All I know is that El Nino is most definitely on Santa’s horribly naughty list.

This weather is so very not-ok.

Reports are currently showing that there are between 8-11 deaths in North Texas (around Garland) from the storms yesterday….and there are many injuries and more fatalities in the other states and areas affected by the tornadoes and flooding over the past few days.

Mother Nature has done her best to suck every last bit of magic and wonder from the season.

The good news?  Nothing this world throws at us can change the fact that God sent us a beautiful gift wrapped in rags over 2,000 years ago.  That little bundle can and will save anyone who chooses to believe in HIm and follow Him…..and that fact stands firm against even the winds of an EF-5 tornado.

The hard news?  Even while knowing about this gift….even while celebrating Christ’s birth….people are still hurting.  People have suddenly found themselves homeless and in the middle of storm-induced nightmares while Christmas lights still twinkle in the neighborhoods down the road.

How can we help?  We know we should….but what’s the best way?

Well, those of us from Joplin, MO know a few things about what is helpful after a storm like this….and are happy to share.

  1.  Prayer.  Don’t underestimate this.  Cover those people affected with the promise of God’s crazy non-understandable peace and KEEP PRAYING.  Let them know you’re praying.  Send FB or instagram messages to help them feel not so alone.
  2. Donate money.  Find an organization that is on-the-ground and can meet immediate needs such as shelter, food, and clothing.  Some groups that were amazing to us 5 years ago include Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, and local churches.
  3. If you can send or carry something to the affected areas yourselves….there are some things that will be VERY needed.  This includes: rubber gloves, cardboard boxes, work gloves, trash bags, large Rubbermaid containers, water, packing tape, raincoats, and hot coffee.
  4. Remember the volunteers:  if you have the ability to go and help, but aren’t good at construction or can’t do certain jobs because of your own limitations (or personal party of kids you have with you) then do something to help bolster the other volunteers.  Homemade baked goods and drinks are always a good choice.
  5. Don’t forget them as time passes.  Once the initial shock wears off, there is a lot of business to take its’ place.  As the chores and tasks slow down…a “new” reality sets in.  This is the time that people often need to know they are not forgotten.  They are not crazy.  Big things happened to them that changed their lives.  It’s another good time to share scripture and prayer.

If you know someone personally affected by all of this….reach out.  You can ask them what they need, but chances are they simply don’t have the mental fortitude right now to tell you–let alone figure it out themselves.  Still, you can let them know you’re there and available and praying for them.

If you can go and be a presence? Go! They may not remember what you said….but they will remember you were there. Make sure you are completely self-sufficient though….the last thing they need is something else to take care of. A few things that you could do for them (and simply tell them you are doing it….chances are if you ask permissions they will just go into bewildered mode again!): take their pet for a while and make sure it’s well taken care of; take their children for a while and love on them; deliver lunch/coffee/cookies and MAKE SURE they eat something; observe what they are literally in the middle of trying to do and go alongside them and help do it (packing boxes, sorting through stuff, sitting there crying….).

Storms happen. Trouble comes. Darkness attacks.  But…God is bigger and more constant and stronger and greater.  While we all may know this, the fact is that sometimes when you’re in the middle of the awful black whirlwind….it’s hard to remember. That’s why it’s such a blessing to be able to remind someone else of the truth.

So as we are looking at these awful scary images, hearing people’s terrifying stories and watching the awful news unfold….let’s remember that we CAN help.  Take a few moments to pray, send a message, make a phone call or a donation.  It does help.  It’s what we’re supposed to do.

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