Floods, Faith, Fruit…and a New Year

It’s a dangerous business… going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”- Tolkien

As most of you know, this has not been the semester I expected, but then again the expected rarely shows up when we expect. My first week of seminary was filled with the golden glow of a first semester, new friends and roommates, and new city. My biggest worry was making sure I was making the most of the semester’s course offerings. Until one night things got damp. Really, really damp.

What’s that saying…when it rains it pours?

At 3am on the first Wednesday of September, the roof over Lauren’s bedroom collapsed. Apparently a pipe had burst, filling the ceiling with water. Waking up to a waterfall and then spending the rest of the night in the parking lot is not a pleasant expereince.

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We had to evacuate the building…for allmost three weeks. Lauren lost pretty much everything. My outlook definitely took a darker spiral, and I began to question if I really was supposed to be here in Atlanta. It seemed that we just kept taking more hits.

Lauren and I were homeless for a little while, but—thanks to the hospitality of a woman from my congregation—we soon had a home base. Our search for a new apartment was discouraging and disappointing. We debated staying at our current apartment complex, but we had still received no word of how or if they were going to compensate us.

But things began looking up.

Eventually, Lauren and I happened upon a new apartment community, and we were delighted by the layout and location. Our old apartment community finally made an offer, but it was too little too late. After prayer and deliberation, we decided to sign a lease.

Moving day was pretty entertaining—let’s just say I shouldn’t drive a U-haul—but with the help of Candler friends we were able to do it in a day. (Clayton helped me empty my hatchback full of books and lug them up three flights of stairs.) I should probably have left more of my books in Michigan.


Yet, as Yom Kippur comes to an end and the season of Shavuot draws near, I see growth and fruit.

For one thing, I’ve gained perspective on life and on myself. During the rest of my time at Candler, I am going to be more intentional about those around me and about my walk with God. After all, it’s not just a head journe- it’s a heart journey. That was my Rosh Hashanah epiphany.

I’m also thankful.

I’m thankful for my new family at Tikvat David: Shelly who hosted Lauren and I, Dave who offered to store my keyboard, and Brain for his invaluable advice and help. I’m also incredibly grateful for Rob Cuyler, who drove all the way from Buford to get my washer and dryer and store them at his townhouse. Lauren and I have also been so blessed by all the people at Candler who have offered support, counsel, and assistance. They are an amazing community.

I’m also thankful I didn’t lose anything, since the insurance is only going to cover Lauren’s stuff. I’m very thankful for how close Lauren and I have grown; it’s been an adventure for both of us. (Lot’s of soap, but we’re working on the opera). The tough stuff has moved us from good roomates to great friends.


I’m thankful that God provided a beautiful new place (which has a quiet porch with a fantastic view of a historic graveyard). Drinking tea and reading out there has been such a peaceful way to start my mornings.


But most importantly, I’m thankful for my family.

Many people have told me how blessed I am to be part of such a huge, wildly involved and supportive family (more like clan). But that never really sank home until they weren’t right around the corner anymore. I had grandmothers, cousins, siblings all calling to check up on me,  just listen to me vent or cry. My parents especially have been utterly amazing. My mom and I talked every day- and several of those times were in the middle of the night. Through this whole thing, my dad has been my spiritual and emotional rock, even doing video-conferences in the middle of work so he could advise me about the structural merits yet another apartment. I wouldn’t trade my family for the world.

I am blessed to part of such a wonderful family, thankful for new and old friends, and privileged by this opportunity to study at Emory.

Yes, it’s been rough, but that’s what happens on adventures. We grown and change, and if we return we don’t come back the same.

All my love,

-Rivkah J


3 thoughts on “Floods, Faith, Fruit…and a New Year

  1. While mom and I were surprised at the number of challenges you’ve had to face so early in your time at Emory, we are not surprised at your perseverance and tenacity! I continue to be very proud of you and have no doubts that the Lord is doing good things in the midst of the obstacles you’ve had to work through.
    Hoping your ‘heart journey’ is filled with growth and blessings!
    Love you!

  2. So very proud of you, Rebekah!!! Cannot wait to see how the LORD is going to use these things to shape you!
    Love and miss you much,
    Mom M

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