Monday, April 13, 2009

Dad's 3rd E-mail

Dear Friends,

Again...forward this on to friends.

We just want to affirm our love and appreciation for all the offers of help and the assurances that you are praying. Amy Katherine was hesitant going to school yesterday, and it was encouraging to be able to tell her that hundreds of people were praying.

Amy Katherine went to play practice last night for dress rehearsal for High School Musical Two. Opening night is next Thursday! After Act I, the entire cast threw a birthday, fire rehab party for her! She was bombarded with gift cards, clothes, jewelry, and notes of encouragement. She felt so loved!

We accepted the offer of our neighbors across the street to move into their house while they vacation for ten days. This will give us time to find a rental house downtown and make the transition. Folks have offered to help move, but it will take one trip from the car to get our belongings into the house! Easiest move ever!

We will be looking at two different rental properties today. One is located just a couple of streets from our present home. It is empty and would need to be furnished. The other is on the south end of downtown and is furnished. We are leaning toward the furnished one. Pray for wisdom with this as being closer would be better, but we have to weigh that with all the work of furnishing a house.

We have had many offers from many of you for rental properties and even free places to stay. Thank you much for these offers! We really do appreciate them. However, we feel a real need to be in downtown, even close to our house. We will be going back and forth many times a day and just need to be close. If all else fails we will take folks up on their offers to live in midtown, Desoto county, etc.

We are still making a decision on a contractor. I told you yesterday that we needed to make this decision then. I am not yet confident enough to do this and have communicated that to our insurance company. They seem fine with that decision. Pray that we would make a wise choice in a timely fashion.

My neighbor asked me yesterday if I had preaching responsibilities this week. It is the first Easter in 18-20 years that I do not. As I reflect on the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, in the face of this tragedy, I can't help but make the connection. While rummaging through Amy Katherine's room yesterday, Rachel found a painted portrait of Zach. AK was four when she crafted this work of art. It was in perfect condition. Out of the soot and destruction comes a thing of beauty. That is life in this world. Life erupts out of death and the contrast is the glory.

Framing this picture has become a priority. It will represent the glory in the darkness of this tragedy and thus, have more value than an original Picasso. It will be prominently displayed in our new home for all to see. Some will know, some will not, but we will certainly know its' significance: death, life, hope.

It is so encouraging to live life knowing the end from the beginning. Precisely because Jesus left glory to secure glory for us, burned out homes, pet grave plots, and disrupted lives are interruptions not endings. We know of an empty grave, a new body and a promise, "I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me where I am." You see, even if we hire a bonehead for a contractor, even if the renovation isn’t what we want, one day some day we WILL know the handiwork of a perfect contractor. We will walk into this new home and feel at home, as if the contractor knew us better than we knew ourselves, as if he knew our souls.

So, I am not preaching this Easter Sunday, but I am receiving and believing! He really did rise from the grave and so will we. Does anything else matter that much? It does matter. The hurt, the tears are real, but someone sees them, and knows them for He has cried them too. The end from the beginning, makes the now bearable if not laughable! Happy Easter and to God be the glory, great things He has done!

Much love and grace,

The Rieves

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