It is hard to update and explain because so much is happening, and I feel like I could write about it for days, but the first thing I need to express is just that I’m being stretched. I know the stretching is for my good, and I’m proud of how we are expanding to overcome and coping with all of the changes and challenges of the past month, and we are so grateful for the people who have surrounded us with love and support. I really do trust that we will be fine eventually, but I still would love to know what is next. So I’m stretched. Stretched in not knowing, stretched in learning to receive, stretched in balancing gratitude with healing.
We have now lived in the beautiful treehouse (as Lucy has named it) for a week, and let me tell you, we love this place. It is an apartment in the upstairs of a metal barn on 10 acres in Northwest Houston owned by very generous friends who took us in with love. It is fully furnished, and although it isn’t a longterm solution for us, it is an incredibly generous short term solution that allows us to live together with privacy. I don’t think I could pick a better place for us to heal and rest and decide what is next. It is a bit of a drive to the girls’ school, but we don’t mind it. The girls are staying in a room right next to us, which has been helpful as nightmares are still a concern (for all of us, really, but for Grace and Lucy most of all). Nearness to the kids is a gift right now.
Along with nightmares, we all continue to be a little jumpy and easily startled, and each of us is processing in our own way. Lucy constantly wants to play hurricane, I’m usually Harvey, she’s Irma. I know this is normal to play through it, but we are watching all of the girls carefully to help them navigate the effects of the storm. It’s hard for me as an adult to process all that’s happened, I can’t imagine Lucy’s little 4 year old mind. So we are working to communicate and give each other grace.
As we have started to look ahead, we have realized how different we all are in the way we view change. Rebekah and I, the adventurers, pretty quickly started dreaming about what is next, maybe moving somewhere, enamored with the freedom of options. Justin and Grace, the cautious ones, immediately clung to every ounce of stability. They needed some things in our lives to be the same and to steady us. I had to realize, as the parent of a special needs child, that I needed to listen to Grace when she expresses concern about the future.
We don’t talk about this publicly very often, but our sweet girl has overcome so much. We moved to Katy on the advice of her psychologist and neurologist, because Katy ISD is one of the best districts in the city for special needs children, and that decision has paid off. Grace is extremely smart and high functioning, and most people wouldn’t even realize she has special challenges, but in her last school environment she did not do as well. Now, my child is thriving in school, not only excelling in academics but socially as she builds precious friendships. Within weeks we saw a marked change in every aspect of her life, affirming our decision. So when we had to move out of our home after it flooded, and we started discussing possibly moving districts or even schools within the district, it was incredibly stressful for her. At first, I did what every parent does, I gave her thoughts the weight of a child’s in adult decisions. But Justin and I quickly read the fear under her words, and we realized we are seeing our daughter succeed in ways we have rarely seen in her life. So continuing to support her is incredibly important to us. After thought and prayer, we decided that getting her back to her classroom and her friends and giving her stability was our top priority. This house was an immediate gift in that direction, as was the response of our school district after Harvey. Twelve thousand Katy ISD students have been immediately affected by the flood, many of those displaced. The district has worked hard to accommodate us even though we now live far away. The state has officially declared our family homeless, which was humbling and super weird to have happen, but it allows our kids some benefits like school stability and extra support that are necessary to us right now. Wherever we live, Grace has a place in that classroom, and for that we are really grateful.
We are working hard to find a permanent place to live close to, but on higher ground than, our damaged home. Because of the number of homes flooded in Katy, the rental market is insane. After really discouraging web searches, Justin looked at 4 homes in one evening, all were immediately spoken for, unsuitable, or quickly raised prices to a point where we could not afford them. When you have so many damaged homes, everything gets snatched up really quickly, and then there are the people who use the natural disaster to turn an unreasonable profit, and we won’t be a part of that. Our amazing real estate agent is helping us with options either to buy or to rent, but that market is suddenly very challenging. If you are the praying type, we could use it.
But despite the challenges, we are persisting in every attempt to take our girls back home to Katy as quickly as possible. As soon as we have updates on that front, I will write again. But for now, we are healing and growing in this beautiful peaceful treehouse. God is good to us. I feel His peace and provision in ways I didn’t imagine possible. People have been remarkably kind and generous, I can’t tell you how loved and supported we feel. The Church is doing what the church does best, loving on hurting people. It makes me proud and teary and humbled, at a time when I needed to see it, honestly.
For months, I have been learning about daily bread. Each day, I get what I need. I’m trying to learn to not worry about tomorrow or next week or next year, but to be grateful for today’s provision. This entire experience has been the culmination of that lesson. What do you do when you can’t do anything but trust? You trust.
Nichole Nordeman, one of my favorite artists, put out an album right before Harvey came through and upended our world, and I have clung to it these past few weeks. Right now the anthem of this part of the journey is Hush Hush, and every word of it rings true for where we are.
“One cup of water at a time, ’til you remember you are mine. I’ll love you back together.”
I don’t need to have the answers, but I know they will come in time. In the meantime, I feel loved and safe, and I recognize how miraculous it is even to feel this way. I’m grateful. Thank you for reading our story, and for loving us through it. YOU are a big part of why this isn’t a negative experience for us, and we are thankful for you.