Hurricane Update Days 9 through 13: Normalcy in Bits

Good Morning Gorgeous,

It’s a brand new day. A fresh new start.

A new day to rise and enter the throneroom with gratitude for every blessing large or small. Every blessing.

The last few days have blurred together as we started to regain some slices of normalcy.

A press conference was held by our superintendent and teachers who are able to will return to work Thursday, October 13th. And students will return Monday, October 17th.

This gives us a date to look to for routines to return, and for many it will be a place of safety and comfort.

Yet for others the idea of returning to school seems impossible. We have at least 4 schools that will need to be completely rebuilt. Several more that need some type of repairs before they can be used. And then many are safe to reopen.

We do still have students and staff without power or water or both and some have lost everything and are living in hotels, temporary shelters, or with others.

So depending on the amount of loss to families and current situation, the school news came as either comfort or yet another mountain to scale.

We are a large county and the hurricane impacted the whole county, but different areas of our county were impacted very differently. Some areas were completely destroyed and others had repairable damage.

Here’s a screenshot from that shows how many schools we have in just our county! You can imagine the vast spectrum of needs that vary from school to school and area to area in terms of readiness to return. Some areas still resemble war zones with homes just gone where they used to stand, and other areas just have debris cleanup and blue tarps for roofs, but there are homes standing.

So school return dates have been a challenge and topic of deep emotion because the needs vary so greatly.

When it was announced that school would be returning, and there was a date to look toward for that, my kiddos seemed to feel a little relieved.

Almost daily, Brycen has been pulling out his yearbook and looking at all of his friends and teachers.

We still had no power when that news came, so we had a date, but no idea what it might look like.

On the day we found out, we had ventured into Fort Myers to get out of the house. We stopped for donuts at Duck Donuts. They hand make every donut to order.

Then, on Sunday, we spotted the Linemen on our street! We had a feeling power would be coming soon…

And then we headed to church. It felt so good to be back with our church family!

And we came home to an awesome surprise!! Electricity!

This was my Facebook post! I was so overwhelmed to be able to turn the lights on again!!

I cried. My kids cheered. The house lit back up! We have power, and if you don’t have it yet, be encouraged! They are coming!

The linemen showed up, worked on every individual house that had problems with their lines to ensure they could receive power, and within a few hours of being on our street…. we had electricity again.

We lost it early in the morning on the day of the storm, 9/28. We got it back today 10/09.

12 days no power.
12 days of walking into a room and switching the lights on because you forgot.
12 days of gathering ice daily.
12 days of no washer, dryer, pool pump, hot showers, dishwasher, microwave, stove, or Air conditioning.
12 days is a long time, but not really that long at all in the grand scheme of time.

Some people around the globe have never experienced running water or electric that turns on a switch.

This has been a reminder to pause and be filled with gratitude for what we believe are the most basic things.   Yet in reality, we realize how helpful and convenient they really have made daily living.

For each person waiting for power, it is coming soon! And in the meantime, if you want to stop by for laundry or a shower, our house is OPEN!!!

So that was it. The power was ON and loads and loads and loads of laundry felt so goood to wash. I heard the dishwasher humming, the washer and dryer going, and the house was closed back up with AC.

A few more slices of normalcy this week were the boys getting haircuts, taking my family grocery shopping to restock our fridge, and going out to dinner.

As I clean and recover, I am very aware that there are people that have lost everything including loved ones and homes. This hurricane has been devastating to our community and mostly everyone is mourning the losses.

I have asked almost every person that I meet while I’m out and about how they are doing. And I have heard lots of stories of loss. I prayed with a couple yesterday that we met at Jason’s Deli who lost everything they owned except what they had put in their car when they evacuated. She looked at me through tears and said, “I have 60 years of our married life packed in my car, and it’s all I have.” My heart sank. I partnered with her in prayer and asked for her number so that I could encourage her again. I felt her grief deeply, and she has been on my heart since our conversation.

It’s both a great relief to be recovering and also a deep grieving for others at the same time.. it’s a type of guilt that keeps trying to sneak into the souls of those who are able to recover while others are still in the midst of the storm. You feel some type of what I would imagine survivor’s guilt to feel like.  However, guilt is NEVER from the Lord. Ever. Guilt is a lie from the enemy to steal, kill, destroy, and divide.

Our pastor shared this week that we are able to do both rejoicing and grieving..We can rejoice with those who didn’t experience great loss and also mourn with those who have. It’s not either or, but BOTH AND.

We are able to experience both at once. Deep grief and deep gratitude. We need to give our souls space for both.

And for those who have homes and basic utilities, we can reach out and be vessels that Christ can use to minister to the needs of others. We can offer our time to cleanup homes. We can offer financial assistance. We can offer sincere encouragement and partner with them in prayer. We can be a source of light and just sit with them in their pain and listen.

People who are grieving need space to be heard as they process. So sometimes the best thing you can do for someone who is hurting is to listen to them and just be present.

If you’ve been following our hurricane journey, please keep our community in your prayers. We need strength to recover, continued provision for those who have lost homes and businesses, and the peace of Christ to invade and chase away fear of the future.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Come and restore and redeem and make beauty out of this storm in a way only YOU can. You can revive breath into people who are finding it hard to catch a breath. You can restart hearts and refill hope into souls that feel hopeless. You can draw us close to You and give us a fresh fill of everything we need to thrive again. Lord, strengthen weary souls and bring dry bones to life.

In Jesus’s Name,


Blessings and Recovery,

Vanessa Lynn

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