We were in the car when we got the call.
We had been inside,
But I saw the lightning and suggested we leave,
Drive the less-than-a-mile to where we had to go
So the two of us who were participating that evening would not get wet.
We went out to the car,
And then we got the call.
Everything for that night was cancelled.
We wouldn't be participating in anything.
I wouldn't get to say the part I'd spent weeks working on.
We were to get back to the building we were staying in and go as low as we could,
Get under the ground, away from the windows.
The storm was going to be very bad.
I started praying.
I remembered what some of my friends from another part of the state had said earlier,
How they'd found out about a tornado that had struck their town,
How worried they were, being away, not knowing . . .
Looking through the windshield
At dust - dust! even with all the grass there that should have been holding it down - blowing everywhere,
Tree branches breaking and flying sideways,
Sky showing hints of green,
Never having seen a tornado,
I wasn't terribly sure I'd still be able to say that in a couple more hours.
I'd never seen a storm like it in my life.
Thank You, God, for the warning.
We drove up in front of the building.
I struggled getting out of the car in my fancy dress,
Lifted my floor-length, poofy skirt up a few inches,
And "walked" as quickly as I could (in a bit of a heel) into the building.
We went immediately to the stairway
And climbed down a flight
To find the friends whose hometown had been hit earlier,
Along with some other girls,
Hiding there already.
There was some space at the bottom of the stairwell
And a door that opened into a tiny room full of doors:
The boiler room.
Something in the boiler room was making strange sounds.
We decided not to hide in there.
Instead, we all stood in that small space.
And I prayed.
The lights flickered.
Girls still afraid due to the news they'd received voiced their fear.
Something made a creepy noise.
Then the lights went out.
Standing in that small room,
Hearing strange noises,
In that moment when the lights went out,
I felt like I was riding Disney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
The room was the right size,
The elevator was right behind me,
There was definitely a storm going on outside.
There were so many similarities that I could almost hear the theme music.
Fortunately, the floor was still firmly beneath my feet.
Thank You, God, that we're safe.
I took out my cell phone and dialed a number,
Afraid not for myself,
But for my mom and my grandma who had been driving down to see me.
I talked to them just long enough to tell them that what they'd wanted to see had been cancelled
And then someone must have lost service.
I called them several times in the next hour,
Usually not reaching them,
And with every time that I couldn't reach them,
I worried that there was a reason more serious than a lack of service.
And I prayed.
Experienced teachers calmed the frightened girls.
We ventured out a little and sat down on the stairwell,
Then it was deemed safe enough to go up to the first floor lounge.
Someone allowed me to quickly go up to my room and change,
Even came with me to get me out of the fancy dress with the lace-up back.
I finally got ahold of my mother.
She and Grandma made it safely to the building where we were staying,
Talked with me for fifteen minutes before starting the long drive home.
They spoke of pouring rain and fallen trees.
I thanked God that He had gotten them there safely.
The storm had almost passed.
Thank You, God, that it's over.
We sat in the lounge listening to the annoying, high-pitched emergency sounds for awhile,
Then we went outside and sat on the picnic tables.
Someone brought popcorn that had been popped for a now-cancelled party.
Someone called someone and someone came and turned off the horrible emergency sounds.
Someone told us that everyone in our group was safe.
No one had been hurt.
Those who had been at dinner were returned to the buildings they were staying in.
Those who hadn't had dinner were ferried over to the dining hall.
We went up to our rooms and opened the blinds,
Left our doors open to let light into the hallways.
Despite the power loss, our floor still had water.
I was able to take a hot (albeit dark) shower.
We went to bed not knowing what would happen the next day.
And I prayed.
While we were asleep,
Roads were cleaned up,
Branches and fallen trees moved out of the way.
The emergency generators died.
All light that had been in the dorms was no longer.
The Red Cross declared the entire county a disaster area
(A thunderstorm - a natural disaster!)
And took over the building our group had been using to meet in.
I got a wake-up call,
Got out of bed,
And got dressed for what I assumed would be happening that morning.
Then I heard it through the halls:
I hurried over to where the other girls were.
The adults told us that everything had been cancelled.
We were packing up and going home.
There were tears in my eyes as I saw all that I'd been looking forward to all year come to an end in a single instant,
But I did as I was told and packed as quickly as possible.
When we drove off, the future was uncertain.
Would we come together again?
Would we be able to finish what had been started?
Thank You, God. Even now.
Two weeks later, some of us went back -
Probably less than half of what had been there originally.
We wrapped things up quickly,
Made an all-day event take half a day,
Left some things undone,
But at least there was a sense of closure.
One year ended, and the next began,
And the God who was with us through the storm,
Who heard our prayers in the midst of the wind and the rain,
Who answered in the way He wanted, not the way we wanted,
Reminded us again of the rainbow He stretched across the sky,
Reminded us of the covenant He made,
Reminded us of His promise that the waters would never again destroy all life,
And reminded us that He is faithful.
No matter what.
Counting reasons 1627-1707 today,
Looking at who He is -
The One and Only God,
And letting what we see cause us to praise,
Even in the midst of the wind and the rain.
