Years ago (I’ve lost track of how many at this point), I “met” Kendra via this wonderful world of blogging/internet friendships. She blogged for Goodwill in her state, and we bonded over our mutual love of all things thrifted. Over the years, we’ve emailed back and forth, sharing advice, rejoicing over new babies, sharing thrifted steals. Kendra is just such a sweet, grounded, encouraging godly spirit. I always love it when I have an email from her (or a package: she’s the one who sent me these beautiful pink pants and she even made burp cloths for my twins when they were born!!). Of course, only once has she ever emailed me to let me know that her house was completely flooded and destroyed. I didn’t love the news in that email. But I did love the way she chose to give the glory to God for the good that came out of such a devastating experience. I’ll let her tell you the rest in her own words.
Kendra Ardis // Covered by grace, wife + mama, passionate about clean living, but also chocolate cake. Photographer + essential oil educator.
I walked back into my home wearing borrowed hunting boots and one of the only outfits I had grabbed when we left. We barely left. There was massive flooding in our area and when a nearby dam broke, our home started to quickly fill with water. We ran around, trying to move things from the floor as we grabbed some outfits. Within minutes, we were wading in water up to our knees as we carried our babies to the car. I really don’t know how we got out, it was just the Lord. Our neighbors had to be rescued by a boat. I lay in bed that night, listening to the rain fall and just praying that the waters would stop rising. Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we think He should.
We lost almost everything.
After we got back into our house, as my husband and I walked from room to room, we would just stop and cry. Not because of the loss of material items, but because the shock was overwhelming.
How would we clean this up? How would we start over? There was trash all over our house, the furniture was ruined, the floors were buckled, the cabinets were falling apart. My children’s toys, the chair that I used to rock my son to sleep, our clothes, our shoes. But, I just kept thinking, “Praise God we are safe. Praise God we were not here.”
We were not meant to carry our burdens alone.
In the next days and weeks, friends and family and church members showed up in a mighty way.
People came that were friends of my parents. People came that I didn’t even know. They helped us throw out the contents of our home, cut out the drywall, rip out the cabinets. A dear friend took my spared dishes home and washed them for me. One woman gave me her new shoes because she heard that we lost all of our shoes. Not her used shoes, her new shoes. People cooked for us. Took us in. Bathed us in scripture and prayer. And, they helped us rebuild. I have never felt so humbled or so very loved. I still cry when I think about it because the feelings are raw and still so fresh. Just to be so loved by the Father and through His people.
We are cherished by a good, good Father.
In Psalm 23, David talks about the Lord leading him as a shepherd leads his sheep and he shares that the Lord restores his soul. That is what Jesus did for us. Our Father is relentlessly restoring the broken. He lead us on a path that we would not have chosen, but He used it to change us. Through the years, as I could feel my heart being pulled by my own sin nature, I would fall back on the prayer of Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Recently, I started thinking more about David’s prayer a few verses before, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” If we want a clean heart, are we willing to be purged? Are we willing to let Him wash us? I’m not raising my hand to volunteer for another trial. I’m just saying, when hard times come, are we willing to let Him use it for cleansing and growth?
Over the next few days and weeks and months, we gradually saw our home physically restored.
But, in that time, He transformed our hearts. I have never felt so loved by God and uplifted by His Spirit. There were areas in our lives where we needed to be broken and humbled. I just can’t explain how strong His love for us felt in those moments – almost tangible.
Sometimes, we are rescued from a storm and sometimes we are called to walk through it. If you are facing difficulty, God is there, and He loves you so much. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” If you know someone who is treading water, reach out and lift them up. Don’t wait for them to ask for help. Just jump in and say that you are helping. We felt the strength of His love through the outpouring of our brothers and sisters in Christ. It was humbling and overwhelming, but so, so precious to our hearts.
The same way my house needed restoration, we need Him to restore us. Praise God that he took our brokenness and conquered death! He loves us in our shambles and He is constantly making all things new. My house is just a picture of how He washes away what is old and creates in us a new spirit.
He has taken what was broken and made it beautiful in His sight.