Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sifted But Not Forsaken!

As I was looking back through pictures of the last 8 months, I realized what a truly crazy season it has been for our family. 
March 14, 2017 started out a normal homeschool day that turned into a nightmare when the heat lamp we had over our baby chicks got knocked over. By the time I realized what was going on, it was too late. Smoke was too thick to try to put out the fire and I had to run out with the kids. We were barefoot with just the clothes on our backs. I managed to grab my purse on the way out the door. Just so thankful I was able to get everyone out in time. I hope to have time to blog my journal that I wrote about this day. God is good. He was with us during these dark hours. 

Friends and family worked hard to get us set up in one bay of Michael's shop and we borrowed a friend's travel trailer. We had an outhouse for months. So many people donated essentials to us. God showed us His provision by the generosity of many family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers.

Rina's play area in the shop. We homeschooled, cooked, ate and hung out in the shop. Let's just say the shop was cold when it was cold and hot when it was hot. So blessed to have been able to camp on our property and be able to take care of our animals. It was quite an adventure!

 The kids got to take a few baths in the canner kettle before we had a way to heat water in the trailer.
 In the meantime we worked hard at the painful, depressing task of inventorying all of our stuff that was lost in the fire. Some rooms were completely destroyed and we had to do it all by memory. God was good. He gave us some miracle saves on a few important items, or what I call "God Smiles" that I will share in other post.
We needed to give back our friends' trailer. Our insurance paid for us to buy a trailer. Again, friends stepped in and helped us find a trailer that fit our needs for a fantastic price. It is a toy hauler and we'll be able to use it for years to come. It is such a blessing and I can't wait to actually camp, camp in it next year. 

 We were able to take longer showers and have hot water to do the dishes. I mostly did them using the outdoor shower during the summer. Such a blessing!
 I learned how to live with sheep, since we were camping in their pasture. Dixie became part of our family. I'd have to reach over her to do the laundry in my outdoor washing machine.
 She'd even insist I share my coffee with her in the quiet of the mornings when I would sit on my bench swing and pray and do bible study before the kids got up.
We always had to keep the doors shut to the trailer, shop and outhouse as the sheep would always be wanting to come in. I'll do an "Adventures of Dixie" post another time. She gave me a lot of material to work with this summer!
 And then we started building our new house. We were blessed with an amazing contractor, Daniel Jacobson. He worked so hard for us. Got the main build of the house done in about a month and a half. We decided to do much of the finish work ourselves to save money. God is so good. He moved us to the front of the line, over and over with contractors, inspectors, ect... God allowed this house to be finished enough for us to move in before Nov 1st. Four and a half months from breaking ground to living in it. Crazy, huh? But God knew our needs and provided an army of people to help us along the way.
 This was the house we had expected to build after most of the kids were out of the house. God decide that wasn't a good plan. I know He sped up our timeline to match His.
 We are going to make so many memories in this house before our children are grown and gone. Oh my, are these days fleeting! The adventure will continue. We are determined to use this beautiful home God has given for His glory. We can't wait to use it to bless others through hospitality. I look forward to new memories that will be made in this house. It is a balm to our hearts and we can't help but remember all the special things we lost. But they truly are just things. We have a new perspective on life because of this experience. We can appreciate so much more now.
Here's the family taking a little ice cream break this summer after working hard in the extreme heat to paint the house. Our kids have been amazing through all of this and have embraced the adventure of the situation. We're so proud of them! We pray God will use this is their lives and bring them a new perspective that they will remember always. We're victors not victims!

So now we are living in our new house, have sheets for doors, we've got kids homeschooling in the bathtub (just for fun), and I'm doing dishes in the shower as I wait for the plumber to come one more time to get my kitchen fully functioning. We're still very much in the middle of our adventure with lots more to come! It's been tough and will continue to be tough, but we've gained so much in our relationships with others who've taken the time to help us and also with each other. We've grown closer through this and have learned to truly lean on the Lord and wait with bated breath for His provision. It ALWAYS comes! He did not forsake us, even when He said no. It was always for our good. He loves us and wanted us to grow and be sifted through this trial. We won't always get it right. We'll probably panic when more trials come our way, but hopefully we can look back on this experience and be reminded that God truly does have our best interests at heart despite the pain and inconvenience He has allowed in our lives. We hope our story can encourage others who might be going through a difficult time as well. We trust not one tear will be wasted from this trial. I will try to be doing catch up posts when I have a chance because I want to make a blog book. We'll see what happens. I'm so glad I started blogging all those years ago because all of my scrapbooks were lost in the fire. At least I have some years chronicled.  Praise God through whom all blessings flow!

God Bless,


Dorene said...

I just love you, my sweet friend! <3

Kim Mentgen said...

Thank you for sharing your story! Love and hugs!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Ditto 😍

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Thanks for all the items you donated that we use on a daily basis!

Becky L. said...

I was so happy to see your post this morning as I was checking my blog! So wonderful to hear from you again and see all the beautiful provisions God has blessed you with! So thankful for amazing friends to come to your aid. I've prayed often for you and was just thinking about you yesterday, Jackie! Then here's your latest post. I have your address written down that I found in the news article when the fire happened. Didn't know for sure where you were and now want to send an applicable gift card....because I care. You can email me at snapperbeck at gmail dot com to update me of your needs, etc. Hugs and blessings!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Aww, you are so sweet, Becky! Thanks so much for your prayers on our behalf 😍

Francesca Johnston said...

Hi Jackie! I was just thinking of you and that I hadn't seen a blog from you in a while. I am so shocked to read this! I'm sure I speak for many of us that you have never met. You have helped us so much with your blogs. I would love to give back to you and help out your beautiful family. Please post a link or a P.O.Box address so we can donate some monies towards the rebuilding of your home. God's Blessings <3 Love, Francesca

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Thank you, Francesca for your sweet words of encouragement! It’s been quite a journey for sure, but God truly has used this trial for His good and ours in so many ways. A friend started this fund for us if you are interested in helping out but please don’t feel like you have to. Only as the Spirit leads 😍 God bless you and your caring heart ❤️

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, I have been praying for your family.

God bless you all


Kim @ Homesteader's Heart said...

Wow!! I can't even imagine. So glad you all are safe and on the upswing of this "adventure". We tend to really see Jesus in the midst of these trials. Your attitude is wonderful and I'm sure people are watching and seeing Jesus in you as well.

magnoliasntea said...

I had no idea and am so sorry you lost your home to a fire. I will say, though, you have shown that your attitude is truly that of a Christian.

Camille said...

My precious friend....I have just caught up on you here. What a blessing to read of God's provisions and grace in the midst of the trials you have faced in this last year. How good and gracious He is! You are right....He is never late. And, He always does what is best. How wonderful it is to rest our hearts in his sovereignty. It is sweet to see evidence of increased faith and trust in Him through your words here. May you all be blessed as you serve Him in your new home. I am so happy for you and your family that your dream home has come to you *early*. Much Love and Hugs, Camille


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