It's been a season of storms.
Storms that were expected, and storms that caught me completely by surprise.
Storms so familiar I've named them. They show up on the radar frequently enough for me to know their patterns. The way their winds swirl. I know how long they usually last. How hard their rains fall, and how much damage they leave behind.
They are predictable.
Some of the other storms aren't.
They come with no warning. With no time for preparation.
Their winds expose vulnerable, weak places. Their winds and their rains uncover buried feelings, and emotions, and fears.
They blow away the pretense. They blow off the mask of strength, and of complete healing, and of having it all together.
Living along the Gulf Coast, I'm familiar with storms. Big storms.
I know when hurricane season begins and when it ends. I have the Hurricane Preparedness Plan memorized. I consider the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore an old friend. I'm familiar with what part the barometric pressure plays in the strength of a storm, and I've seen first hand what a Category 4 storm can do.
Our family usually stays put when a storm is headed our way. We haven't had much luck when we've tried to evacuate. The traffic is too much and so is the craziness that accompanies a predicted storm. We stay home and follow the advice: Run from the water. Hide from the wind.
When we find ourselves in the middle of the "cone of uncertainty" we hunker down.
1. to crouch or squat, to sit on one's haunches
2. to settle in at a location for an extended period of time3. to take shelter, literally or figuratively; to assume a defensive position to resist difficulties
( Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary)
Sometimes, hunkering down is all we can really do.
And it's all I've been able to do with the recent storms that have been coming my way.
Oh, trust me, I've tried to run. I've tried to pretend. I've tried to act like I just don't care.
I've tried to act tough.
But, I'm not.
I've tried to keep my storms private. Especially from those who are dealing with violent, overwhelming storms of their own.
So, I'm doing what a person who's had lots of experiences with storms does.
I'm hunkering down.
I'm hunkering down, with Jesus.
Sometimes that's the only thing you can do when a storm is on its way.
And most of the time, it's the best thing you can do.
He has proven, over and over again, to be my Refuge and my Fortress.
My Shelter from all that is swirling around me.
My Peace from all that is swirling around inside of me.
"Put your life in My hands, and it will be for you a place of peace and of spiritual comfort. So long as you abide in this place, I will control the rains that fall upon you and the winds that blow. So long as you are in My hands, you are in a garrison the walls of which no enemy will scale."
from Come Away My Beloved by Frances Roberts
I've learned from the hurricanes and tropical storms that I've experienced that it's usually the dead and diseased trees that fall first. It's the dead and useless limbs and branches that we find laying in the yard after the winds have passed. Limbs and branches that have served their purpose and no longer produce fruit.
It always amazes me, while we are picking up the downed branches, yelling to one another over the roar of chain saws, and washing off the dirt and the leaves that have been glued to the windows, that the sky has "never" been so blue. That the sky has "never" been so beautiful.
But I wonder. Maybe the sky didn't change.
Maybe it was always so blue... maybe it was always so beautiful.
Maybe I just couldn't see it.
Maybe I just needed a better view.
A view that only a storm could bring.