Today marks the 3rd anniversary of a date that I will never forget. It is a date that will always be spoke or said, wrote down or seen on a calendar and I will always be flooded with memories.
At first glance those memories would appear to be of loss and devastation. But, if you look further you begin to see the beauty that was in the midst of the mess the whole time.
May 22nd, 2011 5:41 p.m.
In a matter of minutes everything would change. We would shut the windows and go into our tiny bathroom without shoes, wallets, phones or a diaper bag never expecting what was about to happen.
We would hear noises we never imagined hearing, see the sky through the bathroom vent and walk back out to what was left of our home and a city that we could hardly recognize.
All in a matter of minutes.
I have never felt so lost, helpless or scared.
But, I never felt alone.
Over the upcoming days and weeks I saw the church rise up and really be THE church. We experienced love in ways that most people never will. Friends, family and complete strangers giving of themselves sacrificially. Their time, their stuff, their money and their prayers.
It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
And it didn’t stop.
It went on for days that turned to weeks. Weeks that turned to months and months that added up to a year and beyond. Just when we would think God couldn’t bless us anymore, He did. In the midst of a terrible situation God was glorified.
His enormous love completely engulfed us and swallowed us whole.
And that is what I think of when I remember May 22nd.
I may still cringe a bit when I think of the tornado. Wounds were deep, rainy nights have been long and emotions sometimes still feel a bit raw.
But my mourning turns into joy as I remember and worship a loving God who on that very day held and forever will continue to hold all things together. He knows and loves us in ways that we can not comprehend. In and through Him all wounds are healed and comfort is found.
Beauty from ashes, blessings through storms.
Our mourning has truly turned into dancing.
And all of this was just a small glimpse of how much He loves us.
So we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love and whoever abides in love, abides in God and God abides in him. ~ 1 John 4:16.