The stars are brilliant.
The sky a sea of twinkling lights.
Clear and bright.
In sharp contrast to the deafening wind.
It howls and roars.
It is relentless in it’s mission.
The house shakes with the gusts.
At times the sound as if a freight train.
I lie in bed wondering if we should head to the basement.
Sounds, foreign to us, explode in the night.
Just before 3 the power goes out.
I walk through the darkness tracking down the breeze.
I place a chair under the knob to the cellar door.
I examine everything else as the wind continues its war on the outside.
Hesitantly, I wake my sleeping farmer.
“The power is out,” I say.
Slowly, reluctantly, he leaves the warmth of our bed.
I seek God in this storm.
I wonder what I will see when the day dawns.
I fall into a fitful sleep.
Crying out to Jesus for safety.
It is not until the morning that the true devastation is seen.
More importantly the mercy that has been shown is remarkable.
I call my farmer while it is still dark; while the wind still howls.
I ask him how things are.
He asks if I want the good news or the bad news first.
I ask if the roof is gone on the free stall barn.
The barn that has been standing for more than 24 years.
The barn we hand built with my farmers brother.
Each piece of wood hauled from our woods and lumbered in a field.
Each rafter built and stained by our own hands.
Our wedding reception hall.
We moved in on August 15, 1995.
2 weeks before our oldest son was born.
I knew with winds that strong it wouldn’t hold.
He tells me the trampoline is still fine in the yard.
He tells me the milk in the jar is still fine.
What he didn’t tell me was the roaring winds I had heard in the night, flipped the refrigerator at the barn.
That the howling, freight train like sounds spun and whirled steel into bent masses.
He didn’t tell me that the barns that house and shelter our beautiful animals are no more.
I wasn’t prepared for the devastation as I drove up the road.
The beginnings of light barely rising above the mountain outlined an eerie scene.
I could feel the temptation to despair rise.
As I did the movement of cows caught my eye.
A whole herd of mama’s, heifers and calves.
Not one cow was lost or hurt.
Not one person was injured.
We were all spared.
The milk house and milking parlor were just fine.
My coffee buddy came early to the barn to help start the generator.
We just happened to have help milking that morning.
We were not alone.
Not for one minute.
God in his mercy and grace sent us what we needed even before we knew we needed it.
We began to move debris from the feed alley, clearing a space for the tractors to get in and move the rafters out.
Our farm girls rushing right in to help.
One to help with milking the other to the tractor to begin clean up.
As the day dawns I head down to the house to make breakfast.
I have a gas stove, so cooking is not an issue.
I need to be creative in gathering water.
I pray as I move in the space I love so much.
I choke back the tears that have been building all morning.
I run to my room and fall to my knees.
I cry out to God in heaven.
I cling to Him and the promises given.
I dig deep for the hope.
I have been writing about hope for 4 years.
I have been leaning and trusting through some of the hardest times in my life.
Here I am again.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
There is work to be done.
Breakfast for a hungry crew.
Lunch and dinner to make.
There is book work and the daily needs before me.
It is after the crew heads back to the barn that I realize something has been happening.
Folks start showing up to help.
Once again this Community reaches out to enfold us in their embrace.
Many hands make light work of the debris in the free stall barn.
The farm boy and my farmer work with folks to clear the barn.
When I arrive back at the barn with sandwiches, hot cider and coffee and cookies , the alleys are clear.
The work completed.
I am overwhelmed by the people at the barn.
Folks with their own needs.
Trees down and no power.
Yet here they stand.
It didn’t matter their political position or social standing.
Here they were.
Cousins came to help and spend time with me.
A friend came and cleaned my kitchen and just used her gifts to be here.
A friend came and brought food and her delightful teens to love on my farm girls.
Another came bearing pizza and a beautiful smile.
My sister in law sat in the quiet, candle light with me and reminded me of her mom; beautiful, strong and courageous.
I wanted to give up earlier.
I told my farmer to call the Beef Truck.
I’m all done.
Now, I’m all done in.
Over shadowed by great Mercy.
We were spared.
For a reason.
With a purpose.
We still do not know what we’re going to do.
We don’t know what re-building looks like.
What I do know is that this did not take God by surprise.
He is a God of love and mercy.
He is working His purpose and His will through each every situation we face.
I am not strong.
I am weak and I am tired and I am weary.
God though, is not.
May you be encouraged today if you’re weary and stretched.
There is hope.
Thank you all for reaching out and sending so much love our way.