Flooded with Thankfulness

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God’s provision can come in an infinite number of ways. This summer my family experienced God’s provision, although at the time we did not see it that way. Looking back we are so thankful that God is always working things out in our lives, even in the trials of life.

Two years ago, my family had a chance to move into a house that would give our growing family more space. I grew up in Florida so I was used to homes that were pretty much the ranch style homes, but my husband grew up in the Midwest and he was used to living in a home with a basement. Our first home purchase in the Midwest was a ranch style house without a basement, but we felt the Lord opened a door for us to move into a different house a couple years after we bought our first home (that is a whole different story).

This new home had a basement and soon after we moved in I understood why my husband loved houses with basements. There was however one thing that I didn’t like to hear about homes with basements; they could flood. I heard plenty of horror stories about basements flooding, including one pretty disgusting one from my husband about one of his childhood homes. Even though I knew what could possibly happen to our basement one day, I just put the thought out of my head.  My basement flooding was not an option. It happens to others, but it won’t happen to my family, I thought.  Well, my pie in the sky thinking didn’t hold up too long.

This past summer our state was experiencing a rash of super-cell storms. The rain was coming down at a rate of one to two inches an hour.  It was a wet mess. What we didn’t know at the time was that our sump pump had quit working. My husband starting putting the puzzles pieces together and he told me that he was pretty certain that our basement was going to flood. I was in denial and pretty much was thinking happy thoughts about how the rain would soon stop and we would be safe and dry.

My husband decided to dash to the hardware store to buy a replacement pump. During that time he told me to keep an eye out for flooding. He gave me a quick talk about what to do in case it started to flood, but I still was in denial and  didn’t really focus in on what he was saying. Once he left,  the rain started to pick up and I kept going downstairs to look into the sump pit and make sure the water was not overflowing. On my third trip down to the basement I was shocked to see the water in the pit was at the danger level of overflowing. I called my husband quickly and told him what was happening. He again told me what to do when the basement started to flood, and he said that he was almost home to help me.

After the phone call, I went downstairs and saw my worst nightmare…my basement was flooding. Fast forward (to make the story shorter), my husband came home and he helped lead the family into an action plan of saving as many of our personal possessions as we could. We all sloshed around in water for about 30 minutes until all of our things were on higher ground and safe from the water. Our basement had flooded.

It was a surreal experience in many ways, but even from the very beginning my family could see God working in all the details. We could see God’s provisions.

-Our first praise was that our basement was flooded with rain water and not sewer water.

-When purchasing home owner’s insurance my husband told me that right before he signed the papers he asked the insurance agent if the policy covered flooding.  Well they did have a policy that would cover a sump pump breaking and that is exactly what happened to us.  We were covered up to $10,000.

-One of our best friends came to our house the night of the flood (it was almost midnight) and he helped us to install a new sump pump.  He was like an angel to us that night because my husband and I were in a state of shock.

-All, and I mean all the people that we had to work with over the next couple of weeks were phenomenal with their customer service (insurance agents and restoration companies).

-Our carpets were totally destroyed, but as far as our personal items we only lost a very small amount of things and they were not anything that could not be replaced.

-The money we received from the insurance policy would end up helping to take care of our family in a time when unexpected financial burdens were placed on our shoulders.

I could go on and list other ways the Lord took care of us through this unpleasant experience, but the most important thing I can say today is that God provides for His children. Many times in life God’s provision comes in unexpected ways, but it still is Him providing for us. Today I am reminded to be thankful for God’s provision and His goodness, and I encourage you to do the same.

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Blessing Box

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Lately, I have been savoring the richness of words and thankfulness as I read through Ann Voscamp’s new book One Thousand Gifts. Slowly I have been reading it–with intention.  I even made a journal for our Joanne, where she is writing her 1000 gifts–her sister Kristen used her amazing gift of photography to share Joanne’s journal here

How I love being intentional in thankfulness.  In her book, Ann says it preceeds the miracle.  Indeed, she is right. God calls us to thankfulness.  He calls our families to thankfulness, too. 

So in that vein, I thought I would share an idea our family has used for nearly 20 years: The Blessing Box. Let me share it with you.  Whether you are married or single, with children or without, the blessing box is a wonderful way to corporately count your blessings.  I believe the greatest miracle is the way your heart shifts toward the heart of God–the way He changes us.

When we were young marrieds and college students, Chris and I began to do a Blessing Box. I have no idea where it originated (and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my original idea), but we have made it our own over the past 18 years. I cannot find the first one…but here is our second one.

We began with a shoe box. We wrapped it with wrapping paper or brown shipping paper, both the top and bottom separately, and cut a small rectangular hole in the top (remember the Valentine boxes we used to make in school?) to put slips of paper through. The first box we had was decorated by our nephews who were about 7 at the time (they both got married this year). We talked about ways that God had blessed us.
For example:
*7-15-95 Alternator and belt needed replacing on the car. The Lord provided $125 through our computer selling at a garage sale! Praise God!
*A wet raccoon on our front porch! We have enjoyed watching the raccoons every night!
*Skate Shoes! Noah
* Daddy can see three deer feeders from the garage roof.
* The duckling is a blessing. “The two ran away to find their mudder!” Kylie
* Boxes from Wal-mart were free (for our move)
* Promotion and Raise (50% in 4 years)
* Promise Keepers–friend Steven went along and it changed the course of his life! Praise God!
* Got a deer on the last day of the season
* Mrs. Tricia wasn’t hurt bad in her car wreck.
* That You have given me friends of all ages and race and vocation, who care for me and add many delights to my life! Holly
* We went to Mrs. Bonnie’s a few weeks ago! Noah
* That You have given us a child (Noah) and have made me a mother.
*I love God and Jesus. We have a game called Captain Bible and it’s about Jesus. Noah-4 years old
Then we added a new one, when that one got filled…
And another…
And another…
After writing all the blessings, I would cut them apart and hand them out to everyone (now our three oldest with us) and we begin to sing the chorus to “Count Your Blessings” until everyone is done.
When everyone has put their paper in, we sing this chorus I learned in Campus Crusade:
Give God a Hand
for all He’s Done
For giving us
His Only Son
Let’s all stand up
and give God a hand! (stand up and clap-clap-clap-clap)
That’s all. When we have one of those days that seem too much or overwhelming, all we need to do is pull out some pieces of paper from our Blessing Box and we are reminded that God has been faithful and is faithful and will be faithful. Some days we need reminding, don’t we?
 
“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever!” 1 Chronicles 16:34
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