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Thing

I live in south Louisiana. Covington to be exact. In March we experienced record breaking flooding. Five months to the day later, just as everyone who flooded is completing their renovations and getting moved back in – the unthinkable happened – a system developed over the Gulf and stalled. Early predictions are saying the worst hit parts just to the west and north of us received close to 30 – yes – 30  inches of rain in 24  – 36 hours.

But it is still raining.

Many, many people lost EVERY-THING! The waters rose so fast and way beyond ANY-THING that could be predicted.

It reminds me of the pictures of the ninth ward and all of St. Bernard parish after Katrina. The size of the area affected is so large.

I keep going back to the word EVERY-THING.

Over and over again as we read reports or watch on tv the one word that is reported over and over again – EVERY-THING. People lost EVERY-THING. Many for the second time since March.

People are seeing videos of their homes with water near the top of the roof. Sometimes it is easy to see reports on tv and over time we become immune to the emotions of how traumatic it must be for the family who made a life there. It is easy for me to become overwhelmed and just turn it off and find something to distract me.

I promise these families wish they could do the same.

Our part of the country has been through such weather related trauma three times  in the past eleven years.

Probably your part of the country has been through its own trauma.

My daughter, niece, their four kids and I went to the local animal shelter after church the day after. It seems like a little thing – but it was SOME-THING. I struggled when we first got there as emotions began to surface from deep inside me. The shelters in several of the parishes to the west of us were preparing to send animals to our shelter. Vague reports of dogs on roofs of the shelters were coming in. No one could reach the directors as the phones were down and at one point, their own lives were in peril. We spent the morning accepting donations, walking dogs and cleaning kennels. It was SOME-THING.

I came home, showered and began to look around.  At EVERY-THING!

I struggle with finding the words this morning to avoid minimizing ANY-THING anyone has experienced. Tragedy after tragedy comes across my newsfeed and Facebook.

It’s positively overwhelming.

Then as I have learned to do, I turn to God for wisdom and comfort.

Matthew 25:34-40  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

And now – today – days out – the stories of the humans are coming forth. The shelters can be reached. The immediate needs assessed – we all remember too well what they are – don’t even have to read the list. After Katrina, I will never forget.

I sure can’t get in my truck – which I don’t have – or take my boat – which I don’t have – but I sure can load my self in my car and head to the places designated – and volunteer. My hugs are pretty sweet.  I can pray. I can continue to share the stories. I can. I can hug. I can listen. I can pray. I can serve food or pack groceries.

I am not good at feeling helpless.

I can’t do NO-THING – even a little THING is SOME-THING.

Jeremiah 32:17     “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.

From the Message – Psalm 16:2 I say to God, “Be my Lord!” Without you, nothing makes sense.

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Romans 8:39  Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

From the Message    Philemon 4-7 Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!” I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other believers. And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers.

And another THING – this is becoming known as the storm with no name. It never developed into a system worthy of a name. It wasn’t organized, didn’t qualify in any category of weather language. It didn’t require us to stock up on food and water, gas for the generators or evacuate. It became the bully we never saw coming. Yet is now known as the 1,000 year flood.

And . . . the destruction was unprecedented.

And left us wounded.

BUT – as our community has done many times before, we all rush to actively participate in rescue, (you have probably heard of the cajun navy by now) relief (Operation BBQ showed up three days after the storm and is serving at least 20,000 meals a day) and recovery (gutting teams are already out working). We become doers.

We don’t turn the tv off and go find something else to do.

And . . . we know it isn’t a quick fix. And . . . we know we won’t quit until the new normal of sheetrock and fresh paint and floors and cars and schools and jobs are restored.

And . . . God shows us what His love looks like when we put that love into action – we learn how to give that love and how to receive it.

And in all THINGS – the only THINGS that matter – the SOME-THINGS, the ANY-THINGS, the NO-THINGS – in EVERY-THING – we reach out to others to help – others for comfort – and to God to fill us up each day.

“Lord – we come to You – again – grateful first of all that You never tire of us turning to You. We ask Lord for comfort and compassion to flow into our community – this community that is still reeling from the tragic events two months ago. First our hearts and now our homes, jobs and churches destroyed. Show up BIG Lord. Come into our midst and show up BIG! Use us to be YOUR hands and feet and heart as we walk through each day, conversation and interaction to reflect YOU! Use us as YOU best know how. Let us follow YOU. Let this be about YOU and ONLY YOU LORD! Come into the lives of each displaced family today LORD and let them know they are not alone – take away the helplessness they must feel and let them know that in ALL THINGS YOU are there. Thank YOU LORD for the opportunity to serve YOU – to come alongside and serve our neighbors. Forgive our doubt when the storms continue to rage around us. Amen.”

feet on my faith framed

 

 

4 Responses to “Thing”

  1. Helen Riley says:

    Can I help? I am not confident sending money to many organizations but would send you a check for food or clothing or whatever you see needed.
    Helen

    • Janet Reeger says:

      Helen! I would love to be your girl friday and have almost daily had the opportunity to buy groceries or cleaning supplies or lunch for a group of volunteers gutting churches and homes. There are countless ways to be the tiny drop in the big bucket. Let me know how I can help you help.

  2. Myra Derry says:

    Thank you for this beautiful site Janet! Many of us here in Diamondhead, Mississippi lost everything in Katrina and without faith we could never have gotten to where we are today! My church Jacobs Well has had so many volunteers going over to Louisiana to help tear out and rebuild many homes that were flooded out and have sent truck loads of donations and many other churches in this are are doing the same. We all know how they are feeling that they can’t see any hope but trust in the Lord and there will be some sunlight at the end of the long tunnel!

    Myra Derry
    Diamondhead, Mississippi

    • Janet Reeger says:

      Thank you Myra! It is one gift we have to give to others who are experiencing the same loss we knew so well. Your efforts there in Diamondhead are so appreciated. Being part of the community of believers and sharing our faith and trust is a blessing to all struggling in Louisiana. God is present in the midst of the journey through that tunnel. To Him be the glory!

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