On March 5th, 2015, I experienced devastation.
At 11:04am, I got a panicked phone call from my husband that our house was on fire. Our new-to-us, beautiful, old farm house. I was at work, just on the other side of town. I ran to my car and drove the speed limit home, bless the hearts of the others on the road unaware of my emergency.
At 11:16am, I pulled into the church parking lot next to our property. I could see the horror from miles away. The thick, black smoke billowing into the sunny, blue sky. My heart was in my throat as I shakily climbed out of my car, and ran to where my husbands dad was standing, watching the firefighters attempt to stop the inferno that was viciously consuming my home. My worst fear. Minutes before my husband had called me, the fire was contained in one downstairs bedroom. Now, as I was seeing it before my eyes, the flames had swept through the rest of the house and was now bursting through every single window, leaving none intact. All I could hear was the roaring of the fire and the shattering of glass. The house was groaning as the wood bowed and cracked under the intense heat. It was deafening. Surreal.
My husband was still on his way, and we both knew that our beloved, 1-year-old, 168lb puppy wasn’t able to escape the flames. A brave fireman had broken through two windows to try to find him, without success. The fire was too hot, no one could safely enter the structure even by the time the first fire department had arrived.
My father-in-law saw me and turned, took me in his arms and held me tight while I sobbed uncontrollably into his shoulder. Soon, I was surrounded by other family members, many friends, several co-workers, and a few people I had never even met, all who had dropped what they were doing to come see how they could help. My cell phone battery died from the hundreds of text messages and voicemails from people letting me know they were praying, and to let them know what I needed. What? I need everything. I don’t need anything. I need my dog to leap over nearby snowbank, coming to find me. I need to wake up from this nightmare.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
At 11:52 am, our simple little home was unrecognizable. What few walls had still been standing had to be knocked down with an excavator to prevent anything from falling and hurting someone. All that was left was a huge pile of twisted metal, charred lumber and mounds of ash that once were our photographs, furniture, heirlooms, clothes and memories. A looming stench of incinerated destruction and loss filled our nostrils and saturated our clothes and hair. It was nauseating. What now? I just kept asking God to just let this all be a bad dream.
My face was tear-stained and I was still trembling when my husband and I sat down with the fire investigator that afternoon. We numbly answered all of his questions and were left to watch for the next hour or two as the fire crews completed their duties, loaded up and left.
At 3:47pm, we drove away from what was our home. Our first house. The place we would humbly renovate over the coming years and turn into our own little piece of heaven. The cozy little farm house we had longed to bring our first child home to this coming August. Where we had turned the key and walked through the threshold for the first time as homeowners less than 3 months earlier. We had to say good-bye, already, to everything we had planned. And even more, to our four-legged baby we had raised for his first year. He and his one-of-a-kind, loving personality could fill a whole other blog post. Perhaps a couple of photos of him I thankfully had on my phone can give you an idea.
Now, 55 days later, we are over the worst and finding hope after the darkest time of our lives. We are blessed to be able to re-build in the same place our home stood, which will begin in the coming days. We learned that our healthy still-baking-bun is a girl. We adopted a new, handsome Rottweiler pup. We have been constantly reminded of God’s never-ending love and faithfulness to his children, and of the many angels he surrounds us with to keep us standing when we don’t have the strength on our own. Countless, wonderful people, from all over the country, have donated clothes, household items, various services and money to us. Graciously and lovingly. We will be forever thankful for each and every one of those people.
So this blog will be the beginning of the next chapter of our lives, of my business. As we rebuild our home, our memories, I will document. As I start my business all over again with new “first” sessions and weddings, I will document. As we raise our little girl, I will document. As Jesus heals our hearts, I will praise Him.. and document. <3