Finding Grace #77

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This week was full of God’s grace! Each day was also full of activity. On Sunday, we Skyped with some of Dave’s family. Lydia met some of Dave’s extended family for the first time. I am thankful for modern technology that we can “see” people all around the world and talk at the press of a few buttons!

Monday, of course, was the solar eclipse! Lydia and I had fun tracking it in real life and online (via the NASA broadcast). After that, I went to work for a few hours and had a writing meeting that evening. Lydia was able to go to daycare to play.

On Tuesday, I worked, had coffee with a friend, then went back to work. 🙂 After that, I took Lydia with me to get an oil change followed by haircuts. It was a full day, but the timing was good to get those last minute errands done before school starts.

Wednesday went fast, but was good. I spent some time praying for a friend going through a tough spot. Intercessory prayer is both an honor and a privilege! After that, I went to work and had a good meeting with my supervisor. I am interested to see how my fall schedule plays out with Lydia in school. It will be good to get into a different routine!

On Thursday, Lydia woke up excited for all we had planned. At lunchtime, we went to Caterpillar for the fifth memorial car and bike show held in Dave’s name. Then, we did a little last minute shopping before going to an open house at school to meet Lydia’s teacher. Immediately after that, Lydia went to a friend’s birthday party. It was a fun day!

Yesterday and today have been more laid back. Lydia and I ran to Menards and Walmart for some household items and groceries. I mowed the grass and had a couple good phone conversations. I also did some cleaning, organizing, vacuuming, and laundry. It’s been good to “relax” after the busy week!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Finding Grace #74

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This week was so much fun. I enjoyed coffee with a friend at church on Sunday, and then we went to a neighbor girl’s bowling birthday party! Of course, when we returned home, Lydia wanted to play with the neighbors who just went to the party!

I bought myself an indoor recumbent bike (like at a gym) and it came this week. I like riding my other bike outdoors, but the weather will only cooperate so long in Fargo! Plus, I can’t go for an early morning bike ride without Lydia. So, I am thankful and look forward to many years of use. (My treadmill is going on ten years old, so it is nice to have another option too!) I was also proud of myself for putting it together all by myself!

The new indoor bike prompted me to reorganize the downstairs workout area. Most of my equipment is inexpensive and has been acquired over the years since college. Still, I have already enjoyed using each item more than before. This works well for me as a single mom because it would be a challenge to find a babysitter each time I wanted to go to the gym (or go for a solo run or ride). It also saves me a gym membership.

For the last six months, I have had a friend living with us. She simply needed a place to stay while she figured out her next steps. My guest room downstairs provided adequate space; she even had her own bathroom! She moved out this week into a new apartment, but we really enjoyed our time with her. She was a big help in watching Lydia and we became even closer friends. I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to help in her transition. It was both a joy and a win-win. Praise God for good friends and His provision!

My mother-in-law came to visit this week, which is always fun! She went with us to buy school supplies and a new backpack for Lydia. Then, we went to a local farmer’s market, a donut shop, and specialty tea shop. We also ran a few errands and ate at some yummy restaurants. I appreciate the special attention she gives to Lydia!

Today, a friend came over to help hang some new garage lights. After several months, I am happy to finally cross it off my to-do list! I already did what I could on my own, that is putting in as many new bulbs as I could. A neighbor helped me earlier this summer, but back then, I still had to buy replacement lights for those that no longer worked. Three of the four-foot lights needed replaced, and even with a ladder, it was too much for me to do. So, I was very thankful my friend could stop by! It was a big help!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Finding Grace #39

