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remembering the storm

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
 For I am the Lord your God

-Isaiah 43:2-3a

14 years ago, I sat on a couch in my parent’s living room- eyes glued to the television, watching and waiting. Rahul and I had 2 little boys snuggled up with us, boys who couldn’t possibly understand the magnitude of the storm and the events that were about to unfold. They didn’t know we wouldn’t be going home. They didn’t know people would be stranded on roof tops or that families would lose loved ones. They couldn’t grasp that it would be unsafe to travel back for 6 months or that first responders would work tirelessly around the clock for weeks, for months on end. They also didn’t know that friends and family and strangers would step in. Take care of us. Drop off clothes and toys, food and supplies. That teenagers from my former high school would rally to raise support to bless our family. They didn’t know then how the family of God would circle around and lift us up.
That’s why each year
We stop.
We remember.
We pray.
Because I want them to know now what their tiny eyes couldn’t see then.
We also praise.
We thank the Lord for what He did, for His provision and protection, for those whom He surrounded us with in the aftermath of Katrina.
We praise Him that though the storm changed us, our future, our plans- it didn’t change Him.
And now, 14 years later, I sit on my own couch. Glued to the television, watching and waiting. This time there are 4 kids snuggled up beside us and we pray together that the storm heading towards our family and friends dissipates, shifts, vanishes. But we also know that if it doesn’t, we can step in- with prayers and hope. We can be the Body of Christ for others in the same way they were for us.
You know, the lessons we learn in the hard places stick with us. They keep on teaching us. They grow and challenge us. They become a part of us.
And the blessings, the provision of God, the treasure of friends and family and strangers reaching out to our weary hearts- those become a part of us too.
You never lose the wonder of the tiny miracles, the powerful prayers, the hugs and meals and boxes full of diapers that pulled you through.
14 years have passed and I can still say with certainty I’m so grateful. Grateful for the lessons. Grateful for the people. Grateful for my God.
Honestly, I’m still just so blown away by it all.

So, today Lord may we not just remember, but may we embody the goodness and the generosity that we saw so freely extended to us. May it ripple out to others, washing over their own weary hearts and bringing hope to their hard places.

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