A Sarine Thought… or Two
April Showers Bring...
The older I get, the more aware I am of the stormy seasons that inevitably come into our lives. When I was younger, I just assumed that someone being rude, throwing a fit or acting irrationally was because they were, well... a jerk. But the more times I have been rude, thrown a fit or acted irrationally, I’ve discovered it wasn’t because I was a jerk, but because my life felt like it was being “jerked” out from under me and I let that flow into my actions and reactions. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, I’m actually being a jerk. But most of the time, I don’t intentionally try to be hurtful or hateful.
When the storms of life come, they can be dark, scary, overwhelming, disheartening, even devastating. Maybe it is losing a job, getting a bad health diagnosis, finding yourself in financial trouble, losing a loved one, realizing a certain relationship will not pan out the way you had expected, watching someone you love make bad decisions and then experience the consequences… the list goes on. These are hard things to work through and experience and can be gray and depressing. Maybe it is the rut you cannot get out of at work, or the questioning of decisions that you make regularly, or feeling disconnected from those you love even when you’re in the same room.
Some of us handle these things better than others. There are people who can experience a storm and learn how best to weather it in the future should the need arise with no outward spillage of emotion. Others become embittered and angry. Still others become defeated and lose hope that the sun will come out again. And some of us have a different reaction to each storm depending on when it hits.
I have been through many storms. You cannot get to 41 years old and not have your parade rained on a few times. Sometimes they are just little emotional showers that blow in for a short time and then dry up quickly. Sometimes they are thunderstorms, loud, dark and scary, causing some branches of my life to be scattered about haphazardly. Sometimes they are tornadoes that cause complete emotional destruction in an instant, with an extremely long period of rebuilding what was destroyed.
Here are a few lessons I have learned through my storms...
- They are not fun, even when they are necessary and for my betterment.
- It’s okay to ask for help when you are overwhelmed. I had a few years that were extremely rainy, so I sought the help of a trusted friend and my Primary Care Physician. It turned out that I needed to be on a low-dose antidepressant because of some family history of depression. I am so glad I asked for the help because my storms were being exacerbated to unnecessary degrees because of a biological issue.
- It is okay to not be okay for a minute or two. Trying to pretend that a storm is not raging just leaves you standing in the middle of a downpour without an umbrella, with a fake smile plastered on your face. This does no good. We often have expectations of a life that is all rainbows and puppy kisses, and there are lots of days that are exactly that. But when a rain cloud and morning breath seem to define the moment, we need to understand that this is a normal thing in the life of humans. We are not failures because we go through trials.
- EVERY storm has a purpose. There is not one storm that I have weathered that the Lord has not weathered alongside me. He has held me up, wiped my face, lifted His holy eyebrow at me when I complained too much, and shown me how much I can trust Him with everything that comes my way. With each storm in my life, I have grown. Sometimes I needed pruning. Sometimes I needed replanting in another location. Sometimes I needed a stake in the ground to lean into so I would grow upward instead of bent or completely inverted.
- How I respond to the storm will determine the outcome. If I allow myself to wallow in the mud puddles of bitterness and despair, I will end up wet and dirty, not learning much, with my focus centered on self and self-pity. If I lean into the Lord and let Him provide His umbrella of protection over me, guiding me because He can see past the storm, I will stay drier and warmer and learn new things about Him and His purpose for my life.
- Looking back on some of these storms and seeing where I have grown, I am able to be thankful for them. Now, I am not quite ready to throw an emotional hurricane party when I see a storm a brewin’, but I’m not as scared of storms as I used to be. I know good will come from them. I’m so blessed that God uses the April showers that come my way to reveal the May flowers He has planted in my life’s garden.