Over the holidays this year, I thought a lot about my mom and how she has shaped the person I am – strong and driven, yet looking at the human side of things and knowing people matter more than things! I was going to write about something else this week but God laid this story on my heart to share with you all. Some of you know this story from when it happened!
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Birds in general have always been special to my mom. When she gave her life to the Lord many years ago, she noticed a bird sitting very close to her window watching her. For her, that was her ‘rainbow’ or remembrance that God was very near and very real to her. Her favorite figurine was two red cardinals on a branch. When my mom passed away in 2010, I was fortunate to have received that figurine along with her story, written in her own handwriting, about that day when a little bird made such an impression on her.
When I returned from her funeral and was unpacking, I accidently dropped the figurine of the red cardinals and it broke in several pieces. Even though broken, I lovingly took the pieces to my kitchen counter and started super gluing each piece I could find back on. What I didn’t realize until later, was that the super glue was running down onto the counter and so the cardinals were now glued to my counter top. I shook my head and actually smiled, thinking that mom wanted me also to be reminded often how God had sent that precious little bird to watch over here and now, even with her gone, she was watching over me.When Christmas came that year, I put some angel hair around them.
Our home was part of the Minot 2011 flood. Prior to the last day before the siren sounded, I had tried chiseling the little birds off of the counter top, I tried a super adhesive remover from the ER at the hospital, I tried everything I could think of short of cutting up the counter top. As the days wore on to weeks, I did think of those precious little birds and wondered how they could possibly survive, not only with the water but also the things that were likely floating around inside the house as we did not remove everything.
The house sat in water 5 feet up on the main floor, in 90 degree heat, for at least 3 weeks before we were allowed to go back to the house and start clean up. The destruction was horrible with even a broken window from the force of the surging water. As I looked in the open door (no need to have locked the house as the doors were off the jams!) I saw the laminate counter top had let loose from the cupboard and had started to slide down the back of the cupboard – with the fragile figurine of the cardinals still intact!
I knew that if they made it – I would too and life, somehow, would be OK – maybe even better than prior to the flood. I knew that through the flood, I was not alone as God was there feeling my pain and my mom was still reminding me I was strong like her and could get through this.
The demolition crew tried to remove the figurine from the laminate but it hung on tight! The carefully took the whole laminate section outside and laid it on top of their pickup hood. My husband also went over and tried to remove them but they were not to be budged. Through tears, I also laid my hand on them and then, they only lifted right upon my touch. I carried them fully of mud with no way to wash them and put them in my car. As I walked back to the den, mold was prevalent but still, holding tight to the wall was a vinyl saying of “The best things in life aren’t things” which was pretty inspirational after losing many many things and not knowing where my other things would go!
The cardinals washed up well and only had a few chips of paint that came off. They sat on the sink in our apartment and now sit on my sink in our condo reminding me of God’s presence – even in the flood waters. So, is my life better post flood?
A few months after the flood is when I decided to leave my high pressure, lots of hours job and opt for less stress and more time for writing and teaching piano. A few months after that is when we purchased a lot and built our cabin in the woods by the lake (for weekends)! I am truly happier now, and more focused on what matters in life.