Three weeks ago today I found myself once again painting rocks with the boys and preparing to take a little trip to the cemetery as a family to visit Cora’s stone. Our trips there are less frequent these days and as you probably can guess by the promptness of my blog post, life is full and busy and that is a good thing. That same day three weeks ago, the wind blew like crazy. If you are not familiar with Kansas weather, let me clue you in. It is windy here. But there are some days in Kansas that the wind is particularly horrible. My husband always says this kind of wind makes him angry. It just makes me want to relocate the farm…like to Hawaii. But seriously, on these days you stay inside if at all possible. If you must go outside you can hardly keep the door from flinging off its hinges or slamming shut on one of your sweet children. You feel like you might actually blow away, you can forget about having a good hair day, there is dust flying everywhere, and even in the safety of your home you can’t escape the howling sound coming from outside. I may be exaggerating slightly but out here in the country the wind can be intense.
February 8th was one of those days this year.
As I went about my day, feeling the gravity of what the date marked in my life and the little girl that I continue to miss more than I can even try to explain here, I couldn’t block out that howling sound seeping through my windows. Seven years ago I was living my happy, “blessed” life. Things were going just like I had planned for the most part. Life was really good and really safe. I felt like I had Christianity and life, for that matter, all figured out. And then out of nowhere I got shoved out my front door, the door slamming shut behind me before I even had a chance to catch my breath. Gone was my safe, comfortable life. Without any warning my life was turned upside down and I found myself in the middle of a wind storm. It knocked me flat on my face and I felt like even if I tried to get up, the grief, like the wind, was just going to knock me over again. Everything felt scary and unfamiliar. I was confused about what God was doing in my life. I wondered how He could allow my daughter to have cancer…how He could allow her to die. I wondered why He didn’t show up for me when I had seen Him show up for so many others. The questions and confusion were almost as intense as the storm itself.
I didn’t know any other way to anchor myself except to Jesus. My feelings were telling me that I would never experience joy again but I knew if there was any chance…any chance to get through the storm…it would be with Jesus. HE was my hope. I was still hurting and confused and I didn’t understand what He was doing, but I knew He held the answers. So right in the middle of that storm I brought my unable to stand, hair in my face, dust in my eyes, tears streaming down my cheeks, beat-up self to Him. I was a mess, you guys. But do you know what I found? I found that Jesus didn’t forget to show up for me, He had been there the whole time. He met me in the middle of that windy mess. He met me in my sorrow. He wasn’t caught off guard by my confusion or my questions. He was compassionate and comforting. He just kept drawing me in closer. I found as I continued to choose Jesus, soaking in His Word each day, He didn’t give me all the answers but He showed me more of Himself. And He was more than enough.
Slowly, He gave me the strength to stand again. With His hand in mine, we began walking back towards that house. The months went by and the winds seemed less severe. I never thought I would get out of that storm, but one day I realized that I was once again in the calm of my house. The battle scars were still there, the grief still resurfaced from time to time, and there was a hole from a precious little girl that would never fully go away. Things would never be the same. But do you know what the amazing thing is? Most days I’m okay with that. I know that the peace and confidence in His good and perfect plan is only because of Jesus. The pain is still so very real and there will always be a longing to have Cora in my arms, but I don’t want to go back to those days because through the intensity of that storm, He changed me.
So three weeks ago, as the wind howled, I was reminded of a storm. But more importantly, I was reminded of my faithful God who never left my side through it all. He is the only reason I am standing today. Those little painted rocks started out as something we could make together as we remembered Cora, but now they represent so much more. As the rock pile grows so does my confidence in His character. He is who He says He is. I’ve read about it in His Word and seen it proven over and over again in my own life.
The winds are going to blow. Even here in my small town the storms are raging in the lives of people all around me. Where will you find the stability and strength to navigate through the storms? Our lives can change in an instant, can’t they? But God never does. He is consistent with His character, trustworthy in His promises, and so very faithful. It is easy to get consumed by the chaos and confusion that the wind brings all around us. Let us fix our eyes on WHO He is and anchor ourselves in the firm hope we have in Jesus. Even the wind obeys Him.
Even the wind and the sea obey Him.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.