Friday, February 24, 2017

February, 24, 2017



Today marks the year anniversary of that awful day.

Three hundred and sixty-five days since a tornado ravaged my town and almost took the life of one of my greatest friends. Now, as I type this, I'm looking at the gorgeous 70-degree weather outside my window, and I can't help but think about what kind of a day this might be if things had turned out differently. How life might have been different if this story couldn't have been told. What today might look like if a quick thinking painter hadn't been placed in the right place at the right time. If Daniel's life hadn't been spared.

And I'm thankful. Thankful, because God wasn't done with any of us yet.



                         video


There are a million things that could have turned out to be so much worse. But it didn't. Because no matter how bleak that day seemed, Daniel's life was spared for a reason. This town was spared for a reason. And God had a plan, more perfect than any of us can even imagine.


The song at the end of this post has been so amazingly real and perfect to me the past few days of reliving last year's tornado. Through the paralyzing thoughts of almost losing one of our closest friends, through the shock and the pain and the devastation of the storm, that steady hand was holding us up. That hand helped us rally together as a community and as a church family. It gave us strength in our weakest moment. And even though the scars of that day still linger, even though there is still pain, that hand is going to continue to hold us up. Because only He knows how to steady us.

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Only you know how to steady me
Ready my heart for everything that's coming my way Help me trust that you're ahead of me Going before my feet with every step I take Only you can calm a storm And only you can restore me when I'm worn You steady me only you can steady me, steady me




To Amy, Daniel, and Sarah;

Your family has been such an amazing, wonderful part of this town and Liberty. Daniel, words can't describe our thankfulness that your story is still being written. Life wouldn't be the same without you! We love you all more than you know, and we are so thankful and blessed to have you as a part of our church family.

Monday, February 20, 2017

February, 20, 2017

Tragedy & Triumph- How a freak disaster changed the course of a family forever

Nicole Olsen





For many, the tornado that struck Appomattox on February 24th 2016 is still an unbelievable event. They know it happened of course, one can’t look at the Appomattox Football Team’s “Power of One” slogan without being reminded, but it isn’t tangible somehow. A tornado in a small Virginia town in February just doesn’t happen. To most, it’s an event in the past that changed the course of history through a football team. The team that barreled through tragedy straight for the title of Back to Back Champions changed Appomattox, sure.  But to one family, it is so much more real.




Today, if you ask any of the students at Appomattox High School, they present that day to you as a day of sheer terror. A day when no one knew what was going on, how their families were, or if the school cafeteria was going to protect them from the devastation outside their window. One student wasn’t so lucky.


Daniel Poole, 16, home sick that Wednesday afternoon, never imagined that he would be thanking the man painting his house that day, for saving his life. No one would. But emerging from the rubble of a home destroyed, that’s exactly what he did.

"I wouldn't have been downstairs if Chris wasn't here," Poole said. "I would have been upstairs and I would have been under that."




Now, a year later, after the football team once again claimed the State Championship Title, Daniel and his family are still feeling the effects of that day. You can never really imagine all that happened that day. Until you have actually been in a life or death situation, it just isn’t something you think about. You don’t wonder what might have happened if that door didn’t hold. To this family, this is an every day reality.


“I was to the point (of) asking God, ‘What do you want me to do? Do you want me to stay or leave?’” Amy Covington said a few weeks later,as she stared at the pile of debris on her property that once was her home.

After all the love and support she received from her town and church family, Amy decided to rebuild.   
                                                       
“I haven’t always loved Appomattox, I liked Appomattox but I didn’t love Appomattox. Now I love Appomattox because I see how tight-knit the community is,” said Covington, an Appomattox native.


Today, the family is living in their newly rebuilt house on the same property as the house destroyed. They thank God daily for the blessing that this photo represents. A tangible reminder that things could have been so much different. This photo and their hearts could have been so much emptier. And that just might be the most important thing to remember about February 24th.