I do not like storms. Storms of any kind actually! I’ve experienced a storm while in an airplane and, another time, while on a boat. I much prefer calmness over turbulence, but then again…who doesn’t?
I also dislike “storms” in relationships. It’s important to me that everyone around me has good feelings towards each other. I usually can’t rest until an issue has been thoroughly talked about and worked through. You see, I don’t like this kind of storm either. Who does?
If there are any “storms” that I do not like, it is the physical storms our family has faced over the years. I know I will never be the same as I was before our journey of health issues. Many times, my heart felt just as “torn up” as our lives and schedule was as we went from hospital to hospital–from one cancer clinic to the next–with our children. Our lives were truly hectic.
The other day, I was looking through two “journals” of mine from a number of years ago. The first journal was from after our son, Austin’s heart transplant. For several years after his transplant, I kept a daily record of his heart rate, blood pressure, the food he ate, his activities, and the length of naps he took. This was vital in making sure there were no subtle signs of his body rejecting his new heart. He also needed medications 10-12 times a day, and he had to be taken to physical therapy, and many other doctor appointments. Then, during Austin’s two cancers, we had to make drastic changes in our family’s diet for his and Alisha’s sake.
The second journal was from when Alisha was seriously struggling with the side effects of her heart transplant medications. I needed to again record every single thing she ate, what lotion we used on her horrible eczema, as well as any change in the weather that may have been affecting her. She was miserable almost constantly. Duane and I took turns staying up with her, as she would be up 8-10 times each night. There were few foods she could eat without flaring up or going into anaphylactic.
We were desperately seeking answers to help her find some quality of life, but finding out what all she was reacting to was like finding a needle in a hay stack! This continued for eight, long years. There were many times when I struggled with feelings of despair. The “Why, God?” questions were something I, daily, struggled with. As I was reading this journal, I was again amazed at the grace of God that carried us through so many times.
These health issues were hard.
However, by far the hardest “storm” that I have survived was the death of our son, three and a half years ago. There is just nothing that can ever prepare you for a loss like this, no matter how strong your faith is.
My point about these different “storms” is this: Storms are hard. Storms change us. They blow into our lives, disrupting our plans and interfering with our lives. And afterwards, we will never be the same. You can count on that! But how they change us? That is not as easy to predict.
Storms will either make us bitter or they will make us better.
They will either strengthen our faith or stifle it.
They will cause us to become more self-focused or more others-centered.
They will either soften our hearts or harden them.
But there’s more to it than that. Storms always change us; but WE determine HOW they change us! That’s the difference. That is what we have control over. That’s where we have responsibility.
We choose whether we become bitter or better.
We choose to have our faith strengthen or stifled.
We choose to become self-focused or others-centered.
We choose to soften our hearts or harden them.
It’s our choice!
Have you allowed the storm you’ve faced to make your faith stronger? Is the storm you’re going through drawing you closer to your Father, or are you having a hard time trusting Him? Have you allowed the storms of life to temper your faith to the point where you can accept “bad” things from the loving God who created you?
“The wise man in a storm prays to God, not for SAFETY from danger, but DELIVERANCE from fear.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)