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

poinsettia

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This has been a busy, but good week. I rearranged a few things in my “normal” schedule, to give me more flexibility in other areas. Besides my regular work hours and Lydia’s preschool schedule, I had a deadline this week, three extra meetings with various people, an oil change, and Lydia’s annual well-check at the doctor. So while they were all good events, it took some creative planning!
  • When my dad was here visiting last week, he noticed a hazardous problem with my garage door. He temporarily fixed it, but didn’t have all the right tools. So, I promised to have someone look at it. I asked my neighbor for a reference, and he suggested someone. Thankfully, the man came right away and was able to fix it promptly, so no more damage occurred! Praise God, it was an inexpensive repair!
  • My other neighbors gave us a pair of ice hockey tickets yesterday to watch the local team play. Lydia and I had so much fun! We hadn’t been to a hockey game in almost two years, so this time, Lydia really got to enjoy the experience and atmosphere. She cheered, danced trying to get a t-shirt, and asked a million questions! We were so thankful for the opportunity!
  • Today, Lydia and I went bowling with another dear family. My friend, Amy, is a widow like me, so we try to get together regularly and support each other. We had a great time with the kids, and we enjoyed good conversation. I always leave encouraged that someone else understands the ups-and-downs of our journey!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Finding Grace #38

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

trees-in-autumn

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • We’ve had the best week celebrating Lydia’s birthday and Thanksgiving! In fact, this has been memorable in many ways, since my parents visited us this week. They have not been to North Dakota for Thanksgiving since the week Lydia was born! My mom and dad brought Lydia lots of small gifts and we celebrated her birthday again… We had a yummy cake and played several rounds of Go Fish!
  • My dad was able to help me out with several little house projects this week. I have friends who help with other tasks, on occasion, but some of the little ones add up. Dad fixed several drawers in three dressers, so now we can open them all the way! He also hung up my bike and a hose, and made us all breakfast on a couple mornings.
  • My mom, Lydia and I went thrift shopping one afternoon. We didn’t need any Black Friday items, but we got some really good deals and had a relaxing time together. Other than that, we’ve had fun touring the Fargo area, reading a multitude of books to Lydia, and decorating for Christmas!
  • We’ve been watching ‘The Crown’ on Netflix. It’s been fascinating to watch and a good history refresher (with creative licensing, of course). We didn’t watch the new Gilmore Girls show, ahem, but perhaps I will do that another time. 😉
  • God is always so good to us. Psalm 68:5 always comes to mind, where it says God is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.” This week, celebrating Lydia’s birthday and Thanksgiving with my parents was just what we needed!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Finding Grace #22

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

flowers in the woods

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This was a really fun week. Lydia had Busy Beaver camp all week (at the Y). She went with a friend and had so much fun learning about science. As a result, my work schedule was altered in order to pick up the girls. It seems God had it all planned out though, because I had some unexpected free time on two of those days I normally work. I had a great meeting with a friend and was able to finish off an important project as a result.

  • Later in the week, my mother-in-law came to visit. We went window shopping, enjoyed several new restaurants, and went to a new little zoo outside of Detroit Lakes, MN. We took Lydia to a park to enjoy the fabulous weather and took a family friend to dinner. We had a great time with her!
  • My mother-in-law is so helpful with Lydia and she often has good ideas. I will need to re-stain my deck in a few weeks, but I had forgotten how the process worked. It can be challenging to make house decisions on my own, when previously Dave was so knowledgeable. This time, my mother-in law helped me sort through the plethora of options at the store. Thankfully, I remembered the original colors! A few years ago, some men from church volunteered to help me stain the deck, organize the garage, and lay down mulch. By God’s grace, the fact that I can do it myself this year is a testament to just how far I have come!
  • I have been making some upgrades to my home lately. For the most part, I have simply been switching furniture around and hanging pictures. But, in a few cases, I have sold items and bought replacements. So, this week, my mother-in-law also helped me pick out a cute little bistro table for my deck. Since Lydia and I don’t need a large table with tons of chairs, I wanted something a little smaller. I already found the one I wanted, but couldn’t decide which color on my own! 🙂
  • The entire bistro table and two chairs came in one box. The directions were written in spotty English and it took at least 30 minutes to understand how to put it all together. Enter God’s grace! It would have been very frustrating to do it all on my own, but my mother-in-law was very helpful! She held chair legs in place and together we figured it all out!
  • Finally, this week, my mother-in-law suggested Lydia learn to ride sans training wheels. With her at our house, there was more motivation! Next year, Lydia will probably be too big for her current bike, and this one is closer to the ground should she fall. Considering my mother-in-law helped Dave (Lydia’s Daddy) so many years ago, I am sure she took special delight in helping Lydia!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Finding Grace #21

