I don't actually have a lot of time this morning, I am going to do some preparations for my sister's upcoming baby shower and then I'm back home to head off to the women's retreat (full night sleep...here I come!! whoo-hoo!), but we had a very eventful evening the other night that I really want/need to write about.
First of all, let me preface this by saying that never in my entire life have I "hidden" during a storm. Never growing up, never since I've been married. My general feeling is that usually, I love a good storm, two, I figure God is in charge of the weather, Jesus said to the disciples, "Why are you afraid ye of little faith?", and thirdly, I would rather just be in bed :o)
Well, the other night started out like any other night we've had a huge storm system. Not too worried, figure all our family will call if we should be worried, and we'll go from there. But again, we've never made the decision to actually take all our children to the basement.
Tuesday night just felt...different. A few weeks ago Glen and I had a couple tell us together that the Lord was going to start speaking to us and showing us some things through dreams, and I don't know about Glen (maybe I should ask him, huh?), but since that time, I have been dreaming TONS and I actually feel like with a few of them God has told me specifically what He's been showing me. (This, by the way, is a very new way of God talking to me). Anyway, I recently had this dream that was very nerve wracking, actually, I can't remember real specific details other than it involved a barn with an entrance and an exit, some stairs, a very angry bull, and a helpless baby. The point is not the exact details of the dream, but when I woke, I felt the Lord telling me that we needed to be proactive in protecting our children from known and obvious danger. From the anger of the enemy against our family as well. We need to be on the offensive as well as the defensive . I got the indication that if I knew something was going to be a danger to my children or sensed something in my spirit that was against them, it was my responsibility to proactively protect them. Common sense, right? Well, like I mentioned in my do's and don't for baby post, I am very calm, very laid back. (I should probably add here that I do smile and laugh with my children, but for the sake of the post I was trying to make a point. It does, however, take a lot to make me laugh out loud hard. But yes, I do smile and laugh and have fun with my children. On a regular basis, in fact :o)
Anyway (I get off topic so easily...), Glen and I are both very laid back when it comes to things, so it seems that we needed a little extra push in this situation.
Like I said, Tuesday night just felt different. The tv satellite kept going in and out, my aunt as well as his mom called to tell us this storm was BIG and headed our way. No big deal, we always just smile and nod and go to bed. We were both uneasy this time. We had put the kids to bed a little earlier and were laying down to go to bed, but couldn't settle down. I kept getting up and looking at the sky (our house is set up kind of high on a hill overlooking more of a valley kind of area, so we have a good view of the horizon) and pacing around. Our tv had totally gone out by this point, so we didn't really know what was going on other than a crackly radio. I'm watching the cat who was lying calmly on the porch. I kept pacing and was seeing some very yucky looking clouds.
Fast forward a few minutes...keep in mind, all of our children are in bed. The five older ones are upstairs, the baby is in our closet (yes, our baby sleeps in our closet. all our babies since ethan have slept in our closet. it is a large walk in closet that has an air vent, so no worries for my internet friends :o). My aunt has called us back. Glen is pacing, I see some very yucky clouds that are suspiciously looking like they want to funnel, the wind begins blowing hard, the cat gets up, I decide we need to go to the basement. Our power goes out. I head toward our room to put on my shoes, I think (hear God?) "you don't have time to get your shoes," I head back toward the living room to head up the stairs. Glen is looking out the front door. Anna and Caleb are running down the stairs and Glen yells at them to go to the basement, Caleb is saying he saw a tornado out the window. He and Anna don't want to go down without us, but Glen is yelling for them to run. I am running up the stairs, I grab Noah out of his crib, I run down the stairs holding Noah, back to our room, and grab Haven out of the closet. At this point Glen is yelling at Moriah and Ethan to get up but they are sound asleep so he's having to grab them and carry them. We have our arms full of babies and are attempting to run downstairs to the basement in the dark. We meet Anna and Caleb in our safe room. They of course are hysterical having to wait for us down there in the dark knowing there was an actual tornado. It took several minutes for Glen to get the flashlights out of the kit since it was total darkness. All the kids are scared. At this point I'm totally calm (read: oblivious). Once he got the flashlight on everyone calmed down. Sweet little Haven thought the whole thing was a great adventure. After I nursed him he sat with Anna and was just looking around with this adorable little face like he was in a dream. He was very curious about being snatched from his bed only to wake up in a dark little room with all his favorite people :o)
So, we head back upstairs and make a pallet on the living room floor for the kids to sleep on as we've been told another, potentially stronger storm is set to hit later on. I ask my aunt to call us if another storm is coming, and we all go back to sleep. It is at this point that Glen tells me that he actually saw a large-based tornado (not a weeny little skinny twister kind) about hundred and fifty yards or so from our house. If it had been either just him or Caleb saying that, I would have wondered "Did they really, or did they just think maybe, were their eyes playing tricks with their minds..." you know, all those questions. But the fact that they both described the same size tornado, in the same spot, seen from different floors of our house at the exact same time, leads me to believe it was genuine.
Fast forward a few hours....get the phone call. This time, we're not playing games. We wake up the kids (calmly this time, I might add) and head back down, only to realize, when we get downstairs, that Ethan is not with us. He had laid back down on the floor and gone back to sleep. Glen heads back upstairs to get Ethan. We stay down there for a little while and then head back up.
The next morning we were all tired and amazed at the night before. As a family we've never had an event like that. Glen went off to work early and the kids and I were home all day. We were without power until 7pm, so we actually had a nice, calm day. I couldn't get on the computer, do laundry, or anything. Our water is from a well that uses a pump, so I couldn't even wash dishes. We did school, napped, played games, and talked. Talk about debriefing! All day long it was all they talked about. They wanted to talk about what they saw, what they heard, who said what, who went where and when, why Daddy had to go back to get Ethan, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. And to top it all off, some books I had ordered a few weeks earlier that took awhile in coming finally arrived that day. The Kid's Guide to Weather Forecasting and The Scholastic Encyclopedia of Weather. How ironic. Needless to say, they were a big hit.
So, lesson learned. Better to inconvenience ourselves and head downstairs before the tornado sighting. That way we avoid the grabbing babies and running scenario. We will be putting carpet down in our safe room and storing our blow up mattresses and sleeping bags in there along with enough flashlights and batteries for each kid to have one, along with some snacks and water and a strong radio. Possibly some books, games, and coloring stuff in case a storm comes during the day. We stocked up on candles and lighters the following day.
I learned that God is God of the weather and I don't have to be afraid, but he did give me a brain, a good one, and he expects me to use it (does it sound like I say that to some certain little people often??).
The following day we went out driving. I've never been close to a tornado, let alone seen damage from one in person. The devastation is amazing. The power of wind is strong (is there a lesson for me about the Holy Spirit and the voice of God, possibly? I'll have to think on that...). It looks like something off of the television. Trees look as if they were chopped off uniformly at the base. A couple of churches and homes, completely gone. Shredded trailers and belongings scattered everywhere. I'm still processing it, the kids spent a lot of time talking, I spent a lot of time listening, talking, answering questions, and they seem fine. They were actually quite the celebrities at school :o)
On a side note, an awesome testimony, actually, comes from my good friend, Hailijah, who lives close to me and spent a good part of the night in her crawl space with her kids. Her husband was out of town. A good number of her friends who were watching the weather knew that the tornado activity was very close to her home. Many of lus ater told her we were specificly praying for a shield to just surround them and protect them. They live in a wooded area very close to one of the devastated churches, yet not even their plastic patio chairs were blown over! I think that is awesome!
And once again, I am spending some time reflecting and being very, very thankful.
"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton
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