It started to storm in my neck of the woods shortly before the sun set on this long day.
I felt like I was suffocating stuck in this house, so I quietly moseyed outside at the first ring of thunder.
I sat down on what barely constitutes a front porch to watch. The thunder and lightning rolled on their own for a few minutes before the rain started.
The rain came in waves– small droplets against my feet to start, slowly increasing in size and strength as the thunder got louder.
No symphony could imitate the sound of the raindrops crescendoing, hitting the ground louder and faster with each drop.
Soon, we were caught in a downpour, with lightning lighting up the sky and thunder booming so loud you could almost feel the ground shake.
And I sat there and watched. On that little front step, I watched the sky turn dark and the rain became so thick it looked like fog. I listened to the thunder roll in. I “counted” the time between the lightning strike and the thunder, like my Papa taught me to when I was little.
I sat there and exhaled for what felt like the first time all day.
I didn’t think about the ache in my back and what the cause is.
I didn’t think about another favor my mom needed me to run for her.
I didn’t worry about the amount in my bank account.
I didn’t feel my usual pang of loneliness.
I just sat and enjoyed God’s handiwork.
I love storms. I love the dark, cool effect storms bring to a hot, humid day. I love the natural light and sound show lightning and thunder put on (even if thunder scared me as a kid).
I have every reason not to like storms.
They’re messy. They’re an interruption to the normal rhythm. I can’t really plan them or plan around them, they have a spontaneous mind of their own. Sometimes they’re scary or dangerous. They can ruin fun days or plans in an instant.
Those are all things I don’t particularly like about life… fear and spontaneity and lack of plans or change of plans. And yet, storms are still one of my favorite things, despite all of these qualities.
In a lot of ways, I think the things I hate about everyday life are why I love them.
I love the way rain feels on my skin, soaking the bottom of my sweats as the wind carries the rain onto the porch.
I love how they force me to push pause and sit still for awhile.
I love how they display the majesty and power of God, captivating me with wonder instead of fear.
They remind me to slow down. To breathe. To quit trying to do everything for once in my life and just be for awhile.
So I sit and watch. I let the heaviness and the lightness overwhelm me.
It doesn’t take long as I watch for me to start thinking of the metaphorical storms life’s been hitting me with this season.
The fatigue, sleep issues, and physical health problems that have been plaguing me since May… I’ve had some sort of body ache, stomach problem, or a migraine nearly every. single. day. for months.
The depression that has enveloped every part of my being since moving home… since my birthday, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve left the house for something other than running errands with my mom. I’ve spent almost every day in my pajamas, with Netflix and food as my crutch. I don’t color or Bible journal anymore, or much else that brings me joy. (Being on launch teams has kept me reading, which is a blessing). I don’t sing or worship. I don’t play games. I don’t hang out with anyone, or even try to. It’s not a good place to be.
Moving home– both living back in my boring little hometown and living with my mom– has been both blessing and curse. I’m grateful for a roof over my head, but I feel like either a punching bag or a live-in servant most days… it’s not fun. And living where you literally have zero friends anymore is freaking hard, especially when you’re depressed and won’t ask your friends to come here to visit lest you feel like a burden on them.
Job stuff… I won’t even go there. I’m slowly trying to build a portfolio of freelance writing work, which I’m excited about–writing is my favorite, after all. But I still can’t get over the fact that I was rejected or ignored by so many other opportunities, ones I would have excelled at. Ones that would have helped me stay in Nashville.
So I sat there… and let the heaviness of this season hit me as hard as the rain hit the pavement. And I cried.
I cried… because let’s face it, this season has been hard. So, so hard. And I’ll never understand why.
I sat there amidst the tears and looked out. The storm continued to pour at a steady pace now. I felt myself calm down… I just inhaled and exhaled, focusing on the storm in front of me instead of the storm in me.
I felt this deep sense of peace surround me as I continued to enjoy the storm, despite sadness lingering. I forced my hands to unclench, palms upward. I prayed through tears; I don’t remember the words. A lot of my prayers have been wordless or breath prayers these days; I can’t seem to find words to convey the sorrow of life’s storms right now. But nonetheless, I prayed. I breathed and prayed, palms up, eyes looking outward towards the storm.
The peaceful feeling overtook the tears. I just felt wrapped in this sense that He was right there in that moment. In the moment, I did something I rarely do these days… I sang. Before I could even think about it, How Great Thou Art and How Great is Our God started tumbling out, in my shaky off-key voice.
Because even in the midst of the messy, not-going-as-planned, absolutely terrifying storms of this season… He is still God. And He is with me.
He is still God. He is with me.
A short time later, the storm started to slowly die down. I decided to head back in, my back pain raging as I stand up. I may have come back inside to my own storm, but the peace from the storm outside is still here with me.
The storms inside my life may still be raging, but I cling to the thoughts from the storm outside: He is still God. He is with me.
And even during the darkest of storms, His goodness shines.
Maybe that’s why I love storms so much.
Thank you, God for the storms… for the beautiful, wonderful storms of the world, and the messy, unplanned ones in me.
Since there’s no youtube version of this one… here’s to hoping this works.