We have lived in our new house for just over eight months. In the last eight months we have had a significant amount of water enter our basement at least four times. This is not just a basement, but our family room, with our couches, biggest tv, and lots and lots of Crosley’s toys. The first big flood came only a few weeks after bringing the boys home from the hospital, rendering a main part of our house temporarily unusable.
This is not ideal.
On at least two of the occasions, I stood by the sump pump watching the water rise. With a 3 gallon bucket and a few towels, I attempted to stop the impending flooding to no avail. I’m glad there is no video of how ridiculous I must have looked bailing out tiny buckets of water as the water continued to rise. I watch the weather radar almost obsessively, have stayed up entire nights keeping watch over the sump well, and searched for answers.
I have had help. Church family has stepped in on several occasions, providing the tools that we need to try and fight against the flood. Folks with far more knowledge about such things have come and done everything within their power and we think we have a few fixes, but no way to know for sure.
One night as I was using a backup pump, sweeping out water, and cursing the rain, it hit me:
What do you do when your life feels like this? What do you do when the water is coming and as much as you’d like, there is no way to stop it?
I have had days in my life where there was a lot of rain but nobody else knew. Battling issues that I wish would go away, I knew there were times when I could not do anything other than watch life spiral out of control and then work on the inevitable cleanup.
I haven’t found a basement solution just yet. But what I have done, I believe can help in other situations as well:
1) Accept it’s going to happen. This is not defeat. I am not advocating letting things happen without a fight. I am not saying we shouldn’t be angry when things happen. But fear is (sometimes) worse than the actual result. This past weekend after a flooding incident, I watched the radar, tracked the forecast, and held off plans because I needed to be there when the rains came. They never came. Until I can find a final resolution, I need to learn to accept that right now water is just a part of life. It isn’t forever, it isn’t ideal, but I can’t let it steal my joy. I know this is not easy. I don’t know what floods you feel like you are facing, but extensive worrying about things we can’t really control isn’t going to make things better, so at least try.
2) Fix what you can. This weekend with the help of others, I was able to make a few fixes that I hope will at least lessen the blow. Some water is now hopefully going to be diverted away from the house. The backup pump is in position and ready to go. We have towels blocking the doorway. While it isn’t a lesson I wanted to learn the hard way, I’ve gotten a little better about stopping the water. Last time, it only made it halfway into the basement. Progress. While I would like a permanent solution, right now the best I can do is fix what I can. Whatever you are struggling with, it might not get better immediately, but fix what you can.
3) Rely on a church family. – Jenni and I have been blown away by the kindness and graciousness shown by our church family as we fight this battle. People have come over, helped make repairs, offered suggestions, and done what they can to find a solution. Unfortunately, when it comes to other issues, the last place people want to turn is to their church family. Fear of judgment, bothering someone, or shame makes it hard to seek out the church in times of need. If you feel like the water is coming in and you don’t know what to do, I encourage you to find a committed group of believers that will walk alongside you. In those moments in my life where I felt like life was out of control, I cherished having people that would walk with me, listen to me, pray for me, and encourage me. We can’t do it on our own. You can’t do it on your own. It was never supposed to be that way.
I don’t know your situation. I don’t know what flooding you are facing, but I want to encourage you to not give up hope. I’m going to close with one of the lines to my favorite songs by Needtobreathe:
“Even when the rain falls.
Even when the flood starts rising.
Even when the storm comes.
I am washed by the water.”
– “Washed By The Water” – Needtobreathe