One year ago at this moment…

So…..exactly one year ago today (even at this very time) my wife and I had a wonderful anniversary… We spent the day together, we went to dinner at Johnny Carino’s (one of our favorite Italian places), and then came home. We loved to watch the storms that were passing through town. Not a ton of rain, but man was there some awesome lightning. It was quite a site. We watched while we ate and even contemplated leaving the windows open all night, but thought it wasn’t a good idea, due to rain coming in.

We showered, and got ready for bed. I prayed for us, and it was strange that Sarah felt the urge to also pray (usually just one of us does per night). She prayed that God would send his angels to protect us. She didn’t know why, or how she prayed it, but she did.
It was lightly raining now, and I wanted to check the weather, just to make sure everything was safe. (We don’t have a basement, so if we needed to, we could go to our friend Lisa’s house – She only lives across the small town of Gardner). Well as I was checking my phone, I heard a noise that didn’t settle quite right. We live near an air field, and about 1/2 mile from railroad tracks, so we’re used to hearing loud noises at all hours. But this was no ordinary noise. It was wind. It was more than wind.
I realized what it was immediately, and screamed at Sarah “Get Down! Get Down! Get Down!” I yanked her off of the bed, pushed her to the ground, and shoved her up next to the bedframe, trying as much as I could to cover her. Sarah began praying. I know you’ve heard it before, but it really does sound like a freight train coming through your house. It felt like an eternity, but really only lasted about 30-45 seconds.

As soon as the awful thing was over, I immediately called 911. I’ve called previously in my life to report non-emergent situations, like drunk drivers, but I’ve never called to say just what was about to come out of my mouth: I think our house was jut hit by a tornado.

The operator on the other end proceeded to doubt my situation.
“Did you see the tornado?”, they asked.
“No, I was on my bedroom floor.”
“It was probably just wind, but we’ll send someone out just to check.”
“Thanks [you moron].”

Now at this point, anyone who knows me knows that I’m quite blind without my glasses or contacts. It just so happened that I had enough adreniline running through my system to forget completely about the whole sight issue, and ran outside to find out what the damage was. I flung open our front door, and could easily see that Sarah’s car was demolished. I didn’t know how, but something had smashed it. I realized this after I walked through a waterfall. Our gutters had been removed by the tornado, and it was now pouring. I noticed I wasn’t the only one outside. I started yelling to all the neighbors across the street to find out if they had been hurt. I gathered that no one had, and my wife finally got me to come back inside.

After this, I called my parents. It was about 11:30. I got the machine. The message went something like this:
“Hey guys, you there? Ummmm…. Our house just got hit by a tornado, please call us back as soon as you can.”
My dad returned the call, made sure we were alright, and informed me that they’d be there first thing in the morning. I got a call about 2 minutes later from my parents house. Apparently my dad wasn’t going to tell my mother that the ordeal had happened. Of course, she asked what happened, and my dad told her nonchalantly that the house had been hit by a tornado, and that they would leave in the morning. Well, of course that sent my mother into a panic. She called me, and made sure we were okay. Sarah was on the phone with our friend Lisa, who didn’t know anything happened (no sirens or any kind of warning), to have her come pick us up, as both our cars were totaled.

We also called our friend Jason (a barista at Starbucks & CSR at our insurance agents’ office). He said he was on his way. At this point, water had started pouring in, as the tornado had ripped off a chunk of the roof. We gathered our essentials, and our most valued possessions. Our family photos that couldn’t be replaced, the backup of our computers (for pictures), and our toiletries.

We stayed at Lisa & Brent’s house that night, and I slept a little. Sarah didn’t.

We walked out of what could have been the end of our lives, unhurt, and completely trusting that God can and will take care of His children.

I believe that (even though it may be cliché) everything happens for a reason.
At the time that this happened, Sarah and I had been trying to get pregnant for over a year, and had started fertility treatments. We didn’t realize that God was getting our house ready for our baby. We conceived, and lost a baby, within the next month and a half. We were devastated.  We had prayed that our baby would be an offering to the Lord, and after we lost him, we knew that his name should be Samuel.

We were debating on whether to continue trying fertility treatments. Was it worth the stress? We now had the burden of rebuilding a house over our heads, as well as anxiety about any rumblings in the sky. Did we want to add another layer to that?

We didn’t have to answer that question. About 2 months later, Sarah though something might be a little strange. We had extra home pregnancy tests, and she used one. It was a little older, and the stripe on the “positive side” was ever so faint. I was skeptical. I knew that older tests had the potential for false positives. Sarah couldn’t wait for me to get home from work. We had a meeting for the tech staff at the store, and she showed up with a smoothie for me. It was quite a surprise, as the store is 20 minutes away from home. She pulled out her phone and showed me the picture of a recently purchased pregnancy test, and there was no doubt about it – she was pregnant.

The rest is all history, and you can read about most of it here. But our sweet little Truett is here, and I can see that God prepared all of this for him, and for us.

Anytime I start to doubt, I just remember how close I was to something that could have wiped me off the face of this earth, how we were so close to having the child we’d dreamed of, and how God reminded us that it wasn’t medicine, but His grace, that gave us this sweet little boy we hold in our arms.

All I can say, with the deepest gratitude, is thank you.





{related: Video of tornado damage}