When My Heart is Overwhelmed

January 27, 2011 • United States

Staff writer Chelsea Pardue blogs from Nashville.

One of my favorite verses is Psalm 61:2. “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” But I’m not sure I had seen it in action until this weekend.

Back in May, floods destroyed parts of Nashville. People were left homeless as they started the long process of gutting their houses and rebuilding. Although they received money from FEMA, it ran out quickly and many people were left with half-finished homes and bad construction. Samaritan’s Purse stepped in to help.

This past weekend, I traveled to Nashville to see the finished work of six homes. My job was to interview the homeowners and get their stories. I have never come so close to crying in an interview as I did while talking with a woman Thursday night. Her name was Sherri Heileman, and her story was heartbreaking.

Sherri (pictured above with her husband Steve, and her daughter, Kaitlynn) has six children, two of whom have physical disabilities and use wheelchairs. Because of their special needs, rebuilding her home is especially difficult because of all the necessary specifications that must be met for her children’s mobility. Her name was submitted to Extreme Home Makeover, but she didn’t make it through the final round of selections. That’s when Samaritan’s Purse started to reconstruct her life.

Despite how hard this year has been for Sherri, she said, “Looking back at it, not that we would ever want to go through the flood again, but the relationships that we’ve built, the incredible blessings that we’ve received, the people that we’ve met, the challenges that we’ve overcome through all of this is something that never would have happened had it not been for the flood. Some days it’s very hard to understand why God put us in those situations or gave us those challenges to face, but then I realize with events like getting to meet everyone who’s worked on our home and the Samaritan’s Purse group that there was a very specific plan in why things turned out exactly the way they did.”

Those are the words of an overwhelmed heart that has found refuge in our rock. In fact, I found that every single family I interviewed had something similar to say.

The verse became one of my favorites my senior year of high school. It was a difficult year filled with college applications, college-level classes, and the hardships of a long-distance relationship. It comforted me to know that King David had felt engulfed in his struggles too. I didn’t understand what real struggles are, but it’s nice to know that God is a refuge even to a silly teenager who is a little overdramatic at times.

It’s hard to fully comprehend the struggles of losing a home that has held all of my belongings and memories for decades. But I am thankful that people find comfort in God even when something so devastating happens. It’s comforting to see the good that comes out of tragic situations.

It’s comforting to be still and know that He is God.