Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Time to Worry or An Opportunity to Pray

Mindy here, and boy am I glad it's October. September was an interesting month for the Obenhaus family. One filled with heart-pounding events, as well as God's faithfulness.

We spent Labor Day weekend at our family's ranch near Houston. Sunday, a little before noon, a wildfire broke out several miles away. The winds were high that day, whipping across the drought-stricken land in just the right direction to put us in its path.

We watched the billowing smoke move closer and closer.

The sheriff's department told us we had to evacuate. We gathered the things we'd brought with us for the weekend, as well as mementos from our camphouse. It was interesting to watch our boys. To see what was important to them. Mounted deer antlers, pictures of them with their first fish, first deer....

I've seen people on news reports who stayed behind in times of disaster and thought to myself, "You people are nuts. You should have left." Now I understand them. Though we were packed and ready to head out (cars pointed in the right direction :-), it was hard to leave. The uncertainty of what we'd find when we returned. Would the fire ravage everything, or would we be spared?

Then we saw the flames on our property. It was time to leave.

I cannot recall a time in my life when I have felt so much adrenaline pumping through my veins. Yet in my spirit, there was peace. As much as I wanted to stay, to see what was going on, I knew that God was in control. Not only would He not desert us in our time of need, He was in charge of the fire. If the camphouse was gone, God would be with us. If it was intact, God would be with us.

I'm happy to tell you that the camphouse did survive, though many people didn't fare quite so well. We lost a 100+ acres of timberland, but nature has a way of renewing itself, all by God's design, of course.

We returned home a day later than we had planned, though while we were four and a half hours away physically, our hearts were still at the ranch. Hot spots flared up daily. Volunteer fire departments from all across the area patrolled day and night. We could hardly wait for the next weekend so we could get back down there to see things for ourselves.

Saturday and Sunday we drove through the woods, up and down fire lines that had been cut by military bulldozers the forest service brought in. We had a 25 gallon water tank on the back of our ATV. When we'd see smoke rising in the woods, even flames on occasion, we'd find a way in and spray it down.
You may already know this, but I learned that fire travels underground, through the root systems. Time after time we'd see trees that appeared just fine. But they'd be burning at the base. When they burned enough, they'd fall, usually bursting into flame.

Then, shortly before we left, my husband was trimming limbs and fell. At the small local hospital they told us he'd broken his back and that they feared it was pressing on his spinal cord. They'd have to CareFlight him to Houston where he'd have surgery.

My world was in turmoil once again. Even more so than before. As that helicopter flew away with the man who was my rock, my mind sifted through everything I had to do before I could be with him again. I was four and a half hours away from home. My boys were supposed to be in school the next day. But I had to get to that hospital.

I texted friends as soon as we arrived at the hospital, asking them to pray. And I am here to tell you, those prayers sustained us. When we are weak, God truly is strong. He paved the way at every turn. Provided exactly what I needed. And, once again, gave me peace.

Two hours later, when I finally made it to Houston, they told us the break was not pressing on the spinal cord and that my husband would not need surgery. Our worst case scenario had been flipped to a best case scenario. And we praise God for it.

My husband is in a brace, will be until at least the end of the month. He still struggles to move around and pain, though it's gradually easing, is a constant companion. But God is with us. So, rather than worry, we're choosing to lean on Him.

Far too often, life doesn't go the way we plan. Our instinct is to fret and worry. We can make ourselves downright sick. Or, we can choose to trust, and be granted a peace that passes understanding.

I like the Amplified version of 1 Peter 5:6. "Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."

Did you catch that? He cares for us affectionately and watchfully. Now that's Someone I can trust.

Have you experienced peace in the midst of chaos? Please share.

Happy Tuesday, y'all.


  1. Mindy, I'm so glad your life is settling down. Those were a frantic several days! I'm glad your hubby is going to be okay, and that your camp house survived.

  2. So glad everything worked out all right Mindy! And that bible verse is a great one! Wishing your husband a speedy recovery :)

  3. Mindy, keeping you/hubs in my prayers! Glad things are better!

  4. What an amazing story, Mindy. I'm so glad in the midst of all that chaos that you are all faring much better. We did keep you in prayer. Hoping your hubby recovers fully and soon!