Wow - so much has happened all around us since my last post. Unless you've been under a rock somewhere, you know that North Alabama has been declared a national disaster from the tornadoes that ripped through miles and miles of land last Wednesday. Towns and neighborhoods that once were, are now gone. Property was destroyed - lives were lost. In a word devastation.
Thankfully, we are all ok and our area suffered little to no damage. The past 10 days, I have been helping in other areas that did receive damage. Let's just say that you don't know busy in an insurance office until you have a national disaster in your area! I feel bad even saying that because that's what we do, and frankly that's exactly why you have insurance, but none the less - busy is an understatement! Because I didn't have a large number of clients directly hit, I have been helping out in areas that did. I've been in the field in Arab and all over the Harvest and Monrovia areas. I'm sure all of you have seen the pictures, and many have been and volunteered yourself, but seeing it in person is life changing. I hope I never forget what I saw and what I felt that first day I walked through the neighborhoods and saw what God can do. I also never want to forget what I felt when those people looked to us for help, and certainly never forget what I felt when we gave them a little of what they needed.
Here's a story from yesterday from Christy Jordan of Southern Plate. She was also volunteering at the Monrovia Community Center yesterday while some of the Madison County ALFA team were there as well:
This is from Amy Harbour: "Spent the afternoon helping children that were victim’s of the tornado make mother’s day gifts for their mom’s for tomorrow. After losing everything we helped them have a little bit of normal back. One little girl worked with me for the longest time on hers. As I was packing it up to go her aunt came over and whispered to me that the little girl’s mom died in the tornado."
Perspective - this baby girl was doing everything she knew to show her Mommy her love. How she was going to get it to her, I don't know, but she obviously had a plan. Mom wrote this yesterday:
At first I sobbed and couldn't help it. I still well up with tears when I think of it. But this morning, God sent some peace to me reminding me that HE allowed that little girl to have hope of presenting a gift to her mom - that's why it was so important that it be packed so well and so carefully. It had a ways to go. I don't know how she meant to get it to her, but she had hope. Hope. I remember after Stephanie's little Olivia was stillborn and we were devastated and even speaking of it was almost more than we could bear. And little Abby, who was only 3 at the time, spoke up about the "four" people in her family now. And as Stephanie bravely reminded Abby that little Olivia was now in Heaven, Abby reminded us with such conviction "But she's still a special part of our family!!!" And everything changed. The grief wasn't gone - but acknowledgement and love of that sweet life, instead of just hurt and devastation from the loss - even though she was now away from us and in Heaven - what a gift from God. I believe this little girl's effort to honor mommy on Mother's Day was another one of those gifts from God. How precious are His promises. Please, sweet Jesus, don't let us take our blessings for granted, and please wrap your arms around all those that are hurting as ONLY you can do.
Mother's Day has always been bittersweet since we lost Olivia. Every holiday is. There's always a sense of something missing. But oh how sweet is the innocence of a child. I will always believe God has spoken through children at times when we were too busy or had too much knowledge to listen for what HE was trying to tell us. His peace is all encompassing when we let it. The past two weeks has re-focused my mind on what is important. When you see people who have lost it all, literally, and they come up to you to tell you they are blessed, it really makes you humble down and say, "Lord. please forgive me for the tizzy I was in a few days ago about whatever minor detail of my day that didn't go as I planned!"
Life is fragile. I know this firsthand, but sometimes we need to be reminded. I am blessed today to be the mother of 2 precious girls that are with me, and 1 angel dancing (or singing :)) in Heaven today. His promise is that I can go to meet her soon - and oh what a Mother's Day that will be.