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

under the sea

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This week was amazing in many ways. While I have intentionally put a few bigger projects on hold, this week filled up fast. In addition to several house maintenance and reorganization projects, I had many great conversations with friends and neighbors. Also, Lydia played with many of the neighbor kids throughout the week. I’m so thankful for these families doing life with us!

  • For several weeks, Lydia kept asking to see The Little Mermaid at our local outdoor amphitheater. I found an online coupon and bought two general admission tickets before our trip to Illinois. After we returned to Fargo last week, I was mowing my lawn and a neighbor offered me three more general admission tickets….free.
  • After some consideration, I decided to take her tickets and invite another friend to the show. Then, I gave my two tickets to my next door neighbors. The mom was excited to surprise her little girl—apparently, The Little Mermaid is their favorite show! It was so much fun to be a blessing to them.
  • God’s grace goes even further in that the friend I invited is from Africa and had never been to a theater production before (let alone a cool outdoor show like The Little Mermaid)! She has been so generous to us, and I enjoyed treating her to a fun evening. We went to dinner and had a great time with Lydia. My friend said the show went well beyond her imagination! It was an honor to take her with us!
  • Finally, I met a new friend from church who needed some encouragement and direction this week. God showed up in our conversation and she left feeling much better. I was so happy to meet her, point her on the right path, and connect her with others. It is such a blessing to see God at work!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Finding Grace #9

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Mother's Day 2016

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This week oozed with grace. And I certainly felt the need. At every turn, I felt God calling me to let Him handle my concerns. Previously, I would have felt overwhelmed by all the items on my “should-do” list. This week, I purposefully delayed some of those tasks, which included postponing a writing deadline by two days.
  • I was consistently pulled in many directions this week. You too?! But, I laid aside my work to play My Little Ponies and Barbies so as not to miss important moments with Lydia. Yes, she can entertain herself much of the time, but I know these opportunities to connect with her won’t always be there. Someday I will wonder where the time went. Lord, help me stay present!
  • The weather actually got up in the upper 80s/low 90s a couple days this week!! Hot and windy! Lydia and I enjoyed picking up some mulch and other items at a local store. I also bought my first LED lights for inside, so hopefully, I won’t have to constantly change light bulbs. However, I recently changed several around the house, so it might be awhile before I get to use the new LED ones! At any rate, I am thankful for a wonderful house and simple fixes to keep it up and running.
  • Just in time for Mother’s Day, I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my parents on Lydia’s behalf. They came on a day I was frustrated with that pesky “should-do” list. Perfect timing. Lydia surprisingly denied having anything to do with the flowers. Still, I snapped a cute photo (above) of her holding them! 😉
  • In addition to the lovely flowers, I received a handful of thoughtful and heartwarming cards in the mail from close friends and family, acknowledging me as a single mom. Kindness counts. Lydia obviously isn’t able to do much in the ways of gifts, nor do I expect them. But, I love words of affirmation. Thank you to all who sent me encouraging notes!
  • And thanks for reading my Wednesday post, Because He Is Good. I appreciated all your comments and sharesI am eternally grateful that our gracious God redeems our pain and makes beauty from our mess. Even when our plans go awry, He makes all things work out for our good and His glory (see Romans 8:28).

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Because He Is Good

With the flip of the calendar, here we are in May! I love spring in general, but it is a little bittersweet as we near the third year mark of my late husband’s death. Over the last couple weeks, I have been praying about this upcoming anniversary.

