From the ashes

The house fire that burnt Terry and Lori Rigdon’s dwelling destroyed household items that Lori thought she needed. Seeing it all turned to ashes made her realize how easily things can be taken. “Things that once seemed important, we hauled away to the dump in the back of the trailer. Why did we worry about it? It was all gone in an instant,” she said.

After the fire, “it seemed like every time we turned around something we needed to set up house was provided. People were so wiling to help and give to meet our basic needs. It taught us a simpler way – to value the things that are really important,” Lori said.

“The fear of loss does not scare me anymore. During the cleaning up process, there were days we actually wished that it had all burnt down except, then I would have lost the pictures of my children. It was hard to go in there and take out all the charred remnants and clean.”

The fire did destroy the irreplaceable mementos of her parents and her children’s growing up years. She especially missed items from her mother who died years ago. She had stored the totes filled with memorabilia in the shop where the fire started. “I had totes set up with my kids’ school work and baby books and keepsakes from my mom and from Terry’s family. Through the fire, I lost everything that I had of my mom.”

Still, knowing the finality of the fire, Lori insisted, “I just want to go back and find anything I might find.”

“It’s all heaps of ash and rubble. There is nothing left,” Terry told her

She wanted to go, so they went and raked through the ashes of rubble where the shop had been. “It was just black. The walls were gone. Only the pole was left of the Christmas tree. I had to climb over all this to get where the totes would have been.”

Terry started helping her sort through the debris. He stopped and called, “What is that?” He pointed to the corner.

“I saw something white,” Lori said. “I said, ‘Oh my God! It’s a Bible and it’s open. The Bible had been stored in my grandmother’s tote. There were no signs left of the tote or the shelf it had been on.”

“’Don’t move it,’ I have to see where it is opened up to.” Lori recalls having said.

She made her way to the Bible and carefully picked up the wet and charred book. “The blue leather cover was completely charred except the letters ‘Bible.’ It was open to the Isaiah 53 prophecy about Jesus.

“He was there, in the middle of the fire to protect us and provide for us and show us He still is in control.mI opened it to the front. The presentation was in my mom’s handwriting. She had given the Bible to my grandmother. That was the greatest treasure that I found in the ruins after the fire. Only God could have done that,” Lori said.

“We kind of sat and stared at it for a while. We couldn’t stop looking at it. It proves that His word cannot be consumed. I know people will say ‘right.’ but it is true.”

Lori took the Bible from the rubble and had a shadow box built to protect the charred pages. She displayed the Bible in their home with it opened to Isaiah 53. It serves as a constant reminder that God’s word can not be consumed and that His love continues through all circumstances.

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