To combat my own sour mood, I’ve been recalling some reasons to be optimistic. One particular story inspires my gratitude. In the middle of this story, some women at work asked me why I was so down, I told them that I didn’t have the Romans 8:28 story yet, and I’d rather wait to share when I found the good ending. I sure found that good ending, but it took a year and a half.
Four and a half years ago, what I believed to be chaos started.

We were supposed to buy a larger house (it was almost guaranteed that we would get the house at a great discount), so we put the majority of our furniture, most of our clothes, family pictures from the wall, and our dishes in storage to stage and sell our house. Though the house that we were going o buy had been on the market for a year and a half with no one else interested, it received its first offer the night before ours. So, even though we didn’t get the house, we had put all of the time and expense into storing so much of our stuff.

My husband called me at work and told me that he was standing in ankle deep water in the kitchen. Both cars were broken. While I was sitting in the waiting room with my mother while my father had colon surgery, I was enumerating all the things that were piling up that we couldn’t pay for. I listed that I had some sort of health issues and I couldn’t afford to go find out what it was. She asked, “Are you pregnant?” I said, “That’s highly improbable. I’ve tested negative and I haven’t exhibited the good health to make that possible.”

After my dad was out of surgery, I went home and sat in my living room next to my refrigerator and my stove (they were in there because the kitchen had to be gutted). I opened up the list of financial burdens that I had made. I asked the Lord to take away this burden list. I could at least take solace in the fact that we had a lot of undamaged furniture that was still in storage.

The next Sunday (Easter morning), I used the other pregnancy test that came in the two pack. I used it with the intention of talking to the midwives (preferable to drs) the next day and telling them, “See? I took another test. Since it’s negative, can you determine what is wrong with me?” It was positive. As a side note, at church that morning, we told my husbands’ family one by one as they sat down for the service that someone on the pew was pregnant. The rest of the row was men. We followed each person’s eyes all the way down the row and back up before they settled on me.

A couple of weeks later, I told my husband that I couldn’t scrub spots off of the linoleum on the bathroom floor. Maybe the spots were underneath. The restoration (pre-reconstruction) crew was finishing up the last little bit of work drying out the kitchen. They came back to assess the bathrooms. Long story short, both bathrooms had to be gutted. There was mold from pipes that had leaked. Shortly after revealing the mold I was a pregnant woman with a 104 fever. We had to stay at my parents’ house and at my in-laws’ house because our insurance company said that our house was perfectly livable (no kitchen, no bathrooms, toxic mold) and we should just put a porta-potty in the front yard. That sounds reasonable for a pregnant woman and a potty trainer, right?

The insurance adjuster was back. We were now on a first name basis.

I had to put a new transmission in my car.

By summer, we missed having our own home and our own space. We had worn holes in all of the welcome mats. We tried to stay at our own house. We left the made a nightly trip to Target or Wal-mart or Publix to get a little something to eat, and use the restrooms. Our son (then 3) would run outside yelling “potty!” no matter where we were. I apologized for him several times insisting that he was not accustomed to running water.

Our insurance company and our reconstruction company had a verbal disagreement (understatement). So, the construction company left our home (unknown to us because we had gone back to living with family) with the floor missing from the master bathroom for a week. A family of rats moved in during our absence.

We were now coming up on Thanksgiving and I was great with child. We finally settled with the reconstruction company. Our house was reassembled. Then, we started working with pest control to remove the rats. Between us and the pest control, we caught 5 of the 6 rats. After our daughter was born, I heard scurrying in the kitchen. I turned on the light just in time to see the tip of a nasty little tail run behind the dishwasher where there was apparently a hole that never was completely sealed. Then, I heard it scream as it happened upon the neighbor’s cat that was waiting for it. It was the most repulsive and pleasing sound! I love that cat! The next morning, we sealed that hole and never had that problem again.

We spent the next several months trying to dig out of the financial hole that the reconstruction had created. I told my mother on the phone that I had prayed about it and I had a peace about the house. I said that the Lord said that there was going to be something that was unexpected, but all-encompassing—something that we never would have seen coming.

On June 2, 2008, I finally had a chance to return an item to a friend who lives close to where I work. I couldn’t meet my husband to pass off the kids before work, so my mother agreed to watch them. After work, I got a frantic call from my husband. “There’s been a fire. Please come quickly.”

There were several fire trucks and neighbors piled in the yard. My husband fell asleep while writing a paper. He didn’t intend to fall asleep, so he was in the living room away from the fire instead of in the bedroom next to it. He woke up to the sound of the master bathroom’s mirror exploding. He gathered picture albums and the box with birth certificates and passports and ran out of the house.

My husband didn’t have to get the children because it just so happened that they were at my mother’s house. He wouldn’t have been able to get them.

We saw the fire start again three more times. The house was a total loss. The Red Cross was called into help. They were phenomenal.

In the aftermath, the insurance adjuster said, “The fire trashed your house. It’s a good thing that I have all of these pictures from when your house flooded. I can recommend that you get the total value of your policy.” Bless that wretched flood!

The insurance company who had been so unpleasant during the flood was merely tired of us and didn’t question anything.

We put in an offer and had it accepted for our new home that was a brand new foreclosure hours before it was on the market. The realtor said that our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. When we moved in, we unloaded our undamaged furniture and put the family photos on the walls. Between the generosity of our church, the school district where my husband works and our storage unit, all of our needs were met.

I was confused, but God was omniscient. I was powerless, but God was omnipotent. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

In the last three years, when I’ve developed a bad attitude or tried to usurp the control over my life again, He reminds me, “Haven’t you figured out that I can take everything from you and still take better care of you than you can by yourself? You’re as foolish as the children of Israel who had the audacity to complain and worry even after I parted the Red Sea!”