When It Rains, It Pours (Into the Basement)

CANDLEThursday night, the weather here was wild. Severe thunderstorms were responsible for a lot of damage all over the Midwest, and in our area, we had a deluge of rain and lightening that caused power outages for thousands. At midnight, I had given up the idea of sleep with the crashing thunder and lightning (how can men and kids sleep through that?) and was camped out in the family room watching our local station’s weather warnings.  There was a huge crash of lightning, and then the power went off. Wearily, I went to hunt down some candles and flashlights and added some elegance to the stormy night by sticking a long white taper into a crystal candle stand I found while groping around in the dining room. Nobody in the else in the house stirred as I listened to the wind howling and the rain pelting the windows and watched the flickering flame of my candle.  Nobody stirred, that is, until about two hours later when I heard the basement door open and our son Jonathan emerged from his lower level bedroom. “Mom, the basement is flooding! The water is at least four inches deep already.”

When the power went out for two hours, the sump pump couldn’t work and the water came right in. It was a depressing sight as Tom and the boys sloshed around what had been our nice, dry basement with their flashlights, trying to figure out where to begin. Jon’s two computers were ruined. Books on the lower shelves of bookcases were ruined, trumpet cases (a lot of trumpet cases, let me tell you) were full of water.  The electricity came back on at 4am, and the sump pump sucked out the standing water, but the damage was done.

The next day after hauling out 30 dripping trumpet cases from the basement and putting them in the garage,  we spent a couple of hours calling all the water damage restoration places we could find in the yellow pages. We had waited too long. They were all booked up for days because of the widespread damage in our area.

Because mold starts growing in damp basements within 48 hours, we knew we couldn’t wait. We finally stopped and prayed that we would find somebody with a hole in their schedule who could help us with the damage and wet carpets. The Lord graciously answered, and we found a small family-run business only 10 minutes away that was happy to help. They came and began with giant fans and humidifiers and are returning Monday after we have cleared everything out of the basement so they can remove the wet drywall, paneling and carpet. We were really grateful.

Our neighbor lady called. They had thousands of dollars of damage in their basement which had recently been completely redone. With a foot of water, it was a complete disaster. We were commiserating about the details when she said, “But you know, Ingrid, we have a relative we have to go see tonight at the hospital. They are removing his life support, and we have to say our good-byes. He has advanced lung cancer that was only recently discovered and his family is devastated. We have to keep all of this in perspective.”

This wise older woman was looking at her “disaster” with exactly the right attitude. In the end, it’s just stuff. We get things in life, we lose things in life. The sun shines and we work hard, and in one stormy evening, our work is laid waste. That’s the nature of life in this fallen world. After that conversation, I swallowed my disappointment over the nursery not being ready and having this very large restoration project messing up the home I was trying to get organized. Baby Schlueter won’t know the difference if her room isn’t ready, tucked away in her little bassinet. With the Lord’s help, we’ll get things fixed. I told Tom that this gives us a new opportunity to get rid of a lot of things we were storing for no real reason. I had a wise grandmother, Mary Thomas, who lived through the Great Depression and innumerable hardships in raising her eight children. One of her frequent lines was, “Don’t worry. It’ll all work out.” In other words, don’t get too upset about any one thing. In the end, it will be OK. I know Grandma was right.

My wonderful sister-in-law, Kris, packed a suitcase after she heard about our basement blues and has been driving up from Oklahoma to help us finish clearing out the rest of the basement this weekend before the workers come Monday. She’ll be here in an hour or so. I was so grateful, I could have cried when I heard that. That kind of help is a blessing straight from the Lord. Son Charlie, who lives on his own, showed up today out of the blue and is outside mowing the grass for us as his way of helping. That was another happy surprise.

Whenever I look at the things piled around the house and get discouraged, I remind myself of Grandma Thomas’s quiet words. “Don’t worry. It’ll all work out!”

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

–I Thessalonians 5:18

12 thoughts on “When It Rains, It Pours (Into the Basement)

  1. Sharon says:

    It is during circumstances which overwhelm and aggravate that the Lord does indeed enable us to roll with the punches. I am grateful for how He uses situations to not only be instructive, but to also afford us yet another opportunity to be conformed to the image of His Own Dear Son. May God help me to yield to His direction and humble enough to receive His help.

  2. Jessica Fales says:

    Sorry Ingrid,
    I will be praying the Lord continues to provide you with peace in your heart with your Grandma’s words and His.


  3. Sherry Goodwin says:

    Everyone’s alive–no tornadoes or lightening strikes. Just disappointments about personal belongings that can’t be replaced. God is greater than all our worries and trials. I’ll be praying for all of you that He will work this for good, as He says He will in Romans 8:28. DO NOT OVERDO, Ingrid and trust God for all of this. You have a precious family and one more to come soon! Love and prayers to all of you.

  4. Les says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about this Ingrid. I hope you get the rest you need despite the havoc in the basement. My friends and pastor in Galveston lost almost everything during hurricane Ike; I know they were able to save some of their wooden, nonappolstered furniture by setting it out in the sun to dry a few days. I think they were rubbing mayonaise into the wood to keep it from drying out.

    It’s funny my dad always said, “It’ll all work out” when things weren’t going so well. I’ll be praying for you.

  5. Christina says:

    Praying that everything will go peacefully as it is all repaired. What a great reminder that we cant take anything with us!

  6. Lisa K says:

    Ingrid – these dreadful storms hit us in Chicago on Thursday night and on and off on Friday. I too woke up from crashing thunder in the middle of the night on Thursday. Amazingly on Thursday morning we had a crack repaired in a basement wall! This was the perfect test to see if that crack was the cause of our mysterious water leak and it was – thank God the basement was dry on Friday.
    I empathize with your family about the trumpet cases – my son and husband have had various musical equipment ruined with basement water, and I’ve lost books.
    But I try to see it like you – as I get older I realize it really is just stuff and you can’t take it with you!
    However, life seems overwhelming sometimes doesn’t it? With a new baby almost here – this is the last thing you need!

  7. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Lisa K – You sure said it—life is overwhelming at times. The timing on this is pretty bad. We have had to move everything from the basement for the tear out the contractors are starting today (it’s early morning and I can’t sleep. They are supposed to be here at 8.) We had to put it all in the garage. Now a lot of it is in the family room as well for lack of space. The smell of must is everywhere in my once clean house. The baby’s future room is also full of things we’ve been collecting, bags from the store, etc. Despite my best efforts, I had a mini-meltdown (a quiet one though) last night over everything because stuff was starting to get put in our kitchen as well for lack of room. That was the last straw as I couldn’t even walk in there. My sister-in-law has been absolutely a God-send. She took all the junk they were putting in the kitchen and cleared it out for me. I guess she saw I was going under from it all. I can’t lift or help so I feel so useless. If Kris hadn’t been here to help, I don’t know what we would have done as the older boys have had to leave for their jobs off and on and that left only Will otherwise to help his Dad. One thing is clear, we had way too much stuff down there. The silver lining is that Tom is starting to realize that his saving of things has been over the top for some time now. We are getting rid of a lot of things that should have been tossed with our last move. We had a whole bin of broken toys from William. I said, “Why are we SAVING THIS STUFF?” There’s got to be a limit on sentimentality! Thanks so much everyone for your prayer and thoughts. We’ll get through it and yes, everything will work out.

  8. marilyn says:

    What a drag! It is so daunting. We went through this 3 months ago….I will be praying for you. One day at a time sweet Jesus….

  9. Christina says:

    Ingrid I know what you mean about the kitchen. I just sometimes irk when there are toys in the kitchen or the alphabet magnets are off the fridge! 🙂 How are things going now? Thank you for keeping us updated so we know what to be praying for.

  10. Lanette says:

    Ingrid, you painted a picture in my minds eye as I read your post. I, too, was up watching those same weather warnings on Thursday night. I pictured you sitting in the peace and security of your home, carrying your precious baby in your womb, with a storm raging outside all around you…while I sat in my family room with 10 of my 12 precious blessings sleeping on the floor around me (because of the storm) and my newborn son sleeping soundly and peacefully on my chest and a storm raging outside all around me. Doesn’t that remind you of what we have in Christ? While the storms are raging around us, whether it be seen or unseen, we can find safety, security and PEACE in Christ Jesus on the inside as we put our focus and our TRUST on Him.

    Just as Isaiah said, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

    While we didn’t have the storm damage that you had, those were some pretty wild storms that came through. Wild enough to scare some of my kids pretty badly. It’s these events in our lives that teach us some of our most valuable lessons. Some day you’ll look back on this all and chuckle but if your like me right now it isn’t laughable. You just want things back in order before that baby gets here. LOL Someone shared with me recently…when you can’t see His hand, trust His heart. It sounds like His heart is to get your house cleaned out for you too. 😉 Look at all that’s happening now…wow! Now when’s that storm going to clean out my house……ha!

  11. Carol says:

    Ingrid, I have been praying for you. I was at loss for words, and now all I can think of for words of comfort is that it is better that this happened now rather than later after the baby is born. Similar to Lanette’s thoughts, I thought of the baby inside you tucked away all safe and warm not aware of the storm and it’s outcome! Like us under the shadow of His wings! It is hard not to be upset by the trials, but our God always makes good come out of it and redeems the losses if He thinks you need it. God Bless and give you rest, Carol

  12. Jeanne Bourgeois says:

    Our basement also got wet because of no power. Then when the power went on the sump pump just kept running and running. We always keep a spare just in case. That water is such a mess and the smell tons of bleach is my solution. Hope you can get some rest. I know how these things drain a person. Thank you for all you do with your posts and keeping us informed about false doctrine and the famine in the land. My mom always said things will work out and she always told me to pray.

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