One year ago, during this week, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston.
I went to church Sunday for the commemorative service and left heavy. It’s silly. The service was tremendously uplifting with amazing stories of hope and restoration. Families who had lost everything except their faith stood before a packed church to share how God had met their needs. They had been through an overwhelming year and yet they stood in brave testimony to how faithful God is.
But, as I’d mentioned last week, I had already been in a sad season. So it may have just been seeing all those photographs, memories flooding back, coupled with my current state and some major challenges my dearest friends are facing knocked me back.
I wanted to write, but I always like to balance my “heavier” posts with fun things like look at this cute floral blouse or let me tell you a funny triplet story.
I just didn’t have a bit of that in me.
Then, today, I went back and looked at “on this day” on Facebook. Y’all, those kill me. Hang on to what I saw on THIS day. I want to start with the only two posts in my feed from two years ago on this day because I’d like to end with Harvey and what’s next.
First, two years ago on August 29th, was the above photograph from Christine Caine with this verse:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Rev. 3:7-8)
I could hear little preschool voices in my ear singing, we are weak but He is strong.
He opens the doors. Or shuts them. And our weakness won’t change His timing and His plan.
Then, on the same day, I wrote a post for God Sized Dreams called In His Time. I wrote about when I stop trying to put it all together, that’s where God starts. I closed with:
And I just pray, every day, He will keep my eyes on today. I pray He will keep me from seeing what is to come. I pray He will allow my future to stay unknown (a particularly painful prayer for a control freak). He has shown me over and over when I take my hands off the wheel, He steers me in the best direction. I may encounter delays, storms and darkness, but when I arrive safely to the shore, in His time, it’s always worth the wait.
(The bold was in the original post.)
Then, a year ago, my feed was full. I had written finally about Harvey hitting Houston.
Even though we were not the hardest hit, by a longshot, I wrote about how painful the storm was for all Houstonians. How, in a prayer vigil, I cried out, When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over… Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you. Isaiah 43:1-6
I asked friends from around the world to pray that Addicks and Barker Reservoirs would hold. The rescue boats were up and down our streets. I didn’t know then we’d have to evacuate the next day, assisted by the wonderful ATF men from Florida.
On that day, I didn’t know that on this day, a year later, there would be different storms. That the streets would be, thankfully, completely dry, but my spirit would be submerged. You can’t know, year over year, when the good and bad will be. But the truth a year ago and the year before that and from before time began is that He will direct our paths. He will open, or shut, doors, and He will be right there next to us when we pass through the waters.
Even though I’ve known that in my head for a very long time, it felt like fresh news to my soul this morning. I felt new and ready for what is next: Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Neh. 8:11)