Thursday, May 13, 2010

Seeing God through the Storms

In the midst of all of the happy celebrations this month for our families, it has been a very, very sad time for the city that I love so much; where I have spent most of my 31 years of life. Nashville, and other areas of Middle TN, suffered a devastating flood Saturday & Sunday, May 1 & 2, 2010. People are calling this the "500 Year Flood", meaning that a flood like this will only happen every 500 years. Who knew that Saturday & Sunday when it gradually started raining more & more, that it would result in a flood. My mom and I were in Rogersville, Alabama with my parents' church for the Ladies' Retreat that we go on every year. One of my best friend's from my time in Louisville, Danyelle, was with us as well. In the middle of the day on Saturday, everyone was warning us at the lodge we were staying to get to a safe place because there was a tornado watch. We had no idea at that time how serious the weather really was. We were out shopping in the little downtown square when it started raining, so we just all ran for our cars and went back to the lodge to find the tornado watch going on. It passed over us and we went on with our activities. During the Saturday night service, several ladies' cell phones went off of family members calling to tell them about their basements or yards flooding. That was when we realized it was more serious than we thought. All night Saturday and Sunday morning everyone pretty much had shifted their focus from the retreat to what was going on back home in Nashville. Along with my Aunt Linzett suffering a heart attack in the middle of the Saturday night service and having to be rushed to the ER! That's a whole other story! Let's just say that the devil was fighting hard against us having this retreat! God was still with us though. My dad kept calling us from home giving us updates, but we still did not realize while we were in Alabama that this horrible flood was going on in TN. My mom and I drove back to Nashville on Sunday afternoon to find that many roads were blocked from flooding and at some points on I-65 the water was so high that it was kinda like our car was swimming through it. Several ladies on the retreat with us couldn't even go back to their homes because of the flooding. We all got back home to see how dangerous the flood waters really were becoming. I had to spend the night in Nashville Sunday night because we were afraid I-65 would be flooded on my way back to Bowling Green. I did not want to be out there traveling in all the water, no matter how badly I was missing my 2 babies back in BG!

My mom and I stayed up for hours Sunday night watching the news and talking on the phone to our friends and family who were calling us from out of town to see if we were okay. We were flipping back and forth between channels and realized that the Nashville Flood was only being talked about on our local channels and not the national channels like CNN. There was an oil spill going on near the Florida beaches and a possible planning of a terrorist attack going on in New York City, and both of these issues were receiving all the national media attention while the flood was being ignored. For the next few days so many people in Nashville were sooo upset by this and were posting it all over Facebook how angry they were at Obama for not giving any media attention to Nashville. People started comparing the Nashville Flood to Hurricane Katrina that happened in New Orleans in August 2005. All of this started to get really out of hand and it seemed that people were losing focus of what was happening in Nashville and cared more about how much media coverage it received. About a week after the flood it did start receiving more of the spotlight in national media and Anderson Cooper even did a special on it on CNN. Sunday, May 17th, the Great American Country television station (GAC) hosted a telethon that raised $1.5 million to help Nashville recover. Country stars like Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban sang throughout, answered phones, and shared about their losses.

My dad and I drove around Nashville Monday morning before I came back to Bowling Green. We did not even see the worse of it, but what we did see was still horrible and brought tears to my eyes. We drove around different parts of Antioch, one of the main areas that was targeted, but that still wasn't hit as badly as Bellevue, downtown Nashville, and the Opryland area. We drove around Antioch because that is where I spent many years growing up. I have so many memories in the Hickory Holly area and the Una Antioch Pike/Blue Hole Rd. area. A portable from Lighthouse Christian Academy was seen floating down Interstate-24 on Sunday, and my Dad and I saw what was left of the foundation of this portable. The school grounds were full of volunteers helping, as well as trucks set up to provide water. The Family Golf Center, where I had my 15th & 17th bday parties, also had tons of damage. We also saw the huge pile-up of cars on Antioch Pike that we had seen on the news earlier. An employee from the Olive Garden up the street was trying to get home after work Sunday night and his body was found somewhere on Blue Hole Rd. from where he had drowned. This area had such an eery feeling surrounding it and it just didn't seem real. By time we were driving around Monday morning, the flooding had subsided there leaving just the debris and damage for us to see. I just can't believe how quickly the water can rise and how quickly it can go back down! We drove over I-24 where cars were zooming by, and the night before it had been filled with the tops of cars sticking out above the flood waters where people had abandoned their cars to save their own lives.

These pictures don't even begin to describe the devastation, but they're a start. I will post on other areas of Nashville later, including the day Marc and I spend in Bellevue helping with clean-up. This is just all so heart-breaking!

View of the flooding in downtown Nashville... I took this picture while driving over the bridge on I-65 that goes over the Cumberland River... The traffic was bumper to bumper here and it wasn't because of the flood waters, but because of the people stopping in the middle of the road to take pictures AND people were actually walking up and down the Interstate looking at it!

Una-Antioch Pike & Blue Hole Rd. intersection... Una Antioch was closed off here and you can see the pile-up of flooded cars up ahead
The Lighthouse Christian preschool that is up the road from the main Lighthouse Christian School. This school was flooded and it was full of volunteers who had brought all of the preschool equipment outside to try to save what they could.

The foundation of the portable that floated up I-24... that is the Lighthouse Christian soccer field right behind it
Volunteers cleaning up the grounds of Lighthouse Christian
I-24 flows behind the Lighthouse athletic fields... So, the portable floated back behind the school through the fields to the interstate. I'm sooo thankful the portable was not full of children!
News coverage of the portable

Family Golf Center.... notice the little blue house and the red & white striped lighthouse still standing! Brought a little smile to my face since we have many pictures growing up standing in front of the 2 while playing putt-putt golf!
Family Golf Center office
God bless this wonderful church for handing out water!

Thankfully, God protected all of my family who live in Nashville. My parents live in Brentwood near Nippers Corner off of Hill Road, so thankfully they're up on a hill where there was just a little bit of flooding on the streets and in their driveway. My brother & sis-in-law live off of West End near the Parthenon area and thankfully they (and their home) were kept safe as well. However, we do have several friends who lost everything and are in the midst of trying to rebuild their lives. I just could not imagine.

This video is just a glimpse into how so many lives in Nashville changed overnight. Seeing some of these places with my own eyes on completely broke my heart. Let's pray that there are NO more losses and that everyone in Nashville will feel God's loving arms around them!

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