Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thanksgiving in February

Back in November, our senior pastor at church, David, asked the congregation to submit "Thanksgiving stories". This is what I submitted, and what was read in church the Sunday before Thanksgiving (that's why it addresses our church family). I have gone back and read this several times over the last few months, to remind myself of just how fortunate we really are. It is very easy to throw myself a giant pity party, when the reality is that our family is very blessed indeed:

This year our family has much, much to be thankful for. It has been an eventful year, to say the least. A year in which we are thankful for the way God has provided for us. Last July and August, I remember money being tight for our family. I work as a registered nurse, and the nature of my position is one where I "fill in" when the emergency room is short staffed. I remember not working as many shifts as I thought I needed to work to help pay the bills. I remember praying to God that He would continue to provide for our family as He always had in the past, expecting that surely the shifts would come. Early in the morning of September 13, as Hurricane Ike was ripping through the Houston area, a 60 foot tall water oak tree was ripping straight through the roof of my house. Ike's subsequent rainfall fell directly into our house, leaving significant water damage to about 75% of our home. Our van was also totaled as it sat in our driveway, in direct path of a large branch from this tree. At last estimate, our house sustained $130,000 worth of damage. Miraculously, our family was completely unharmed, as we slept, along with my sister-in-law and her family, on the opposite side of the house. We are thankful that we were home, as we were able to move many of our belongings to safety and prevent further losses.

God has been unfailing in the way He has taken care of our family through this. This year, we are so thankful for our church family at Northside. You have come to our home in the middle of a raging hurricane to help. You have housed us. You have fed us meals. You have clothed us. You have watched our children for us while we met with contractors and insurance adjusters. You have loaned us a vehicle to use until we were able to replace our ruined van. And you have prayed for us. For our home, for our sanity, and for the health of our long-awaited unborn child (a whole 'nother Thanksgiving story of itself). And God has been faithful. With a few "pregnant-hormonal-woman meltdowns" aside, our family has felt the overwhelming "peace that passes understanding" that only comes from God. We know that our family is safe and taken care of, and that our house will someday be ready for us to live in again.

We are also eternally thankful for my aunt and uncle's endless hospitality and patience. It is my prayer that someday I can say to a family, "Welcome to our home. Stay forever if you need to. If you need food, just put it on the grocery list, we'll take care of it. And the cleaning lady will be here Friday."

As of now, our house remains unlivable while repairs slowly continue. But we have learned patience. And we know that God will always provide for us. And those extra shifts at work? They never did come. But these days we don't have much of an electric bill to pay. Or a gas bill, or grocery bills for that matter. And who am I to tell God how to answer my prayers? I would have never in a million years thought that God would work through a hurricane and an oak tree to take care of our family.

By the way, this time next week we should be back into our "really real house" as Dane calls it. Yay!!


Jana said...

This post actually brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad God has blessed you with a huge support network. I'm also soooooo glad you get to go home next week:) We love you guys!!!