To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” — Isaiah 61:3
December 19, 2000. A day like any other day. Rising up getting ready for work, kids out the door to the sitter, drive to work. Well not exactly a day like any other because of extenuating circumstances I did have to make arrangements for my children to be picked up after their half day of school.
My oldest son, the extenuating circumstance, stayed home that day from school. Around noon he called me saying he had a headache. I told him to take some headache medication and call me back in a little bit if it didn’t go away.
No further phone call until 330 in the afternoon from my neighbor down the street. She happened to have my phone number from when she used to babysit my two little ones before they were even in school. This was very unusual for her to be calling me especially at work. The information she would share with me would catapult our family into a series of events that would change our lives forever.
Sharon, your house is on fire. There are fire trucks out in front of your house. My response was “Where is my son”? No one had seen him. . .
Of course I immediately headed home . I left a message at my husband’s job because he was not yet there to tell him that our house was on fire and I was headed home. He tells the story that when he got there he thought the guys were just playing a joke on him. They had to get really serious with him to convince him that that was the truth. (Understand, this was also before everyone owned cell phones).
The drive home which lasted about 30 minutes was the longest 30 minutes of my life. All the way home I just kept praying about my son and hoping that he was not in the house fire. I arrived in our cul-de-sac to find almost every neighbor out in front of the house. The one thing that I really focused on the most was the face of my son standing out there also. The Lord truly blessed me at that one moment. It was the best Christmas present I could receive, seeing the eyes and face of my son standing before me knowing he was not in the house.
Losing everything really puts into perspective what’s important in life. God showed me that day that material things are fleeting but the love of family and the help of friends and church family are far beyond any material treasure. A good insurance company is always a good thing too.
Let me point out some of the things that showed me that God was in complete control of all that happened. Remember, that my son called me at 12 o’clock. The clock on the stove stopped at 12:30. I truly believe that my son’s headache was probably from smoke inhalation. In my sons disobedient stage he left the house soon after he called me. The fire was not even reported until 3:00 PM when my neighbor came home and noticed the flames coming out of the roof. The fire had been smoldering for awhile (remember the clock stopped at 1230).
God bless my neighbor who called the fire department and tried to get in the house knowing that my children are usually home from school at that hour. Another God intervention. My children, the two youngest were at my Pastor’s house.
My husband arrived and so did our insurance agent with a check for 2000 dollars. They made arrangements for a hotel for us for that night and then arranged the hotel that we stayed at until the arrangements for our apartment were made.
Having lost everything our church family and some neighbors pulled together and gave us a Christmas we will never forget. I told my kids that Christmas presents were going to be a little slim but God saw it differently.
He took care of us, blessed us tremendously and we will never look at life the same. He taught us that tragedy may come but we are never alone in it. He is still in the midst of every detail. And I saw that the things of this earth cannot compare to having Jesus. He is worth it all.
Trust me when I say God turned our ashes into beauty.
Continually seeking Him,