It seems like so much longer than four years ago. As we got ready to go to school, the weather radio warned of approaching storms, and my nerves were strung tightly. When I dropped the kids off a school, the coach said to hurry because we were under a severe weather threat. I found out all too quickly just how severe when I got near my house and realized that I had only minutes before been in the direct path of a tornado that passed through our community. The power was off, and with no house key (I know), I was stuck outside the garage.
Off to my parents' house I went, anxiety crawling through my mind and heart. I don't like storms, especially tornado-threatening ones. Talk about not being able to predict what will happen and control my circumstances! Within a couple of hours, school was being released, and the kids and I were back at home, watching the wind whip the trees around even as the sun made the day gorgeous.
Evening was on its way though, and too many predictions of really, really bad weather. We made the decision to spend the night at my parents' house because they have a basement. Oddly enough, it was the first night I had spent at their house since I got married, and I don't know that I had ever slept in the basement. But that night we did.
We listened and watched as our state was devastated. As lives were snatched from the young and the old. As memories were scattered, tens, hundreds, and thousands of miles away from the homes where they had been created. I cried, I worried, and I prayed. Eventually, I slept, with those I love most in the world close by. Safe, at least for that night.
In the days that followed, I saw and reported on efforts to help. Donations of food and supplies. Chainsaw and cleanup crews deployed. Laundry and childcare teams sent out. Chaplains sent out to help make sense of the unexplainable. It was a terrible time but a good time. Because even in the face of unspeakable tragedy, people, God's people stepped up and showed His love to the hurting. And in the year that followed, Alabama Baptists, Baptists from around the nation, and believers of all denominations continued to show up to help our state recover.
I will never forget where I was and how I was feeling on April 27, 2011. Memories of that day are etched in my mind like a movie I'd rather forget. But in forgetting the bad, I would forget the good, and I never want to forget how good God's people are when they let Him guide their steps.
"In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'" (Acts 20:35).
To read more about the efforts of Alabama Baptists in the aftermath of the historic tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011, go to the website of The Alabama Baptist by clicking here.
Alabama still recovering from 2nd deadliest tornado outbreak in US history — Where are we now? What have we learned?
I am a regular contributor to The Alabama Baptist newspaper, and I also write and edit for several religious, business and educational outlets through my business, McWhorter Media and Marketing.
One of the greatest privileges of being a writer is the opportunity to share the stories of others with a larger audience. I love to do that!
Sharing my own stories is much more challenging, though no less important to making sense of the challenges of Faith and Family in everyday life.
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