Sometimes, there are those days when you are required to put your big girl pants on, gulp hard, and just hold it together. My recent kitchen remodel taught me that. But recently I have reinforced my bravery in holding it all together.
It's good to prepare for times like these so you know how to respond when life ushers the opportunity to be brave at any time. About six weeks ago, my daughter and her family suffered through a house fire...twice. They were coming home from church on a bright Sunday afternoon to find the firemen working on their house, extinguishing a fire that started from a failed power strip.
No one was hurt and we are all grateful for that. Absolutely, no question. However, the same embers rekindled the fire again, the very next morning blazing more damage to the roof, it's structure and all of the upstairs living spaces.
Yes, they have home owners insurance. One of the bedrooms affected belonged to 6-month old Clarke. She will miss out on growing up in that nursery that held so much love for her. The attic, all the bedrooms, two bathrooms, and everything included in them, are considered a total loss in this second story home. As for the lower level, because of the water and smoke damage, those spaces are being restored. What the fire didn't consume is either burned, melted, smoked like a Thanksgiving turkey or charred.
All their possessions were affected, and the safety of a three-year-old who wants to be a fireman, has been shaken. In times like these, family circles up to help pick up the pieces. Initially, I didn't want to go in to see the damage because I didn't want to remember it with all it's soot. But my son-in-law, Billy the pilot, asked me help move some unaffected belongings to a new rental property. I was afraid I would lose it right there in the rubble of their lives but I knew I had to be brave.
The smoke aroma immediately filled my nostrils, as the stench was unbearable, as soon as we opened the front door. I cautiously walked up the staircase to the charred shell of the house. The places where we made family memories, new ways to play pretend, to read nap-time books, and where my daughter momma learned to love her little babies...everything I could see was covered in black soot.
Everything....even little Clarke's pink shoes. That's when everything I was holding together broke a little. I shed a few tears when I saw their life as I knew it covered with life's soot. My little Avery talks about the fire everyday, even though he doesn't know the extent of what was really lost.
There are new questions in his mind about the event that has completely robbed him of all his toys and life as he knows it. It's understandable given the circumstances his family has endured.
"Does Jesus love us less now that the fire happened?"
I gasped a little when I heard that big question slipping out. I thought of all the times we must think that about God. When life slaps, steals, or throws us curve balls, we wonder if God knows or cares about what is plaguing us at the moment. And then we deal with the fact that everything about us is under God's omniscient presence.
But we still wonder where God is when a tragedy occurs. And then we wonder...about the depths of God's love for us in spite of what life has presented us with on any given day.
We wonder...where is God in the middle of my cancer, or my marriage that is falling apart, or the debt that keeps pushing us into a dark hole, or the pit of depression our teenagers fight every day, or the bouts with illness after illness, the failing health of our parents, the failing strength of the national budget, or the threat of a pandemic, or the failures of our past that we can't shake.
And then we wonder...about God's love and we wonder why doesn't God intervene when He knew all about it first? We find ourselves gasping that question when life brings storms, fires, and things not nice or hard.
I waited for Lindsay's answer and she said what a grown up momma could only say. "Jesus proves His love for us through the people who have helped us so much. He proved His love by keeping us at church and away from the fire, and how no one was hurt, and everyone is safe and sound. He showed His love for us by many people who helped us get some new clothes, a safe place to life, and some new toys."
I was at the sink washing some dishes when peace flooded my soul. She held it together to explain one of life's biggest moments for her family, even though she herself was dealing with the same silent question, just like we all do. She was brave when she needed to be and that kind of brave could only come from what she knew and believed about the love of God over the soot that was currently covering their lives at the moment.
When life covers everything you know familiar, comfortable, and gives you a little sooty squeeze, or strips you of precious, know that bravery awaits you too. It's one more opportunity where God proves His love for you by showing you where you put your big child-of-God bravery, gulping hard, and leaning on what you know about God versus what life circumstance is suffocating you right now.
God makes us brave. Need a little extra bravery today? Watch this.