Dear friends, personal email here…
I sent out an email last night to many saying we were likely going to be evacuating from the Southern California fires, the second time in 4 years, the last time being the "worst fires in the history" of California –in 2003. The people in charge have called this a "de ja vu" of the 2003 fires, only with Santa Ana winds MUCH, MUCH worse. Who could have thought they could be any worse?
I stayed up the entire night listening to the radio and cutting little Hope Endures cards. Bagging little Hope Endures pins and magnets. And before I left today I threw in one of our new tote bags that I absolutely LOVE… that says– you guessed it — "Hope Endures."
But I didn’t feel joyful. I felt a bit resentful. Was God going to test my proclamation that HOPE CAN ALWAYS ENDURE?
By 5 a.m. I woke up my husband, who was lightly sleeping with the radio on and I said, "We have to pack the car. It’s getting close." By 7 a.m. a neighbor who works for the city reported back that the smoke on the hill above us was getting close and to "GO! GO, NOW! GET OUT!" And then, as we all started walking towards our doors, biting our bottom lip to stop any tears he yelled out, "It’s an adventure."
I am beyond spoiled. While people are gathered at Qualcomm Stadium (for the Chargers football) I am sitting comfortably at a Residence Inn. I woke up my sister at 5 a.m. –she works as a manager for Mariott–and said, "Is there anything? Can you find me anything?" She stumbled downstairs and coherently made us a reservation in… La Jolla. So here I sit, in one of the vacation destinations of the world. We aren’t really supposed to be outside and it’s hard to get away from the TV. I just called my house for the 2nd time today and the answering machine picked up, which means the house is still stading. Over 50 homes in Poway (our little "city in the country") have been lost.
Over 300 homes just up the street are gone. It brings back an awful feeling of the lost homes in 2003. It was like a war zone with nothing but chimney’s standing an occasional perfectly untouched BBQ or Play House.
Your outpouring of thoughts and prayers strengthen me. We try to think "best case scenario–worse case scenario…" Either way God is in charge. It’s out of our hands.
But honestly… I am scared. Because I feel like this could be a perfectly acceptable way for God to grab ahold of my blessed life and put it to the test. "Does your hope REALLY ENDURE, Lisa? Could you go to the Joni and Friends conference and stand there and say, ‘God is good and faithful and hope will always endure? Prove it!" Not that God is mean, but He desires to see us grow spiritually and lately I feel like I’ve been the slacker disciple.
For example, I skipped church yesterday. I was so sore, tired, and we had a lot to do to get ready for the conference and then… Legoland in the afternoon. (Yes, it was a sin, I know….but I’d promised my kid and I couldn’t do both church and Legoland and we couldn’t do Legoland Trick-or- Treat the next week because he is going to be with me helping with my ministry at the conference. He wants to "pass out free pens" and "talk to more people in wheelchairs" — he said in his own words.)
He watched the Joni and Friends new TV show with me just Friday and said, "There’s Joni! There’s where I ran! There’s your meeting!" He saw Joni talking to Nick Vujicic was born without arms or legs and said, "why did God do that?" So I skipped church… but we were still doing ministry, right?
So anyway, the TV was on Dr. David Jeremiah preaching about struggles and then I went in the other room and I hear a muppet yelling "Today’s word of the day is STRUGGLE!" I thought, hey, cool, Dr. Jeremiah has a kid’s thing. But I checked the TV and since we were Tivo-ing Sesame Street it had turned to that channel. In all my years of watching Sesame Street I don’t ever remember the word of the day being STRUGGLE. The word of the day is something like "weather" or "feelings."
So, thank you my dear friends, for your journey through this all with me, even the ramblings of a woman who has not slept in 40 hours. I pray our home and the RM office will be safe… But I pray regardless I will pass the test that I can always tell people, "Yes, Hope always endures."