I Am Persuaded

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…

My mother and father, seeing the damage of their home and our property for the first time (he had a heart attack the morning of the tornado and was released 2 days later).  I grew up in this home and then we lived on the same property–both homes, shop, barn and every single, beautiful tree is gone.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul had been persuaded.

I’ve read this passage a thousand times and have always thought it was beautiful and encouraging.

But I have never owned it.  I have never been able to say, like Paul, “I am persuaded”…

until now.

I have only limited Internet access right now but I had to stop and give you an update.  Please know that our family is overwhelmed and our hearts are bursting with joy as we get the tremendous privilege of being washed over by the love of the body of Christ.

The view of my parent’s home from ours.

I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to you, to our church family, to our friends and family abroad, to complete strangers, to friends we haven’t seen in years, to the surrounding churches and communities, to so many people who have embraced us with the sweetest and tenderest of mercies.

When I cry, it’s not because I’ve lost my home and all that is familiar to me.  It is mostly because I know I don’t deserve this kind of love.  And it has been a clear picture of God’s grace to sinners who don’t deserve mercy.

FEMA came by and told us that we would have government assistance available to us.  I just smiled….”thank you, but we don’t need it”.  And it’s true.  The hands and feet of Christ have been more than sufficient to provide for our needs.

From the first men who cut their way through impossible obstacles to get to us on that treacherous night last week, bringing blankets and water (what a sweet sight they were!) to the hundreds of people who have stopped their lives to sift through the rubble to find my belongings…

From the beautiful new car seats in the borrowed van church friends have loaned us to the hospitality of the family who has opened their home and lives to 11 extra people…

From the families who have traveled from all over the US (some even from other countries!) to clean debris and cut trees to the many who are keeping them fed…

From the generous donations you and many others have made to the diapers, clothing, toiletries, and numerous other supplies provided….

From the people who are working tirelessly to organize work crews, sifting through phone calls and handling details that seem enormous to think about right now to the children who have also volunteered their time to pick up trash and debris…

From the friends who lovingly took care of our children so we could take care of the most urgent of needs to the washing and drying of loads of our insulation-filled clothing…

I cannot say thank you enough.  It’s all I think about.  I can hardly sleep for just trying to absorb the outpouring of love and support.

We will never be able to say thank you adequately.  There are many who have given that we don’t even know of.

My prayer is that if I am ever called upon to meet needs around me I would be as selfless as our fellow body of Christ universal has been.

Our elder (and friend, and brother) said at the emotional worship service Sunday, “We are blood family…bound by the blood of Christ.  And when one of us suffers, we all suffer.  If one of our family loses all that is normal, we all lose what is normal.”

May the Lord be glorified.  May all who see these stories understand what power and passion lies in the blood of those bound together in Christ.

I love you all…with all of my heart. I wouldn’t change things if I could because after experiencing this kind of love, to reverse the tornado damage would mean losing that experience.

Only God can repay you and all these–our friends and family, for what you have done and continue to do.

__________________________________________________________________

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56 Responses to “I Am Persuaded”

  1. Jennifer says:

    What beautiful miracles 🙂 It still breaks my heart to know what happened; even all the trees! I’d always wanted to see your home. But what life makes bitter God makes sweet.

  2. Deborah says:

    Wow! I was blessed by reading the powerful words you wrote here. Reading your story, and all you have been through has touched me. Please know you and your family, as well as your community are greatly in my prayers. My heart aches for you all, and especially the Lee Family. I have seen Christ through your experience. We serve a mighty God!!! May the love and peace of Jesus continue to cover you all.

  3. Susan says:

    This is such a beautiful, heart felt post, thank you for sharing your heart with us. Kelly, you DO so deserve this outpouring of love that is being showered upon you and your precious family. You are one of the kindest, generous people that I know. I am still smiling because you took time from your day to call and check on me…WOW! But then again, that’s just you…thoughtful and caring. I will continue to pray for you all and am so thankful that your history of generosity and hospitality is being returned to you during this time. Love you lots!

  4. Heidi says:

    Kelly,
    I will continue to pray for you and your family…My heart goes out to you…Blessings, Heidi

  5. lisa ente says:

    dear kelly,
    thank you for being such an encouragement even in your time of struggle. i feel like i fear the turbulance that is swirling around us all much less because of the way that our Lord is caring for you and your family thru the body of Christ. i have been listening to your cd for days, praying for you all. if i never get to meet you here on earth, i am going to be scoping you out in heaven!!!!
    – lisa ente
    p.s. now i am mourning your trees. that’s a tough one.

  6. Davene Grace says:

    Thank you, Kelly, for this update…and for the beautiful spirit you’re demonstrating through all of this. You and your family and the others affected by these storms have remained in my mind and heart, and my prayers continue for all of you. The picture of your parents is gripping, particularly because I live in a similar situation: in the home in which I grew up, my parents living in another home on the same property, etc. My specific prayer for you now is that, as you hold your newborn so closely in your arms, that you would be able to relax and savor these moments with your baby, so that The Adversary would not be able to steal that joy from you…and as you do so, may you feel God’s arms holding you so safely and tenderly.

  7. I have cried many tears for you and the families around you. The pictures are devastating yet we know that beauty is coming forth from the ashes. I am so thankful that many have prayed, worked, love on and shown you the deep deep love of Christ!

    God is lavishing His love on you…to be a salve that helps heal your heart. I pray is just keeps on healing and comforting your family.

  8. Catherine says:

    Wow! I just wanted to tell you that your posts have touched me for awhile, and through this time, I am praying for you and your family. Your elder that said that “We are a blood family… bound by the blood of Christ” is very wise. That quote rung very true with me. I pray that God will restore and bless you immensely. This post was beautiful. God Bless!

  9. Melissa says:

    Kelly,

    I just want you to know that I have never seen such grace outpour from one family, EVER. The reason that so many are giving to you (besides their love of God and his word) is that they are doing all they know to do, to give back to you. You have given so much with your words on this blog alone over the years, that it’s the least we can do. My one resounding thought over the past few days when I think of seeing you last Thursday is… Wow, I wish everyone knew you the way I see you and your sweet family. I pray that anyone that does not see your family and Christ through you will have their eyes opened and be convicted. One day I will sit with you over dinner 😉 and tell you how sweet and precious Bria was that day. You have done such a good job with her and God will do mighty works through her and her future family. Love you guys and pray for you.

  10. Mrs. Zwieg says:

    Much love and prayers from our family to yours. Just think, we all get to meet someday…and have a REAL family reunion!!! 🙂

  11. Bernice says:

    My hero died less than a year ago. She was a dear lady in our church that shined, worshiped and praised God thru her hardships. I think I have found a new hero. Kelly you are such an inspiration. I want to be just like you!! Seriously.

  12. Kim M says:

    Beautiful post! We love you too and have appreciated watching how much you all have shined through this. You are a testimony to the world.

  13. Danielle says:

    We sang “Will Your Anchor Hold” last night at church. I about cried for you and those around you. Praying for you!

  14. Dixie says:

    The lord be with you and your family and with the Lee family. We have prayed so much for you and I’ve cryed for you, but most of all I thank God for you. You are all an inspiration to us, for puting your trust in the Lord. The Father of the Lee family must have many treasures stored in heaven for raising children to praise God even in these trying times. Please tell them we are praying for them. My husband Mark, myself, and our 8 children.

  15. Kristi says:

    ((((((Kelly)))))))

  16. Tamara says:

    Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3 You are a living testimony of this verse.

    Your family is such a beautiful testimony to God’s perfect faithfulness.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to update. We are so grateful that you are SO full of Him and overwhelmed with GOOD things.

    We continue on bended knee.

    Love & Blessings.. Jeff, Tamara & family~

  17. Renata says:

    Thank you for sharing Kelly – so beautiful. The verses you quoted are some of my favorite for they are so true. We continue to uphold you in our prayers
    Blessings
    Renata:)

  18. AbbysMom says:

    Kelly,

    You and your family represent one of the most shining examples of grace under fire that I’ve ever seen. May the Lord bless and keep you now and in the days to come.

  19. Debbie says:

    You said,
    “I love you all…with all of my heart. I wouldn’t change things if I could because after experiencing this kind of love, to reverse the tornado damage would mean losing that experience.”
    and I have to agree, that is in my case where I have lost 2 babies, It has made me stronger and closer to my Savior. I praise God for that.
    God gave me this quote yesterday which sums up both of our lives, “‎When you become planted in the valley, and let your trials become the fertilizer, Then God can grow you into something beautiful, something that he can use.” I have been in a spiritual valley for about 7 months now and for me to come see your community on Saturday was as much about my healing as it was to help your family. It was like I was looking at my heart. Our God is good and you all will get through this, forever changed. I am glad we have Jesus on our team!!

  20. Sarah L. says:

    Kelly,
    Thank You for your beautiful words. I think through this experience you will see how many women you have truly touched just by typing out your thoughts here. I know that I am one of these women! You are someone I look up to and I have never met you. I sit here half way around the world nervous because we are moving to tornado alley this summer. But through reading your updates I have found peace. A peace that God will be with us no matter what the weather brings. I will keep your family and the other families around yours (especially the Lee family) in my prayers.
    Blessings,
    Sarah L.

  21. Denise says:

    I once felt my heart ached and ached, and that was for a period of time when I had a miscarriage October 2009. When I was hearing the stories one after one oh how my heart ached, that same ache back in 09. I wanted to be a volunteer so bad. I wanted to show others how I care for them in there loss during this time and season. I knew I was not able to come and volunteer, but one thing the Lord kept telling me is PRAY. So, that is what my son(who is 3) and I have been doing. Praying that God would bring people to give Families shelter,food,clothes,shoes,water, anything they in need of. We will continue to pray for you and other Families who were hit by this storm.

  22. Diane says:

    Kelly,

    My heart broke when I realized your family was affected by the tornado. You are an amazing woman of God. Still praising Him in the midst of the storm. You are an inspiration to me. I am praying for you Kelly and for your family and those who have suffered loss. I wish there was more I could do – but I can certainly pray and I am doing that – every single day. Keep rejoicing sweet friend. I know God is rejoicing with you for your faithfulness.
    Many Blessings and prayers,
    Diane

  23. Mrs. Q says:

    I love the quote from your elder “We are blood family…bound by the blood of Christ. And when one of us suffers, we all suffer. If one of our family loses all that is normal, we all lose what is normal.” It is so great to be connected in this way, through the blood of our Saviour. I have just kept thinking about how hard it must be for you after just having a baby! But I am touched and blessed by your happy, thankful heart. It is such a blessing to know people who are truly following the Lord and trusting in Him.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to update us. We will continue to pray for you and the families their.

    ~Mrs. Q

  24. Mrs. Q says:

    Oops, I meant “there”.

  25. Wanda H says:

    Praying!!!!!!

  26. Jenna says:

    I’m really happy that God is providing for you above and beyond what you could hope for, what a blessing! I’m curious though if a disaster struck and the community affected was Arminian and not reformed, would your church be so quick to help? I’m not attacking, just curious. I’ve seen too many Reformed believers throw non-Reformed people under the bus with a myriad of reasons including that we’re not really believers because we can’t rightly divide the word of truth. Would this be your churches reaction? I hope Kelly will personally answer this WHEN SHE HAS TIME. I realize that she has more important things to think about, but I’d like not to be attacked by other women who really can’t answer for Kelly. Thanks!

  27. Jen P. says:

    🙂

  28. Kristin says:

    Continuing to pray for your family and community!!

  29. Kelly, I am so moved by your post today. I’ve already told my children that your famiy and the Lee family are my heroes. You are proof that it IS possible to give thanks in the midst of a tragic situation. I pray I will do the same if I have to face something hard! I’m printing your post to read to my chidren at lunch. We are praying for you. The Smith family in Helena

  30. 6 arrows says:

    “But I have never owned it…until now.”

    Kelly, you don’t know the impact those words had on me. I, too, love the closing verses of Romans 8, but the whole concept of taking ownership of the words and promises of God in times of earthly trials…wow, what a deep privilege to be in such close communion with our precious Lord!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words of inspiration from the scriptures. God truly is doing a mighty work through you, and I am filled with gratitude that I am a beneficiary of the blessings He is imparting through you.

    Love in Christ from our family to yours.

  31. Ruth Adams says:

    I have been reading your blog for sometime. It hit hard to read of the devastation your family went through. We have been talking about it with our children. Your community was brought up during prayer requests at our church Sunday night. Many people around the country are holding you up before our Father in Heaven. Your calm and God exalting response is a powerful testimony to many. Thank you for reflecting Christ in the midst of the storm.

