One year ago, tonight we were awoken by a fire waging war on our home. A break in the lining of our fireplace caused some embers to get into the attic and smolder, until it built enough gumption to fully take off and cause over $40,000 in damage on our home. We walked out with our lives, which is the greatest gift we could hope for. We understand how much different it could have ended.
Over the past week, there has been two fires in our area, and multiple casualties in each situation. It’s a difficult reminder of what God spared us from that night.
To say the last year has been difficult is an understatement. We were displaced almost 4 months while the contractors rebuilt our home. Little of that time was spent working on our home, and much of that time was spent by us waiting. Our patience was being molded while we strove to get through another day living on top of one another in a hotel, as our house sat vacant another day with no work done.
Contracting is an interesting business. Everything operates on their time, and rarely did it seem that multiple contractors worked at the same time. The work seemed to be orderly, and the contractors always had jobs to finish when they were up to bat on our home. Hurry up and wait was a motto we struggled to get used to.
August 21st, after an additional couple of weeks being displaced, we were told it was time to come home. We had reached the end of the remodeling journey and were anticipating putting this chapter behind us. Except upon arriving home, we found the contractor had stained our floors the wrong color. Drastically wrong. Further, they missed staining a few places altogether, leaving our floors mismatched and undone.
This started a slew of conversations that now leaves us each with lawyers and potential lawsuits.
We did request the contractors to fix their mistakes, but they were unwilling. The contractors are seeking to be paid for a job undone. It’s not much money, and we have it, but there is a bigger issue here. The issue is far more than money or the completeness of our floor.
The real problem is this franchised company is using its national brand name to bully victims of disaster. The contractor did not have to prove they completed the work to attack our credit or lien our property. Because of the systems in place for contractors in our judicial system, they could demand anything they wanted. Homeowners are guilty until they prove themselves innocent. To prove this takes money, and sometimes a lot of it, so victims normally don’t stand up to them.
“This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed.” – Jeremiah 22:3(a)
Several years ago, I was raped. I did not immediately report it for many reasons. When the time came that I could talk about it, I wrestled with the decision to come forward and press charges. I didn’t necessarily want to seek justice for myself – I knew even then that God is a god of justice – but I wanted to protect others from the same thing happening to them. At the time, I was not able to emotionally handle walking through that kind of a trial.
Today I am strong enough. Today this case is so clear cut, we don’t believe a judge in the world would rule on the contractor’s behalf. Today I have a spouse on the journey with me and a relationship with God that strengthens me.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12
Perhaps God has put us here for a time such as this. Perhaps we’re being called to stand up and fight for the oppressed.
As I reflect on the past year and all the difficulties and all the blessings, and even in the continued smoldering fire we’re dealing with, I am overwhelmingly grateful we are here to fight this battle.
There is so much injustice in today’s world. If you’d feel inclined, we’d love to hear your story of taking a stand for those who couldn’t speak for themselves.