December 3rd, 2011
The day will forever be etched in my heart and mind. It was the day we lost everything. It was the day I received a phone call from my husband saying, "You need to come home.....our house is on fire".
And while there are far worse trials that we could have faced, this was a hard one. So as I look back at that day and the days following I want to always remember some of the things God taught me. And since my memory is not the greatest, I wanted to write them down.
Things really do matter.
Yes, I said it. Things do matter, but they are not the most important. I would be lying if I said I didn't miss some of the things we lost. Some days, something will pop into my head and then I remember... no, we lost that in the fire. My girls will never get to try on my wedding dress. They will never see their newborn hospital photos. Aiden will never get to have the rocking horse his great grandfather made for him. They will never be able to give their own children that special outfit I had saved. They will never get to see pictures of John and me dating. But you know what? It is OK. It is ok to be sad over those things. But it is not okay to be consumed by the loss of those things.
I don't think there is anything wrong with having things or being sentimental about material things. I am sentimental to a fault! But I have to keep it in perspective. God gave us those things to begin with and then He saw fit for us to have them all taken away. I just have to remind myself that I can chose to be sad over what we lost or I can chose to rejoice over what we have. And the list of what God has given us is far greater than the list of what was taken by the fire!
Invest in people, not things.
But wait!! I just said things matter. And they do, but people matter more. The question is, what is our focus? And I ask myself this too!! I am writing this so I will remember these things. So that I will be changed.
But what do I invest in? I use to get so caught up in the bows and boots and the fancy outfits. I spent countless hours sewing for the kids. There is nothing wrong with all that. I still love cute dresses and big bows for the girls! I got caught up in the activities and outings and experiences for the kids. But after the fire, I was really convicted of making sure I invested as much into my kids hearts as I did into their appearance and activities. I want always to invest into their lives, into their little souls, because nothing can take that away!
And what about the house? Did I invest as much time and effort into making it a place of hospitality so that we could minister to others as I did in trying to make sure it was up to date with Pinterest and all the latest home design blogs? Did I hesitate to have people over because there was toothpaste on the bathroom mirror or because our walls weren't painted the latest shade of Benjamin Moore. I did.
Our home here is simple. Most of the things in it our not our things. Ours floors may be dusty and my curtains may be tattered, but I want it to be a place where Christ is shared through hospitality. Because the love and time we pour into others can never be lost!
People don't care as much about the appearance of your house as they care about the heart of your home.
The Kindness of Strangers
Before we ever left the scene of the fire, people were stopping. Stopping to see what we needed, stopping to give us food, clothes and gift cards. Cars would slow down to pass the house only to come back buy 3o minutes later, get out of their car and hand us some money and then leave. They did it completely out of the kindness of their hearts. Most of them we did not know. Most of them we would never be able to thank or repay. They had nothing to gain by giving. Yet they gave. Oh that I may have such a generous spirit and always look for opportunities to give, specifically to those who can not repay. Because isn't that when we are most like Christ, when we give to those who can not give back.
The Strength of our Church Family
The are no words eloquent enough to describe the love that was poured out on us from our church family. To those who gave so very sacrificially.....Heaven smiled as you gave your last five dollars so our children would have a good Christmas that year. Two years later, I am still simply humbled at the way our church gathered around us and did for us what we could not do for ourselves.
The Sovereignty of God