The Storm

June 6th was one of the difficult days I was telling you was on my horizon.June 6th, last year, was the day Joel walked into the hospital for what was supposed to be a relatively minor surgery to remove cancer from his lung. I had no way of knowing, as he walked in the hospital doors, he would never walk out the same way again. I had no way of knowing, that morning was the last morning we had together as a family, where life was as we knew it. I had no way of knowing, as I kissed his forehead before they wheeled him into surgery, that was the last normal moment I would share with my husband. Looking back, it's a day in my life I wish I could somehow replay again. I wish I could go back and change the course of events. I wish I could have changed the ending. But that's not how life works. Instead, here I am now, a full year later, thinking back on that day.

As I drove into work recently, my heart was pulled back to the 2013 version of June 6th. My thoughts raced with memories I remembered and tried to forget at the same time. As I continued to drive to work, a large storm was starting to rage. It was a good thing because we have been in drought conditions for a long while. Our states dry, parched landscape needed the rain desperately. It was a bad thing because I had to be in the center of it, commuting 30 miles in adverse driving conditions.

I saw the storm approaching. I could see lightening and dark clouds in the distance. I knew what was coming. I didn't want to face it. I didn't want to be in the middle of it. But I knew that in order to reach where I needed to be, there was no getting around it. I had to drive right through it.

My shoulders grew tense, as did my grip on the steering wheel. Suddenly the storm went from being before me, to all around me. All of the cars slowed down to a crawl, slipping and sliding as they trudged forward. Thunder clapped, lightening crashed, and rain made visibility impossible. There was nothing I could do in that moment but keep moving forward. I was tense, I was anxious, and I just wanted to be on the other side of it.

Slowly but surely, each mile took me farther from the center of the storm. Before I knew it, I had reached my destination. I had made it through the storm. I was now on the other side.

This is much like I have felt with all of the approaching dates, anniversaries, and difficult memories that come with them. I see what's ahead as dark clouds. I don't want to have to pass through them. I don't want to have to bear the pain that comes with the memories of the worst season of my life. But there's no other choice. I can't go around, or over or under it. I have to go right through it.

This is when the grace of God comes it to play. These are the days where I beg for Him to be ever near to me. To surround me. To lead me, through this storm. To carry me, if necessary. Days like this aren't easy. Painful memories can be assaulting. But it's a necessary part of the healing process, to get through them, somehow.

Encouragement for you today, if you are facing a storm, or in the middle of a storm, don't give up. Keep pressing through. Keep moving forward. Storms don't last forever. And there's one who's right in the very midst of it with you, seeing you through, to the other side. Right to where the sunshine is.

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