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A close friend of mine wrote these words and sent them to me today.  They were a fresh breeze over my wilting hope.  I wanted to share them with you:

This past weekend, we went to Biloxi to my cousin’s wedding. It was such a beautiful time and my heart is so full from seeing everyone and spending time with family. Another cousin, who recently moved to the area, shared that according to the Postal Service, there are 28,000 addresses along that beach that no longer have service after Katrina. My parents are one of those address statistics. During the 10+ years they lived there, we visited my parents multiple times a year. It was a home away from home for us and all of my siblings. I have been down there three times now post Katrina. The first time was 6 weeks after the storm to help my parents clear away debris and search for anything of value to them. The second time was Christmas 2007, two years after, when my brothers and their families and my family all met there with my parents for the holidays. And with this visit, I come away healed even more and aware that God continues to carry out His plans for us. We were an absolutely joyous family this weekend. The initial sadness, which was great, is gone. I remember vividly how violent and traumatic the experience was for my parents. It is impossible to figure out why this happened, why God allowed this to happen. But my parents led by example and decided early on that they would not look back, and they have forged ahead with their lives with their trust in Him.

Casting Crowns released a song just prior to Katrina, which had hauntingly appropriate lyrics at the time. That song carried me personally through a lot of tears and fears. And it keeps popping into my head now, as New Life and John and Mimi go through this trial. Let us not lose sight of Him, who is God now and forever. He has a plan for us and right now, it is that we cling to Him, and to each other. And as strange as it sounds, I am excited about our future because He is laying out the plans.

REDEMPTION-1Praise You in This Storm
words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it’s still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
“I’m with you”
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

Chorus:
And I’ll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can’t find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

(This post was written by my friend Kelli Brooks)

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