Thursday, September 01, 2005

Circling the Wagons

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’ Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge . . . He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” ~ Psalm 91:1,2 (NKJV)

Last week I wrote about my trip to Mississippi to visit my daughter-in-law and grandchildren. What a difference a week makes!

As I sit down to write my column, my stomach is churning. We are anxiously awaiting word from Jared and Erin who are in a storm shelter with Asher and Gabe at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, which is in the direct path of Hurricane Katrina. Jared returned from Kentucky late Friday night, just in time to load his family, their dog and cat, and a few essential belongings into their car and flee to safety.

We haven’t heard from them since last night and we haven’t been able to reach them at all this morning. The news on television has only confirmed the worst, so we have been praying fervently for their safety. When I talked to Erin yesterday, she felt confident that their apartment and all their belongings would be lost. But in spite of that, she said she was trusting God and thankful they were all together. “We’ll get through this,” she said. “Even if we lose everything we own, it will be all right because those things can be replaced.” She said as long as she and Jared and the boys were safe, that was all that really mattered.

Tears filled my eyes this morning after a phone call from Keen’s mother who called to let us know that she talked to Jared & Erin last night and invited them to stay at their house for as long as necessary. Keen’s parents live in Conroe, Texas, which is about six hours from where Jared and Erin live in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. They have separate living quarters all furnished and ready to go right next to their home. (They call it “the annex”.)

In addition, Mom said that if Jared and Erin do end up losing everything, she has beds and bedding that she can give them. “And I’ve wanted a new couch for some time now,” she added. “So they can just take my old one.” Keen’s sister Kihm even offered an entire bedroom suite that she isn’t using. In fact, Mom is visiting Kihm right now in North Carolina and they said they’d be willing to rent a U-Haul and drive the furniture across country if need be. Talk about circling the wagons!

Last night Keen’s brother Kevin called to offer their home to Jared’s family, too. They live in The Woodlands, Texas – just outside of Houston – and they just bought a new house with two spare rooms. “We’d love to have them,” Kevin said.

It’s times like these that remind me how very blessed we are to have people who love us so much that they would drop everything to help us, our children, or our children’s children. Friends may come and go, but family will always be there through thick and thin. And thank God for that!

You Were Always There

By Sheryl Hale Black

No one knows while they are young
Just how strong a parents love can be.
You were always there, I knew no fear
You were always there for me.

Your hand was my guide,
Through all the small storms.
You lead me lovingly, right by my side
You Were Always There For Me.

I love you.

©Copyright of Sheryl Hale Black
(Used by Permission)

If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
And soon I will be knocking upon your door.

You just call out my name and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running – to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you got to do is call
And I’ll be there . . . .

You’ve Got a Friend ~ recorded by James Taylor

They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, 'This is My people';
And each one will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"

~ Zechariah 13: 9b (NKJV)

Four generations of Umbehrs: Jared on the left, Keen on the right and Grandpa Jim holding Jared's son, Asher.

Keen & his mom, Jean, after his graduation from law school

The Three K's: Kihm, Keen & Kevin