Looking Back >Katrina Recoverers:  September 11th, 2005

Day 14

This morning Jon and I got up and drove over to the house before church. Tears were streaming down my face as soon as we started driving over there. The neighborhood is scarred almost beyond recognition. I cannot believe how many trees have been blown over or snapped like toothpicks. Diamondhead once was filled with tall stately pines, palms and oaks. Now, the medium dividing the main road is piled with cut up trees and branches higher than the top of the van. The next street we turned down was lined with water sogged furniture, rugs, books, sheetrock, insulation, clothes and all the personal items that make up a home. Tears rolled down my face at the thought of all the homes ruined in side when the flood of swamp water and ocean surged through the rooms and halls, into every crevice, every drawer, every closet. And these were the homes that are repairable. We passed the streets were water rose twelve feet and higher, enough to make the homes unrepairable. It’s hard to describe what it was like going to our home. Like so many, we had water sogged stuff piled along side the street. We walked through the house and I looked at the mold growing on damp walls, cabinets and furniture. My bathroom floors are covered with a thick layer of silt. My floors are mostly cement, where Jon and Bob ripped up the carpeting, my walls are filled with holes along the baseboards where Jon tried to get air inside to begin drying them. I could just go on and on.

We went to church. Thankfully the building was still standing, sustaining no damage. I cried as I hugged people, it seemed like a lifetime had passed since I last saw them. Yes, I started hearing stories, as I knew I would. Of the mother who left her husband and two year old daughter at home, to work at the medical center during the storm. Only to return to a home that was no longer there, and to find that her husband and daughter perished in the storm. Of the two young families who have completely lost their homes and are living with their parents. The young girl whose father started worrying about the storm and left Diamondhead to stay with friends in Ocean Springs (because it was further away from the storm). They ended up spending the duration of the storm in the attic, when twenty foot storm surge flooded the house. Thankfully and ironically, when they returned to their home, it sustained very little damage. I know there are stories of hope and blessings, but right now, there is a lot of grief and loss.

We spent the rest of the day working on our home. It’s going to take a long time to make it livable again. Right now, we’re still just pulling out wet stuff, trying to salvage what can be salvaged, and trying to find places to put our salvageable stuff, since most of our furniture is in the junk heap.

As I looked at the scarred, battered and broken landscape, I wondered if this is what our soul looks like to God, because of the affects of sin. Sometimes God just has to come in and rip out all the stained and ruined parts of our lives, so he can rebuild and restore us, new, clean and in his image. As I sorted through the mess of what was left of our home, I found things I wanted to cling to, thinking maybe I could just clean it up a little. We tend to do the same thing in our lives, not wanting to let go of sin scarred habits, behaviors and character. “Let I go” Our precious Lord says. “Let it go, so that I might restore you to new. If you do not let it go, it will only be a stench in your life, a monument of past sin.”

Let it go, for He will redeem.

Only by the strength He provides

Grace & Peace


About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: tabletsofhumanhearts.wordpress.com I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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