At around 10:3oam on Friday, December 12th my husband got a call at his work saying that there was a fire at our apartment and did he know where his wife and child were. He thought for a moment and then was relieved when he remembered that I had told him that M. and I would be gone that morning.
The apartment manager told him that the damage to our apartment was complete. My husband called me right away on my cell phone to tell me the news- what a shock! Life certainly is unexpected! For a long while things felt very surreal and verses like James 4:14 kept ringing in my head. "You do not know what tomorrow will bring."
The school where my husband teaches immediately sprung into action to help us- arranging a place for us to stay and collecting money and donation items to replace our lost possessions. Friends and family all over the country began pouring in help as well, and people we didn't even know popped out of the woodwork to become huge blessings.
One of my favorite cards from those first few days was from a fireman who had helped to put out our fire. He had seen the letters posted on our wall that said "We thank you God"(still hanging up from Thanksgiving- some of you may remember this post from earlier) and felt touched to help his fellow brother and sister in the Lord. He had noticed that we had a little girl and so bought us a carton of diapers, some baby toys, clothes and even some new computer speakers! He included a very nice encouraging card, but gave the gifts anonymously.
A letter from the students at the school where my husband teaches also helped to clearly emphasize the idea that the Lord's hand in this whole situation. A few of the students did a study on the theme of fire in Scripture and encouraged us with the reminder that in the Bible, fire is often a symbol of God's presence and that fire is also a metaphor for God's refining work on our characters.
It's been neat to see how those two things really have been true for us. We have felt the Lord refining us through some of the stressful and tiring moments, but overwhelmingly we have felt the Lord's love and care through his people.
The fire department believes that the fire in our apartment started in the dryer somehow. It certainly was a mess!