There's a simple question we use to all answer in an old small group: How's your weather?
The question was used originally to try to get kids to open up about what was going on in their heart. We found it to be a great tool for adults to use too.
Cloudy, rainy, lots of sun, drought, these were all common descriptors as we sought to find the perfect weather word that depicted what was going on inside us.
It has been a heavy rain kind of year over here in my neck of the woods. There have been moments when it felt like it was raining so hard, I couldn't see the next step in front of me. At times, my vision remained out of focus because of the weight of the storm. But I hung on. I found hope and my faith grew in a way it never has before. It felt like favor; seeing God's hand move over the situation, seeing His faithfulness in such a tangible, real way.
My feet started walking more confidently. My posture and my gaze remained fixed and singularly focused on the one I knew could get me through this storm.
I am not sure exactly when it happened, but within the past 45 days, another storm front, this time all wind, decided to mix forces with that heavy rain storm that was already going on and despite my best efforts, my gaze fell to the now plural storms that were in front.
Joyce Meyers has a saying: new levels, new devils.
Amen and amen.
The backdrop of this year's storm has been figuring out what it means to love my mom well in a season where dementia is rearing its head over her life.
I've gone through the emotions: denial, anger, frustration, and grief. It has been a mess, but God has been overwhelmingly present-I have seen His goodness and His sovereignty through all of it. Most days I have to fight to see these things, but they are there. They are always there.
Things started to feel like a new normal was being established. The kind that comes after the shoe drops and you realize that old way of life is not going to come back. Routine was finally being established.
And then about a month and half ago, I got a call from my stepmom saying my dad had been in a cycling accident. For you cyclists out there, we all know those kind of phone calls are the kind that you never want to receive. He had been hit by a car and had been taken to the emergency room.
By God's grace, my dad's life was spared, but we all walked away from that day knowing things could have been so much worse.
Shortly thereafter, I started to notice I was crazy tired. No energy, no drive. I blamed it on the combination of internalized stress and grief but decided to go to the doctor to have some lab work done just to be on the safe side. Within a couple weeks of going to the doctor, John and I found ourselves sitting in a doctor's office discussing a plan to get my body back on track. Thankfully, we have a plan in place and things should be easily fixable.
And then two weeks ago, while sitting in Starbucks, I was robbed. My laptop was stolen right out of my hands. There was no gun involved and it was another situation that could have been so much worse. I walked away from that experience overwhelmingly grateful.
But it still shook me. I have never been robbed and the aftermath of the event made me feel vulnerable. I realized firsthand, how quickly things can change in just a second. I realized how there really is no such thing as a safe place on this side of life.
Throw these events into the mix of what was already going on in life and you've got the perfect storm.
I noticed I was more afraid. My confidence started to wane. Fear had stuck its foot in my door and I couldn't seem to get it out despite my best efforts.
Every angle of my life felt like it was under some kind of attack: loved ones, health, safety.
The security in all of these things had been shaken.
We live in a broken world with no promise of a perfect tomorrow. And at some point, we all come face to face with this realization.
More than ever, it seems there is a force out there trying to get people to rally around fear.
I wish I had an easy three step recipe to offer you as a means to combat this fear...but I don't. All I can say is keep going. Keep getting up. Keep doing the right thing. Keep doing the very things you feel like hell is trying to get you to not do: to be kind, to trust, to hope, and to believe God is somehow in all of it.
There's a song out right now called Tremble by Mosaic. These are the words and the prayer that I have been holding on to. Because the truth is, I don't have a lot of words to offer God right now. But this song, it has been on repeat, and I have to believe that God sees the struggle and He is quick to come to our rescue when we cry out His name; when we proclaim His name over whatever storm may be upon us.
So, friend, may you hold on to these words as you keep going too. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep circling that thing, that person, that situation in prayer. Keep fighting to believe there is a God out there who is so much stronger than the strength of your storms. Keep reminding yourself that Jesus can and does make the darkness tremble.