The week of April 10, 2011 will definitely be a week to remember! For many in and around my town of Early, Iowa it was a week of new beginnings after several tornadoes ripped through the area Saturday, April 9. For me, this week renewed my commitment to living life with an intentional focus on God, family and the blessings laid out for me each day.
John 10:10 says "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full!" To The Full! What awesome words! Jesus wants nothing more than for His children to have life to the full - beautiful!
The tornado that roared through Early did so when my husband and I were out of town. We had attended my oldest daughter's prom grand march and then went out to dinner with some friends. Our younger daughter had not been feeling well so she had stayed home. Yes, you guessed it....she was home by herself when the storm moved through. By the time we realized what was going on and how intense and close the storm was to our home, it was too late. In the aftermath, we raced home, being detoured several times due to debris and power lines over the roads. The entire time, I stayed on the phone with our sweet Molly, who was in the basement with our dog, Howie, in the dark. The storm had, of course, caused wide-spread power outages. When we finally reached our home, we were relieved to find it standing and whole. Downed trees and branches seemed to be the extent of the damage on our acreage. Entering the house and finding Molly, I felt as if I might never let her go. She was safe and all was well with the world.
The towns of Early, Nemaha, Varina, Mapleton and surrounding communities did not fare so well. Hundreds lost homes, businesses and possessions. However, no lives were lost and for that we are eternally thankful! Today, I heard of tornadoes and storms in Oklahoma and Arkansas that took several lives and it makes me pause - why? We will never know this side of heaven....we just need to remember that God is a loving God and He is good. In all things, there is a purpose.
Yesterday, I celebrated six months of being cancer-free! Has it only been six months? On the other hand, am I sure it hasn't been six YEARS? Every day has been a gift - that sounds cliche', doesn't it? Well, it's how I feel. Right now, I am immersed in Erin's graduation party plans and preparations for college. I don't take time spent with her or my husband or my other daughter for granted. Even time spent together cleaning up after the storm was special.
Living life to the full. What does that mean to me? It means starting my day with God and His word. It means dinner around the kitchen table with my husband and two girls. It means finishing a four-mile run for the first time in months! It means a glass of wine with my best friend. It means twice-weekly (at least) phone calls with my mom. It means truly enjoying food - the preparation, the presentation and the taste of it! Most of all, a full life means thanking God without ceasing and seeking His face always.