Our Story of Matthew

Hurricane Matthew.  This is our story.  I'm going to put this whole story of this storm into one entry, and I'll date it along the way as I update this entry.

October 8th, 2016: While a lot of the media covers the storm, how much damage is done by the storm, and how they are workers there to help with power restoration and clean up, that's pretty much what covers it for the public to hear about.  As the family of a guy who has worked a really, really long time in the tree industry (clearing the right-of-way for the power company), we realize that it's not only the areas that are hit by the storm that are affected by the storm.  These storms affect so many.  They affect the ones that are hit by the storm, for sure.  They affect the workers who travel hundreds of miles to help those who are devastated by the turmoil that they have just experienced.  They also affect the workers' families (and sometimes even the workers' community and friends).

Justin got called to Florida on the night of October 6th.  For us, we dreaded what we knew was to come.  He would endure some long days, and some hard times along the way.  He'd walk out our door at 5AM to go help complete strangers, and we would not know when we would see him again, and he wouldn't know when he'd get to see us.  Hard on all of us, for sure!  The not knowing is so crazy hard!

Night one for Justin was complete chaos.  He had no hotel room to sleep in, he slept in his truck in a Walmart parking lot, as all of the hotels were booked (mostly from others in the state who were trying to get away from the storm).  I slept very little, I cried so much of the night, knowing that after such a long drive my husband didn't even have a bed to sleep in.  We knew that this would be a possibility before he left though.  I actually nearly beg for him not to go each and every time he goes on one of these storms.  He's such a selfless man.

I've been told several times from others how "he is a big boy, and he will be fine," even if he has no bed to sleep in after working such long hours.  I know when I'm told this that some are just trying to help, but honestly!  Honestly, how many of us would sleep with no bed after working daylight to dark?  To be honest, I wouldn't be too crazy about the idea myself!

Night two for my husband resulted in him having a hotel room, thankfully!  Earlier that day was a little chaotic for us though.  You see, we are sheep farmers.  Our baby lambs decided to get out of the fence while I was at work and our kids were at school.  I am so thankful we have friends to help us out during these times.  They gathered our lambs and came to fix the problem for me (even in the rain).  What a blessing these people really are!

Day three, which is what we are on as of today, October 8th, the storm is finally over and Justin has began helping with the work of restoring the power.  Such a long three days, it feels like three weeks, for sure!

This evening we were supposed to go celebrate our daughter's 16th birthday (which is on Monday), but we had to reschedule because of my husband lending his helping hand.  This is a way that we can lend our helping hand, we can sacrifice this time with him for a little while longer.  So, the kids and I went to Hardee's, we ate a meal, we had conversation, we sent a picture to my husband, just so he could be a little bit a part of our evening, and we will wait to celebrate our daughter's 16th birthday with a nice dinner upon his return.  She did get a car for her birthday, though, and she is still super excited about that anyhow!  We actually gave her this birthday gift (her car) a few weeks or so ago.  She even drove us to dinner this evening.

Earlier today though (on day three of our storm), we had more baby sheep to get out of the fence, and this was while we were grocery shopping.  Upon our return, our son made sure they got put back up where they are supposed to be.

Notice I say "our storm."  No, we didn't directly get hit by a hurricane here in VA. where we live, but you see when a storm affects others as much as this, it's not just the people's storm who gets hit by the hurricane, but it's everyone's storm who it affects.  It's the weatherman's storm, it's the power guy's storm, it's the tree man's storm, it's the emergency personnel's storm, local and out of state, whoever is helping it's their storm.  It's also these people's family, friends, and community's storm.  There's a gap to fill, a hole where they are supposed to be, a much needed pause in time in these people's lives where time can't actually be paused, but life is placed on hold to help put other people's lives back together anyhow.  So, while they set their long to-do list on a shelf, they get to work helping others, and they and their family's sacrifice their time for that.  To help rebuild what is broken.

