I don’t always like the events in my life. And when I find myself in a very tight spot that feels like it is choking me, I so would make a U-turn or take a huge side trip if I could. Anything to not face what is staring me in the face. Anything to not deal with what’s there.

But God won’t let me. Life doesn’t always give you a plan B.

Like when my house burned down.

“Barb, the snow is glowing orange!” My husband’s voice sounded like an echo in a long tunnel.  I tried to focus my eyes in the dark. The alarm clock said it was 1:46 am. 

It’s two in the morning, for crying out loud… Let me sleep!

“Barb, it’s the reflection of a fire,” he yelled a minute later. “The roof’s in flames! Get the kids and get out. NOW!”

And there was no U-turn to take, no side trip available. My stomach began to do somersaults. My heart pounded in my ears.

I shook my kids awake and helped their sleepy bodies into socks and robes.  As I rushed them down the stairs, my ten-year old daughter exclaimed, “Look, Mom, there’s fire inside the house!”  Flames were beginning to lick the ceiling in the living room.  My legs were shaking now. I hurried them as they shoved boots on their feet and pushed them outside.

An angry, hungry fire was devouring my home. And I suddenly remembered my husband’s love letters meticulously filed and stored away in the old cedar chest.  And my favorite worn-out Bible, the one I knew how to find things in.

Trapped outside, I wished for tears, but my body was far too stunned for them. I couldn’t even think straight. The insatiable blaze kept eating up my house, feeding on all I held dear.

And we lost it all. Every. single. thing. And I let the fire scorch the very center of my heart.

We moved in with kind friends, and I went numb.   

But this fire, this beast that sought to destroy me, it was for my very best.

It showed me who I was, and made me who I am.

staph-infection-s4-photo-of-staph-infectionThis fire, God used it to gently face me with layers and layers of flesh that simply had to be peeled off, one at a time.  Pride, attitudes,  judgments, ugliness, selfishness, small mindedness, unthankfulness, and, and, and… the uglies kept coming out of me, like pus oozing out of an open wound. For days and weeks and months. At times, I couldn’t breathe from the pain they produced. And I wasn’t completely sure I was going to make it to the other side.

The threat wasn’t the burned-up pile of bricks, and metal and wood and glass, nor all the things we lost. The danger rested in my unwillingness to be purified by the heat the fire produced, this exposed, raw, scorched heart of mine that had no place to hide, my anxiety at being shaken from the inside out, and my realization that not much remained.

The fire that took my home, it exposed my rotten heart. My destitute heart. My utterly pitiful heart.

But God only exposes for the purpose of healing. Restoration. Fullness of joy.

And the fire that swallowed my home, God used it to give all this to me, and then so much more by the grace that He is.

Because the fire that killed my home, it was for my very best. And God is in control. All the time.

Cultivating Thankfulness with Ann Voskamp

one-thousand7#775 The feel of crisp autumn in the air 

#776 Successful surgery for a friend 

#777 A difficult week well lived 

#778 Going to visit my daughter for the week-end 

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 HomeSDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing HomePlay Dates with GodMonday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s StoryInto the WordIn and Around Mondays,OYHT, Gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays, ExtraordinayLessons from IvyDenise in BloomSweet BlessingsFaith Filled Friday, Finding JoyWholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word,