Did I Hear You Right, God?

Do you ever deeply long for an answer to a situation?




Do you pray to have clarity?

Do you sometimes think you hear the answer but then wonder if you made it up yourself?

Those are the ways that I’ve felt for the past six years regarding the schooling of the girls.  Since having the twins, I have felt the deep longing to home school.  I knew for years that there was more that I was supposed to be.  However, by the time that I got done teaching and they got finished with school, we were all too tired to connect.

So, we started thinking of how I could stay home.  We did the budget.  It didn’t work.

We did it again.  We tweaked.  Not much had changed.  We were super frugal.  We still needed to come up with some additional income.

We heard a message at church one Sunday last fall that just stuck with me.  Sometimes, you don’t get the blessing until AFTER you’ve taken a leap of faith.  It was a message for me.

In February, we decided that I would quit my teaching job and home school the girls.  Keep in mind that the girls were in one of the best schools in the state.  People would think I was crazy.  I did not really share this information with many.  If I said it out loud, it made me anxious and doubtful.

Time ticked on.  In May, I finally did it.  I quit full time teaching.

The first few months of summer were spent in anticipation of what school would be like.  The first week in August, we started getting our classroom ready.  The girls were SO excited!  While everyone else was posting back to school pictures, I was posting a relaxed morning with my kids sleeping in.

 

We started school on August 8th!  We had an incredible week!  We felt immediately that we had made the right decision.

This picture was taken on Friday, August 12th.  Everything about this was peaceful.

The following morning, all of that changed.

My classroom is a little lower than the rest of that house and was the first room to flood.   Two days later, it looked like this.

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I said out loud to God, “God, did I hear you right?  I really thought this is what I was supposed to do!”

Five weeks later, the girls’ desks, still neatly labeled with their name and grade, were hauled away with the rest of our home’s contents.

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As I stood watching, I was sad.  Those were my honest feelings.  I haven’t been sad very much.  I wasn’t sad for the desks (although those suckers are not cheap on Ebay)!  I simply needed to hear God’s voice of reassurance.

This is what I’ve learned from this situation.

God is here.  He is good.  He cared that I cared about those desks.  He has reassured me more than he needed to over the past weeks in many ways.

He has blessed me with people who have restocked my home school supplies.

He has sent many, many encouragers along the way. I am making new friends with people that I already have grown to love in a very short time.

He has calmed my heart.

We have an apartment for now.

Little things don’t upset me much.

My body feels better than it has in years.

He is growing my It Works business and blessing me financially.

My husband and I are a team.  We grow stronger every day as a unit.

My girls still love our version of school.   This week at co-op, my eight year old looked up as we sat together on a picnic blanket and said, “I love this.  I love everything about this.”

If your dreams are being rearranged and your “desks” are being thrown out.

Believe this with me:  God has good things in store!  He does for YOU and for ME!

I didn’t hear him wrong.  I just didn’t know the path it would all take.  And that’s okay.

 

 

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Day 3 – Can You Find Me a Boat?

This post is a continuation of our experiences during the flood of 2016 in Louisiana.




Day 3 – Monday, August 15, 2016

Henry and Haigan woke early this morning to attempt to meet a friend of a family member who had a boat.  By the time they reached the interstate, the water had receded from the ramps and they were able to drive a short distance toward our neighborhood.

This day was so strange.  They got into the boat on Oneal Lane.  Getting into a boat and riding down the highway just seems unreal.   The water was receding so fast that many boats ran aground before returning to their entry points.

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Henry describes the entire event as “eerie.” While on the way, they saw an alligator in the neighborhood.  Knowing this caused me to doubt that my poor Cry-baby kitty would ever survive.  Below are some of the pictures that they took as they maneuvered around mailboxes and moved through our neighborhood.

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The boat pulled right up into our carport.  You can check out the water line on the house to see the actual height of the water.  Yikes!

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The gentleman with the boat was so nice to allow them to have time to check on our cats.  As expected, they were scared and out of water.   Sven and Emma, our indoor cats, were nowhere to be seen upstairs in Haigan’s room.  The kittens were so happy to see their people.

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They also filled trash bags with those precious beanie boos.  Yes, of all things…..they loaded up a boat full of stuffed animals!!

They took a few pictures to show me the condition of the house.    The water was receding quickly.  It left behind a yucky, slick film on everything four feet and below.   Even after seeing those pictures, I really couldn’t imagine what it would really be like when I went “home.”

