Refined by Fire 🔥 actually a Flood! 🌊

Refined by Fire 🔥 actually a Flood! 🌊

Have you heard of the saying, "when it rains, it pours"? Or what about "good things come to those who wait"? While it may not sound like those two phrases go together, a gardener's flower bed in spring, or a farmer's harvest before fall, is proof that it does.

But what happens when we face trials in our lives like Job? Do we believe it then? Do we call upon a heavenly host of intercessors like he did? We may see the rain as an obstacle but we never fast forward to the benefit that rainy day may bring. Like many, I'm guilty of being consumed by pain & inconvenience in the midst of the trial, that I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

2017 was a trying time for our family with back to back upsets. We were barely treading to keep our head above water. No pun intended that's for sure! Just two days before preparing for a hurricane we experienced a devastating house flood that took us by surprise. We were away all day and came home to what sounded like rain inside. In a moment of confusion I remember popping my head back outside the garage door I entered to see if it was raining outdoors. Unfortunately my driveway was dry and my kitchen and dining room looked like the scene from the 1995 original version of the movie Jumanji. The walls were peeling paint, expanded and swelling while water poured from a broken water pipe above in our bathroom. At that point I should have climbed on the chandelier like Sarah Whittle and wait for the rhino stampede. 

8 hours later and nothing was salvageable. Did I mention this was 2 days before a hurricane was suppose to hit? Oh and I forgot to mention that we had been dealing with a leaking roof just the week before. When it rains it pours. Literally.

 

A church member brought an infinite supply of towels while I was frantic on the phone with both the insurance and water restoration company who sounded too calm for my current state of mind. They assured me again and again that it would be fine and replaced better than before. I did not take comfort in this statement at the time. I didn't want "better". I didn't want “replacements”. I wanted what I had! I wanted to rewind the clock back 24 hours and start the day over without any hassle. 

Isn’t that what we do at some point or another in our lives? Try to tell The Maker how to fix it because we know better than He does of what we need! Our knowledge of what we have in the present moment is so good in our minds, that we can’t even begin to fathom what He has in store for us in the future. Moreless it being better. And that makes it hard to let go of what we had. 

Needless to say we packed up and headed north for shelter before the hurricane and returned to progress being made to restore our home. However the hassle didn't end there. Due to the hurricane damage in another city, the professionals who started our restoration project, passed the baton to unlicensed third party contractors unbeknownst to us. The shotty work of new floors that were cut too short and walls with gaps, over excess of messy caulking amid other flops added insult to injury.  An incomplete job and a 2 year battle of arbitration between our insurance carrier and the contractors.

All at the expense of us having molded cabinets from the waiting. After concerns about our health breathing in mold for so long I decided to sledgehammer and demo the bottom floors of the cabinets that were never removed. If we were going to wait it out we were going to do so without any mold spores! And that meant no cabinet floors that revealed the foundation. Storing a crock pot and other small appliances on the foundation floor was not ideal but safer than moldy cabinets. 

Almost two years later and we received the news that they were now going to finally repair our kitchen. The bad news that was really good news is that our kitchen was so outdated there was no comparable materials to replace it with. Which means upgrade! It didn't register with me then, that this was actually that "good things come to those who wait" moment finally happening. 

If you have read our "Story Behind Brand" page then you know the history of how St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata unceasingly interceded on our behalf in this very kitchen!  Shopping for cabinets was one of the many tricks up her sleeve. I was solicited blue cabinets and entertained the idea only if I could choose a more subtle color up top to tone things down a bit. Insurance companies have a thing about the need for cabinets to match in order to be covered. However this was a situation where an exception was made for my 'waiting'. Blue & white just like her saree she wore for a habit.

However Agnes aka Teresa didn't stop there. When the showroom called me to make a final selection about the coutertops I was sorrily upset that my tiger eye granite was no longer in style and couldn't be found anywhere. However since it was granite the credit was generous to replace it with a like in kind material. To avoid paying out of pocket I went with a less expensive quartz top that I was not at all impressed with but it would have to do. Once the selection is made there is no turning back. They were very firm about that. 

The following week, I received a very unexpected call from the project manager asking me if I'd like to reconsider the quartz top for something more elaborate. I exclaimed how I couldn't afford to pay out of pocket and that I thought once I made a selection it couldn't be changed. He further explained that this was a rare occasion where they had some slabs of high-end Calacatta Marble (pronounced Calcutta by the way!) that was cut too short for another job but enough for my kitchen at no additional expense to me or my insurance. Mother Teresa at it again! I called my husband who is completely out of touch with design and made him understand the significance of Calacatta Marble and how we would never be able to pay for that level of fancy but that God wanted us to know just how precious metal comes out in the refinery! 

I remember the first thing I bought after all the destruction was this framed piece of art at Hobby Lobby. And while it is not in my kitchen, I keep it along my beside to remember each day what it means to restore. 

It reads: 

God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing. All you need is FAITH.

God wills trials to test our faith and loyalty to His every word. At 3pm each day we better believe it when we say "Jesus I trust in You" and not just out of habit for a phone alarm. The reality is that we are precious in His sight and its not cliche. We must constantly go through that refining process for our own purification just like precious metals. We come out stronger. We come out good, true and beautiful though the process may be difficult.

 

Cling to Malachi 3:2 in your moment of despair.

Remember that Refiner's Fire has power to transform.  

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