Weathering the Storm
By Amy Jodry, Director of Communications and Development, The Cambridge School of Dallas
October 22, 2019
Sunday night, October 20, 2019. A night that was calm and beautiful. God was displaying His artistic skills by painting a beautiful sunset. And then everything changed. We saw His mighty power come out in nature. The sky turned black, the lightning was incredible and awe-inspiring, and the winds changed; all on a night that seemed peaceful and calm, a tornado ripped through North Dallas.
My sister and I happened to be at my parent’s house, not even three miles from The Cambridge School of Dallas. When I received the notification on my phone to take immediate shelter, I wondered if it was real, and then the sirens began. I grabbed our Chow and Bichon, cleared out the tiny 3-foot by 2-foot closet, and we all piled in. We left the television on loud; my sister’s roommate was on the phone with us while she huddled in the bathroom at their house with her huge dog, not even two blocks from Cambridge. I relayed what I could hear from the television about the tornado’s location in relation to us. We were right in the path, but our Good Sovereign Father protected all that night.
To say the next 24 hours would be chaotic, would be an understatement, and I knew that looking ahead. As the Director of Communications and Development, I was immediately on high alert, planning press releases, emails, social media posts – all in my head – all night, as we waited. We knew there was some damage to the school, and we knew that Northway Church, whom we rent from, had significant damage. But with street closures due to trees and live wires down, all I could do was wait.
Early the next morning, I made my way through back streets to the school. I parked a block away and walked, seeing Northway’s Sanctuary in the distance – a tiny shell of what it had been only 10 hours before. It was like walking through a war zone. I was tasked with photographing everything.
The site of the church and school’s campus was truly breathtaking. Roofing, glass and trees littered the parking areas. In the inner courtyard, H-VAC systems had been picked up and thrown like they weighed nothing onto the school’s picnic table and bushes. Streamers to celebrate the church were crumpled in piles underneath bricks and shattered windows that had fallen outward from the building from the pressure of the tornado. Our van and car looked like they had been picked up, slammed together, and thrown into the trees. The schools and community center across the street looked like splinters in certain wings. Brand new construction was bent and shaped in bizarre ways.
I picked my way through rubble of the exterior buildings, then classrooms, and eventually through the three-story building where we housed our athletic offices and drama closet, documenting everything. That was were the power of nature truly took my breath away. There was barely a roof to the three story building. Things were dripping. I was covered in insulation and soaking wet ceiling tile pieces, as we tried to move things to get to our offices. Equipment was hanging partially out of the window. There wasn’t a roof for half of the office. Weights were covered in ceiling tiles and dust. Insulation and duct-work were everywhere they weren’t supposed to be. You could see the path of the tornado clearly from up there. There were no more windows to obstruct your view.
And then it hit me. God protected us and the church. There were only a few people from the church on site when it happened, and no one was here from the school. And those who were here were clearly shaken up, but they were safe. And of all of the destruction in Dallas, no one was killed. Not a single person was killed by the tornado. All I could think was, God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.
It’s hard to fathom what has happened. Sunday night and Monday, I was in crisis communication mode from the moment the tornado headed toward the school, even as I sat in a closet, to when I sent emails late into the night Monday helping seek a temporary location for the school. This morning, I woke up and that was the first thing I thought about.
As I sat at my computer reading supportive emails this morning, texting friends and asking for prayers for the Lord to provide and blow open doors for us in the coming days, weeks and months, I could not stop thinking of a phrase I knew was from a hymn. However, in my exhausted state, I couldn’t remember all of it, so, I turned to the power of the internet to find it. Once I did, then I remembered the story behind the hymn. The hymn is “It is Well With My Soul.” Horatio Spafford was inspired to write it after all four of his daughters died at sea when their ship was struck by another vessel. His wife alone survived.
I can’t get the first stanza and chorus out of my head. It is almost as if my soul is whispering it in prayer and supplication to our Lord on my behalf. And as I dwell on this, all I can think is God has got this. He has a plan bigger than mine. His Son, who died on the cross to save all of us, is fervently praying at this exact moment for each of us. God has woven my world together to bring me to this moment in time at Cambridge. Not earlier; not later. He has done the same thing for every teacher, administrator, and student at the school. We are all at Cambridge at exactly this moment in time for a reason. And regardless of what is happening, through Christ, I can stand up and boldly shout “It is Well with My Soul!”
I do not know what the future holds, but I do know that this school is committed to following Jesus boldly and will continue to advance our mission of Academic Discipleship: Fostering a love of learning with a passion for Jesus Christ.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to help. I have been blown away by the generosity of our community. Please join us in praying over the families who were affected by the storm, as well as guidance for the school, monetary funds as we embark on building our new campus, and for Northway Church as they move forward with clean up and assessing damage. If you would like to physically help, please keep an eye out for an email or look on social media – once we secure a new temporary location, we will most likely need help moving. For those who have asked about monetary support, please send any donations to the school to either our Capital Campaign fund to build our new and permanent campus, or to Cambridge 360, our annual fund.
We pray that today, and every day, you will declare and know the peace and joy of Jesus Christ in your life, that you have a personal relationship with Him, and that He blesses you immensely.