Following God One Step at a Time

A Tornado Changes Everything

on November 24, 2013

Sorry I have not been here to post for a couple weeks. 
First I had a respiratory flu for over a week. 
Then my daughter posted on Facebook that their house had been hit and it was gone, to please pray. 
She didn’t post again that day.  —
I had to search the internet to find out what hit their house and what did she mean, “It was gone”? Then I found a weather report that a tornado had touched down in her town in ILLinois.  The few pictures online were bad.  There was very little information, but I prayed.  Finally we got some texts from her.  She had been at work, and she was trying to get back to the house where her husband and 2 children were in the basement.  Thank God they were all safe.  The house and 1 car were gone.  Most of the neighborhood was gone. It took less than 1 minute to destroy everything. They left to stay with a relative that night.  They left with each other, 1 car, and the clothes they had on.  Nothing else.

Janet BandyHouse Pics
The next day I saw pictures of their house.  I gasped. Literally gasped and put my hand to my mouth in shock.  All that was left was the front brick wall and a partial wall in the kitchen and bathroom.  We wired them money, but we couldn’t do much else.  When the City let them return to the house, they did find a few items.  Everything was wet and covered with mud.  Friends and relatives brought clothes and some other necessary items.  Some sent money. 

Their life has been badly damaged by the tornado.  The mortgage bank and credit cards still want to be paid.  They can’t work.  They have to clear debris, and salvage what they can, and find a place to live, and report losses to the insurance and to the city, state, and federal governments.  They have to stand in long lines to get supplies, food, water, cleaning items, and personal items like toothbrushes, combs, soap. 

I have been worrying, praying, searching the internet for any helpful information, checking lost/found lists for missing pets.  I have been consoling my daughter, and giving advice, and giving information to friends and relatives who want to know how they are doing, and how they could help.  Several people collected needed items and delivered it all to them.  They have been blessed with many wonderful friends.

Through it all, we have seen evidence that God is there with them in the destruction.  They found special items just sitting there undamaged in the midst of chaos — a wedding ring in the bathroom, a purse still hanging on it’s hook in the kitchen, a music box still playable from mom’s childhood. It seems that God is leaving messages that He is there helping them through this

The tornado is part of nature. It is a type of storm, bringing rain, wind and hail. It can leave destruction behind. God doesn’t stop natural events. People, however, have learned how to survive, how to pray and hope for something better, how to help each other rebuild. Although their old life has changed abruptly, there is also the opportunity to come back even better, a new house, a new job, more caring for each other, closer friendships bound by surviving tragedy. Sometimes after a disaster, a family and community are stronger, more generous, and forgiving. I hope that I can help my daughter find these silver linings in the mess of starting over. Tomorrow brings hope, and that comes from God bringing good into every hardship. Never stop hoping for a better tomorrow.


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