In April we had one of those Texas thunderstorms that grew into much more. It was a situation where, earlier in the evening, Jeremy and I were standing at the barn and facing the storms coming in, but the wind was coming in from behind us as if to take our legs out from under us as it sucked back into the storm. He looked at me and said, “It’s going to be a rough evening.”
So, we did the prudent thing, and we prepared. Steers were fed and barn was closed. Loose objects around the house were secured. We even backed the vehicles into the carport so that if hail came, the trunk of my car and bed of his truck would take the brunt of it. We opened our 5+ weather apps (I LOVE weather), and then we went on our merry way. As things intensified that night, we ended up with the pets in the house with us while we watched alerts and warnings roll across our screens. You know, tracks and warnings like this:
Now, there was an hour for it to die out and become nothing, so we went along with our evening. Then the hail hit. But it came from the wrong direction; it doesn’t hail from the east, it hails from the west. This hail was coming from the east, and it was straightline. This meant that not only was it hitting windows that should be protected by our 9 foot porch cover, but also that the vehicles we had so carefully backed in under the carport were getting hit on the hoods. Jer looked at me and said, “I can do it,” and ran out to reposition them.
Shortly after, the alerts for severe weather sounded on our phones, so my sweet husband opened the front windows to watch and listen for the tornado. I know, I know; I was shaking my head, too. Not one to get too worried about these matters, I did decide it was, again, prudent to move the kids out of their beds where they were sleeping into the bathroom which is our shelter for storms (when we built the house, we really didn’t think through the interior room, and the only ones we have are our pantry (hello flying canned goods and small appliances) and a small closet in my photography studio (hello small, pointy props and light stands).
I was texting a friend who is 3 miles to the west of us, and things got a little real when she said she felt the suction in her house of the air pressure changing; I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and know that’s a pretty bad sign. Simultaneously Jer’s and my phones started lighting up with text messages, “Are you okay?” “Are you in shelter?” “Please let us know you are okay.” “We will come help with any repairs you need.” “The news just reported a tornado in Nemo.” Oh. Now, I’ve heard also that pets are great indicators of what is happening, and this was the situation Howdy the weimaraner had taken on the the matter. My friend’s response was both humorous and encouraging.
We waited out the craziness as the storm approached from the west, but the hail and rain continued, often in straightline fashion, from the east. The battering of hail on the roof indicated we were under heavy attack. And then it all lightened up, and we came out to look around. Darkness was heavy, so we mopped up the puddles of rain that had seeped through the doors and decided that morning light would give us the best indication of what happened. We weren’t leaking through any ceilings, and that was a point for which to be thankful and one which meant I could go to sleep.
The next morning we discovered the outdoor grill to have been tossed into the yard from the porch where it had rested, Jer’s tailgate had blown closed (we left it open to avoid hail damage), and some nice divots had appeared on my car. No windows were broken. The wooden trim on the house was dinged in some places, but, overall, we were in good shape. We made the calls to the insurance adjusters and thanked the Lord for protection.
When the storm reports were released, it was fascinating to look at the trail of the tornado (which did some major damage to the east of us after it, according to some of the tracking maps, passed right over us).
I took some thoughts away from that experience. I had the opportunity to serve in Granbury after the tornado that did some major damage in 2013. I will admit that some gruesome images passed through my mind as those texts and alerts started passing over my phone. I realized I have a lot of love for and pride in my home and the contents of my home. But, in those moments of alerts and warnings, my heart and mind started prioritizing the important and the unimportant. To the bathroom, I took my family. I prayed with and encouraged a friend down the road via our phones. I committed to not worrying about the house and vehicles because they were ‘just things’ that could be repaired and replaced.
As I think back to April and use some lessons from that night to reflect on today, I have to ask myself (as you should maybe ask yourself):
- Where is my love placed today?
- What are my priorities?
- What do I need to ask the Lord to shelter me from today?
- What storm is brewing around you, and how can you have faith in the boat?