics or my phone. What if my dog hadn’t been as fortunate as us too? What if all I had was the clothes on my back and my family? Where would I be spiritually at that moment? I think everyone’s natural reaction at a time like that would to be angry with God. I believe we all would begin to ask a lot of whys. But what did this man do? He kept his faith that God will provide. He had provided the stuff this man had lost in the first place. And our God is not a God who would take away and not give back. This man obviously has faith that God’s love can reach even through this terrible situation, and that’s inspiring.
It very much reminds me of the story of Job. If you can recall, God and Satan had a conversation at the beginning of Job. God boasted about Job’s faithfulness but Satan asked if he was so faithful just because he hadn’t been put through any hard situations. God considered this and agreed He would prove to Satan that Job was faithful because of his love for God, so He allowed Job to be put through some pretty rough stuff. But the whole time, Job kept his faithfulness. He didn’t listen to what his friends were telling him about God or what Satan told him about God. He kept what HE knew about God in mind and knew that it was all going to turn out alright. And did it? Of course it did. In the end, Job was blessed more than ever. Why? Because our God is faithful.
It is stories like these that I want to keep in mind when life knocks me down. A large amount of faith comes with the title of Christianity. It is faith that reminds people that God loves them and His plans are bigger than their circumstance. It is faith that allows a person to stare disaster in the face and not fear. It is faith that gets people out of the deepest of holes and helps heal the largest of wounds. Why? Because faith allows you to believe that you can forever rely on God because he will always pull through.
Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”