Thursday, March 18, 2010

Trial by Fire

As many of you will already know, our house burnt yesterday. This was a shocker, and pretty devastating when we got the news. I just thought, "Lord, what are You doing? I can't take much more!" By afternoon and after a lot of tears, I was beginning to think, "Lord, what are You up to?" (In a much more expectant and hopeful way) Perhaps because we are dealing with life and death issues with Jethro, perhaps because none of the children were in danger, perhaps because there may be some salvageable things from the house, perhaps because of all those things, I am on a pretty even keel as far as the loss of the house goes. Don't misunderstand me, I am grieving the loss of our home...and the precious things within it ~ things that have been handed down through the family, things that cannot be replaced, but in the grand scheme of things, they are just that, things. I am confident that God will provide for us. I do not know how exactly, but I know He will.

The folks in our community are already showing us an outpouring of love and care, and we are so deeply grateful ~ we just don't know how we need help at the moment. Having never gone through anything like this, we are still trying to get our bearings and figure out what the next step is.

The kids are doing okay. Kathleen was heart-broken over the loss of her birds, but I just let her cry until she was done. It's hard when you're nine, and your pets die in a fire. Thankfully, the little boys are too little to really comprehend what's going on.

Jethro is doing well for the most part. They did MRI's yesterday and today and basically took pictures of his entire body, looking for clots or evidence of strokes. The only clot they found was the one they knew he had in his heart. They did however, find a bleed on his brain. This could complicate how they are going to deal with the clot. They will do another CT scan tomorrow to see if the bleed has grown. If it has, they will have to stop giving him blood thinners (which they have been using to try to reduce the clot), and he will likely have to have another open heart surgery to remove the clot.

Our prayer requests would be:
  • That the bleed has not grown and the clot has reduced in size. Negating the need for another surgery so soon after the first.
  • There are some things possibly happening as far as the house is concerned. Pray that God would make the way clear before us. We do not want to push or make assumptions, we just want to stay out of the way and let God do what He will do.
  • Please pray for the other kids. Losing your home is a pretty devastating thing ~ especially when you've been looking forward to the day everyone will be home together. Now, by the time we have a home again, both Levi and Will will be out of it and gone. My Mama's heart might need some prayer in that area as well.
We praise God for:
  • His provision and protection over our family. It is very sobering to think that that might have happened when there were children at home. I am sooo thankful that I didn't have to worry about the safety of any of them, while wondering if the house was burning to the ground.
  • Jethro doing as well as he is. Even with the setbacks, in the grand scheme of things, Jethro is recovering quite well. Not bad for a baby who wasn't supposed to make it very long!
  • 3 precious, beautiful weeks with Jethro. I can't believe he's 3 weeks old already, and everyday with him is truly a miracle.
  • precious items that weren't lost in the fire. God protected Tucker's baby book, and most of the other photo albums. Some of the heirloom rings I have and my wedding set were spared even though they were in the heat of the fire.
Once again, thank you for all your prayers...they are what keep us going!


  1. Wow, fire truly does a number on a home, doesn't it? I will be praying for your needs and pray that through this all that the fire can maybe bless you somehow.

  2. Oh my dear ~ I am so sorry for the loss of your home. My sister-in-law (and her husband) lost their house in a house fire last spring. They got back in on December 22nd. The builder was actually able to make some improvements to their home (like adding a 2nd bathroom) and still stay within the budget granted by the insurance company. Of course, he took months longer than he initially promised.

    I know it's just stuff - and stuff is not all that important; but it is the loss of the sentimental things that hurt. You are going through so much right now and such weightier issues rightly claim your attention. But don't be surprised if the emotion of the loss of home hits you on occasion out of the blue. My sister-in-law would sometimes call her mom or me just to pour out the hurt in her heart that had crept up on her and taken her off guard.

    By looking at your adorable Jethro, it's hard to believe what a fight he's in. He must be such a little champ because he looks so healthy and strong. We will continue to pray for his precious body to heal. Also lifting up the other children as they are coping with their losses.

    May the peace and strength of God surround you all.

  3. I only just found out about a fire... How my heart aches for you and the hard providence you are going through right now. Know that the Poppes in eastern NC are praying for the entire Dole family!

  4. Tracy, there is hardly a moment that you and your dear family are not on my mind or in my prayers. How much more so with our Heavenly Father who holds you before Him always? My heart is aching for you as you walk this wild and chaotic path with storms swirling around you. I am praying for the Lord's unmistakable presence to hold you up and comfort you. I pray for His perfect peace and wisdom as you take each moment and deal with its concerns. I love you, dear sister in Christ!

  5. Our family is in prayer for your family, for all of your needs and requests. I have subscribed so we can keep up with you and pray for your needs as they change. God bless you and yours.

  6. I lost a house to fire 3.5 years ago. Thank God myself and the children were away and my husband was able to get out with all my photos. I know the devastation and grief, as well as the wonder and provision. You will go through periods where you remember something you once had and the loss hits you...then you keep going. Even to this day I will still occasionally think of something I could use that I used to own, and grieve that I won't be able to replace it.

    God has been SOOO merciful and amazing in His provision for us. It certainly hasn't been the way we would have expected, but He has been good.

    We went with a company called "NFA" who do independent insurance adjustments. They really made dealing with the insurance company so much easier as they know the ins and outs of the system and how to play the game. They can take care of a lot of the more painful and/or time consuming details for you so you can focus on your baby. I do not work for them, was just really pleased with the service we got from them.

    Your family will be in my prayers.

    From Midland, Ontario

  7. Please know you have people in Louisiana praying for you too.
    Deanna Gott

  8. Im just now learing about you and the trials your precious family is going thru. Know that youre in my prayers. Theres no other words I can express that havent already been said. Just know we're praying for you all. God is right by your side. :)

  9. I am a friend of the Engstroms, we too had our home burn down a few years back. I can so relate with all the emotions you are going through right now. We were so amazed at how the Lord provided for all of our needs during this time with a new baby and two other little ones, and then a couple weeks later I got pregnant with baby number four and had to move two times during that time...all of this to say, God is so faithful and somehow I wouldn't trade the experience of our home burning down even though the trial was extremely hard. I pray that God will give you His amazing strength and His amazing grace in all that is going on in your lives right now!

    Here is a link to our website, just a thought for you if you need an idea in how to let people help. We created a page with a running list of all the things we needed. Blessings to you all!
    Chris and Jenni Burns, Concrete, WA

  10. I have been following and praying for Jethro since I first heard his story. I just saw the link to your blog today and was shocked to see this post about the fire. I will certainly continue praying for your family, and am glad to know that you are all safe. May God bless you in this difficult time!