As Christians, we often talk about being content with whatever stage of life we are facing. I want to tell the story about a difficult time in my life. God blessed and provided in so many ways. It was still a hard time in life – I faced some hard circumstances. However, God gave me grace beyond measure.
On Thursday morning, September 23, 2010, I found wet carpet in my basement. By mid-afternoon the sewer water was at a depth of 18”. I spent hours numbly sitting on my couch with no idea what the end result of that day would be.
About 2:30 that afternoon the flooding had stopped and I had someone to help me figure out what to do next. A friend took me to the only store that still had a sump pump (I bought the 2nd to last one on the shelf) and helped get it pumping the water outside. At that point I finally felt some hope because I could do something. I have never been good at sitting still.
So the clean up process began. The blessings also starting flooding in (no pun intended).
While the water was still rising, I called a friend and asked if I could stay with them that night and if she would fix supper for me. She agreed, but that wasn’t all they did. After cleaning up enough that I felt ok leaving my house for the night, I went to my friend’s house get some food and a shower (and then crash for the night). While I was eating, they offered to properly install the new sump pump (which could not be done earlier due to 18” of water covering the entire basement.) We did that and cleaned up a few more things in my basement.
My next blessing came with a phone call at 6 the next morning. Personally, I think few blessing could come that early (I’m not a morning person). I found out that there was no school due to the flooding. I was teaching part time and normally taught on Friday mornings. I was relieved to know that I could use those three hours for my full time job. I went to work and had a very quiet day getting things done.
More blessings came on Saturday when someone from church came to re-light the pilot on my hot water heater. Not only did he re-light the pilot (giving me hot water), but he started ripping out wet carpet and moldy drywall. I couldn’t find my good utility knife, so he used a cheap one that broke part way through the job. He still worked on. Then Sunday afternoon more people came over to help haul things out of the basement.
Many helped through the process. Some of the men of the church almost hovered like mama hens asking about the furnace that I was going to need to purchase (not a result of the flooding). The contractor that I chose was a recommendation from a man at church. One man came to finish ripping out drywall and even took apart a piano and hauled the pieces out (he did get help for the 150 lb piano harp). Two men came to install the new drywall – the pieces were cut neatly and the job was done quickly. One of them even brought his two boys to help distract me so I wouldn’t feel like I had to help with the project (I wouldn’t have known what to do). When it came time to pay for the furnace (and a/c), God provided more than 65% of the cost through rebates. (I must pause to thank all of my taxpaying friends. You helped pay for my furnace with your federal and state tax dollars.) I was also given a nice sized money gift. My out of pocket cost was a little over $500. What a blessing when I had to buy a new sump pump, drywall, electrical outlets and other things. I even had to replace the battery in my van a week after the flooding.
- A job that allowed me flexibility to go meet contractors (not my favorite thing to do, but necessary).
- The gift of an electric blanket which helped to keep me warm during cold nights when I didn’t have a working furnace.
- Food gift cards so I wouldn’t have to cook.
- One blessing came through a trial. A building inspector came early on and seemingly chewed me out for the things he thought were wrong with the situation. I did find out from him that I could get a “clean up kit” from the Red Cross (which I did). In addition, his insistence on having a professional look at my furnace was the reason I found out that my old furnace was unsafe.
- Months after the flooding I found a newer washer and dryer set (and even a refrigerator) at a garage sale. There were two teens that hauled the appliances to my home – they even thanked me for the opportunity to do that!
(A side note: I wish that I could have done a better job of thanking all those who helped. I have asked God to bless you. He will do a better job with that than I ever could.)
The trial of the flooding was great (waiting until the day before Thanksgiving for heat was hard to do). I often had tears in my eyes not knowing what trial would come next, but the blessings were overwhelming. I haven’t mastered being content with my circumstances, but as I look back I can see contentment with flooding.