All Twisted Out


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It is really hard to compose a blog when you spend every evening of the week sitting in front of the TV with the phone next to your hand and your purse and cat carrier by the door, waiting for the weather man to say, “Take shelter now.”

Since Sunday night, the evening the devastating tornado hit Joplin, my corner of Arkansas has been under one warning after another. One storm, one hail storm, one flood after another. We are tired, we are worn out, and we are thankfully done with this. My portion of the world came out pretty well, but not so far away, a different story. You know of Joplin, only 45 minutes away, devastated and partially destroyed. They lost, among others, some teenagers who graduated that night, only to come home and meet the end of their journey.  A family member, who lives only an hour away, lost everything, including her beloved pet. I am incredibly grateful for the wholeness of my home and family.

All week I've listened to Joplin radio, where they've suspended the normal programming of Lady GaGa, Kesha, and Cee-Lo, and are doing 24 hour storm outreach, where people call in begging for information about missing loved ones or call in with offers for housing or some other form of assistance. I've heard the story of the manager of Pizza Hut gathering folks in the food cooler where the door wouldn't shut. He tethered it closed, but the tie wouldn't hold. So he held it himself. Until the wind proved too strong, and he was pulled out the door. This father of two sacrificed his life and saved a restaurant of people.  There is the quirky story of the horse that was sucked into the tornado, only to land into a pool. . .and live. There is the Joplin church where the youth group was meeting when the warning sounded. They were right in the path of the massive EF-5 tornado going 200 mph. They began to pray together, and miraculously, the killer tornado skipped right over them and then continued its assault. I've visited this very church. It's a Healing Room location and opens up its doors once a week so their trained prayer warriors can pray for any who will come. The stories abound this week. As does the sorrow and grace. The hope and the tears.

If you would like to contribute to these devastated towns, from Arkansas to Missouri to Oklahoma and beyond, you can give to Samaritan's Purse, text donations to the Red Cross. (Go to Red Cross for your specific location you'd like to give to.)  You can donate blood. Joplin currently has all they need, but that is because they've taken from local states who are now lacking. This week O negative has been a critical need. And finally, you can donate to Messenger International, a ministry of John and Lisa Bevere, who will give 100% of funds donated to disaster relief. You can read about their trust-worthy mission HERE.

And you can pray. As the DJ said on the Joplin radio station today, “Remember us three weeks from now. When everyone else has forgotten.” As my family was reminded a few weeks ago, life goes on, even when it's radically changed, forever altered, when the things that were. . .are no more. And that's when you need the prayer the most. These towns will need ours.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 9 comments
Amy - May 25, 2011

Very profound post, Jenny. It’s going in Friday Faves…but not in the funny part.

Allie Smith - May 25, 2011

yes the tornado devistation has been an incredibly eye-opening makes me so thankful for the Lord’s mercy and hand of’s kind of difficult to say that with all the lives lost and homes detroyed,but God is still good.
gr8 post,jenny.alwayz inspiring. 🙂

Heather Sunseri - May 26, 2011

My heart breaks for the people in that area. I am saying many, many prayers for the people affected by this devastation. Glad you’re okay, Jenny.

Kathy - May 26, 2011

The Pizza Hut hero part made my eyes well up. The horse part made me smile. My heart is so heavy for the damage and loss, but I’m also so, so grateful that YOU are fine, Jen.

Alex - May 26, 2011

That is so so sad. My heart breaks hearing about those who graduated and then died:( But the horse thing was kind of weird (and funny). SO SO glad you’re okay:D


bookwyrm14 - May 26, 2011

Your area totally has my prayers. I am so glad you are all right, but of course, others weren’t as lucky. As I mentioned before, a tornado narrowly passed my area as well, but hit my friend’s area devastingly, so I can relate to your mixed feelings of relief and sadness.

btw, I got my Departures book! thanks, ms. jones! 😀

Clare - May 27, 2011

I live in an area where tornados aren’t very frequent, and are hardly as deadly as those that have gone past and caused so much destruction these past couple weeks. Yet, it’s still been so scary seeing how much damage a storm can cause. my prayers are definitely with the victims and their families and friends!
so glad your safe, jenny! i’ve been praying for you too! 🙂

Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect - May 29, 2011

Since my husband and I bought our house (with no basement, no interior rooms and many large windows) 8 years ago, our area has been seriously hit twice. Not like Joplin, but still bad. So what has happened, so close to home (I live in KC), has just scared the crap out of me. It’s just…unbelievable and overwhelming.

What I actually came over here to say, though, was that I just read Save the Date and really liked it! I know that’s weird to say in a comment on a post about tornadoes. But I didn’t want to NOT tell you. So…there it is. I liked your book. (Especially the sarcasm and the flirting. Very real. Very funny. Very good.) 🙂

shabbygeek - May 30, 2011

When Hubs and I were on our way to KCMO last weekend, we stopped in Joplin for the first time. It was Friday, 5/20. We thought it was a nice little town, with everything on one little strip — restaurants, shopping, etc. We stopped at Shake’s for frozen custard and went to Wal-Mart to purchase a few things. Sunday when we came back and we beat the tornado by a few hours. We got phone calls as we were in Conway, asking if we were currently in Joplin. That’s when we found out about the cute little town we visited on Friday.

My heart hurts for towns like Joplin, Tuscaloosa, various parts of the South (and the world) that have been ravaged by weather this year. We need some serious weather mercy. I haven’t stopped praying for these families, and yours, too.


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