The More You Know

When we celebrated the turning of the calendar page at midnight on 12/31/2016, here’s what I knew:

  • I knew that 2016 had been tough physically on my body, with baby #5 arriving in August after sapping every ounce of energy throughout the entire pregnancy (not to mention the 30+ weeks of twice weekly progesterone injections)
  • I knew that 2016 had been tough for me mentally, as my sister got married in June and I was the self-appointed Wedding Planner, a role which under normal circumstances I would’ve relished, but given the pregnancy described above…well, way to think that one through, genius!
  • I knew that 2016 saw a move to a new home, where water rose in the streets when Houston was drenched in rain on April 15th, now known as the Tax Day Flood. I saw the creek near our home escape its banks, flood the houses that sat along the bank, and I breathed a sigh of relief that the house we lived in just half a block north maintained its record of staying high and dry since its construction some 30 years earlier
  • I knew that the county I live in failed to dredge the creek near my home after the “historic” amounts of water, sludge, and earth that flowed downstream in torrents during the flood
  • I knew that the year 2017 spread before me like a bright, open book, full of hope and wonder and possibility
  • I knew that God’s love, mercy, and steadfastness are ever-present and unchanging

Here’s what I didn’t know:

  • I didn’t know that 2016 was a prologue for one of the toughest years of my life
  • I didn’t know that one of my friend’s sons would hang himself in her garage, and I’d spend the hours immediately following sobbing in an Adoration chapel and praying Psalm 51 as a lament for his soul, over and over
  • I didn’t know that a mere week after returning from a visit to my parents in London, a knife-wielding terrorist would drive a vehicle into the crowds on Westminster Bridge. My parents, siblings, husband, and children had crossed that bridge multiple times just days before.
  • I didn’t know that my boss, my boss’s boss, or several dear coworkers would be laid off
  • I didn’t know that over a period of five days, a hurricane would dump 50+ inches of rain on my home
  • I didn’t know that the creek wouldn’t be so merciful this time
  • I didn’t know I’d be writing my phone number in Sharpie on my kids’ arms in case we were separated during a water rescue
  • I didn’t know if we’d be rescued at all, as the water rose in my home and the 9-1-1 dispatcher helplessly told me he couldn’t give me an ETA
  • I didn’t know so many of my friends would be suffering far worse than we were at the same time
  • I didn’t know that I’d lose half of my furniture to floodwaters
  • I didn’t know I’d be knocking out four feet of sheetrock throughout my home
  • I didn’t know I’d be throwing away a suitcase full of waterlogged memories from our London trip
  • I didn’t know my husband’s footlocker full of Army memorabilia would be ruined from the flood
  • I didn’t know you couldn’t live in a single-story home with five kids while it was being renovated
  • I didn’t know we’d have to pack up our belongings and move
  • I didn’t know we’d have to find a rental and convince the landlord to sign a month-to-month lease because we had no idea how long we’d need the house
  • I didn’t know a damn thing about what it feels like to look into the eyes of those around you and see that same sense of shock, loss, confusion, and searing pain that you are feeling
  • I didn’t know how radically different this Advent and Christmas season would look for our family

Here’s what I’m grateful – so very grateful – to know now:

  • I know that God is sovereign
  • I know that despite all of the difficulties, we were some of the lucky ones. It could’ve been way, way worse.
  • I know that Rachel will show up with gloves, gift cards, trash bags, Clorox, fans, a cooler of drinks, and mold killer after your house floods. And she’ll show up the next day. And the next. And the next.
  • I know that Amanda and Daniel and their three kids will open their home to you and your five kids when you need a place to stay while you look for a temporary rent home. And they’ll make sure that the three birthdays you celebrate during that four week timeframe will be complete with cake, gifts, and decorate their living room so that the birthday kid doesn’t feel slighted. And they’ll give you wine every night and not judge you. And they’ll buy you your own coffee mugs so that you feel more at home. And they will sit and talk with you long past bedtime and you will wonder at the beautiful friendship and lifelong bond that God brought from some rain.
  • I know that “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns is an excellent theme song for a life-changing hurricane
  • I know that Sherri and Rachel and Patsy will coordinate helpers to throw a birthday party for aforementioned birthday people because you don’t even have the brainpower to begin to think about such a thing
  • I know that Stephanie will coordinate babysitting in the immediate aftermath, and shuttle your kids back and forth to you during post-flood-apocalyptic traffic
  • I know that Meagan will organize a meal train because for some inexplicable reason, your kids don’t stop wanting to eat when you’re in life-crisis mode
  • I know that Michael will do everything he can while working in the ER during the storm of the century to make sure you have someone rescue your family
  • I know that even though she’s 400 miles away, Louann will do everything she can to keep you from panicking, even as you break down in tears because you’re scared
  • I know that even though they are across the ocean, your parents are praying their hearts out and trying to keep you calm, too, wishing more than anything that they could be with you to help
  • I know that Michelle will grab you by the shoulders as your house fills with water, look you in the eye, and tell you that God is in control and you are NOT going to die (spoiler: you don’t)
  • I know that Chris will help your husband move all the heavy stuff to higher ground
  • I know that dorm bed risers are handy to mount your table legs on when the water rises
  • I know that watching storm coverage of other people drowning is NOT a good idea if there even the slightest chance you live near a creek
  • I know that Sara, John, and countless others, who themselves are in other states, will coordinate rescue boats in your area to try and get you rescued
  • I know that letting the kids listen to Moana as the soundtrack to waiting for a water rescue might make you a bit twitchy
  • I know that Kyle will show up in waders with his brother and help escort your family to safety
  • I know that Calli and her mother, your former grade school teacher in a town a state away, will send you money within 24 hours of the disaster to buy groceries at the only open store
  • I know that Will and Alicia will open their door to your soggy family after your rescue and make sure you have a homemade supper, warm showers, and clean clothes the next day
  • I know that Jennifer’s family will let you stay with them while you try and find a short-term home where you can stay while searching for your mid-term home
  • I know that your kids’ school will send support in the form of prayers, hugs, gift cards, and relaxed dress codes for the entire semester
  • I know that countless blog, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook friends will send your family all of their prayers and some of their treasures, when many of them can’t spare either
  • I know that your moms group at church will surround your family with necessities, love, and support because so many of you are going through the same thing, and those that aren’t have hearts bigger than Texas
  • I know that your all girls’ fantasy football league will band together and send you a beautiful card and gift cards
  • I know that your Rosary group will pray you through it all
  • I know that Melissa will do everything she can to get help to you during the storm, and when it’s over, will support you with prayer and monetary help on behalf of her sweet friends
  • I know that your employer will put their money where their mouth is and help with hugs, money, and generosity with time when you have to be away
  • I know your coworkers will show up at your house with kolaches, ready to pack your things and tear out drywall
  • I know that the mom of a friend you haven’t seen since grade school will send you a note of encouragement and a check
  • I know that your tribe will show up in every way imaginable, every step of the way. Looking at you, Vault and Funoship sisters.
  • I know Jonah and Dan will not only help you pack, they’ll donate the boxes and tape to get it done
  • I know your church will help you monetarily and emotionally and spiritually in the days, weeks, and months to come
  • I know that the sun always comes out again
  • I know that allowing others to be Christ’s hands and feet in this world is humbling, soul-molding work
  • I know that God keeps His promises; He is always faithful
  • I know that there will never be enough bandwidth to properly love and thank those that helped us, but God knows who you are. Thank you for your love for us. You are in our family prayers from now until the end of time.
  • I know that no matter what 2018 brings, His mercies are new every morning

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