A Lifestyle of Thankfulness: When Everything Is Taken Away

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This time of year has always been a favorite for our family. We love the holidays—the food, the joy, the parties. However, this year had an unexpected event in store for us that has humbled us countless times with gratitude and has given us so much more to be thankful for. 

We had no idea of the disaster that would welcome us back “home”. 
— Miranda

Our family was greatly affected by Hurricane Harvey that wrecked the Houston, Texas area in the beginning of September this year. We received 6 feet of water outside our home and 4.5 feet of water inside our home. We were notified that the dam near our home had reached max capacity of water and they were going to open the flood gates early the next morning. We quickly packed 2 bags of mostly clothes for our children—at this point we were confident that our house would receive minimal flooding if at all—we had no idea of the disaster that would welcome us back “home”.  

Because of the amount of water received in our area it caused the sewage system to back up, so we not only had 4.5 feet of water that filled our home we had sewage water that filled the rooms we tucked our kids in at night, the rooms we gathered with friends and family to share laughter and struggles, the very rooms my children took their first steps.  

We had sewage water that filled the rooms we tucked our kids in at night...
— Miranda

Our home took over a week to drain. It sat in contaminated sewage water, in Houston’s hot humid weather for over a week. All our “things” collected mold and were destroyed. If it didn’t touch the water it still had to be thrown out due to the smell or the mold spores through the house. 

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My husband, 2 children (a 1 year-old and 2.5 year-old) and I found ourselves in a place we never imagined we would be. This was not part of the happy ending I imagined as a child when dreaming of my future family. We had no home to go back to, no vehicles to drive, no toys for my children, only the clothes and items we rushed to pack. But I am so so grateful that our God is mightier than hurricanes and has already written a more powerful and beautiful and testimonial story than I ever could have written or imagined.  

 Photo credit: Dina Rohira

Photo credit: Dina Rohira

I am so so grateful that our God is mightier than hurricanes and has already written a more powerful and beautiful and testimonial story than I ever could have written or imagined. 
— Miranda

Within a week of Hurricane Harvey we had a place to stay, a closet with clothes, toys for our children, fully stocked kitchen and living room, and someone had handed us the title of their car! 

We are so grateful for things when we have them, but you reach a new level of thankfulness once it’s all been taken away and has been graciously given to you by friends, family and those that don’t even know you.  

It has been so miraculous to see people from truly all over America (5+ states) selflessly give to our family. Some of them knew us and others did not. An elementary school in Illinois did a bake sale for our family! 

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
— Matthew 6:25-31

You guys, have you ever felt so loved by strangers?! Thankfulness is not just a season it truly is a lifestyle.  We are so humbled that others live this out and have impacted our family because of it.  

 Photo credit: Dina Rohira

Photo credit: Dina Rohira

 Thankfulness is not just a season it truly is a lifestyle.
— Miranda

You can follow Miranda on Instagram: @mirandariveraaa