- He does not turn away from the heat of His fierce anger (2 Kings 23:26)
- He does not turn away from the heat of His fierce anger, which burns against His nation because of the great evil done to arouse His anger (2 Kings 23:27)
- He sends raiders against evil kings to destroy His nation (2 Kings 24:2)
- He sends raiders against evil kings to destroy His nation in accordance with the word He proclaimed through His servants the prophets (2 Kings 24:2)
- He sends raiders against evil kings to destroy His nation according to His command (2 Kings 24:2-3)
- He sends raiders against evil kings to destroy His nation to remove them from His presence because of the sins of Manasseh (2 Kings 24:2-3)
- He sends raiders against evil kings to destroy His nation to remove them from His presence because of all Manasseh had done, including the shedding of innocent blood (2 Kings 24:2-4)
- He is not willing to forgive the filling of Jerusalem with innocent blood (2 Kings 24:4)
- Events happen as He has declared (2 Kings 24:13-14)
- Because of His anger at evil, He thrusts His city and His nation from His presence (2 Kings 24:19-20)
- He grants the requests of the honorable who cry out to Him (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)
- He blesses the honorable who ask (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)
- He enlarges the territories of the honorable who ask (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)
- His hand is with the honorable who ask (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)
- He keeps the honorable who ask from harm (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)
- He allows the honorable who ask to be free from pain (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)
- He delivers the enemy into the hands of His people when they cry out to Him during the battle (1 Chronicles 5:20)
- He answers the prayers of those who trust in Him (1 Chronicles 5:20)
- The battle is His (1 Chronicles 5:22)
- Many enemies are slain, because the battle is His (1 Chronicles 5:22)
- One hundred thousand people are taken captive, because the battle is His (1 Chronicles 5:21-22)
- Many livestock are seized, because the battle is His (1 Chronicles 5:21-22)
- The land is occupied until the exile, because the battle was His (1 Chronicles 5:22)
- He stirs up the spirits of enemy kings (1 Chronicles 5:26)
- He causes enemy kings to take the unfaithful into exile (1 Chronicles 5:25-26)
- Those who are unfaithful to Him He puts to death (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
- Those who do not keep His word He puts to death (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
- Those who consult mediums for guidance and do not inquire of Him He puts to death (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
- He turns over kingdoms from those He had put to death to those whom He chooses (1 Chronicles 10:14)
- He provides shepherds for His people (1 Chronicles 11:2)
- He provides rulers for His people (1 Chronicles 11:2)
- His servant is anointed king, just as He had promised (1 Chronicles 11:3)
- He makes people powerful (1 Chronicles 11:9)
- Those whom He is with are powerful (1 Chronicles 11:9)
- Those whom He is with become more and more powerful (1 Chronicles 11:9)
- He extends the kingship of those He has chosen over the whole land (1 Chronicles 11:10)
- He extends the kingship of those He has chosen over the whole land, as He had promised (1 Chronicles 11:10)
- His army is great (1 Chronicles 12:22)
- His anger burns against those who put their hands on His ark (1 Chronicles 13:10)
- He strikes down those who put their hands on His ark (1 Chronicles 13:10)
- His wrath breaks out against those who put their hands on His ark (1 Chronicles 13:10-11)
- He blesses those who care for His ark (1 Chronicles 13:14)
- He blesses all that those who care for His ark have (1 Chronicles 13:14)
- He establishes His servant as king over Israel (1 Chronicles 14:2)
- He breaks out in anger because the Levites did not bring up His ark (1 Chronicles 15:13)
- He breaks out in anger because His people did not inquire of Him about how to move the ark in the prescribed way (1 Chronicles 15:13)
- He helps the Levites who carry His ark (1 Chronicles 15:27)
- His Name is to be proclaimed (1 Chronicles 16:8)
- His acts are wonderful (1 Chronicles 16:9)
- His Holy Name is to be gloried in (1 Chronicles 16:10)
- He is Strong (1 Chronicles 16:11)
- He does wonders (1 Chronicles 16:12)
- He does miracles (1 Chronicles 16:12)
- He pronounces judgments (1 Chronicles 16:12)
- His judgments are in all the earth (1 Chronicles 16:14)
- He remembers His covenant forever (1 Chronicles 16:15)
- He remembers the promise He made for a thousand generations (1 Chronicles 16:15)
- He confirms His covenant as a decree (1 Chronicles 16:16-17)
- He confirms the oath He swore as a decree (1 Chronicles 16:16-17)
- He confirms His covenant as everlasting (1 Chronicles 16:16-17)
- He confirms the oath He swore as an everlasting covenant (1 Chronicles 16:16-17)
- He allowed no one to oppress His people (1 Chronicles 16:19-21)
- For His people's sake, He rebuked kings (1 Chronicles 16:19-21)
- He did not allow His anointed ones to be touched (1 Chronicles 16:19-22)
- He did not allow His prophets to be harmed (1 Chronicles 16:19-22)
- His salvation is to be proclaimed (1 Chronicles 16:23)
- His Glory is to be declared among the nations (1 Chronicles 16:24)
- His marvelous deeds are to be declared among all peoples (1 Chronicles 16:24)
- He is most worthy of praise (1 Chronicles 16:25)
- He is to be feared above all gods (1 Chronicles 16:25)
- He made the heavens (1 Chronicles 16:26)
- Splendor is before Him (1 Chronicles 16:27)
- Majesty is before Him (1 Chronicles 16:27)
- Strength is His dwelling place (1 Chronicles 16:27)
- Joy is His dwelling place (1 Chronicles 16:27)
- He is the Lord of Glory and Strength (1 Chronicles 16:28)
- He is to be worshiped in the splendor of His Holiness (1 Chronicles 16:29)
- The earth ought to tremble before Him (1 Chronicles 16:30)
- He has firmly established the world; it cannot be moved (1 Chronicles 16:30)
- He reigns (1 Chronicles 16:31)
- He comes to judge the earth (1 Chronicles 16:33)
Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him:
(Take the challenge with us!)
<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>Counting in community: