My Anna (by Jamie Owens)


God allows things to happen for reasons that may take us years to figure out why.  I truly wasn’t sure how God was going to use me in Kiln Mississippi.  All I knew was that I was going with a willing heart to serve Him and others and I was trusting that He would share the details with me when I got there.  The first day was a real struggle because I was already missing my home and my kids.  I truly questioned my presence in Mississippi on day one!  I prayed all night Monday night for God to show me why He had taken me from the storm that was raging in my own home to the storm stricken town of Kiln, Mississippi. 


On Tuesday we got our second work assignment and the team and I were headed to Bay St Louis, MS. for the day.  The drive to meet our next home owner wasn’t a long drive but it was an absolutely destructive and heartbreaking one!  On our way to meet the Sharp family the only view from our van windows was of homes and lives that had been literally ripped apart by the storm.  Everything that this community had was either completely destroyed or setting at the curb waiting for the next garbage pickup.  One block looked like a third world country while the next block looked like the rapture had taken place!  There was nothing good about it at all!  There seemed to be no hope and no end to the devastation.  The storm was not kind to the rich, the poor or anyone in between.  It caused havoc and destruction to the entire community!  It just made me wonder how in the world was our small team going to be able to make a difference in such an overwhelming situation. 


Before I could ever finish that thought it was time to meet the Sharp family!  I knew the minute that I stepped foot in their driveway that this family was the reason for my trip to Mississippi!  I knew without any doubt that God had organized this day!  Our team so suited this family and all of their needs instantly!  God quickly started handing out assignments after we all had met and talked a minute.  I felt especially drawn to the Sharp’s sixteen year old daughter Anna.  God started preparing my heart for day two on day one!  We physically accomplished the majority of the task on the first day and God had laid on my heart that day two at the Sharp’s was going to be less physical and more emotional.  And was it ever!  We had torn out every room in this home and taken it to the street to be picked up by bulldozers with the exception of Anna’s room.  God had made sure that our team leader was extremely sensitive towards this young persons belongings.  Although Anna’s things had been destroyed it wasn’t our place as a group of strangers to separate her from what she treasured.  Through much thought and prayer on day two I was asked by our team leader to focus only on Anna and her room. 


It didn’t take long to figure out that Anna wasn’t even going to be able to save enough of her memories to cover the bottom of one of those big plastic containers that you buy at Wal-Mart!  While searching through the stuff in Anna’s room piece by piece God had allowed certain things to be saved.  Letters to friends, printed out e-mails and journal entries that 30 feet of water had not even smudged the ink on.  The amazing thing about these items that went without ruin was that they had been heartbreaking issues to both Anna and I at a different point in time in our lives.  Anna shared the letters that she had written and a lot of the stories behind the words with me for hours on day two.  Just about everything that Anna had shared with me that day was something that had been weighing heavy on her heart and had been things that had weighed heavy on my own heart just a few years back.  They were things that she just couldn’t understand.  Such things as why do you get labeled a "goody too shoes" just for wanting to do right and why does God take away our best friends and why does peer pressure work the way that it does and how can your so called friends send such hate mail to your e-mail address and do parents really understand teenagers.  You see I have an eighteen year old daughter and a few years back I had cried out to God about all of the above heartaches!  Why God does "My Jordie" have to go through all of these tough, hurtful and hateful life situations and standing in Anna’s room that day with my arms around her and my eyes full of tears God said to me this is why!  I allowed you to go through Jordan’s storms to help Anna through her storms! 


God had given us all the time that we needed in Anna’s room that day and when the sharing and hugging was all done Anna was ready to let the walls fall physically and emotionally!  She feels good about being a "goody too shoes" and she’s committed to praying and loving for these five friends that did her so wrong.  I’m thankful that God allowed me to be apart of calming down a young ladies storm!  We may not always know why God allows certain storms in our lives but I can say that I’m going to praise Him through the storms because He has something awesome for those who truly seek Him regardless of their circumstances!  Can you praise Him through the storms in your life?  Just call upon Him and He is sure to carry you through!


In His grip,


Jamie Owens