I once called Houston home. Our little house on Jura Lane was the home that welcomed two of my newborns home. It is the home proudly featured in home videos as the guest star behind the scenes. I marvel at those home movies that show a home belonging to a young couple with much more vision than money. I was quite creative, and turned that house into a home for our family.
We’ve been gone now for 18 years, creating a new home in the corn and soybean fields of Indiana, but that house will always be dear to my heart. Most likely today that little house along with many others is under water.
The recent tragic flooding in Houston has left many lives disrupted. Many lives have been threatened and families displaced. People are reeling as their lives have turned upside down in only 48 hours.
Last year at this time our town was hit by a tornado. It followed a path through the center of town that another tornado had taken only a few years before. The same subdivision was shocked that they again were the victims of a ruthless mother nature.
Trials come to our lives, sometimes at the speed of light. Too many of us have known disruption due to nature, death, sickness or emotional turmoil. We all know someone at this moment who is dealing with something they wish would just disappear. They may be victims of hurricane Harvey or another hurricane they don’t want others to know about.
Last year when the tornado hit, my life took a detour. Our home was fine, but as owners of a restoration company, severe storms mean all hands on deck. Our company was working at an apartment complex that had been hit hard. They were cleaning debris so residents could remove their belongings. I gathered food and water for lunch to serve our employees as they worked. When I arrived, my son had set up 2 tables with canopies for me to set things out. Before I even reached the tables, people carrying pans of prepared hot dogs asked if they could set the food at my table. “Sure!
It was crazy! I had people stop by with empty boxes for the residents to use. The Red Cross left me boxed meals to pass out. Trucks drove up and dropped off mountains of bottled water. Someone else left boxes full of chips and snack type foods. Another ministry dropped off bags filled with toiletries and cleaning supplies. We had boxes of diapers and wet wipes, and boxes of hot pizza.
I became my own relief station. My daughter and I did our best to organize the supplies that were given to us and to humbly serve the gracious people who were scurrying to unpack their belongings. Every single person asked for less than they needed. They were kind and humble. They touched my heart so deeply.
At the end of the day, I felt odd with all this stuff. I had planned on visiting my son the following day so I began making calls to see who would take this over. I felt like God spoke to my heart and said, “I gave it to you.” So the next day we were back at it.
At the end of the day, the city inspector closed the complex. A ceiling had caved in on a woman and the structure was deemed unsafe. With the residents gone, the time came to close down our little relief station. I had to put the seats down in my suburban. We filled the back completely.
I took the “left-overs” to another ministry. I had started out with 12 Subway sandwiches, cookies, chips and Gatorade and after we had served an entire complex for two days, the left-overs filled the back of my suburban. I cried. I got to experience my very own “fishes and loaves” miracle. I also got to experience the miracle of generous hearts caring for others.
I saw a video today of a lengthy line of vehicles pulling boats toward Houston. They were on their way to help in the rescue efforts. There were caring people who made time to help. I’m sure these people have busy lives and hauling their boats down to Houston was not on the schedule. I cried again.
Our lives are busy, but I am so thankful to see that there are people who stop when they need to and help. It is wonderful when help arrives during a natural disaster, but remember people are also suffering every day from personal disasters.
Be willing to take a detour. Be willing to let go of the schedule and agenda that drives you each day. Do not be so busy that you can’t stop and offer your help. It may not be convenient to stop what you’re doing or change the plans you have, but someone, somewhere needs you.
The aftermath of Harvey will be long and expensive. Please don’t let their plight disappear from your radar. I’ve attached two links that you use can use to find ways to help.