How Strong Are Your Roots?

Real Estate Agent with The Elizabeth Nieves Realty Group

In the fall of 1996, Hurricane Fran tore furiously through North Carolina...leaving a trail of devastation from the coast all the way to Orange County. On September 6, those of us who lived in Central North Carolina, awoke to discover a scene of destruction that few could ever have imagined...and none will forget.


The first thing I noticed, as I looked out my neighbors' second floor window, was the dramatic change in the tree line. Grandfather Oaks that had stood proudly for hundreds of years were scattered across the ground like giant pick-up sticks. Just the day before...while watching weather updates with predictions of Fran's likely path...I spoke the words, "I'm not worried. These Oaks (that completely surrounded my restored farmhouse) have been here for 100 years. They will still be here tomorrow." They were gone, and so was my home.


By the time Hurricane Fran blew through Central North Carolina, she had lost steam...dropping to tropical storm strength. With diminished power, she was able to do more damage than previous, more formidable storms...leaving meteorologists, and the rest of us, asking "Why?" Why had so many thousands of our mighty trees bowed to her...seemingly without even putting up a fight?


The questions seemed complicated, but the answers were utterly simple.


Just months prior to Hurricane Fran, Hurricane Bertha blasted North Carolina...dumping massive amounts of rain across the state and striking a silent but destructive first blow to North Carolina tree roots. Following Hurricane Bertha, North Carolina received record-breaking rainfall...leaving the ground saturated and vulnerable. That terrible aftermath was not proof of Hurricane Fran's might...but rather evidence of a dormant weakness that existed within the tree roots. Hurricane Fran merely exposed the weakness.


 "Adversity does not build reveals it."

James Lane Allen


Losing my home to Hurricane Fran was one of the most difficult experiences of my life; however, it forced me to reach inside myself to find a strength I did not know existed. It also taught me the difference between the material value of ‘stuff' and the eternal value of people. I lost my possessions, but I had my family intact. It was a lesson in perspective that I have never forgotten.


Nine months ago, another storm crashed into my life...a storm that threatened to destroy that which can never be replaced. This storm has raged violently over my family...shaking me to the core of my being and exposing the cracks in my deepest fears.


You see...all of my life...I have been ‘the strong one'. It seemed to me that everyone around me relied on me to hold the pieces together. Whenever a crisis presented, I jumped into action...just as I had always done. I am a fighter...a survivor. Secretly, however, I harbored a fear that one day I would fail...that I would let down the ones who needed me the most.


When I first learned of my daughter's illness, I was devastated...but I knew that it was my duty to be strong for her. I wanted to take her suffering from her, but I was powerless. At times, I was certain that I would break under the pressure...but my God is so faithful. Throughout this assail, He has proven to me over and over again that His strength begins where my strength ends.


John 15:5

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."


"His Strength Is Perfect", by Steven Curtis Chapman, is an anointed song that has brought me comfort and reminded me daily that the only strength I have comes from Him. Without Him, I am nothing. Without Him, I can do nothing. I am strong only when my roots are firmly planted in His His His everlasting, unconditional love.


His Strength Is Perfect
   ---Steven Curtis Chapman---

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength,
But sometimes I wonder what He can do through me;
No great success to show, No glory on my own,
Yet in my weakness He is there to let me know . . .

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
He'll carry us when we can't carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.

We can only know
The power that He holds
When we truly see how deep our weakness goes;
His strength in us begins
Where ours comes to an end.
He hears our humble cry and proves again . . .



***Photos courtesy of***


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Ann Allen Hoover
RE/MAX Advantage South - Hoover, AL
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL

Elizabeth, I have you on my mind again, like I do every day.  Please know I am continuing to pray for your family.

Jun 24, 2009 04:56 AM #62
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495


I had wondered where you disappeared to, and saw you a minute ago on Harb's blog, so here I am.  I opened up another page on AR so that I could listen to Steve Chapman in the background while I read the comments.  "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength..." 

"He caused the storm to be still,
so that the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad, because they were quiet;
so He guided them to their desired haven."

Psalm 107:29,30

Lord, let my ship
Ride out the storm,
And let the rudder hold.
And let me steer
A straighter course
Than I have done of old.

Lord, let the rigging
Stay the mast,
And let the mast hold firm;
And let me hear
The buoy toll
To guide me through the storm.

Lord, let the keel
Hold 'gainst the waves
And let the wind die down;
And through the darkness
Let me see
The harbor lights of home.

  © Mike in Tucson

Jun 29, 2009 07:45 AM #63
Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

Hey Elizabeth,

Just a note to say I am praying for you and your family.  God is good.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness, and the joy of the LORD is our strength. 

Hugs from Houston! :)

Jul 01, 2009 03:59 PM #64
Sandy Fenton
Keller Williams NY Realty * Licensed Associate Broker - Mount Kisco, NY
ABR, ASP, CDPE, GRI -Westchester NY - Condos to Luxury Homes

Hi Elizabeth,

I have thought of you often these last few months and prayed that you are your family were doing well.

