Harvey and the MDX

trusting god in hurricane harvey, following jesus in the storm

“God, I don’t understand.”


These are the two phrases I’ve repeated over and over this week.

Hurricane Harvey.  I feel like I don’t even need to provide background.  Everyone affected has their own unique story.  

Ours began with a tornado hitting both sides of our property the Friday night Harvey made landfall.  Mercifully, God provided a bubble of protection over our house.  The tornado touched down on one side of the yard, jumped over the house where my two children were sleeping upstairs, and hit the other side.  It continued, ripping trees out and damaging roofs but sparing lives.

Two days later we hurriedly left after receiving mandatory evacuation orders.  We were prepared to live upstairs with water below us, but when local authorities command you leave, you listen.

We split into two cars because we couldn’t pack the four of us, our pit bull Grace, and supplies into a sedan.

My husband took Spike, my 13-year old son, and 12-year old Speedy came with me.  Spike took a giant leap into manhood as he navigated the GPS-free 2003 Acura MDX.

Rain and road closures turned a 45-minute trek to I-10 into three hours.  I blindly followed them.  While we were in separate cars, we were not separating.  When they turned, I turned. When they backtracked, I did the same.  

I had approximately seven thousand conversations with a friend in Austin, which went something like this on my end:

“We’re evacuating.  Can we stay with you?”

“We’re headed to Dallas.  Thanks anyway.”

“We’re having a hard time.  We may come.”

“I think we’ll make it.  Dallas it is.”

“We’re headed to your house.”

My friend greeted me with a hug, smile, beds for us all and accommodations for my “doesn’t play well with others” dog, Grace.

The next day we trekked to Dallas and stayed until the evacuation lifted Sunday.  We were blessed with time with my in-laws and created pockets of fun while there.

Once again, our house was spared.  The Brazos crested high, but lower than feared.  The levees surrounding our neighborhood remained intact and protected. Never again will I complain about the levee tax bill.

These facts are all easy to report.  What’s hard to type is my emotions surrounding the week.   

I became numb, exhausted, and overwhelmed.  Monday night I lay in a bed that was not my own, staring at the ceiling while my mind reeled.  I knew I needed to pray.  The only thing I could say was “Jesus.”  Breathing in and out, Jesus.  Casting my anxiety on Jesus.  No other words, just Jesus.  My knowledge of the Bible is not expansive, but I knew I didn’t have to come up with eloquence.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. – Romans 8:26

I just needed to call out to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

And then the images started playing on loop.  The water, the wading, the rescues, the tears, the devastation.  Just like with you, I assume, they haunt me.

Blessed, thankful, merciful, grateful.  How many times have I used these words?  More than I can count, yet I wholeheartedly mean them.

But what about the others?  What about the neighborhood that received so much flooding, the army trucks were stalled and abandoned?  What about those with so little resources already?  What about the undocumented immigrants, who live hand to mouth already and can’t even receive resources from FEMA?

My eyes are blurry from tears as I type this.  I don’t understand, God.  I don’t understand why we were spared – twice – when so many with far fewer resources are crammed into shelter sites with nothing but the bag they brought.  I don’t understand the enormity of the devastation.  I don’t understand how Houston can begin to rebuild so many homes all at once.

But here is what I do understand:

God is God and I am not.

God uses terrible circumstances to show His love and compassion through others.

God has his hand over HEB.  Seriously.  The video of the HEB Disaster Assistance trucks along 1-45 brought me to unexpected tears, one of the two times I allowed myself to break down. (Three if you count right now.)

Monday, at the end of our seven-hour trip to Austin (which should take three), I told Speedy he would remember this event for the rest of his life.  He’d remember the tornado, the hurricane, the flooding, the devastation.  He’d remember us taking so many turns, hoping it would get us a little closer, and then having to turn around and go back. Over and over.

“What’s the moral of the story, then?” He asked.  

It was a peculiar question, one that gave me pause.  

“Well, I suppose it’s like when we follow Jesus.  We go where He takes us.  Sometimes we travel on a road that takes us somewhere, and sometimes He turns us around because we can’t see the harm ahead.  Sometimes we will never know why He took us on a certain road until we meet Him face to face.  But we trust and follow Him anyway.”

I don’t understand all God has allowed this week.  I didn’t understand some of the turns we took while evacuating.  But I do understand God’s love and mercy.  I understand His power and plan is far greater than anything I can imagine.  I will try my best to show His love to others.  I will be His hands and feet, helping where I can.  

God is my navigator and I will trust and follow Him, even if it looks like an old MDX.



  • Heather September 4, 2017 Reply

    Such a beautiful and honest account of your ordeal, Amy! Thank you for sharing your heart with us! So grateful to God for His protection and provision!

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