I write this, celebrating the passing of yet another personal storm. As the old gospel song says, “the storm is passing over, hallelujah.”
If I were to tell you about the last 12 months of my life, you might be inclined to believe I embellished, just a bit. Since so much of my story is not mine alone to tell, believe this. I trusted God as much as I believed possible, trusting more in my misplaced confidence in my own capacity to have cost me dearly.
What did I learn? God is sovereign; I am an idiot.
Let’s talk a bit about storms.
Anyone who has ever lived on the Gulf Coast of the US understands the mechanics of hurricanes. There is the storm, and the eye, a unique phenomenon where there is clear calm in the center. A lesser-known element of these storms is the eyewall; just as there is calm in the eye,
“The eyewall is the band or ring of cumulonimbus clouds that surround the eye of the storm. The most severe weather of the hurricane occurs in the eyewall: Towering thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, and high winds.”
That eyewall is a monster.
Just when you think things are clearing up, you are hit with a force beyond anything you might conceive. It’s the second act no one tells you about, because, as the last 12 months of my life, it’s far too much, and you wouldn’t believe it anyway. Bless God, I am emerging from the eyewall of my personal storm.
I survived because I believed God, as best I was able under the circumstances. I must now acknowledge that I am flawed, frail, and beautifully human. I am a woman of faith, but also very much a work in progress.
God is sovereign; I am an idiot.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)
I wish I was better at casting all my cares before I’m too exhausted to do anything but yield. It’s a recurring theme in the life of my faith, and it’s gotten a little tired. I’m also carrying ever more scars from the lessons learned, and it’s time for something new.
It is possible, though not advisable, to withstand inordinate amounts of stress for extended periods of time. Humans, particularly the willful and determined variety insist on believing themselves invincible, particularly when engaged in fighting for those they love.
There is a cost, and I paid it.
In addition to being a deliberate dereliction of my sacred obligation to honor the temple I’ve been given, this foolishness is an act of disobedience against God’s Will. God is not mocked, and there is a cost to every choice.
I am choosing to be liberated of my own fear of fully trusting God. While I retain free will, I choose God because I have seen God’s Goodness. I choose because that one act frees me of an obligation that is not mine anyway, and I choose because deciding to be a goodly steward of my temple is an act I take that someone else might also take because of me.
This choosing of Peace even in the midst of my storms is called balance, a lesson illustrated in the first chapter of Genesis. As God makes the world, created are Light and Darkness. Sky and Earth. Ground and Sea, all deemed “Good.”
If each of us is the keeper of our sister or brother, shouldn’t we choose to live in a way that benefits not only us personally, but has the capacity to change those in our midst?
- I choose to honor my temple because it is a sacred gift and despite its misuse, I have the opportunity to do better.
- I choose to practice self-care as a sacrament because someone might be watching, and do as I do.
- I choose to worship, respecting the gift that my life is, and honoring it because it is holy.
I Choose Because the Storms Will Come Again,
and I might need to be better prepared when the eye passes over and the eyewall hits. God knows all, and I know nothing, except this, I might not have another miracle, of that sort, in me.
God is sovereign. I may be an idiot, but this lesson I have finally learned.
Peace be with you, even in the midst of your storms.
I am a very serious person, so I laugh a lot. I write because it helps me understand the way I feel about the world. I married my high school sweetheart, and together we made two exceptional people and raised a dog so remarkable, I wrote a book about the faith lessons he taught me. I envision a world where each of us embraces the Perfect, Precise Image of God that we are, naturally, at every given moment, even as each of us exists in a liminal state.