Record wildfires in the Texas Panhandle have scorched more than one million acres, destroying upwards of 500 structures.

Speaking in Borger, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said, “When you look at the damages that have occurred here it’s just gone, completely gone nothing left but ashes on the ground.” He warned about the windy and dry conditions heading into the weekend, urging, “No one can let down their guard. Everyone must remain very vigilant.”

Stories of courage and bravery are emerging in the wildfire battle – as well as depictions of marital commitment in difficult times.

A Daily Citizen reader forwarded us this featured photo from Facebook, which captures an elderly couple opening a ranch gate amidst the smokey haze. They were trying to give their cattle a pathway to escape.

The post is attributable to Rayna Bird Barefoot, and the image is of her husband Scott’s parents. Delmer and Mildred are 91 and 92 years old. It’s on a ranch near Stinnett, Texas.

Delmer and Mildred apparently bought the land in 1966. A tornado destroyed their first house there in 1977.

Rayna drove up on them at the gate and she thought, “[They’re] just out doing what they’ve done for the past almost 73 years –working the land, striving to do right, helping the family, and now, together on this dreadful night, while using their canes mind you, trying to open a barbed wire gate as an escape for their beloved livelihood. True grit.”

Rayna went on to draw a biblical parallel, noting the apostle Paul’s words to believers at Philippi: “I can endure all things through the power of the one who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13) she wrote.  And then again from Paul writing to Timothy: “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).

“To me, these two verses fit this picture of true grit spot on, and, I don’t know about you, but I’d bet the farm on it!” Mrs. Barefoot writes.

Marriage is many things, but it’s especially enduring together through “good times and bad.” It’s serving and sacrificing for one another.

And yes, it’s even struggling to open a gate together as the physical and metaphorical winds of life blow.

Please join us in praying for this family – and the countless other Texans and other nearby residents currently in danger. We ask the Lord to protect the First Responders – and give courage and grit to all those in harm’s way.


Image credit: Rayna Barefoot