Family of the Month - Part II
Updated: Jun 8
God Knew We'd Need It: I told how my wife Laurie and I survived a direct hit by an F-4 rated tornado that destroyed our home while we were in it back in May of 2003 in Camdenton, Missouri. That “tragedy” was the catalyst to experiencing so many amazing and wonderful lessons about life and relationships. “God Knew we'd need It” talks about having to deal with just one of the many challenges we faced while picking up the pieces of our life after the storm. To read "Family of the Month" - part I, click here)
When I came home from work each night, I put my wallet and car keys in a drawer of our China cabinet as I came in from the garage. Likewise, Laurie put her purse on a little table next to the door. When the tornado hit, the door, the garage, the China cabinet, and the entire first floor was gone. After surveying the mess and destruction around us we realized that the only thing we still owned were the clothes on our backs.
Thankfully some very kind people took us in that night, gave us dry clothes, fed us, and gave us a bed to sleep in.
The following morning, they drove us back to the hole in the ground where our house used to be. Thank God our cell phones still worked. I was able to make arrangements to have some friends from church take me into town.
The night of the tornado I was walking around looking at what was left of our house and stepped on a 2x4 with a nail sticking out of it. Our Pastor’s wife, Michele and our good friend Sandy, a performer at a family music venue in town, picked me up. Sandy has special access to a doctor in town. He takes care of the performers from the show. She brought me in through the back door of the clinic. After cleaning my foot and getting the required Tetanus shot, the doctor said, “no charge and good luck.” Now we were off to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Center so I could sign up for assistance.
When I was called up to the counter the first words I heard where “I need to see some identification.” What could I show her? The China cabinet and my wallet were probably in a field miles from the house. The whole top floor of the house was missing. I went back to Sandy’s car and said, “They want to see some identification so I can prove I’m me.”
When we got back to the house the “Family of The Month” crew and others from the church were already picking through the rubble to collect anything that was salvageable.
We owned a pressure washing company, so a lot of equipment was still laying around the yard. However, the shop building was gone, our company van was flipped upside down against a tree, and our 24’ pontoon boat which we stored next to the shop was missing, even though the trailer was still right where we parked it. Tornados are strange beasts!
I told Laurie what happened at the Red Cross office, she just looked at me and smiled. "Ok…..why are you smiling?!?" She handed me my wallet and showed me her purse. They were found in the yard not forty feet from where the house had stood. Next, she showed me the hard drive they dug out of our computer that contained all our business and customer information. (The computer store was able to retrieve all our data.)
Laurie was, and still is a voracious reader. We had bookshelves in the living room, bedroom, office, and our family room in the walk-out basement. Whatever books that were found, were rain-soaked and swollen, muddy, and had insulation and drywall particles stuck inside them – they were a mess!
We also had lots of photos going back over 35 years of our life together at that time, from early marriage, 22 years in the Air Force, family, vacations etc. They found those too in the basement rubble. Some in albums, some in boxes, but they all survived! Now we were into 'beyond our wildest imagination' territory. We had what we needed, and in addition we had the photographic record of our life together.
But... she had one final surprise to show me!
Laurie had a white bible along with other books that she kept on an end table next to the couch where she read. Every book from the end table was gone except for her white bible. It was DRY and CLEAN, and completely undamaged and she still has it to this day, but we never found the other books.
God knew that we would need our credit cards, driver’s licenses, and that hard drive so we could start putting the pieces of our life and business back together. And then came the 'bonus round.' We had all our photos and He finished off with her white bible just in case we had any doubt as to who was in control of everything the whole time.
“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will
never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
He didn’t, He hasn’t, and He won’t. God doesn’t make idle promises.
P.S. When all the debris was cleared away the only thing left standing in the basement was the 'Throne.'
God knew we’d need this too during the next 6 months as I helped our friend Mike rebuilt the house.
Thanks Mike! We couldn't have done it without you.
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