Once again, the Lord has come through for me in ways only He can. I had coffee with a friend who reaffirmed me on a day I was feeling down. I also ran into several friends at church, and each time, God used them to lift me up with encouragement. In all these instances, I didn’t mention I was sad. But it was reassuring to see how God met my need. He is so good to me!

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Dave was thirty-four when he died, which is far too young. He was diagnosed after an emergency surgery in May 2012. He died 364 days later. It was a wild and chaotic year, but God was ever-faithful.

This spring, I am a little sad, yes.

But mostly, I am still so proud of Dave after all these years. I admire how he handled his cancer with grace and courage. I’m grateful he did not give up.

Some people may think that God let me down because Dave died. Yet, I do not feel that way. In fact, I saw God do so much more than we could ever dream. He answered big, audacious prayers and small, silent ones. It was an awful situation, no doubt. But, God was so kind and generous.

Already Stage IV, Dave’s prognosis wasn’t great at the start, but God gave us those 364 days anyway. Some people get longer, but we relished every moment we had together. I’m thankful Dave didn’t have to suffer any longer than that because it got to be pretty intense those final weeks…

Psalm 46_1

What’s more, I’m so grateful for all God taught us that year. Dave had a servant’s heart like no other, but realized he couldn’t out-give God. He learned to rest in Jesus’ sacrifice because we can’t earn God’s grace.

For me, perhaps the lessons felt much more dramatic. Emotional roller coaster is an understatement. Our cancer journey brought out some of my worst traits. And trust me, I could be a bear at times! But, God’s grace and mercy were more than enough even then.

God provided wonderful friends who helped us, often with little advanced notice. He provided extra comfort for the worst days and gave us many joys along the way. As Dave himself said, it was a “phenomenal year.”

God used these extreme circumstances to prove that He is bigger than my fears. Every. Single. One. That alone was one of the biggest breakthroughs in my life.

He set me free indeed! What grace!

Can you believe these last three years have been some of the most fruitful years of my life? It’s not been easy, though God is redeeming my pain. He has rebuilt my life from the ashes. And because He is good, I am still standing!1 Corinthians 15_57I don’t know what you are dealing with today. Maybe everything is peachy keen. But, likely it’s not. If you are struggling with something, take it to Jesus. Let Him be your refuge and strength, your righteousness and your defense—He understands exactly what you need.

You simply cannot figure out every detail and outcome of your life. Believe me, I know! But if you place your trust in Jesus alone, He will lead you through it all. Let Him be your peace. He will bring you to Victory!

God loves you and is for you! Yes, life is hard. It doesn’t always turn out like we want. But God can handle everything that concerns you. And ultimately, if your hope is in Him, you will not be disappointed!

I know that full well.

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God, great is Your faithfulness! Thank You for being a trustworthy refuge. When we are afraid, may we place our hope in You. We overcome and have Victory, in Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: How has God come through for you lately? How can I pray for you?

Finding Grace #8

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

green grass

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • My mother-in-law came to visit us this week. We always have fun with her and were glad she came. She watched Lydia for me a few hours each day so I could work and write without daycare time limits. It was such a blessing not to have to rush to pick up Lydia! That meant, she and Lydia had special activities each day, including making rice krispy treats, seeing a movie, swimming, and going to the library. Lydia was in heaven! We planned her next visit and will see her later this summer.
  • Lydia played outside with the neighbors on Thursday and Friday. She made a May Day basket with Grandma, and delivered it to her friends across the street. We had rain earlier in the week, so it was nice to get outside!
  • Later in the week, on two different days, we babysat some little friends. Lydia loved holding the babies and being the ‘big helper.’ I was glad to help these moms because I had other friends help at a moment’s notice years ago when Dave was sick. We are all in this together, and it feels good to help others in a pinch. Pass it on! 🙂
  • All the rain meant…I needed to mow! Yep, I mowed for the first time in APRIL. It’s usually at least the middle of May before that starts up. But, again, I am thankful for God’s grace. For three summers, a few of Dave’s coworkers rotated through the mowing each week. They took good care of my lawn when I was struggling. As Lydia has grown older, I have done the mowing. These guys bought an ‘almost-new’ mower for me, and resold my old one after fixing it up. I’m so thankful for their help and generosity. Mowing my lawn makes me realize just how far God has brought us. Thank You, Jesus!
  • I love the changing of seasons. While I was mowing, I saw several buds on the trees. New leaves will pop out soon. It feels like summer will be full force soon!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Water Heater Heroes

