The day after Christmas, our beloved little town was hit by a tornado. Even as I write this, I can hardly believe it. Being raised in Texas almost my entire life, tornadoes aren’t new to me. As a child, we “took cover” in the bathroom many times, but I have never seen the destruction first hand like I see around my town.
I will spare you the play by play of our evening, but I will tell you that it is only by God’s grace our home and family were spared. Taylor saw the tornado from our front door. Apparently, tornadoes turn green before they hit. We “took cover” immediately.
Mark was out shopping for my birthday when the the sirens went off. While driving home, he saw the tornado coming across the highway. It was dark so it was difficult to see until the tornado was close. He knew something was wrong when cars started driving towards him down the wrong side of the highway trying to escape the tornado. He knew he wouldn’t make it home so he had to take cover under a bridge. (Not a safe place…but that was all he had.) He watched the tornado pass by and saw transformers explode. Only by God’s grace, did it miss him. If you saw where he “took cover” and where the destruction of the tornado, you would see that the tornado barely missed him.
Being an ICU nurse, Taylor was called in to work that evening. We drove her because we didn’t know if the roads were safe. A normal 15 minute drive to her hospital took 1 1/2 hours. As we drove through the streets (most of which the police had already shut down) I couldn’t believe my eyes. So much devastation. It looked like a war zone.
Our power was off most of the night, but I couldn’t complain. We had each other and our home while so much of Rowlett lay in piles. (If you want to see the video of our town, here is a video.)
My birthday was the following day. Normally, we would have a big celebration. Birthdays are a big deal around here….but honestly I just couldn’t do anything. My heart was broken for our community. I felt guilty and helpless. We wanted to serve our town, but the roads were shut down and unless you know someone, you couldn’t go into the damaged area. I also had an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. All day long, I would just thank the Lord for His mercy. Thankful that He brought Mark home safely. Thankful for family and friends that reached out to see if we were safe. Thankful for the emergency responders who were up all night in the rain. Thankful that I have been given another birthday to celebrate. This birthday will be one I will never forget, and I don’t want to. I want to remember that everything is a gift and in an instant it can be gone.