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“Where Your Treasure Is…” An interview with Kelly Crawford

March 15, 2012

Crawford Family

When Kristina and I started actively and passionately pursuing this idea of being prepared I knew that I wanted to feature my friend Kelly Crawford.  I hesitated to ask her if I could pepper her with questions, knowing that she has so much on her plate.  She, of course, was more than gracious.  If ever someone lived the Scripture “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also” it’s Kelly.  (Matthew 6:21)

The Crawford Family’s home was in the direct path of the tornado that blew through Alabama last April.

Below is the first Provision Room interview.  You might want to have a handkerchief on hand.  Kristina and I both needed one by the time we were through.

PR: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Kelly.  Would you mind introducing yourself and telling us a bit about your family?

KC: I am Kelly Crawford, (a southern gal whose life-journey was radically altered by Jesus Christ), living as simply as possible with my handsome husband and nine children. I love to write and I love to encourage wives and mothers, so five years ago I started “Generation Cedar“, and the Lord has really used it as a blessing in our lives.

PR: I remember last April seeing your update come through my blog reader. I got cold chills. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. The title was: “God is Mighty To Save–All Is Not Lost.” In a nutshell, tell us what happened.

Kelly's home after the tornado

KC: After a traumatic morning rushing my father to the ER while he clung to life suffering a massive heart attack, we returned home exhausted, and a few hours later, an F-5 tornado–almost a mile wide, tore through our community, leveling our home, my parent’s home, every structure on our farm, all our vehicles and every tree in its path. It’s difficult to describe–the devastation is still so apparent almost a year later. We live on the same property as my parents, which has been my home since I was 13. It was a rural paradise; beauty was a very tangible part of our lives there, and there is no beauty to be seen for miles now except the faces of the people who survived. We lost dear friends and neighbors on that horrific night, where thirty-seven of us sheltered in the basement of our home crying out for our lives together. It was life-changing, to say the least.

PR: At that time you had just had a new baby, is that right? How old were each of your children when you lost your home in the tornado?

KC: My baby, Jax, was three-weeks old. Ellia-1, Kyla-2, Mallie-4, Brooks-6, Avalee-7, Alexa-9, Ashton-12, Bria-17

Kelly nursing her three week old baby the day after she lost her home.

PR: How did the children handle everything?

KC: The night of the storm there was just shock and disbelief, I think even on their part. Of course they were confused and frightened, but even as we made a dangerous journey in the dark to a nearby neighbor, they seemed calm and at peace. I think I worried more about my older children because they could feel the weight of the situation. Each one has dealt differently, some being more sensitive than others. One of my children would hardly leave my side for several weeks afterwards (even when I took a shower, she would sit on the floor in the bathroom). Storms have been extremely difficult to handle, especially shortly after, and some of my children still get physically nauseated during storm warnings. Still, I am glad to say that I think they have handled things very well for the magnitude of change.

PR: Was that the response you would have expected from them?

KC: No, I think if I had to guess at their response, I would have imagined it much worse. I’ve been amazed at their resilience about losing all their things, their house, their beds and everything that is familiar. I think we older ones have had a lot harder time than the younger ones.

PR: Did the homeschooling come to a screeching halt, or were you able to continue at some point?

KC: For a few weeks, we didn’t even think about it and didn’t have many resources anyway. But people soon gave us books and began to try to replace some things and we tried to resume a semblance of a schedule. It took a while though to settle back into any kind of routine, and I think I tried too early, hoping to bring some sort of normalcy back to our lives. My husband really helped me focus and gave me “permission” to back off of school until we were ready.

PR: What sort of emergency preparations had you made up to that point? Had you considered the possibility of that magnitude an emergency?

KC: Interestingly, (the meteorologists did a great job conveying the gravity), we prepared more that day than we ever had for a storm. My husband had actually had the children gather all their flashlights that morning and clean out the under-stair closet in the room where we take shelter. We didn’t normally even enter the interior room but this night felt different, though we still didn’t think it would happen to us. But flashlights didn’t begin to meet the needs we would find we had.

PR: How did your community (church community, neighborhood, friends, etc.) react to the disaster? Did you see your community come together in ways you hadn’t expected?

Far more unbelievable than the storm itself, was the tremendous response from our church, friends and community. I could write pages and pages of testimonies. Within a few hours, some of our church friends had cut through 4 miles of trees fallen over the roads like pick-up-sticks to get to us. By morning, truck loads of supplies were being driven in from different states, and our church friends had come during the night and waited for us to take us home, feed us, and shelter us for the next month while we found more permanent housing.