I've had some personal challenges in my life this past Spring and was in and out (mostly out) of the Rain.  What a very pleasant surprise to see your post today when I logged on.

All the best to you and your family.


Jul 06, 2009 03:12 PM #65
Doreen McPherson
Homesmart ~ Scottsdale ~ Tempe - Tempe, AZ
Phoenix Arizona Real Estate ~

God's Blessings and Healing to you Elizabeth!  I can't imagine what you are going through, I pray this has turned around for you. 

Jul 13, 2009 10:49 AM #66
Tami Vroma
West Michigan Real Estate Specialist-Five Star Real Estate - Grand Haven, MI
Realtor, Grand Rapids MI Real Estate

Elizabeth I don't even know what to say.  You probably know that from the tears we shared that night.  I hurt for you.  For all that you have been through, this has to be the hardest.  But I know your faith and I know that your past does make you strong and when your not HE WILL carry you.  There are a lot of people who will carry you with prayer.  Many many many prayers are following you.

Jul 21, 2009 12:39 PM #67
Jeff&Grace Safrin
F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate - Valparaiso, IN

continued prayers


Jul 25, 2009 07:27 AM #68
Kay Steele Faulk
InHouse Writer - Lake Village, AR
The Real Estate Copywriter

Elizabeth, I knew I missed you, but I didn't know about this. My love to you and your girls. You all will be in my prayers daily........Kay

Aug 02, 2009 03:24 AM #69
Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL

Hi Elizabeth...I love this tree...I love the power of your story and the connection with courage, learned from trees... I am deeply moved by your testament to listen deeply and prayerfully, IN LOVE... knowing that LOVE is ALL there is...having faith that can move mountains of fear and find us our true roots, our unshakable ground with God... Thank you, with all my heart, for the light you shine and share... with love, Mara 

Aug 16, 2009 04:53 AM #70
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Hi Elizabeth, I have been thinking about you a lot lately.  I hope and pray that everything is going okay. 

Aug 16, 2009 05:58 AM #71
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Hi Elizabeth, you are on my mind tonight. May the Lord be with you and your family and bless you. We miss you!


Sep 12, 2009 03:21 PM #72
Christine O'Shea
Christine E O'Shea Broker-Associate - Naples, FL

Hi Elizabeth, miss you and pray for you and your family.  God Bless.

Oct 07, 2009 12:33 PM #73
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Hi Elizabeth, I'm with Christine.  We miss you and pray for you and your family!!!!!!!

Oct 07, 2009 02:31 PM #74
Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL

Hi Elizabeth.  Your value is priceless.  I join with other who are praying for you and your family.  Be comforted in knowing that good WILL come out of this... no matter HOW things seem or look.  God never wastes anything!  Be encouraged!


Oct 08, 2009 09:01 AM #75
Lynn Pineda
eXp Realty - Boca Raton, FL
Real Estate Promises delivered in SE Florida

Elizabeth, prayers are very powerful and you have many praying for your daughters well being. May God bless you, your daughter and your family and continue to give you strength with the hope of finding peace.

Oct 17, 2009 02:52 PM #76
Celina Gleason
AgentOwned Realty - Manning, SC

Elizabeth: your post touched my heart to the core!  Amazing how God sends His Comfort to us when we need it most, through the most amazing means.  I'm finding out more and more everyday that this really is one big family.  Be encouraged Elizabeth... God can do ANYTHING.. I'm living proof.  He healed me of cancer in 1993.  I had full-blown cervical cancer.  It was confirmed with three tests.  I had my church pray for me and it was completely gone.  It has been 16 years and every test since has come back just fine.  Ill be praying for your daughter. 

Nov 10, 2009 01:16 PM #77
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Hi Sis!  Just checking in to see how you're doing?  We miss you around here--especially ME!!  ;-)

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Dec 28, 2009 04:54 PM #78
Mark Lebkuchner / Home Loan Specialist
Warwick, RI

Hello Elizabeth.  That was a very intereseting blog.  Here in RI we've had our fair share of hurricanes.  Mother Nature is most surely unpredictable. 

Mar 03, 2010 01:03 AM #79
Sylvia Barry
Coldwell Banker Previews International (#1 Marin_Sonoma_San Francisco_North_Bay) - San Rafael, CA
Marin and Sonoma Real Estate Leading Expert

Hi Elizabeth ... How are you?  .. Haven't been on the Rain for quite sometime, just came back and was looking for you.  Are you doing O.K.?  Sylvia

Jul 20, 2010 07:55 PM #80
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Think of you often... hope you are well.

Sep 04, 2014 04:28 AM #81
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Bilingual Raleigh - Durham North Carolina Real Estate Team
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