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Through The Fire— Jan’s Story

Written by: Jan Zinck

It was a lovely morning in Oct 2014 when I got the call. We all know how much we dread “the call” as it usually contains ominous news of some description. This was no different. He started out by saying “don’t worry the kids and I are Ok”. My mind kind of froze and raced simultaneously.

Many of us have been right here-various scenarios of course, but a- what we perceive- worst case scenario. I just never dreamt it would be happening to me for real. My home had burned down, everything lost. Life changed.

The story though isn’t really about the fire, although thats the catalyst. The real story is about a family who had placed too much stock in our home, in tangible things-in things that don’t actually matter that much. Interestingly enough, for about six months prior to the fire, God had been challenging us-Jonathan, my husband in particular- about being “stuff heavy”. We were in loose conversation about how to simplify our lives again. I think we might not have been moving fast enough for God-He helped us along in that journey-I inwardly chuckle as I write this.
Lots of people ask me if we ask “why us”. Honestly, I never asked that question-I knew the answer straight away.

The best part of the story is the blessing of God in our lives. When I say blessing, I don’t mean a bit of scraps tossed our way by a distant “God-being”.when I mean a torrential downpour by a loving, generous Heavenly Father. Our community surrounded us, our family, co-workers, and church family gave to us sacrificially and generously, and this doesn’t even feel like it begins to explain it properly or fully. I know for sure, that the fire was a God given moment in our lives.

Now, please do not confuse or equate “a God given moment” with an easy moment. This was by far the most difficult thing I have ever had to negotiate. I was sad, distressed, overwhelmed-all of the descriptors one might use for such an event. I-we- needed God in ways we had never thought possible. I remember the day of the fire-totally dazed in Wal-Mart. We all needed socks and underwear, but I kept driving the shopping cart in circles because I could not think coherently enough to figure out sizes or styles or anything really.

My husband and children were absolutely amazing-the two younger kids stood on the street with my husband and watched the house burn. They both called me right away (yes they thought to grab their phones on the way out of the house) saying things like “We’re fine mom, It’s just a house” and “we are good ‘cause we’re together”. Words of life and healing-words of God from my kids. The strength and unwavering trust in a provisional, perfect God displayed by Jonathan was a-maz-ing.

So at the end of the day, I am thankful for this event-this “refining fire”. We rebuilt our house on the same property and built a stone wall using stones from the original foundation as a reminder of God’s provision in our lives. We now know for certain that life is not wrapped up in material things-it’s so much more and so much bigger. I am thankful for a God who loves me enough to bring hard stuff into my life-all the while loving me and holding me and reminding me what’s really important-I pray I have learned the lessons He needs me to learn. Mostly I pray that I don’t become ‘Stuff heavy” again-I want to be free to go and do what He will ask of me.

About Jan:

Jan is the mother of 3 amazing children, and a beautiful daughter-in-law. Jan is a RN, working in the local ER and teaching at the local college, and for the past 26 years years been involved in a variety of ministries, both locally and abroad, with her husband Jonathan.