I know, I've been MIA again lately. But yet again, for a very good reason. In case you've been living under a rock or out of the states, a very devastating Category 4 hurricane ripped through the great state of Texas.
Our family home was in the path of this incredibly large and strong storm and we were under a mandatory evacuation. Now, I grew up on the Texas coast and we moved back last year. I've been through storms before, but this was unlike anything we had ever seen in my lifetime.
We went to bed Wednesday night thinking the storm would be a Category 1 Hurricane at land fall and would be a Tropical Storm as it reached us almost 30 miles inland. Hurricane party with family to ride out the storm.
But then, Thursday morning, I woke to predictions of the storm becoming a Category 2 at landfall. With 2 small children, we decided it was time to evacuate. My husband went to work and then family helped us board up the house.
Then, the mandatory evacuation was given.
It was getting real. And too real, too fast. We went 3 hours inland to Central Texas and have been waiting for the go ahead to come back to be released. Hurricane Harvey landed as a Category 4 storm. The strongest storm to hit our area in many, many years. Towns just south of us were just about completely destroyed.
Our neighbor had to stay and has given us updates on the exterior of our home. A fallen tree and lots of branches on the ground, but we have no clue what we will walk into on the inside. There is still no electricity, water or sewer services. It is unknown how long it will take to restore them. Harvey is expected to make a loop around our part of Texas for an extra pounding of rain as a Tropical Storm. The future is uncertain.
Now, I am a naturally anxious person. I'd go as far to say it tends to rule my life. Normally, this sort of thing would have me completely unnerved and in a continuous panic attack.
But my God is bigger. He has a plan that I don't understand.
I do know, though, that I don't have to worry about our future. We may have an inhabitable house to go home to. There may only be the downed tree and some shingles missing. We may lose everything.
But my God is bigger. And I know He has a plan for me.
The morning we decided to evacuate, my husband got up before I did to do his devotional time. He went straight to it without checking in on the weather until he was done.With his permission, I'd like to share with you what he wrote. It's based on Matthew 16:5-20.
"This was a test Jesus used to correct the disciples' thinking and to focus their attention on spiritual things instead of things of this world. He did so to open the floodgates of Heaven and reveal much, much more to Peter regarding his faith and future as God's follower.
"To him who has, much will be given to him."
God gave them a morsel of the light of heaven through a warning containing bread, then he proceeded to give Peter probably much more than he ever asked for by telling him the prophecy of his life's work. How often are you focusing your attention on God just to catch even a glimpse of Him?
After He has provided you the opportunity for His greatness to shine in your soul, does He then turn full force towards you to show you more of Him than you can even comprehend? I can count many times when God has revealed glimpse after glimpse to me, sometimes a little more than I can truly fathom, sometimes a lot more than I can truly fathom; and even fewer times can I count when He has given me the opportunity to truly understand my place in this world.
But I cannot count one time when it happened while my heart and mind were squarely focused on the things of this world. There is a man named "Elioenai" in the Old Testament who is mentioned once or twice in a genealogical record. His name means "To Heaven Are My Eyes". It is a beautiful name, and the meaning is much more beautiful.
Tell me, when did God say it is good to focus on the things of this world? It is through our unending prayers and focus on Him that we handle the world through His ways and become His hands and feet. It is not by focusing on this world while depending on the hand of God to guide us around like dogs on leashes who keep being jerked back into our place.
Continuously pray without ceasing. Focus your attention on things of Heaven. And then when you are given a little of Gods love; much more than you can fathom will come quickly behind it - if you keep your focus on Him."
It was so surreal
After informing my husband of the storm and the potential damage we were looking at, he immediately said to me I had to read what he wrote. That morning. As soon as possible. They were words my anxious heart desperately needed to hear. To remember not to focus on the things of this world. That we could change our focus.
Not worry about tomorrow. Come back to our community and be His hands and feet. To serve others in His name regardless of what we came home to. Our home was purchased at the beginning of this year. We've been slowly making it ours. For the first time, we have felt completely at home. I thought my anxiety would take over. I was prepared for that.
But my God is bigger. And I know He has a plan.
It's freeing to have peace about the situation. To know that even if we lost everything in the storm, we have treasures stored up in Heaven. What we have on this earth can be replaced. It doesn't matter anymore to me what happens to it. So here we are. Watching the news and weather. Waiting for the go ahead to come back. Ready to rebuild and help others in need. And not being anxious about tomorrow.