Rebuilding a Home

Things happen when we least expect them and it can change us.  Sometimes it changes us for the better.  Sometimes for the worse.  It is up to us how we move forward, how we see things or accept things as they happen.

I met Sara and Steve when they were freshly married at the camp that I met my husband some 20 years ago.  They were working alongside Mark and I as we served God together at Fort Wilderness, a family/kids camp ministry in Northern Wisconsin.  Shortly there after, Mark and I were married.

10 years later as we both started our families, Mark and I moved to Tennessee that year and really were strangers in a foreign land.  I did not know anyone.  I remember bringing my flock of young children to a local park to play and seeing this familiar face standing there with a wide open grin and a flock of 5 children gathered around her.  It was Sara!  Our paths had crossed again!  In this strange land, I see what seems to be a ray of sunshine, a kind of familiar that feels like home.  We reunited at once and it was extra special because our kids were similar in age.  She is that kind of friend that is always just constant.​

Time passed and our paths led us miles apart again.  We moved back to Wisconsin, and an occasional phone call could bring us back.  We moved back to Tennessee and when I seen her again, it was if nothing had changed, but our kids age us.  We look around and they are all twice the size of where they were some 10 years before.

Then Mark and I buy the same property where Sara grew up with her family!  The hippie commune littered with cabins!  I hear a multitude of grand stories surrounding the ground we now call home and it makes my heart happy to know the feet that had trod this land were those of purpose!  And we are a stranger no more!  It feels like home!When I heard the news of their house fire, my heart sank.  It could happen to any of us.  We burn with wood just like they do, and chimney fires just happen.  The chimney caught fire in the wee hours of the night when they all were fast asleep, nestled in their beds.  By the grace of God, Steve smelled the billowing smoke that shot down through the ceiling and filled the bedrooms of his precious daughters.  He was able to wake each of the children as he and family made the grand exodus of their house aflame.

I praise God because they are all safe and no life was lost.  The fire department came to extinguish the flames that poured out through the roof, the flames that have no mercy and devour anything in their path.  The water poured through the roof like a waterfall in the freezing temperatures.  By morning as they reviewed the damages, one could ice skate over the first floor, for there was 2 inches of glare ice that covered the hard wood floors below.  The home is in shambles.  The kids and I went to join hands with other faithful members of our small community to help clear out the rubble.  ​

It was so cold in the home because there was not a source of heat to warm us save a fire built outside for helpers to warm themselves in-between gathering soggy, burned insulation.  You could hear shovels scraping the floors, and hammers pounding through walls to break the sheet rock down.  All the walls filled with water and smoke damage.  Most of which will have to be trashed.
The smell of smoke was intoxicating.  I looked around and saw black, soot, and water soaked into everything.  In Tennessee, if there is water, mold will grow, so everything that is wet is no good.  There were over 30 people there, pounding, hauling, shoveling, smashing, and packing the things that could be saved into boxes for storage.  It could have been worse, much worse.
As I talked with Sara, she just seemed so happy!  So happy to be alive and her attitude was of great inspiration to us all.  Here is something she wrote the next morning…

“Good Morning…because all mornings are good, because God is with me! What a thought! As I sit and ponder what has happened the last 1.5 days I am totally overwhelmed…with “what to do” “what next” “where do we even start” I am also overwhelmed with how many people showed up yesterday to help, how many phone call, texts, messages I am getting saying people are praying. Meals for the week, Ideas from those who have walked this path, etc…I know this is day 2 on the long road to reconstruction, but we are blessed! I mentioned several times yesterday that I am thankful to God that I wasn’t sitting up in Vanderbilt burn center wondering if my child would live….or worse, planning a funeral for one of my girls! It’s a HUGE inconvenience, a financial burden, but its just stuff! My stuff and stuff I love…but just stuff none the less. It can be replaced! Thanks you all for everything and especially those who spent the day yesterday!!!! It was cold all day, and you hung in there!!!!”
~Sara Baily

What I love most about her words is perspective!  We all need perspective because often times we complain about little things like, a messy house when others have no home.  We complain about our kids driving us crazy when others had to bury one of theirs.  Or sometimes we even dare to complain about a sink full of dishes that need washing when there are others hungry right now, that can’t even scrape together a meal to safe their life.  Dirty dishes would be a luxury to some.

​And now, because they have no insurance to cover the damages, they are left searching for somewhere to live which they have options from loving members of the community, but it is only temporary.  If the home is able to be saved, it will be a considerable cost to rebuild.

As the body of Christ, we can all join hands from near and far in prayer and if we are able we can also contribute to their building fund.  I ask for you to go to this site and see if you can give a little to help them.  It is the art of loving your neighbor as yourself.  I appreciate your prayers for this family!  God bless each of you and I pray you all stay safe and warm!

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