“At least you guys are okay.” “It’s just stuff.” “There’s a bigger purpose in all of this.” These three phrases have replayed over and over again in my mind over the last several days. My daughter and I are healthy and safe but experiencing a house fire will leave you sifting through not only your belongings, but your emotions as well.
Structurally, my house is still standing but there is still a lot of damage. At first glance, you may not notice it, but as you move closer, and the leftover charred smell of the fire hits you, and as you glance around to the back of the house, you see the horrific aftermath of the flames. And the inside the house is another story—it looks much worse than outside. The fire department had to return the next day to deal with the smoldering up in the attic. More damage. The restoration company had to come to assess every nook and cranny of the home. More damage. And the remaining of my belongings that are left are now sitting in an unconditioned, residue filled home. And yet…more damage.
Isn’t this reminiscent of who we are at times? Physically, I look fine. I’m missing a lot of my “essential” items (the majority of my clothes, makeup, hair brushes, glasses, etc.) that I had to throw away or got damaged in the fire. I’m wearing some new clothes that I purchased to temporarily get me through, and I can still smile. Structurally, I’m still standing. But inside, I’m overwhelmed. I’m fearful, sad, and tired. This is what trauma will do.
Admittedly, I didn’t have a fireproof safe in my home. Thinking back, there was nothing really of that much value that I felt the need to have one (I guess I never really thought my house would catch on fire either). But thinking about the purpose a fireproof safe serves, I equate that to what faith is.
My faith is what has kept me going. Has the past week caused me to feel an overwhelming sense of sadness? Yes! Have I felt discouraged? Absolutely! Have I felt fear? Pretty much daily. But even though I am feeling these feelings, I also still feel joy. I’ve always felt there to be a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is fleeting. It can come and go day to day based off of circumstances. Joy is deeper. It takes a lot more to penetrate and break your joy (but don’t get me wrong, I have been in a space where I felt my joy dissipating too).
I like to think that I have built up my faith strong enough that it’s like a fireproof box. The flames are around it, it’s hot, it’s scary, there’s smoke, and confusion, yet it remains in tact. Whatever life throws your way, I encourage you to dig deep. Trust that God is your ultimate source of peace, love, and comfort.
I’ve returned to my home several times and my heart breaks as I walk through it and look at the destroyed furniture, my damaged belonging, and the soot filled walls. I feel discouraged as I look up at the holes in my ceiling and a gaping hole where the roof once way in the corner of my home (now covered with a tarp). But I’m GRATEFUL that my faith remains and that I know just like that home, in due time my “structure” will be rebuilt stronger than ever!
1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV) “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is reveled.”