Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Heavy Hearts in Alabama

Our beautiful state was devastated last Wednesday by the violent tornados that ripped through our cities. The severity of damage is utterly heart breaking. The loss of life even more so. The death toll is over 250 statewide...with 300 more still missing. My heart aches and my emotions spill over into tears for those who have suffered such devastating loss. Their loved ones, gone. Their homes and all they hold dear, gone. Why did my family make it out without a scratch? Why do we still have our homes standing? Why did this deadly tornado lift into the clouds as it passed over our small town? Here is a map of the tornado's path that came through Tuscaloosa and worked its way up to Birmingham. Do you see where the pink line cuts off and the red line appears? The little space in between is where we live.

My husband, little guy and myself (along with the dog & cat) took shelter at my parents house, about 15 minutes away from our home and also contained in the little space on the map. My brother's family were also there since neither of us have a basement or storm shelter. They had no power so we no choice but to huddle in the dark basement...although we did have lots of flashlights and candles. We had a weather radio and family calling/texting us the current situation, informing us it was heading straight for us. Now let me be totally honest. I respect storms and the threat of tornados so I take a lot of precaution. I had huge pillows and blankets down there for us and we prepared a corner of the basement that was the deepest underground. But with that said, it still didn't hit me at how bad this could actually turn out. My brother had brought us some Arby's sandwiches and here I am slapping some Arby's sauce on my sandwich when the loudest clap of thunder I have EVER heard sounded and shook the house. I literally leaped onto my sister-in-law who was the closest person to me and screamed. My child who was eating french fries didn't even flinch. I was completely sick to my stomach from fear afterwards and needless to say, did not eat my sandwich. As it turns out that thunder/lightening was the tornado we had been dreading but was up in the clouds as it passed over us. My Dad was watching and saw the rain enveloped storm change directions once the lightening struck. It then came back down not a few miles away and continued its destructive path. When we knew the danger had passed, we roamed around the backyard and my brother found a receipt from Tuscaloosa (about 60 miles away) along with more bits of debris.

We knew the storm had passed by our home but at the time did not know if the tornado had actually been on the ground. My husband just knew our house was gone.  Thankfully, he was wrong. We had no damage.  Just a few more bits of debris. I found this in our yard, looks like some kind of building material.

Here is a video of the tornado in Tuscaloosa.

It was astonishing to hear the horrible news of how much destruction was left behind in this deadly storm's path. It made me realize at that point how close we came to being part of it.

So, why weren't we? Some friends and I were discussing this very question last night. We don't know the answer to such a question but we do know there was a purpose. Jesus wants something from us and I intend to find out. My prayer is that Jesus can use those left untouched and unharmed in whatever way he intended. May we open our eyes to see and ears to hear Him. I also pray that those who have suffered loss and devastation would look to Him for comfort, strength and courage to trudge ahead.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

To anyone who may read this blog (I know some are not local), I ask for your prayers for our state, for those who are feeling discouraged and bereft. There is a long road to recovery up ahead and those involved need your encouragement. If you are able to do more, there are many ways to send support and donations for those in need.

Please visit ServeAlabama.gov for more information.

What humbles me is the fact that disaster can happen anywhere, to any of us. I was foolish to think something of this magnitude would never happen in Alabama. Our world is continually being struck, whether it is a natural disaster...earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, or the threat of terrorist attacks. I urge you to ask yourself...am I ready? Would I be ready to leave this place and meet Jesus?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.   John 3:16

For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.   Luke 19:10

I truly believe God shakes us to humble us. He is sovereign and in control and sometimes we lose sight of it, getting caught up in ourselves and thinking we are exempt from destruction. Praise Jesus for his continuous grace and love for us. We don't deserve it but I am so thankful he gives it.

We will praise Him in this storm.

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1 comment:

  1. This post gave me chills. I'm glad your family was safe and home survived. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones or their homes. Thank you posting this-- for those who do not live close to the destruction and may not realize how devasting the storms were.