Last Saturday, I was exercising in my basement when I heard: “Um, Mom, come in here! Someone peed on the floor!”

 “What?! Lydia!” I grilled her thoroughly about all the possibilities. “I didn’t do it, Mom.”

(Hmmm, who did she think peed on the floor?!)

towels

Well, the floor was definitely wet. I grabbed a towel and mopped up the hand-sized spot. Then, I started investigating and found the surrounding area was damp too. Hastily, I called my neighbor who was the plumber when my house was originally built.

Now, that’s God’s grace!

My neighbor came right away. He discovered the water heater needed replaced. Though, he was supposed to leave town within the hour. He couldn’t alter his plans…nor did I expect him to.

Yet, he stayed to help! The wet area was relatively small, and we hoped to salvage the carpet once it dried. We peeled back the carpet along an entire wall to expose the wet padding underneath (which I tossed). To do this, we had to unload and move two bookcases. Then, I borrowed his industrial-sized fan to dry the wet area.

fan under stairs water heater 1

I hadn’t showered yet on Saturday when this all happened! I thought about bathing at a friend’s house or staying at a hotel. But, all things considered, heating water on the stove seemed like a perfect solution. We still had cold water, electricity, comfortable beds, plenty of food, clean dishes and clothes… I was set for days without my hot water heater! And, I know many people around the world do not have easy access to clean water, let alone the luxury of hot water.

While it was a little inconvenient, it was not unbearable. You see, we do not have to be afraid of bad news or problems. Instead, let’s have confidence in the Lord, and watch Him take care of us! (See Psalm 112:7)

On Monday morning, my water heater was replaced with a new, more energy-efficient one. Praise God, the warranty was still valid for three months! My carpet was also restretched to its original form (with a new pad underneath). I enjoyed talking to the kind, older gentleman who helped me. He laid the carpet several years ago before we moved in, and grew teary-eyed as I told him some of my story.

pot of water

I needed God’s grace and help because I didn’t know how to fix these problems on my own. He showed me favor in the following ways:

  • We were home when the leak happened and we avoided water all over my basement. This is especially significant given our recent travels. It could have been disastrous even if we were just running errands in town.
  • Lydia noticed the wet floor and told me right away. Later, I apologized for being upset and thanked her for speaking up. I don’t think the floor had been wet for long!
  • My neighbor was home; I caught him just before he was supposed to leave town.
  • He was willing to help and promptly came over. Thank You, God, for good neighbors!
  • We found the problem quickly and my neighbor knew what to do about it.
  • I had washed dishes and laundry that morning, so had plenty of fresh items to use.
  • The perfectly-timed warranty saved me some money. The new water heater also has a good warranty (let’s hope I don’t need it!).
  • My neighbor recommended the man who fixed my carpet. It was good I called when I did, because he is usually booked several weeks out. He was able to squeeze me in that day, after finishing another job earlier than planned. (Praise God!) I paid a very fair price and was saved the stress of having to call other people. He even vacuumed the area and helped me move the heavy bookcases back along the wall!
  • Our city is switching to a new water source in June, so now I’ll have a new, upgraded water heater with better water.
  • Moving the bookcases revealed several books I no longer need. I donated the books and a few other household items, and now I have some extra space. 🙂

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Heavenly Father, thanks for covering this situation with Your undeniable grace. Thank You for giving me favor and restoring my home. Please bless these men who helped me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What’s the worse home disaster you have had? Can you see how God helped you through it?