I don’t know what to write. It’s Monday night. Harvey hit Friday. Hurricane Harvey technically hit Rockport and then Refugio and Victoria and other southern Texas towns near to our heart (Bray’s family properties are in Seadrift and Refugio and were hammered). But for me, Harvey hit Houston.
It didn’t land here, but it would have been better had it done so. Called the worse flood in the history of the United States, it is not over.
If you do not live here, please hear me: IT IS NOT OVER.
If you are reading this today, please continue to pray. Tomorrow could lead to incredibly dangerous new flood circumstances for new communities. In one, one of my two best friends in Houston sits with her husband and dogs on the second floor. In another, my other closest friend debates whether to call for a boat rescue for her and her husband and her kids because the reservoirs are about to flood their entire neighborhood. She waits on the second floor.
A friend today was separated from her kids when FEMA made them take separate boats. (They are back together and staying in a motel near where FEMA dropped them.)
Another waits in knee deep waters for a rescue boat.
One has lost power and sent a note to say I wouldn’t hear anything else because she had about 30 minutes left on her phone.
Vehicles cannot help people. Boats are being called for from Houstonians not in flood conditions. People who can are out in brutalized communities trying to literally save people from their rooftops.
I can do nothing. My family is trapped in our flooded neighborhood. Our house, miraculously, is still dry. Our power, miraculously, is on. Stunningly better circumstances than hundreds of thousands in my adopted hometown.
At night, we watch the news until after midnight and set our alarms for 2 am to check rising water when the security alarms don’t go off every thirty minutes. Saturday and Sunday night I hid in the closet with the kids during the worst tornado warnings. There were many more that came and went. We haven’t slept. We survive one night and wake up unbelievably grateful only to be confronted by another day’s rain. It has not stopped raining since this morning.
The eldest bursts into tears at the drop of the hat. The baby wants to punch things, and the little lady is exhausted.
We have put everything of value on tables and couches. Pictures and memorabilia from over my life and the kids lives has been carried up to the attic. Bray cleans drains, plastic-ed over the door frame, sets measuring stakes in the front yard, and drains the pool down. We have packed bags which sit by the back door to evacuate next door to the second floor of a neighbors if the water continues to rise.
I finally cried today. There are no words to describe the suffering. People have lost everything. One momma pushed her little boy in a blue Tupperware storage bin through the flood waters until she found a boat to take her to higher ground. There, a bus transported them with their one plastic bag of belongings to the convention center. One plastic bag of belongings. When one family was asked why they didn’t heed a mandatory evacuation order, they replied, “we couldn’t afford to.”
People have reached out and offered their homes but people in flooded neighborhoods can’t get out of their neighborhoods. Everything you see on the news is not an exaggeration. It isn’t showing the expanse of the destruction.
In my hopeless and fear, I cry out to God. I do not understand why some lost everything and why some are still okay. But when a friend began a 12 hour prayer vigil today at noon, I agreed to host one of the hours out of great anguish of my heart. Nothing other than saving these lives and rebuilding matters.
I pray: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Lord, we are brokenhearted. Please rescue us all.
I pray: But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
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, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Isaiah 43:1-6
Lord, we desperately need you to be with us in the sweeping rising waters. Please Lord, hear our prayers.
I pray: Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:7-8
Lord, in the deep we call to you. Out of this deepness, we call for you to sweep over us instead of the waters. Rescue us. God of my life, stop the water. Stop the rain. Drain these rivers and bayous. Please God.
I can’t do anything else so I beg you to pray. Particularly these next 48 hours. Pray for Houston and her people.