I am counting my blessings as I sit here tying up our nightmare of an experience with Hurricane Harvey. Tons of you reached out via DM, FB, Email & stories asking if we were safe and I appreciate that more than you’ll ever know. I will never forget it y’all! Unfortunately I was unable to get back to everyone because I had to be very cautious with my battery since we went without power for a while + I was focusing my time on making sure my closest friends and family in Houston were also safe.
I think back now and it still feels like a bad dream. It’s like one of those things you see or hear about but never think it’ll happen to you. Erick & I are emotionally & physically exhausted, somewhat in disbelief and at the same time eternally grateful for family, friends & for GOD’s good grace!
Friday August 25: Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Texas Coast near Corpus Christi. The rain started pretty mild around 8pm for us so we decided to have a movie night with the boys and ride it out. By 12:30am the rain and wind had picked up significantly and tornado warnings started blowing up our phones. Erick and the boys were asleep so I decided to stay awake and keep watch. a little over 20 min later another tornado warning came on, this time it read “Seek Shelter NOW!! I got up and went to peek out the window in the boy’s room and saw the sky light up green you guys! I panicked and ran to wake Erick up. He got up quickly and peeked out the balcony door. Again the sky lit up GREEN and all sorts of sounds started happening. We each grabbed a kid and ran downstairs. My boys were both fully awake at this point and started to panic a bit. I held them both and started praying with them, reassuring them that God was right there with us protecting us from harm. I’m not sure how I kept myself together and didn’t burst out in tears. I think my mind was focused on protecting my boys and that was that. There was no time to acknowledge my feelings or act upon them. That night all 4 of us stayed cuddled up under the stairs till 5am when the tornado warnings had expired.
It rained all Saturday morning and afternoon. By evening time we decided to head to my parents in fear of another sleepless night of tornadoes all on our own. Well, as life will have it, Saturday night at my parents’ at around 8:30pm a tornado hit. This one so much worse than the one before. My parents, sister, nephew, Erick, Mason, Evan & myself took shelter in the restroom for what seemed like the longest minute or two EVER! The sounds outside and over the house were horrifying! I’m not exaggerating when I say it sounded like it was raining bowling ball in all directions. I knew it was bad when I saw my dad bow his head, close his eyes and call on JESUS. He never does that! Once the tornado passed, an eerie and complete silence followed. Even the rain had stopped. We all slowly came out the rest room and started surveying the damage. Thankfully the interior of the house was fine, for the exception of a bit of water seeping though a living room window. Dad & Erick grabbed flashlights and went outside and that’s when they realized how bad it had been. every single tree on our street had been either uprooted or broken into a million pieces and scattered all over the place. The roof over my moms room suffered minor damage an my dads’ SUV was seriously damaged by trees & debree. Again it rained the entire night, my mom and I kept watch while everyone else slept. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed so hard in my life. I found myself talking to Jesus and asking him wholeheartedly to have mercy on us and our city. By morning I was shaking nervously (a combination of lack of sleep + constant worry) and begged Erick to take us home. It just felt like the right and safest thing to do. I was wrong.
We spent all Sunday at home in our apartment. The rain was light and there were no serious tornado watches or flooding in our area. By 9pm that day, I receive a text from a friend asking me if we were ok. There were extra “!!!!” in her text so that got me worried. I got on my phone and quickly found out that our neighborhood, Sienna Plantation, was under mandatory & voluntary evacuation order. Again, I started panicking and started begging Erick to take us to my cousins house which is only 10 min away from us and was out of the danger zone. He suggested we wait till morning and keep reassuring me we’d be ok. By morning time the voluntary evacuation had changed to mandatory. I could see the county sheriffs from my balcony directing cars out of the main street. This time I didn’t think twice and started packing a few things for us and making sure I brought enough water and food for my boys. We left to my cousins right before noon. I felt a great sense of relief but my anxiety was on another level.
Monday evening while at my cousins the situation changed yet again, the county officials kept adding neighborhoods to the evacuation maps and this time I lost it. I cried and told Erick how scared I was. I feared that we’d be struck in surrounding water and would need rescue. He told me to keep my faith on God and again reassured me that we’d be ok. This time though I could see the worry in his eyes. I could tell his mind was preoccupied trying to figure out what the next plan would be. We spend the night at my cousins that night. Again I stayed up the entire time peeking out the window every hour to make sure water wasn’t rising. Thank God it never did.
Tuesday morning the rain was still going strong with no sign of stopping. The images on the news were heartbreaking and the worry on everyone’s face started becoming more evident. At this point I realized that the only safe place to be with zero threats of flood was at my parents. The thing was ALL roads were flooded and impassable. We had no way out! This meant that if the river crested we’d have to ride it out and hope for the best. A bit before noon one of my cousins called and said her and her family were going to try to find a way out. A levee on the Brazos had broken and they weren’t taking any chances. Thankfully her and her husband found a safe way out which Erick & I quickly followed. Ironically this road led STRAIGHT to my parent’s neighborhood! Try and tell me there is no GOD!
We made it to my parents Tuesday afternoon and have been here ever since. The worst it over now and we have finally started to sleep better. We are impatient to get home but at this time the only thing that matters is that we are all safe and sound. I can’t thank my aunt & uncle enough for their hospitality and for giving us a place to stay when we thought we had nowhere to go. Our friends who reached out and offered not only words of encouragement but also offered their homes multiple times. I will NEVER forget so much kindness and goodness in the midst of so much catastrophe. It has been the most difficult thing we’ve been through as a family. But we still consider ourselves lucky because we had shelter through it all, our kids were safe and dry, our home is dry and intact and we get to go home pretty soon. Plus, both of our families including siblings, cousins etc are safe and sound. My heart is with everyone who wasn’t as lucky. So many close friends have lost their entire life to Hurricane Harvey and it breaks my heart. Erick I & cannot wait to get out there with our church who is already doing so much, and start helping our community in any way we can. We have SO much to be thankful for. GOD is good!♥
I do ask that you guys continue to pray for Houston. Although rain has stopped & life seems to be going back to normal for some of us, Hurricane Harvey left a lot of destruction behind. The majority of the city is still under water, families are still displaced & rivers are still rising. If you feel called to help Hurricane Harvey victims from wherever you are, I’m including a few links to different ways you can help below. TIA♥
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