My parents died in a plane crash on June 24, 2011. In addition to my parents, were my two dogs, Ally and Brady, and brother, Austin. My brother and Brady survived and I am forever grateful. As you can imagine, there has been a lot of healing that had to take place from the crash, both physically and emotionally. My emotional healing has been somewhat long and grueling. The fact is a “tornado” named Death came through my life and my foundation, of all I knew, destroyed.
In My 2011, Joplin, MO encountered a catastrophic tornado that is known to be one of the deadliest tornados. I’ve never forgotten when I watched, on the news, the devastating effects this tornado left on the town. Others were moved to action as they went to Joplin to help survivors clean up and rebuild from the destruction, my mom being one. I remember getting pictures sent over text along with stories of people she met, prayed, and cried with while she was there. What was once a news story started to become very personal to me as I watched my mom go from watching a news story to leaving her home to be with and help people in Joplin. My mom spent her last days among dirt and rubble and hurting souls. I loved her for that, but little did I know I was about to be alone
A day after she came home from Joplin, I faced my own personal “tornado” named Death. The effects this tornado left were excruciating: the death of Mom and Dad, family gatherings, family traditions, mom’s home-cooked meals, the dogs barking and being annoying, a home, a future with them, a life I knew and loved so much. This tornado was terrible and hit without warning on June 24, 2011. There I was, standing among the wreckage left from this tornado feeling alone, lost and hopeless. I was terrified. I was terrified that my foundation could never be rebuilt and I would never be happy again, but like he did for those in Joplin, God provided through my husband, family, and friends. These people love the Lord and, because of that, were able to love me well by carrying me when I could hardly move (sometimes literally), provided shelter when I desperately needed rest, allowed me to cry, grieve, and just be a flat out wreck when I didn’t want to face another day of this pain. For lack of better word, they helped me clean up the wreckage to make room for God to rebuild my foundation. I thought that everything I knew about God was destroyed in this tornado, but instead, everything I knew about God was being renewed and restored to a right view of God. In a terrifying time of life, I am finally learning that God is kind, loving, and for me.
After 5 years, my wreckage is cleaned up, my foundation is firm but my house is still being built. Each new stage of the building process brings a twinge of grief and pain as I’m reminded of my parent’s absence and the reality that life will never be blissful and carefree like it once was. I may not be able to ever live life carefreely but I’m beginning to wonder if that’s ever how God intended me to live. This world is temporary and even though living carefreely isn’t possible, living freely is and I’m learning that’s the best way to live … free!
“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”
Picture: Mom in Joplin, MO in June 2011