House fire part 3: What to do when your life goes up in smoke.

What to do when your life goes up in smoke. 

•Take note of your life, not just your stuff and things.

•Count your blessings. 

•Love God. 

•Love your neighbor as yourself. 

•Remember Psalm 24:1

 

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;”

 

Two years after the fire, I wrote these words.

“I am grateful that our Father loves us so much that we were taken through a refiner’s fire.  Thankful that He cleaned house that night. Not the temporary house made of wood that contained the “stuff and things” of my life, but the cleaning of me, the house of God, that contains true life.

He’s had a lot of backlogged cleaning to do in getting my house fit. But here are a few things through the fire that needed torched.

Pride:

It’s rather hard to have pride when your sweet friends are purchasing your underwear and toothbrush that you will need for that night. It’s hard to be “yourself” when you are borrowing some else’s clothes to wear the next day because you literally only have the clothes on your back and they now smell like smoke.

It’s hard to be prideful when you have no bed to lay down your head, no shower to get rid of the smoke and grim and no place to put your children to keep them safe.  

Yet we were humbled by a God who supplied all these “things”. Overwhelmed by a God who provided all our needs and showered us with such an outpouring of love that is indescribable.   We had nothing, yet we wanted for nothing. The love of His people, His servants, that night will forever be in my grateful prayers and heart and it continued through the whole ordeal of rebuilding.

Even to the green grass that I see each morning. I am reminded daily as I walk through this new home of all that has been done for us. I see evidence of His provisions everywhere I look.  I walk barefoot and lie down on grass (pallets of sod) that was given in love and am humbled that God provided these “green pastures” .

Busy-ness:

What am I busy doing? What is taking up so much of my time that I am not giving time to God. After the fire, there was a lot of time to think about these questions. You would think that there is a lot to do after a fire and that you would be busy dealing with insurance issues. Those times come, but right after a fire, it’s amazing how much time you manage to find in your busy schedule to talk with the LORD. Life still goes on as it did before, but I was able to find time with Him that I didn’t take prior to the fire.

Loneliness:

About the time you think you are alone, friends emerge. Not the 2000 friends people acquire on FaceBook, but the true meaning of the word friends. Friends that love at all times. Friends who help in your time of need. Friends who give you a home, clothes and food. Friends who pray over you and for you. Friends who cry for you, with you and comfort you. Friends who get angry for you about the chaos of insurance issues…… and who change their coverage because of it.  

Friends who give you a couch set, books, cards, money, items for your home, a computer and printer…… the list goes on.  

Friends who when you finally get a home again ten months later, have not forgotten you and surprise you with 18 pallets of green sod. Then they work up a sweat laying that grass so you can have a yard.  

Friends that have blessed us in so many ways.  

Refining my lack of faith:  

That was a hard pill to swallow. I’m faithful…. I love God, I believe God, I trust God…. yet I had some serious holes in my “faith shield”. Those darts of fire found areas that I did not know existed. Worry, anxiety, and fear crept into me almost as consuming as the fire that took the house. 

At one point I remember thinking, “Faith is all I have!”. 

Little by little God repaired my shield and increased my faith. 

Those moments of weakness have made me stronger in HIM and His faithfulness. After all, without Him, I have nothing, and am nothing. “

 

Sunday after the fire we worshiped with the church family that showered us with so much love. The singing and sermon was beautiful and seemed richer to my ears that morning. 

I was overwhelmed with praise for my Father. 

The last song to be sung during worship service began. All of a sudden we could feel eyes on us. I am not a center of attention kind of person. Actually, I’m an introvert and feeling like people are watching gives me so much anxiety. 

I looked at the praise team and could see they did not know what to do. The song? 

Refiner’s Fire

Lyrics were being lifted up to God, “Refiner’s fire. My hearts one desire is to be Holy. Set apart for you Lord. Ready to do your will.” 

I can’t make this up. 

I looked around the room at the people singing and wondering how we would react. The song’s were pre chosen weeks before and it was no coincidence for that day’s song selection. 

 

Does God have a sense of humor?

Absolutely! God has a sense of humor that is not missed by me. As soon as that song began, I remember bending over laughing. I couldn’t sing because I was laughing so hard. Tears were pouring down my face. 

I still smile thinking about it. 

10 years later, I can still feel those reminders of what the Lord has done though our house fire. Small things trigger those memories.

 

I live in a reminder of a home that we have because there was a fire. 

Charred food, smoke, or bbq grill smells remind us of the smoke. 

Items we look for today and can’t find because we can’t remember if we had them before or after the fire. 

Every time we leave the house, we pass the Chelsea Fire and Rescue facility. 

Our 2008 Christmas card picture was my son and daughter standing in front of the ruins.

my kids

 

I don’t have to look at pictures to remember, but when I do, it’s almost hard to breathe from the emotions that tighten my chest. Overwhelming love that takes your breath away and gratefulness are what I feel. 

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. My marriage took an attack that would last years in the refining. We had a lack of healthy communication, an inability to understand how one another processes information dealing with situations and finances and the stress level played havoc with our emotions. 

Even still, God has slowly through the years refined us in our marriage by rebuilding a stronger relationship from the ground up!

He was there for the rebuilding of a home too. 

We had to finish burning the ruins, get rid of the trash and prepare the land for a new home. This is my son playing hockey with the burning ruins in the background.

house fire

burning house

land clearing

 

Through the months of being without our home, the overwhelming feeling to not go into debt would wake me up at night. I kept getting the crazy feeling to buy a manufactured home. 

What?

We bought a mobile home.

Not just any mobile home mind you, but a “U” shaped 3500 square foot home that we have loved and enjoyed. It was not the decision most people would make, but it was the right decision for us. 

We have been able to live mortgage free. Through the last ten years that was a blessing.

As our children were teens and college students, our home was filled with young people and used for Bible studies. 

We have been blessed!

Decorating and finding ways to not forget the Lord is the mission of our business, Forget Him Knot. This year, after becoming an empty nester, I’m finding ways to redo or update the house.

I love following pretty feeds on Instagram and seeing all the amazingly decorated homes. I want my home to not just be pretty or trending with what’s popular for 2018, but a home that reflects the Lord.

Stuff and things burn as we well know, but there is beauty from the ashes.

A beautiful home to God is a home on fire for Him! 

Though I pray none of you ever experience a house fire, I hope you allow your house to be cleaned, refined, and built by our All Consuming God.

Hebrews 12:28-29

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,

and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

for our God is a consuming fire.”

How to be prepared for a house fire

-Be prepared and pre-prayered!

•Make sure your insurance policy has replacement added and that you are covered for the appraised value.

•Take pictures of the items in your home. Open cabinets, doors, attics, basements, containers, storage bins, and outer buildings. 

•Log serial numbers from anything that has one and store with your pictures on a computer and a duplicate file in safe place from fire, smoke and water. 

Store pictures, important documents or memorabilia (or duplicates) in a safe area from fire, smoke and water.

•The insurance company will want to know when you purchased items, the amount spent and the cost to replace a similar item. 

•Remember you are not alone, not forgotten and dearly loved.

    forget Him knot!

Refreshed home tour coming soon!

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