The entertainment center was now in the center of the room and the couch had taken its place.  Our television was under the couch.  I imagine this to have been just a floating whirlpool of furniture that came to rest this way.  Even now, I would love to get that blanket and snuggle up on my couch as I had just three nights prior to this mess.

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The girls’ bedrooms were some of the worst areas.  This one especially.  This is a picture that she will never see of her room and her sweet things.  Her headboard was an antique mantle that you can see propped onto her bed.  Her beloved Buddy did wait on the bed after all.

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The twins’ beds had floated away from the walls and landed toward the middle.

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Our dresser, which was very heavy, had floated and landed sideways.  Our mattress had obviously floated and did not land back on the box spring correctly.

The rocker makes me sad.  So many nights were spent rocking babies there.  I will replace it with another but it won’t feel the same.

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Every kitchen drawer was filled with water and the pantry was a disaster.

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It still amazes me that the water was so powerful.

They returned back to Holton’s with two large black bags filled with wet stuffed animals.  Thankfully, Holton’s washer and dryer had a sanitize cycle.  For the next 24 hours, the girls would run and giggle to the laundry room when the machines “sang” that another load was done.  It was so, so sweet.

It was only a few loads into this routine that they started to notice that some were missing.   “Frights, my kitty cat.  Moma, where is he?” asked Amelia.  I left him on my bed right beside my pillow.  “Where is Gallops?”  He was there, too.

They had no idea that nothing was where they left it.

My new mission was to ask about their special things until each one was recovered.  But that needed to happen quickly.  This water wasn’t a leaky pipe.  It was filled with sewage, bacteria and fungus.

Coming up….We wade back to a mess!

 

 

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Day 2 – We Watch and Wait

Day Two – continuation of our experience in the flood of 2016.




We woke to a homemade breakfast by my oldest son, Holton.  The girls were still excited to be having a sleepover with Bubba.

He had gotten a few new toys for the girls.  They were content for a little while that morning but quickly started asking when we could go home.  They almost seemed shocked when I told them that we wouldn’t be going back ‘today.’  My eight year old saw a picture of cookies that she wanted us to bake and asked me if we could go home to make them.  Those were hard no’s to give.

During the day, we sat glued to the television, hoping to get a glimpse of what was happening across town at home.  We also kept an eye on the lake behind my son’s house.  It was steadily creeping toward his back door and never far from my mind.

This included watching for numbers and times of when the rivers and bayous might crest.

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As we saw news footage such as this one below, it began to sink in that this was more than we could have imagined.  This picture shows the on and off ramps of our exit being used to launch boats.

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Even looking at the picture now brings such anxiety.

Fear began to set in about our cats that we had left upstairs.  I saw pictures of the nearby town of Denham Springs, where some houses were flooded into the attic.  Facebook was filling with posts for help.  Many had lost phone service and were trapped in their homes, which were now their own island in the murky water.  Terrifying to read.

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Click to enlarge

Henry and I were determined to hide our fear from the girls.  It was too much for us, so I can’t imagine what a child would feel. We saw news footage of children leaving in boats, ice coolers, parent’s arms high over head and counted our blessings that ours had been shielded from most of the reality of this.  Poor babies everywhere.

Meanwhile, we tried to enjoy our time together.  There’s something so comforting about how families come together during crisis.  I can definitely tell you that we were all one team that night, all huddled up on the couches watching the news.  If there was one good thing about this situation, it was that we were all together for the longest that we had been in a while.

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I tried very hard to think on scriptures which could help.  Worry could easily overtake me within minutes.  As I type this, I can still feel my heart tremble a little when I remember the fear of that day.

My worries were not really about MY material possessions.  I was haunted because I had made the the girls leave the majority of their most prized possessions, their beanie boos, on their beds.  These were the things they needed to help them to feel normal and I was so, so sad that I had made that decision.  It was out of necessity but I was still so heartbroken for what might become of them.  I also knew that the amount of water that had been left for the cats would not be sufficient for very much longer.  Many prayers were said.

Henry knew that I was getting more anxious by the hour.  He and Haigan decided to see if they could get close to the interstate to find a helping hand to get into the neighborhood.  They did get several miles from our home but the boats were being used for rescuing trapped people, so it wasn’t right to ask to go back into an area that many were just now escaping.

We began sending out pleas through social media to use a boat to return to our house.  Hours later, my sister-in-law found a friend who agreed to meet my husband and son early the next day.

I slept a little easier knowing that we could get some updates the next morning.

To be continued…

 

 

 

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