Our huge pine tree broke apart and 2/3 of the tree fell on the main power lines running along side our road. Another tree by the cemetery also blew down. In our driveway, another large branch fell on our own power line. Two trees uprooted down in the shooting range, two trees fell across the field drive, three trees came down in the south woods, and another tree fell across my trail to the creek. Countless tree branches lay around the place. I wandered around that Thursday morning in a daze and felt very overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed by all the damage,
overwhelmed by the mercy of God,
and by Saturday night I was
overwhelmed by God's goodness, and
overwhelmed by His reminder that He sees, He knows, and He cares.
For 18 years I have prayed for the trees to never fall on our house during a storm. God honored those prayers. My brother came quickly to help with a chainsaw and generator. Even though the power was out until Thursday afternoon, we had electricity to the refrigerator and could run some lights and a/c units. My brother-in-law came out Thursday and help cut up some of the wood. My brother and nephew came again Thursday and Saturday to help cut up trees. Saturday some men stopped by and offered to help cut up the huge section of pine tree laying ragged on the ground. Four boys on bikes also stopped to assist them. They made quick work of something that would have taken us hours. And Jim's cousin had vacation time and came up to help for a couple days. The boys work with him and accomplished more in two days then just us could have done in a week.
In all this outpouring of support, many emotions have swirled around our family:
The pine tree was very colossal! If we went on a hike a mile from home, we could still see the top of it. It was a marker for home. The remaining third of it is like a half blown-up spaceship pointing to the sky.
We discovered that Saturday three huge cracks in the Climbing Tree. Those cracks were a testimony to me of God's protection. That part of the tree should have fallen on the house. But they were also a sign to take action. So my brother has been working on cutting down the most dangerous limbs. Eventually, the whole thing will have to come down. This tree is close to our house and has been a favorite for my boys to play in since they could walk. It has had many forts built in it through the years, as well as a tire swing Jim hung, and a climbing rope to swing on as well. Many memories have been made in that tree. Seeing it be cut down little by little has been sad.
The shooting range is like a trap just waiting to spring. One tree fell into another into another. Limbs and branches are intertwined with several other trees. The shooting range my husband worked tirelessly on and that we have tried to maintain is a disheartening mess! It will remain as it is until the Lord gives me wisdom and peace on what to do.
The trees across the field drive were sawed up and moved out of the way so two dozen loads of brush could be hauled out of the front yard. The tree across my trail was also cut and removed, so I can at least get to one of my favorite places to think and pray. And cry....
This "not my will" stuff is hard, very hard. I am trying to not complain, to be thankful, to keep a good attitude, but it isn't easy. My inner brat wants to have a pity party, to stomp my feet, to demand God make everything easy and all sunshine and rainbows.
Monday night I found myself visiting the same hotel I released my balloons at.
What a whirlwind two months it has been!! I had to just get alone with God for a few moments. To once again release my life into God's hands. Yes, this "not my will" stuff is so hard. But really, I am trusting myself to the One who bled and died for me. To the One who loves me more than I can ever imagine, more than I will ever understand. He promised He'd make all things work together for good to those that love God and that He would make everything beautiful in His time. Even the messes of trees at our place and the swirling emotions in me and my boys, these too He will turn into something good and beautiful.
So I reread the poem, "Late at Night" and I focus on my Lord's words to me: