Last week, I wrote about the importance of our foundation, about the fact that what we build our lives upon, matters. And with that, I mentioned storms, and how the storms of life inevitably come our way, whether we are ready for them or not.
A couple weeks ago, I came across something I wrote back when I was 20 years old…almost nine years ago. And I’ve really been wrestling with it. I’ll let you take a look:
A few days ago I had to make a quick run to Publix to pick up a couple of things, and believe it or not, God woke me up on my Publix run. He has a way of doing that with me, just giving me a glimpse of Him in simple, everyday things. Anyway, I walk into Publix, the sun is shining, it's an all-around beautiful day. I pick up the select items on my list, pay, walk towards the door and...WHAT?!?! It was pouring down rain. Typical Florida weather I guess, but I was completely unprepared. So, I joined the mass of people waiting by the doors for the rain to clear. It was just a sun shower, sure to pass rather quickly, or so I thought. After about 10 minutes of hesitating, I decided to leave the crowd and face the rain. I wasn't going to get anywhere just standing there. I took off my sandals, made sure my groceries were secure, and made a run for it. By the time I got to my car, I was soaked and...laughing uncontrollably (I tend to laugh to myself, all alone, quite frequently, and yes, I get weird looks because of it :D) Anyway, I had made it through the rain, and had actually enjoyed the experience.
On my drive home, I got to thinking about how I have been through very similar situations before in my life, and am actually going through it right now. I'm guessing you can relate. It may be a cheesy metaphor, but I love metaphors, so bear with me :).
I've been caught off-guard by unexpected rain. Unfortunately, I'm prone to doing exactly what I did at first. I hesitate. I'd rather stay high and dry. I'd rather not experience the storm. But, I'm thinking my perspective needs to change. Instead of seeing my difficulties as a storm, I should realize that they might just be part of a SON shower (cheesy, I know :D). Sometimes, rain comes our way, and I've learned that God ALWAYS has good reason for it. I long to be SOAKED, DRENCHED in Him. And if that means it has to rain, then bring it on. God is constantly changing me, molding me, sanctifying me. And in that, I'm beginning to realize that I'd rather DANCE in the rain than stay the same. I want to feel all the pain, knowing that He WILL rescue me again.
Did you have imaginary Disney music playing in the background while you read that? I’ve got to be honest with you…there’s a part of me that cringes at the naivety of my 20-year-old self. I used the term “sonshower” and “storm” interchangeably, and in the past nine years, I have learned that there is a big difference between the two. I don’t really even remember what “sonshower” I was referring to that prompted me to write what I wrote. But I do know that up until then, I really hadn’t experienced a storm. Yes, I had experienced little sonshowers here and there, but not a full-on, crying out, is-it-over-yet storm.
A couple of weeks ago, when Brad and I were dealing with the tub issue from my last post, there was a lot more going on. I was nursing a sore throat and fever, while discovering that there were complications with our health insurance, and I technically wasn’t covered at the time. Kat Middleton (our cat) had an upper respiratory infection, and it took a rather expensive vet visit to get it under control. And a literal hurricane hit Tallahassee, resulting in tons of downed trees and thousands upon thousands without electricity. It was just one of those weeks.
A week filled with sonshowers.
Those situations weren’t ideal, but we got through. We saw God and we grew and we made it to the next week. That’s what you do with sonshowers.
You make the best of them.
And then, there are storms. Storms that toss and turn. Storms in which you can barely breathe. You can’t tie storms up in a nice little bow the way my 20-year-old self might have believed. When you’re in the middle of a gut-wrenching, life-changing storm, you usually don’t feel like dancing in it. And the good news is, you don’t have to. You aren’t called to smile through the storm. You can cry out. You can ask why. You can even be angry. But you ARE called to be honest, and to take heart.
In the book of John, Jesus is honest with us. He tells us that life isn’t going to be all rainbows and butterflies and sonshowers. He tells us there will be trouble. He warns us of the impending storms. But He doesn’t leave us with just that. He promises that we won’t be alone in it all. And He tells us that our grief and our storms aren’t the end of the story. In John 16:33, Jesus says,
“In this world, you will have trouble. But TAKE HEART! I have overcome the world.”
We know the end of the story.
We know no storm that can take away our faith, our hope, or our love.
And we know no storm that can steal our joy forever.
A cancer diagnosis. A broken marriage. The death of a loved one. The loss of a job. A miscarriage. The sting of rejection over and over and over again. The slumps of a deep depression. The mistake you never thought you’d make. The list goes on.
I don’t know your personal storm. But I know mine. And I know that we cannot waste our storms. It’s okay to wish your storm away, but don’t waste it. In those moments when you feel like you just can’t even, when you want to curl up, close your eyes, and pretend it’s not happening…don’t. When the wind and the rain are relentless and beat you to your core, remember that you do not go through the storm alone. And with every last bit of strength and courage that you can possibly muster up…stand. Stand on the foundation we talked about last week. Because when you are weak, God is strong. When you are confused, God understands. And when you feel like falling apart, God is with you and holds you together.
Don’t waste your storm. Weather it.
Let it make you better. Let God use it for good.
Through clenched teeth and a tear-stained face - embrace it.