As a new Christian in 1991, I had a recurring nightmare. I dreamed a tornado came while I was crossing the Causeway from New Orleans to my home north of Lake Ponchartrain. It swept me away; I was helpless and terrified in its vortex. For months, I begged God to stop this dream. I rebuked it, fought it, prayed Scripture over it, but it persisted. Finally, God told me that I did not need to fear the dream, but trust that He was with me in it. I did, and the dreams stopped coming.
A real storm named Katrina came to New Orleans this year. I was not helpless and terrified in its vortex because God was with me. He brought my family safely through the storm and He gives me hope for the future.
The people here are hurting. Many are homeless, jobless, relocated and overwhelmed. Entire counties are wastelands of mud, mold, debris and oil. There is no power, little activity, no business—families have been scattered and communities decimated. Yet, in this great darkness, there are pockets of life. Little miracles sustain us at every turn.
I am most fortunate. My home is intact and my husband has his job. However, Hurricane Katrina profoundly changed my family and me.
My mother in law, Yvonne, is now a permanent member of my household. Floodwaters, wind and an oil spill destroyed her St. Bernard Parish home. Yvonne has completely yielded her life to Christ—despite losing her home of 42 years, the community she loved and the church that has been her family, she fills our home with joy. Tonight she played “Spy” with my kids, surprising them by hiding behind a wall and springing out at them when they looked for her.
My sister in law’s family lost their home to the flood. They are temporarily living in Nashville, Tennessee, where some of God’s people have supplied them with a home and brand new furniture. Floyd has work. Their daughter, a high school senior, is living with friends down here so that she can finish school with a few of the kids she has been with since Kindergarten. Their losses are huge, but God supplies their need.
My maternal grandmother and great-grandmother relocated to Evansville, Indiana. They escaped Katrina only to have the tornado that swept through that area just miss them. My grandmother’s condominium and many of her possessions were demolished by a tree and flooding from broken water pipes, but they are safe and with family.
My brother, Jim, and his wife lost almost everything they owned when their Lakeview apartment flooded to the rooftop. Jim is a New Orleans police officer. He faithfully executes his duty to this day despite his losses and the indescribable horror he endured.
Once thriving communities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are ruined. Piles of debris are everywhere. A spray-painted sign rests atop a shattered home there. It says, “My life is NOT in this pile. It is hidden in Christ!”
On December 4, 2005, WDSU News Channel Six featured a homeless couple living in their car on the Lakefront. They had been evicted from their temporary shelter. Within an hour of airing this feature, callers inundated WDSU to shelter this family.
I wrote a poem on May 1, 2005 called “Living Water, Bread of Life” after a powerful encounter with God in church. One of the stanzas says:
You are taller than the mountain
Stronger than the hurricane
The universe cannot contain You
Yet You know my name
I had little idea how strong a hurricane really was before Katrina, but I knew God was stronger. I know it better than ever today.
Katrina made me grateful. I have always been thankful for my family and friends, but I never imagined how much I could appreciate whole trees, a solid roof and the comfort of my own bed!
The coldest, blackest winter the people of this devastated region have ever known has descended, but every winter becomes spring. In the midst of this cruel season, Spring Himself is here—on the move among His people. He is saving souls, meeting needs and showing all that He is Lord.
In this world, there is great trouble, but I am cheered. Jesus overcame the world! (John 16:33 paraphrase.)
Both chilling and heartwarming all at once! As Petra said, this is indeed an incredible testimony! And the Lord has certainly shown Himself to be "Stronger than a Hurricane" through the testimonies of you, your family, and your friends. And He has certainly shown that His grace is more than just sufficient for you. What a blessed, anointed, thought-provoking article.