This year’s first sermon series was about weathering the storms in our lives. One of the elements that resonated deeply with me is how we are not meant to handle these storms alone. God wants us to lean on him and each other in order to draw strength and persevere. We know this intellectually, but it is hard to completely understand its application in our lives until you are in the midst of your own storm.

For us, the storm was literal when our single-story ranch style home in Meyerland flooded with Hurricane Harvey. St. Luke’s and The Story showed up for us in ways we will never forget. Pastor Linda Christians called us to check on our safety and our needs before the water had even receded and we were still sheltering on the second story of our neighbor’s home. People we teach Sunday School with were the first to arrive to help pack and begin the mucking process. Pastor Geovanna Huffman messaged me and sent The Story volunteers over in droves to cut sheet rock, sanitize belongings, and rip out floors. St. Luke’s Children’s Ministries opened their doors to provide free, safe childcare for our three children, for other flooded families, and volunteers. My Bible Study class provided us and my parents, who we are living with, with six-weeks of meals. We have also received meals, cards, kind words, prayers, and gift cards from other members who have heard our story. When I write out all we have received, it is completely overwhelming.

We have wrestled with how to accept all of these gifts. Our whole recovery process can be viewed as a lesson in how to receive God’s love. We didn’t do anything to deserve it (other than being St. Luke’s members and flooding), we didn’t earn it by any of our deeds, and it is not expected to be returned. It is difficult for us to wrap our heads around something that is not based on merit, but simply given to you, no strings attached. I know that we would not be weeks away from moving back home without all of the love and support from St. Luke’s.

Before the walls were closed up in our home, we adorned the studs with well wishes and scripture. A friend on Facebook commented, “But you won’t be able to see them!” To which I responded, “We know they are there.” When I look around our home now, I can almost forget the water. What I see is how God showed up for us in the midst of our storm through this army of people who lifted us up and moved us forward when the tasks seemed endless. We might not have streams of people coming in and out of our home anymore, but we know they were there. God was there.

The floodwater dried up, but it left a wellspring of gratitude that I hope never stops flowing. Thank you, St. Luke’s.