Friday, October 10, 2014

Speak to the Storm

Storms are always a part of our lives.  Sometimes we see them coming in the distance and sometimes they shatter our world rolling in on thunder out of nowhere.  No matter how the storms come, it’s how we face them that matters.

Do we speak to our life’s storms or do we allow them to speak to us?

I’m no stranger to storms.  In science class, I learned how to create my tornadoes in a plastic soda bottle.  I was really good at creating plastic tornadoes but even better at creating them in my non-plastic world.  In high school, my tornadoes were always treacherous because everyone’s tornadoes are treacherous in high school.  Not having the right clothes to wear or the right hair style or the right boyfriend could bring on a monster tornado that could last for a week or longer.  My high school age daughter brings tornadoes into our house on a daily, if not hourly, basis.  I could allow her tornadoes to become my tornadoes.  I could allow them to wreak havoc in the family.  God knows, there were days when I did allow those tornadoes to spin wickedly out of control.  On those days, I was like a mad scientist adding my debris to the whirling mess just to see how big the storm could get.  It got big.  Fast.

Here’s the thing, a wickedly spinning out of control tornado can do a lot of damage in a very short period of time.  Damage control isn’t easy.  Storm control isn’t always easy either.  Sometimes we cannot control the storm because it is not of our own making.  That’s okay.  God doesn’t expect us to control the storm.  He does expect us to ride it out with Him in control.

Isn’t it true that our life’s storms are what make us stronger?

I can only speak from my own life’s history about my storms.  I have had a few.  My first storm came when I was not yet two when my mother died suddenly.  When I was five, a new storm entered my life as I left my aunt, the only mother I knew, to go live with a new mother.  My childhood path was riddled with storms; some so wicked that they are unspeakable; Yet, I survived them and emerged from them stronger.

My young adult years ushered in raging storms of anger and defiance.  Sometimes, I look back on those years and wonder how I’m even still alive.  I know now that I am alive only because of God’s grace.  In those days, I did not speak to my storms. Instead, I allowed my storms to speak to me.  I allowed them to tell me I was worthless and unlovable as they storm-tossed me in a hapless black sea of turmoil.

I cannot point to a day or time when my storms stopped.  They didn’t.  I’d like to say that I learned to stop allowing the storms to control me, but that would not be true.  As the pilot of my life, I experienced constant turbulence. I always kept my seat belt fastened because I knew the next doozy of a storm was right around the corner.  Sure enough, every new storm assured me that there would be bigger and badder storms to come.

The truth is, there will always be storms.  The question is; How will you handle your storms?  Will you allow your storms to speak to you?  Will you let them toss and turn your life?  Will you throw more debris into the spinning tornado?  Will you throw more debris into other people’s tornadoes?

These are questions that I had to ask myself just the other day when my fourteen-year-old tornado whirled into the house with wild fury.  Before I reacted, I asked myself these questions: Am I going to add to this storm?  Am I going to allow this storm to become my storm?  Am I going to allow this storm to steal my peace?  I didn’t allow it.  It took some time, but the storm subsided.

Some storms are mighty.  They threaten to throw us overboard without a life vest.  The storms of loss, sadness, doubt and despair are awful and heart wrenching.  Don’t let them control you.  Reach for the life vest.  Reach for God.  Often, you’ll find out down the road that God allowed that very storm into your life to make you who you are today.  It might be because of that storm that you can help someone else through their storm.

I know we’d all be better off if we spoke to our storms.

This is what I’m going to scream to my storms:  “Hey storm, God’s got me covered!  You cannot control me because I am controlled by a higher power!  You cannot and will not steal my joy, my peace or my soul!”

When my next storm blows in, I’ll remember the words of Matthew 8:26

He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.