Late summer may be my favorite time of the year. The evenings start to cool off again and time seems to slow down just a bit, as if our little corner of the world is taking a big breath before jumping into the next chapter. And I love the slow and steady rumble of a late summer storm – the kind that doesn’t make too much noise, but slowly rolls on through, enjoying a leisurely pace before disappearing for most of the fall and winter seasons.
Last night we had a storm roll through. And it hit HARD…. for about five whole minutes. I heard the thunder in the distance and then moments later, the down pour began. What I thought was going to last awhile, passed in less time than it takes me to make coffee in the morning (who am I kidding? I don’t make coffee – Justin does. I just drink what’s left in the pot).
But while the rain didn’t last long, the thunder and lightning lingered. After dropping the kids off to spend the night with Mimi, Papa, and Gigi, I had the privilege of driving home on country roads at dusk. I rolled my windows down and took a big breath. The air was fresh, it smelled delicious, and it was crisp in my lungs. The storm, though short, was cleansing. And now, everything around was waking back up. Crickets were chirping, the fog was slowly settling in the lower parts of the valleys, and the lightning was still showing off behind a few clouds in the distance.
Like the fog settling in the valley, truth slowly settled into my heart. Storms come and go in this life. Some are short and last moments. Others last hours, or even days. But all storms can be cleansing.
If we let them.
I know how destructive storms can be. I lived in Oklahoma for 5 years and I have seen with my own eyes the damage that even a “minor” tornado can have. I have watched, helpless, from 1200 miles away, as my previous community has had to completely start over because entire city blocks have been flattened by a tornado whose intensity was stronger than anything the F-Scale has seen.
Storms can be absolutely devastating.
And this life throws plenty of storms our way. Whether it comes in the shape of illness, or financial turmoil, or relationship upheaval….whatever the case…storms will always come.
Sometimes, we can predict when they come, what seasons will be more difficult or tiresome than others. Other times, they pop up unexpectedly, and hit us by surprise, leaving us ravaged and unsure of our next steps.
Some storms are just rain storms that come and go without much notice, some are small storms that leave a lot of damage, others, like tornadoes or hurricanes, can last a long time and leave more damage than we think is repairable.
But a storm is always temporary. And, if we give it a chance, every storm in our lives can be cleansing. There are certain storms in our lives that will leave behind more damage than others. Some storms will vastly altar the course of our lives – leaving us little or no opportunity to return to the way things were. But if we lean into the Creator, if we lean into the One who made us, who cares for us, and loves us more than we could ever fathom – then, like the crickets outside my window, we too will be able to sing once the storm has blown through…even if we can still hear the rumble in the distance.
Storms make our roots grow deeper, grow stronger. Storms wash away the dirt that has built up and nourish the earth around us.
We can either give up or allow the cleansing (though painful) process to happen. Every storm is an opportunity.
Lately, I’ve been feeling like we are in a storm. Discouragement has crept up on us in full force. It isn’t a short burst, but it isn’t much of a tornado either. The damage isn’t vast or even noticeable most days. I feel like we are in the midst of a monsoon. While there isn’t thunder booming or lightning flashing, the rain just
It is unending and relentless and I don’t feel like we’ve seen the sunshine in days, or weeks… But we keep trudging forward, shoulder to the wind, clothes soaking wet.
And I’m just so tired.
But the rain will stop. The clouds will part, the light will shine bright again. And, if I let it, this storm will be a moment of cleansing.
After the storm, I’ll be able to shake off the dirt, wring out my clothes, and start fresh.
I’ll be able to breathe in the fresh, clean, crisp air and allow my heart to sing as His peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding, gently settles into the crevices of my soul.
Because, at the end of the day, the sun is still shining. Even when I can’t see it. While the storm is loud and the sky is ominous, the sun is still there. In the dead of night, the sun still shines!! If I pay attention, sometimes I can even catch evidence of that…
He is still there. He is still calling me forward, beckoning me to continue the mission He spoke years and years ago to the very first disciples. He is using every drop of rain, every hail stone, every storm, for my good and for His glory.
Thanks You Lord, for the beauty within the storm.