God’s “will,” sounds so much more graceful, when it looks and feels like success and rest. In my own life, I find it often looks drastically different. So many times my heart dreams of big things and great triumph, but the reality is that we have to fight to grow. We have to face hardship to experience triumph. Triumph is only accomplished by having overcome the storms we find upon us.
About 2 weeks ago, I watched a movie with my kids. It was called “Wonder.” Its a true story about a child who has something called Treacher Collins Syndrome. It’s a rare facial deformity that required dozens of surgeries in the first few years of life. It’s a reality that this child and his family, face some very brutal reality due to this condition. The boy, who’s name is Auggie, is judged by his looks from the very beginning of his life. People can be cruel sometimes, but not all are. Some people rise up and you see the best in them. The movie centers on the first year they put him in school. It happened to be middle school, and he goes through a very difficult storm in his young life. In this storm, he and his family grow stronger together and as individuals. Even the people around them grow, and many learned valuable lessons. There was a scene that has stuck like glue in my brain. He is talking to his mom, and she points out her grey hair, and her fine lines and wrinkles. She looks at him and say’s, “Auggie, The heart is the map of where we are going. The wrinkles, the grey’s, the scars…they are the map of where we have already been.”
I’m quickly approaching the 8 year anniversary of my life being taken by storm. There was no siren, no warnings, just sudden and massive life change.
At first, recovering from multiple surgeries, gave me plenty of time to contemplate this conundrum. How do I go back? How do I fix this? How do I escape? Over the years, as it’s become apparent that I have been forever altered, the questions have changed. I find myself asking much different questions. How do I continue to make the best of this storm, and use it to grow? What does God want me to do while I’m still here? If I actually had the chance, would I choose to go back to who I was before the storm?
Before this storm, I prayed that God would save my soul, no matter what He had to do to me. I meant it. I don’t regret it, and I do still mean it and pray it. I don’t think I realized the gravity of it until years later. Now seeing the pain it can entail, it scares me, but I know it is ultimately still what I desire above all.
I’ve been reading about storms in the scriptures. There is a situation, that struck me differently when I read it. I have often concentrated on Peter and his faith in Jesus, and the significance of his courage to try to walk on water to Jesus. This time, my mind is focusing on another aspect.
Mathew 14: 22-33
22. And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32. And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
This storm, brought out an opportunity for the disciples to appreciate the awesome power of God. It strengthened them in their faith. They witnessed their Savior and friend, just strolling across the water. Jesus showcased an incredible miracle in spite of their less than ideal circumstances. This storm wasn’t a punishment, Jesus didn’t mistakenly send them into it, and Jesus wasn’t concerned about the storm. The storm never held more power than he does. If the storm wasn’t serving a needed purpose, Jesus could have calmed it sooner, but it was necessary for the training and faith of those disciples. Thousands of years later, it’s still important for us to learn about this story, as we experience storms in our own lives. He did calm those waves, but it wasn’t until after he had flexed some of the power from His Father in Heaven.
Storms always have the potential to destroy, but that is definitely not their only purpose. Different storms approach in our lives, to serve different purposes. There is often a beautiful side. They wash away things that are unstable, stagnant, or dead. They bring forth a nourishment, and soften hard ground in preparation for new beginnings.
There is a side to my own personal storm, that is invaluable. In essence, I have watched my Savior walk on water to me. He calls to me across those waves, and beckons me to Him. “Amy, just focus on me. I am your stability and strength. Come closer, and reach out to me. I will never fail you.” Though the storm has terrified and taken me down, It does not worry Jesus. He knows that if I begin to fall, all I have to do is reach up. My weakness doesn’t matter when it’s met with his strength. He is showing me, that he will preserve me in any storm, on any day. Trust is built during storms. My body may be worse off than before this storm, but my heart is stronger. That gives me the answer to at least one of my questions. If given the option, would I go back to who I used to be, and my healthy body before this storm? No, I wouldn’t. I’m not willing to give back the trust I have gained, when it comes to my relationship with God. It’s an ongoing lesson, but there is no way I’d give back that precious ground.
I believe that God promises us something incredible during each storm, and in the faith that grows during one. He promises to always be with us, and reassures us that we can trust Him, even in the midst of tempests, wind and chaos.
I think about being healed every single day. The desire of that is not gone, and my belief that I will receive that, is still there. I don’t think it will be the 27 year old version of my body that was taken away, but I do believe God could heal me to whatever capacity He so desires. I leave the details of that to Him. Regardless, I know that if I keep my eyes focused of God and not the storm, I will someday get a brand new body, and this one won’t matter one bit.
The other day, I knew storms would be the topic for my next post. As God always does, He gave me another witness of that. My friend Rachel, tagged me on my Facebook timeline, in a video about Eagles. She said, “I immediately thought of you.” She didn’t know it at the moment, but she had just been led to give me exactly the thoughts I needed.
Eagles have purpose. They are very focused and driven. They are not easily derailed, courageous, and they know their strengths and weaknesses. They use that knowledge to thrive. During storms, they are acutely aware and in tune with their surroundings. They look for the wind that has the potential to raise them up. They use those gusts to fly higher and higher until they are above the storm. If they didn’t know how to use that wind, it could destroy them, but they have learned that those gusts, can be of use to them. Instead of being tossed around, they thrive in the storm. The storm isn’t gone, it still rages, but the eagle is lifted higher and higher to safety in spite of it’s circumstances. This is us, and those storms will roll in for all of us. Those gusts, are like faith stepping stones. With each little victory in the storm, we rise to a higher plane in our faith. Eventually we are closer than ever to our Creator, and with each storm, we learn to navigate more efficiently.
Isaiah 40: 28-31
28. Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
If you are feeling worn, old, battered and bruised…remember. The heart is the map of where we are going. The wrinkles, the grey’s, the scars…they are the map of where we have been.” With the focus of an eagle, we know that our hearts have even better vision than our eyes, when it comes to God. We have this map in our heart of where we want to go. We want to go higher and higher, and fly to our Creator. These storms are going to brew and rage as we journey to that destination. It’s okay if we are showing the wear and tear of a journey that was never meant to be our final destination. Those signs of wear and tear, are only the map of where we have been.
Okay, half time over. Eyes on Jesus my friends! Open those wings, and wait for the next gust. We have an awesome destination to look forward to. I love you each. Big hugs!
6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: (Or you know, fly 😉 )
7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.