Sunday, April 27, 2014

BURNED OUT: when the fiery furnace of TROUBLE gets even hotter

All the best laid plans can go AWOL when you blink, and that’s what happened to my intention to sew a month of fixes for my worn-out modest wardrobe.

My “blink” happened when our dishwasher caught fire in the middle of the night, 13th April 2014, and we were flame-and-smoked out of our home.** I had completed one sewing project that very afternoon, a nightdress pattern I’ve adapted to cope with inadvertent social situations. There are two reasons I’m thankful I wore it immediately.
  1. I was modestly covered when I had to leave the house in a hurry and watch the fire brigade rescue my worldy goods from destruction, and I wasn’t worried about tripping over the saggy-baggy knit in the dark, which I would have been in my 2-year-old nightdress.
  2. All my sewing equipment, paper patterns, and fabric that were laid out ready to start the next project were damaged by soot from the fire. Thus would have been my new nightie if I had left it out to admire it like I usually do with finished projects.

When your plans are halted so abruptly, and when you realized how near you came to losing your home and your life, it takes a long time to work through the shock and find a way back to routine. Any sort of routine. And you constantly have to extend grace to yourself (and the rest of family) while you work (and sleep) your way toward that goal.

There is frustration at every step, and extra obstacles on top of that. It’s taken three times longer than promised for our “emergency” dry cleaning, and there’s no sign of it yet. If I thought I was short of clothing three weeks ago, I’m even shorter now!

My peculiar health challenges, my location at the ends of the earth, and my preference for full length hems mean I can’t just go out and buy new clothes. It was ten days before I was able to borrow a sewing machine and get a sewing station set up in the motel where we’re camping while our house is cleaned and the kitchen rebuilt. Even then, it was a challenge getting patterns and fabric.

However, there is also blessing at every step. My sisters sent a Care Package of small, essential sewing tools, a treasure box of love notes from the children, food supplies (the ingredients that keep me well are hard to source), and the loan of a sister for three days to help me make new sewing patterns and cut out fabric.

Friends and strangers in our small town have reached out with kindnesses that warm our hearts. A footstool and fresh baking for Dad. Pre-prepared meals and kitchen space for Mum. A windproof jacket and a sewing gauge* for me.

*Not currently available in accessible shops.

A surprising blessing is that I’m just a block from the Cenotaph war memorial and I was able to walk to both the 5:30am Dawn Parade and 8:30am Civic Parade on 25th April, ANZAC Day. My camera and I lingered after each service, meaning I was able to enjoy a roaring sunrise in solitary splendour and capture photographs of the Cenotaph standing sentinel in the fiery rays. I hope to feature these in the new ANZAC music video I’m planning, “The Rose and the Red Poppy”, inspired by my hat.

What I'm wearing:
Peaked Knit Cap (lined) from Postie, with RSA-issued poppy and rose by Boutique Narelle
Butterfly zip polar fleece from The Warehouse, shaping and button styling added by Boutique Narelle
Acrylic fringed scarf from The Warehouse
Waterproof rain skirt by Boutique Narelle
Wool socks from Kathmandu

Red leather lace-up shoes from Envy

I don’t recommend the colour palette I’m wearing, but at times like these, you make the best of what you’ve got!
I could write a book on how God has brought good things out of our traumatic situation. I see His hand at work every day, reminding me that when we trust Him with everything, He can turn even the direst situation meant for our harm into something beautiful. We have much for which to thank Him.

Right now, I’m thankful…

…that my netbook and camera were in my studio where soot damage was much lighter, mostly affecting furnishings;

…that a friend has offered us free use of their WIFI (and comfy lounge) so I can upload this post;

…that as I came online for the first time in nine days, I found messages of love and encouragement.

What perspective can I share from this position of Burned Out, when the fiery furnace of Trouble just seems to keep getting hotter?

I’ve learned to
  • release the expectations I had,
  • embrace flexibility,
  • cling to God for grace, peace, and patience to take each day as it comes, and
  • cultivate an attitude of continual thankfulness for what He has given me.
By doing this, I’ve found remarkable joy in the midst of these challenges.

I pray that through whatever trouble your life throws at you, you too will find the way to persistent joy amid your trials.
Fiat lux!

**For more pictures of the fire, click here:

1 comment:

Jacqueline@ said...

Oh, Narelle, How sad... BUT GOD!! It is clearly evident that He has grown you in character and given you a great joy during this fiery trial. My heart goes out to you, but I see the Lord's hand. I would that I'd have such a thankful heart here every day with different trials. I am praising the dear Lord with you and thankful that you are all safe. I am praying and lifting up the construction and clean-up to the throne room of grace. Hugs!