Tonight I messaged one of my close friends and said these words… “Kayla, Theres a THUNDERSTORM!!” (followed by many emojis that indicated my ardent love for thunderstorms) She responds with, “IN FEBRUARY! God loves you. haha”
She gets it. She understands my love for storms.
It seems fitting this year that there’s a thunderstorm in February… on the darkest week for me.
Not many people know the reason I LOVE thunderstorms.
I was an average kid – scared of the dark, scared of snakes and mice, scared of loud noises like thunder – so what changed?
I was probably around 11 or 12 years old when my family reconnected with a man I consider to be my adopted uncle. A man who became so close with our family that every family road trip we would ask “Are we taking Randy’s van or ours?” It was never a matter of if he was coming, just whose vehicle we would take.
I remember vividly one such road trip. I was 12, that age where I was trying SO desperately to become a grownup aaaaand right around the age when older brothers taunted that I would always be their baby sister. It was rough.
But Randy always treated me like a young adult. We talked of dreams and giftings and callings. I consider him to be the first person who believed in me.
This particular road trip there was a HUGE thunderstorm. We were driving through the hills of Tennessee and the hot June weather made the storm seem so much more than it actually was. I was terrified. Randy was not. I remember him looking at me and saying, “Michelle, you don’t need to be afraid.” I half expected him to make some joke about God and the angels going bowling – as he always liked to joke around – but he didn’t this time. He was a very intelligent man. A scholar of language and fine art.
Randy looked me straight in the eye and said, “You don’t need to be afraid of the storm because you know the One who made the storm – God. And the One who calms storms – Jesus. And besides that, we are in this van and the rubber tires grounds us so there’s no way lightning can strike.”
Of course shortly after that we made it to our hotel and I didn’t want to get out of the van.
But I never forgot that conversation about the storm and I’ve loved storms ever since.
I guess the wild wind and dark clouds remind me of Randy and all the times we had when I was a young adult.
Randy’s life was stolen from us the winter I was 15. He was trying to help a young man find Jesus, and instead the young man caused Randy to meet Jesus much sooner than any of us expected.
Randy was killed that night in February 13 years ago.
I can’t even explain how much it hurt – and still hurts – to lose him so soon.
Part of the emotional and mental health journey I have been on in the past months has been a journey to healing from losing Randy. I never truly grieved when he died, I went straight from his funeral to having fun with friends. Anything I could do to forget the pain. Pain is a process. Healing can only be brought after you’ve been through grief.
I’m still learning to grieve. I’m still learning to let go of the pain and leave it in Jesus’ hands.I’m still crying cuz it hurts. I’m still learning to forgive the man who stole Randy from us.
But tonight. A night only a few days after the 13th anniversary of Randy’s going to heaven. I sit and watch a very unusual February thunderstorm and I remember that night in Tennessee. I sit and know the One who created the storm – God. Because I know he is bringing me through and I am rising above this storm in my life. This dealing with soul pain and anxiety. I sit and know the One who calms storms – Jesus. Knowing that only HE can bring me peace. I know that God never intended me harm. The enemy of my soul causes death and destruction. And what the enemy uses for evil, God will use for good.
I pray this encourages some of you who are dealing with pain. There is no scale for pain, there is no way we can measure whose pain is greater. There is only grace and peace in the midst of each individual storm.
I pray this story reaches your heart and validates your pain. And I pray that you know that God is turning it into good.
The storm will pass. The sun will shine again.
Life will never be perfect, just as I will never watch a storm with Randy on this earth again. But I know one day I will see him again. And I know that where he is, it is far FAR greater than where I am. A place with no pain or tears. A place of pure peace and joy.
I imagine the lightning is the crack into that heavenly home. An opening for God’s light to shine through the darkness.
So tonight I am thankful for a backwards Canadian winter.
I am thankful for memories and for pain.
I am thankful God sent me a thunderstorm in February.