Tonight I watched my 3rd little guy, my 4th of 5 kiddos, really learned to ride his bike. His reserved demeanor gave way to excited smiles and budding confidence as we went up and down, and back and forth on the street for an hour. The sunset was gorgeous and although I was sweating much more than anticipated, it was a pride I felt for him that I won't soon forget. The scene a year ago this very Sunday night was very different. One year ago I felt a panic welling inside me.

This exact time is frozen in my memory. What we ate. What we were doing. One year ago this very moment I was acting calm but preparing for what could potentially be the worst. Honestly, looking back I never even entertained the thought that our home would actually flood. I just didn't. We took some precautionary measures and moved things upstairs. We videoed our home and took countless pictures, all for that long-off "just in case." Our neighbors next door and across the street gathered in our home and brought what they needed to stay that night because they were legitimately fearful of their own houses flooding overnight. And yet somehow, I still couldn't wrap my mind around it.

I made a big pallet on the floor in our bedroom along our king-sized bed for all four of my babies, tucked them in, and prayed for God's protection and peace no matter what happened. They fell asleep without too much issue, but for me...?? Without question, my mind was racing.
Where would we go?
What would we do?
And for real. What would we need to pack if we were really going to evacuate?
We already knew of friends who had water in their homes and I.just.couldn't. "We've never even had standing water in our street!", I thought to myself. I never actually believed it until we got the dreaded text the following night from a neighbor.

A week into the Whole 30 "clean eating", I was still holding strong while Dusty decided to clean out the fridge. It makes me laugh now because he said, "if our house is flooding, you best believe I'm eating and drinking whatever I want!" He was over it and to be honest, I was totally on edge so I decided to go to sleep instead of the alternative. I crawled in bed and prayed.

The next morning I set my alarm for 5:30AM so I could check the conditions outside. I realized pretty quickly that we were going to need to make a plan and probably evacuate. I reasoned that if nothing else, we needed to be on the safe side so we weren't stuck in our house. In reality, that morning plays like a slo-mo movie and one on 10x FF all at the same time. I felt more and more anxious as I began hearing Blackhawk helicopters fly over our house and into the park to get a look at the reservoir.

I stepped in the shower that morning and although I still couldn't grasp our home filled with water, somehow I remember having a very clear thought. "This might be my last shower here." Indeed, it was.

The events of this last year seem like a dreamish-nightmare. I couldn't have ever imagined in a million years (and I know that's dumb, we live in HOUSTON for crying out loud) that our home would ever flood. Never even a blip on my mental radar. And yet, here we sit a year later having lived through it all and somehow we've made it out on the other side. What started as worse than I could imagine, turned into some of the biggest blessings of our lives.

I talked with my high school small group girls today, and then repeated the sentiment later this afternoon in two separate conversations with my older kids; we have to have eyes to see God's faithfulness. We have to have eyes to see Him at work. To be able to look at events, especially hard ones in our lives, and see His hand of grace and mercy and goodness and meeting us in the depths.

I'm not saying in the moment (or maybe even for a while after) that we're supposed to feel like things are always good. Or that we like our current circumstances. I can assure you that for days and weeks and months this past year, I was paralyzed. And frustrated. And unsure. And felt alone. Abandoned. And angry. But God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, what have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Although I was gripped, when I paused I could still recognize God's presence because of the love and goodness of His people. Sharing their homes, their belongings, their love, meals, clothing, gift cards, finances... I would be here for days listing every.single.way that people showed up and undoubtedly I wouldn't even give a complete list. Big and small alike. All of it mattered. And still does.

It matters because through His people, I can clearly trace God's hand of love and protection over us. Ultimately, it matters because it increases our confidence in a God who will NEVER fail us. We can go to Scripture and clearly see the hard times in the lives of so many giants of the faith. And then we can see God's redemption and restoration and pursuit of His people woven into every one of those stories. It might impact us... move us... show us His character. And it should! But how much more personal and clear is it when we can see all of that in our own lives?! When we live it and breathe it and know it intimately because it's our story! When we can look back at our past and see how He has brought us out of the depths of sin, despair, darkness, hurt, sorrow, fear, pride... and set us high on a rock.

His rescue plan isn't for someone else. His rescue plan is for ME. For MY family. For you and YOUR family. When we have eyes to see all the ways that He is moving and working, in big things and small, it increases our confidence in a God who never fails. It elevates our trust to solidify once again that God, through His Son Jesus Christ, IS for us and is going to show up over and over and over. That belief should be what sustains us in the really hard times when we wonder what is happening and why. He gently encourages us to look back at our own story and with fresh eyes see that He's been there. The whole time. That He won't abandon us. That He never has. And that although His ways are not ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), His perfect timing has already been set in motion. Regardless of unanswered questions or lingering emotions, we can see blessings in the storms. THAT kind of belief in the God I know is actually producing powerful and effective. Mature faith. The kind of faith that IS beyond comprehension because we serve a God who's love, grace, mercy, and sacrifice IS beyond comprehension.

It's faith over fear. The truth over lies. The facts over feelings. He IS real. He IS moving. He IS God and loves us more than we can even fathom. 

If I can rest confidently in my present because I remember all He's done in my past (Altar of Remembrance) and all that He's brought us through, then shouldn't my confidence, even with an unknown future, be secure in a ever-loving and well-known God?!

Days after the flood, while water was still inside. Loved on and cared for by these sweet friends. 

And I am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6


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