So, you see, it's our storm.  It's the residents in Florida's storm, it's the residents in the many other areas hit...even including the Carolinas storm, and because he responded to helping others it's my husband's storm.  And.  Because it's his storm, it's our family's storm too.  And  Because it's our family's storm it's our friends' and our community's storm, just like when our friends stepped up to help me with the sheep while my husband is away.  This is something my husband would have typically been able to do, but since he was away, our friends came to the rescue.  They are helping fill in on my husband's roles as my husband is away helping rebuild the broken, and in this way they are helping rebuild the broken as well.

As I write type this I pray for peace for all of those affected.  I pray for the family's who have to grieve the people who will never walk back through their front door.  I pray for those who had houses demolished where dreams and memories were built.  I pray they will see that it was just the houses and not the actual homes that were torn by the storm.  The home is family and friends, laughter, and life, things that 4 walls can never be.  I pray for revival to happen in the midst of the chaos.  I pray for these workers, these who respond to help to be the hands and the feet of Jesus, and to remind these people that through Him all things are possible, and there is still hope.  I pray for the workers to have strength and to find rest in these coming days.  I pray for the workers' families, it's not easy for them to be away, I know that too well.  It's a really hard thing, and to be honest, I sometimes selfishly lose my patience, then I remember I am doing my duty of helping these people, I am being the hands and feet of Jesus by being patient while my husband is there.  I pray for the calm after the storm.  I pray for great things to come!

Day 3, it's almost finished.  Onto day 4.  One day closer to my guy's return!

October 9th, 2016: It's Sunday.  The Lord's day, which every day is, of course!

Today, the kids and I will go to Church, we will grab Taco Bell, and we will pick up a few last minute things from the store that we need.


My Father-in-Law is helping me fix some of our fence for the sheep today, as they still seem to find a way outside of the fence.

Tomorrow is our daughter's birthday.  My guy should be here to celebrate with us, but instead he is in Florida working.  I know he misses us just as we miss him, and he wants to be here.  I can hardly wait to celebrate our girl's birthday upon his return!

October 10th, 2016: Untitled Happy Birthday to our Breann!  She is awesomely and wonderfully made!

Today, I have the day off from work.  I took Breann into school late.  After all, you only turn 16 once.  We FaceTimed with Justin.  We gave Breann pancakes before she even got her day started.  There was even a candle on them.

After I checked her in we gave her flowers and a balloon that says "Sweet 16!" while she was at school.

Then it was pizza for dinner and Troy lit a candle for her cupcake.

My guy may have not been at home for this, but he got to experience it through FaceTime.  Some can't stand technology, but this is one way I am so thankful for it!  It's awesome, actually!  Otherwise Justin would have missed our daughter's 16th birthday, but this way, he got to experience it.  He didn't just get to see photos, he got to see her day as it was happening, and that's awesome that he at least got to be a part of her day in this way!

When he gets home we will take her to dinner for her birthday.

Before the kids went to bed they thanked me.  Breann thanked me for making her day so great, and Troy hugged and thanked me for "doing a lot lately."

It's hard.  It's very hard.  When Justin is away I have to do some of what he would normally do, plus what I have to normally do.  It's okay though, it's a part of life, and we are blessed.

And.  No sheep has gotten out of the fence today, awesome stuff!

October 11th, 2016: Tonight, Justin is completely exhausted.  Me too!  Not as much as him, I'm sure.

We went to bed early, and while it's hard to sleep with him away, I got a full night's sleep (the first one since he's been gone).

Onto one day closer to him being home!

And.  Those sheep are still in the fence.  This is a great thing!

October 12th, 2016: The website as of midnight says that there are 0 without power where my husband is.  So, I say let him come home already!

 October 13th, 2016: Today my guy gets to start his travels home. It's about time!

October 14th, 2016: The long awaited return of my husband has arrived. He will be home this evening. We will then be able to spend some much needed family time together.

I'm not even going to pretend that I like it when he's gone on these storms. Because I don't. I absolutely would rather him be here with our family instead of hundreds of miles away. What a blessing he has been to so many over the last week though.

Loving that he's home now!!

About Jessica

Daughter of the King. Wife to my handsome guy. Mom of 2. Farmer. Photographer. Lover of life, books, coffee, blogging, and web design.


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