  32. […] HERE to read the entire post. Praise God! Share and […]

  33. Karen says:

    Amazing. This is what the body of Christ should look like – what a powerful testimony to the world this is.

  34. Kim B. says:

    Kelly,
    You are an inspiration! May God continue to bless & provide every need you & your family have. Maybe, when you get settled into your new home, you could write a book about the goodness of God! My family & I are praying for you. I only wish I could be there to help!
    With love & prayers from Tulsa,
    Kim

  35. Pam says:

    thanks for choosing joy. that inspires me greatly.

  36. Sharlene says:

    What a blessing it is to be part of the family of God. I have been praying for you. I am thankful that the Lord has given you grace and strength during this time to testify for Him.

  37. Cristy In AL says:

    “You will keep in perfect peace, he whose mind is steadfast on You.”. Shalom, Kelly.
    Love you.

  38. Bless you, bless you, bless you.

  39. Dominique says:

    Wow. What a beautiful post! I have just followed your blog for a few months and am amazed at your insight into the journey God has put you on. I will continue to pray for your family and those around you that have also been devastated by this tragedy. Thank you for taking the time and pouring out your blessings and trials on your blog. God uses it!

  40. Viv says:

    My heart goes out to your beautiful family. May God bless you all!

  41. Nikki says:

    What amazing words! We live in central FL and we planned to go see the space shuttle launch on Friday. Instead I so desperately wanted to come up there to help. However, I have a 3 month old and financially, it made more sense to contribute money and prayers. Know that my heart was with you!

    I’m inspired by your faith :o) I’m sitting in the midst of a messy home with lots to accomplish before going on vacation next week and I was getting stressed. Stories like yours truly puts life into perspective! I hope one day I can meet you in person.

    With much love in Christ,
    Nikki Crespo

  42. How wonderful that so many are helping. I never cease to be amazed at how much one brother/sister can love another. It’s a wonderful, special thing! We are praying for you, your family, and the others. I so wish we lived closer so we could physically help you, but a donation had to do instead. Love you, dear sister in Christ.

    Hugs,
    Carmen 🙂

  43. Jennifer says:

    Oh Kelly! There are no words, my heart goes out to you and your family! God Bless!

  44. Valerie says:

    I have been moving over the past few weeks and have had no internet, or news. I had heard about the tornadoes, but knew little about their impact, or location. I finally got my internet hooked up today and one of the first things I did was go to your blog. I was completely shocked and so very saddened to hear all that has happened to you, your family, and your community. I am so very very sorry. But I was also so pleased to hear how the Body of Christ is taking care of you all. It was the only thing that stopped my tears. Please know that I pray for you as I type these words.
    In Christ,
    Valerie E.

  45. Kim says:

    Dear Kelly,
    Your heartfelt testimony was very touching. Thank you for sharing so candidly about the outpouring of love and support you all have been receiving.
    I was in shock when I heard the news about what had happened to your family, your neighbors, and your community. I have followed video clips and all the latest news about your situation. You all have been constantly brought to my mind and I have prayed for you often and will continue!
    May God bless continue to bless you exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think!

    With sisterly love in Christ,
    Kim(Ann)

  46. Lisa says:

    Praying for your family and the other families impacted by the recent tornadoes. I clicked here from “Teaching Good Things” and am overwhelmed by your church community. What a testimony to the church and to the world your story is. May God bless you with peace and comfort as you rebuild. With love and prayers in our common Savior!

  47. kat says:

    My in-laws lost their home, business, vehicles, etc. 4 years ago to the tornado in Greensburg, KS. So, this tragedy hits really close to home. We were amazed by the outpouring of help and love then and are enjoying reading about that same love in your situation. Prayers and praises are going up on your behalf.

  48. […] I am Persuaded – Her parents lost their home. […]

  49. Joyce says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have posted a link on my blog to this post and the one following, as well as a couple of previous ones. God’s Grace is truly amazing! Continuing to pray for you all. Thank you for your awesome testimony to God.

  50. […] families who continue to praise the Lord in the midst of devastating loss:From Kelly Crawford in I am Persuaded: I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to you, to our church family, to our friends and […]

  51. […] It’s a beautiful thing! (See what happened here, here or here if you’re new to Generation […]

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