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Held in the cleft of the rock

On the days leading up to Christmas it was hot and humid nearly every day.  I'm a sixth generation Texan and in my 50s.  I've never heard of such a thing.  Texas gets hot, very hot, but not in December. 

On Saturday morning December 26th it was hot and humid.  Even at 7 A.M. it was uncomfortable outside. 

Weird as this sounds my spirit had been uneasy for several days.  I had caused a plumbing problem in early December and ruined a bunch of hardwood floor.  I was planning to order the new flooring on Sunday afternoon the 27th.  God's timing saved me a lot of money.

With the long weekend, I got up on the 26th and began some maintenance and repair projects.  My spirit was restless and it made no sense.  God was telling me something, but I couldn't figure out why He cared about me and changing motor oil.

I was tired from Christmas and a day full of work.  My wife wanted for the family to get out of the house for dinner, but I was tired.  We stayed home.

Through the evening the National Weather Service, the local media and our city's emergency notification system began to offer warnings.  Later we were told that a tornado had been spotted 50 miles away and the storm system was headed our way.

Still I ignored.  No clouds, no rain, but still the warnings escalated.

The two merged.

Finally the warnings were deafening and near.  We retreated to a hall bath (7 of us, including my 4 young kids, 80-year old mother-in-law - just out of back surgery and my wife).  On the way I peaked out the door and it was dead quiet.  Then I heard a whoosh

We got settled into a central location (hall bath), with 4 kids in the tub and a mattress over their heads and flashlights and only had to wait a few minutes.  Big crash, lights out, dead quiet.

After a minute I went to look around.  Out the front three 30 year old oak trees were destroyed, yet my yard cross was unmoved.

I looked out a back window and the backyard fence held by a dozen steel posts was laid down like a glove.  The storage building gone, patio cover gone along with a big chunk of the roof.  The house twisted on the foundation.

I stepped into the master bedroom and this is what I saw.  7 sheets of decking plywood gone, shed gone, patio cover gone, kids Rainbow play system gone.

Just to the left of this photo is the master bedroom closet where my wife stores our wedding photos, kids pictures, memories and scrapbooks.  "Just so happens" that although it would rain in here all night while we retreated to safer quarters, the drywall ceiling in the closet did not collapse and there was one hole poked in the dry wall to keep the rain water from accummulating and collapsing the ceiling.  Our photos and memories were protected by a thin layer of gypsum drywall.

My younger children are adopted and had early childhood trauma.  Fear is a part of their story.  We don't have pets as a result.  Over the last months God brought us into a number of situations where big dogs were a part of the mix.  God has warmed up and softened my kids over the last 5 months.  When we fled we ended up spending a few days with friends that have several large dogs.  I saw my three year old fearful daughter playing with a crazy 6 month old lab.  Tears.

My friend Marvin bought a van last summer, but wanted to sell it and hadn't.  Right after our Honda Odyssey was destroyed (hood, roof, windows, tire) and totaled by falling trees, Marvin brought me transportation immediately.

As we were hiding in the bathroom, the fence, trampoline, storage building, contents, patio cover, barbecue grill, bricks and tree limbs flew over the top of the house and landed in the front yard or somewhere else, but did not crash into us.

The next day I learned that the roof had come off right above us and we were protected only by some sheetrock.

Doors that were firmly closed to conversations we had wanted to have for years with neighbors, concerning the lateness of the hour, the goodness of God and the hope we have were certainly flung open and hearts were ready.

Who but the One God.  The One who is sovereign and who knows exactly.

I found idols (things I had held on to) blown out into the wind, rain and trash piles.  I found reminders of my failings and God's grace everywhere.

If God wants to allow trouble to come, so that He cannot be accused of not warning of His impending wrath then I'm happy to lay my house at the foot of the cross.  It's just an old tired gift, but it is His.

He is enough. 

Stunning how many were not home that evening.



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  1. t'was Grace that brought us safe thus far, and Grace will lead us Home.

    praise to the Lord for His Mercy upon you and yours...and others too.

  2. Dad, quite a story and testimony you and the family has now! God is faithful!

  3. You definitely have some excellent testimony there. It brought tears to my eyes to hear the spirit at work in the way you wrote this. In my eyes I can see The Lord at work in what you went through. I've had a fair share of near death situations that he led me through so I can relate and it's emotional in a very good way. Carry on my brother you are doing well

  4. One other thing I wanted to mention that hit home for me was what you had said about idols. I've been praying to have this temple cleaned out and he has wasted no time in removing the things he doesn't , nor do I, want here anymore. That was what I was saying in my other comment about last minute and how late it may really be. God bless you and your family I look forward to meeting you all!!!



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