And as amazing was the outpouring of our Internet “friends”, some of whom we’ve never met. I’ve never felt so vulnerable and so extremely loved and cared for in my life.

PR: I’d imagine in a situation like this, you see what is strong get stronger (your resolve, character, relationship with God) and what is weak, broken, or unnecessary start falling away. Do you feel this is true?

KC: Most definitely. Before I even went out to see the damage around our home, my husband came down from his brief cursory glance over the devastation and said, “Kelly, I can’t prepare you for what you’re about to see. But you have no idea what a blessing it is that we are all alive. None of this matters.” And that sentiment has become more and more of a reality as we see that our earthly treasures are so temporary, and so out of our control and easily destroyed, while our Heavenly treasures–our hope in a God that holds us in His hands, our faith and the gift of people–those things rise up out the ash heap and remain. And yes, we can look back and praise Him, even for the storm, to have had our fortitude strengthened by something we wouldn’t have chosen.

Kelly and baby Jax

PR: Now that you have the opportunity to start your physical home (and kitchen, garden, pantry, etc.) over from square one, what things are you going to do the same and what things are you doing differently?

KC: (Laughing…) The room where we sheltered? We’re turning that into a storage pantry for extra food, clothing, etc. We have always had a garden, but we are trying to step that up and over-all become more self-sufficient. Not just for ourselves, but to be able to “love in deed”, should the need arise, and to be prepared to help others the same way we’ve been helped. One of the greatest lessons the storm has taught us is the need for the body of Christ to be prepared, willing and ready to stand in the gap, in a tangible way, for those in real need. That is what it did for us.

PR: What role(s) does the homemaker play in preparing her family for the unexpected things in life, such as a major emergency?

KC: “A virtuous woman laughs at the days to come…” She is key. She is prepared, she has done her homework and her family is ready, come what may, because she has been diligent, wise and scrupulous in her preparations as a homemaker.

PR: What would you say was the most significant thing you’ve learned about the Lord through all this? What is the most significant thing you’ve learned about yourself? Your husband and children? Your community?

KC: First, that the Lord can be trusted with all we have. Despite the apparent devastation we endured, God has answered so many financial struggles and questions we have had for the last several years, and given us more peace than ever before.

I have learned about myself that home has tremendous meaning beyond a place of shelter and it is my job to fulfill, in its fullest measure, my purpose as a woman who “keeps home”. I have often failed, here in our temporary housing that doesn’t feel anything like home, to “make home where I am”. But as only a woman can do, we must help provide security, comfort and peace wherever we are, no matter our circumstances, bringing an air of gentleness and calmness to our surroundings. This I am very much still learning.

I have learned of my husband that he is THE most steady, hard-working man I know. The mental health-care volunteer from Red Cross came to me a few weeks after the storm and gave me all the signs to look for so when my husband “broke after the adrenaline subsides” I’d know to get him help. He never broke. He never wavered. With the insurmountable task of rebuilding our home, shepherding us, dealing with my postpartum emotions and being out of work to do it all, he has walked ever faithfully and steadfastly. He is a gift.

I have learned from my precious children what I always knew: stuff doesn’t make one happy. Love does.

PR: Finally, what advice would you give the readers of The Provision Room, people who are trying to prepare their homes little by little for whatever life throws their way?

The key lies in the phrase: “little by little”. I would say to study frugality, study to be a woman who can “laugh at the time to come”, not just for her own family, but also to be able to reach her hand to the needy. Having a storehouse allows us to be ministers of the Lord easily and effectively. In our time of crisis, it was the body of Christ who gave us the real, needed help. That’s the way it should be.

The Crawford Family's New Home

PR: With all our hearts we thank Kelly for taking the time to share her story and encouragement with us.  We stand in awe of the Lord and His ways.  

Kelly has gone above and beyond just sharing her testimony with us.  She has also offered this week’s giveaway!  Please check out not only her blog, but also her online shop.  All of their products–from the natural skin care, to Scripture Song CD (which I have and LOVE) to ebooks are created with love and crafted with care.  You will know it as soon as you try anything the Crawford Family has created!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. homeschoolonthecroft permalink
    March 16, 2012 4:50 am

    She and her family touched a place in our hearts at the time of the tornado. She is a blessing to so many people, countless – I’m guessing – that she doesn’t even know. Praising God that they were all kept safe and well, and that in everything, they were able to Give Thanks x


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