Unfortunately Right (Texas Flooding update #2)

Four days later, and unfortunately the expectations were right in that the death count went up from 9 to 19 (well last I saw on the news late last night). 6 of them were 2 grandparents with 4 great grandchildren in a van together. A son was the sole survivor.

Another loss in that count was an officer who was on h  is way in the early morning hours to help others. Also a well known and loved coach who had been a part of helping to rescue others. 

This devastation continues as the waters are still rising in some areas. Rivers and different waters have to take their course in going downstream, which adds more water to lower areas already flooded.

 I’m not sure why, but the National Guard and other Official Rescue teams coming to help stopped ALL rescues from continuing after dark, regardless of the urgency. I understand the threat. It’s just hard after watching local volunteers save thousands because they still went out after dark (as untrained rescuers).I thought our military trained for such things.

Another unfortunate right is the looting that unfortunately is happening. Some things are down right evil. News reports were warning and reassuring at the same time that individuals were going to homes impersonating immigration officers to enter and rob homes.

The good news is that Harvey is finally moving out of the area, and weakening considerably. There are also several different fundraisers and donations nation wide, including celebrities and major companies putting forth millions. Please continue to pray for Texas, Louisiana, and all those affected by Harvey, and on the way to help.

Calm In The Storm

Lord, what a dark night… a dark and dreadful night… but it was not my dark and dreadful night. I was blessed with warm and dry shelter. Those stranded in the dark and cold muddy waters were living this nightmare, along with their rescuers. Yet I could not leave that screen. I could not leave them. Especially when it was just volunteers left to help. The night was getting late after so many had been waiting for so long, and much more rain was on the way. The reservoirs and levees were going to release water to try to save them from collapse, yet there was no guarantee they wouldn’t anyway.

As I watched this for hours, my heart and blood pressure were up. I could hear voices saying stop worrying, it wasn’t good for me, worrying wasn’t going to help the victims. I prayed as I saw each rescue, and heard each group plea to help those still stranded. And those children, Lord, with little infants! How could I possibly leave that screen knowing children and babies were out there? I tried to reason that rescue efforts would take days. I knew I couldn’t stay awake like that anymore. That made me realize a lot of things.

When I was younger, my anxiety would NOT let me rest if I heard of turmoil. In some ways that was good. Others would ask me to stay with them through tragic times, or ask me to sit with their family or friend. Reliable and strong were the most common words I heard. But that was all you giving me the strength. At other times it seemed like a curse or a heavy weight to carry, that was absolutely taking me under.

Tonight, Lord, I felt calm in the storm. I was not less concerned, but I could feel my anxiousness give way as soon as I even began to worry. It felt so calming. That is the word that comes to mind. There’s nothing wrong with being calm during a storm. If volunteers were not calm they could not rescue. At times a rescuer is challenged by a frantic victim who becomes life-threatening. This made me pray for the volunteers.

Remaining calm allowed me to think… remembering being rescued in storms a couple of times… as a child… as a disabled adult (close to bed ridden)…  watching my mom suffer night and day for months… unable to ease her pain… expected to sleep in my bed right beside her… knowing any time she could pass. How cruel to close my eyes and supposedly my ears to her pain so I could sleep. If it weren’t for your grace and the medicines you allow, I would have not remained calm to do what was being asked of me.

You allowed these medicines to keep me calm, pray, and absolutely trust you. I just grabbed my color journal and calmly waited as I listened and learned. Sometimes to the news. Sometimes to you showing me all kinds of things about myself, and how far you and I have come. At one point, while in prayer you allowed me to fall asleep. In the past I would have felt like a monster, but now I understand I am human. You made the medicine and the calm feel like good friends. It was nice… to have good friends, and to feel good about it instead of feeling guilty.

There are many things I have absolutely no control over. I must choose to trust you. Thank you for the calm in the storm. You remind me of Matthew 8:23-26.

And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

 

 

A Heartbreaking Night (Family and Friends in Texas Flooding Update)

For hours I watched such a heartbreaking tragedy continue as volunteers rescued loads and loads of Houston flood victims… literally. While the Coast Guard and many government officials and First Responders were rescuing thousands of people/families throughout the day, when the sun when down it was just volunteers with a few boats and a couple of extremely large dump truck looking like vehicles still going back for more people. These trucks were large enough to carry 70 or so victims, and as they would arrive back they had people clinging all over the side.

As they began to unload by placing these extremely long ladders to the back… men, women, children, babies, elderly, and disable folks were helped out of the truck. Family after family. Always with babies, children, and disabled each time. One load had 10 infants, several toddlers, children, and their families. A journalist who faithfully reported throughout this ordeal would ask each one which area they came from, how were they rescued, how many came with them, how many were still waiting, what was that area like, and how did they get word out that they were stranded.

When one little girl (about 6 or 7) was asked how many were waiting, she answered a million. With an understanding slight chuckle under his breath he asked if she meant a million like in her classroom, on her school bus, in the lunch room? Her eyes lit up with the lunch room and she quickly said, “A lot more.” Many people were saying their cellphones were how they got word that they were stranded, and as it fell night they used their lights from their phones to get the attention of rescue vehicles passing by.

I know I watched at least 7 or 8 hours straight of rescues in this particular area, and they were bringing them in by the hundreds each hour. And for every family they rescued, there was always the plea to help family still waiting. All of the volunteers at this point were local citizens or people who just came to help… and did for several hours… wading, riding, and standing in the same cold muddy water as the drenched victims. The shelters were filling up with no way to feed them, clothe them, and were loading people into the back of extremely large furniture/moving trucks to take them to a local Wal-Mart, to put them on buses, to then go to shelters. Dallas had even opened shelters to offer victims a safe place to go with their children and families.

It was so heart breaking watching all of this. There were young children struggling to carry their infant siblings because there were far more children and babies than there were adults. These volunteers had answered the call of a judge who put out a public plea that if anyone had a boat or way of helping to do it. He stated that no one had to wait to sign any waivers. If they could help… do it. These volunteers saved thousands of lives that were not only fleeing a massively flooded area by 30 inches of rain, but one that was still expecting 20 more inches.

I was grateful for my family and friends who were marking themselves safe on this FB page that would let you know if any of your friends and family did so, without my even having to check for them (even though I did).  Hurricane Harvey Facebook Safety Check. I could not just turn off my laptop and go to sleep. I felt like I would be abandoning them. I had to pray. I had to make sure each one made it in.

Eventually my medicines won out as I laid my head back for a moment to pray. When I awoke an hour later, it was time to start my day by taking my son to work and heading to physical therapy. When I finished my day, it was news time. Over 10,000 people were rescued. There were 7 who were killed with numbers expected to rise. Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S.. It will take days for some things to improve, but weeks for all of the water to go down, according to the experts. Click here for pictures and news footage.

Thank you to each one who prayed, and continues to pray. Texas needs it! Louisiana will as well as the storm is crossing the eastern part of Texas and beginning to hit them. Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has now been recorded as the largest rainfall to hit the U.S. ever. Please pray for those trying to rescue, shelter, and supply the flood victims. They, too, have had loss of life and property, yet are still out there helping whoever they can. Pray for different humanitarian groups and volunteers on their way to help. And remember each one of those families, especially with the young children and disabled.