Today on this eve of Thanksgiving 2015 I am extremely grateful for life, family, and most of all a Grace filled and Merciful God!
Two years ago on November 17, 2013 a devastating tornado hit the small town of I Washington, Illinois. My nephew and his family along with many others lost their homes and all of their physical possessions. That day will be etched in my memory forever.
My sister and I were in church when the sirens went off in Peoria, but we were assured by the priest that our church was in no immediate danger, and mass resumed with a mixture of emotions, from worry, relief, and gratitude. It was when we joined friends at lunch that our nightmare began as we learned the tornado hit the subdivision where my nephew lived. Needless to say we were frantic, and in particular my sister who was having no luck reaching her son on his cell. It was only after I texted and received a short response stating. “we are safe”, that we were able to breathe again if only for a moment. It is the waiting to see them face to face that is the hardest.
I will never forget when they walked through the front door the feelings of relief, joy, sorrow, (I can’t even name all the feelings) I experienced. All we knew was nothing else mattered but the fact they were alive and physically unharmed. As they recounted their story we were well aware of how blessed we were they were there in front of us. The awesome part of their story was that in the few hours they were blessed with a safe home of friends who offered them a place to stay, other friends from around the state who had heard and were on their way to help in whatever way they could.
But the most powerful part of this story is the hope that reigned in this small community. They were putting their trust in God, and determining to rebuild. Even when FEMA denied them services because they had been proactive in clean up, their spirit was not dampened. A week later their high school football team was playing in the state finals and bus companies offered busses so the town people could attend. The Washington Panthers came home with the State Championship!
It has been a long road for this small town and they are still continuing to rebuild, but the awesome part is they have never lost their hope or their faith. I cannot, even today, fully explain the impact this disaster has played in my personal life, other than, my grateful heart for a Grace filled and Merciful God whose promises are real and whose love has no boundaries.
I pray today that you know or come to know this magnificent and all powerful Papa God!
Leanne the Urban Hermit