As many of you are probably aware, the East Coast has had a bit of a storm this week. Hurricane Florence made her presence known and hit Wrightsville Beach on Friday. (Have I mentioned my son that goes to UNCW lives on Wrightsville Beach?…He can see the ocean from his balcony (or roof as he often does, and feel the wind and ocean air every time he walks out the door.) I even have some visuals of his place. (Got to check out the views on his roof….) up on a roof… a little time with Chase in his element
So, anyway, there’s been concern. UNCW wisely cancelled classes on Sunday, September 9th, and encouraged students to quickly evacuate… And that’s what Chase did. But not quite the when and how that this mom had requested. Nope. The son who was supposed to leave early Wednesday a.m. (before 8 I had said…oh, a.m. by the way), called at 12 p.m., not to say that he had left, but to say that, well, the waves were really good, so he had gone surfing…. and I didn’t cajole or yell or nag because even though I felt like it, I know that we all make our choices and deal with our own preparation in our own ways. He made it home safely at 1:30 a.m., so thankfully, grace abounded and the only thing that was lost was a bit more time on the road, and a bit of sleep from Chase and yours truly. Yes, even when our ‘kids’ are adults, it’s tough to sleep until they make it home safely… Maybe even more so when they are adults.
So, all week, we’ve prepared. Made lots of extra ice and packed the freezers a bit with frozen liter bottles and such. We’ve made sure we had enough edible groceries and batteries and flashlights, matches and votive candles. We’ve caulked a few places where water could get in, and moved porch furniture and accessories into the garage. Yep. We did what we could with the stuff.
So now, there’s the waiting. I went to the store yesterday and made sure I had gifts for a son whose birthday is next week. Do you know what I saw?
Armed forces trucks, and lots and lots of equipment ,all in preparation of the coming storm. It made me so thankful to know that we live in a country where at least we are proactive about some things that really matter. These men in these boots on the ground are ready and able to help people do what they can’t. Love that. So very thankful for that.
I came home and did what I shouldn’t do….watched a LOT of news broadcasts on the storm. Have I mentioned that our oldest son lives in Shallotte? It’s a little town on the coast. He can kayak in the marsh in his back yard and loves catching his own dinner.
I really wanted him to come home to western North Carolina, but he decided to go stay with family in Conway, SC, which is right next to Myrtle Beach. I’ve texted and worried and tried not to be a pain, I really have. I’ve prayed and prayed….you know, those silent ones that come from the gut? Yeah. I am not proud to say that yours truly has had a lot of moments of uncontrolled fear this week… especially when the newscasters were talking about this storm being a Category 4 or 5… and I’ve prayed and poured out this heart for the safety and hearts of loved ones and people going through the storm, for the circumstances, for financial difficulties, for the storm to pass quickly… and for God to draw us nearer. Because it seems like that’s often the beauty, that silver lining of ‘storms’…that we are aware of our need, and draw near to God in new ways.
So, after all the prep of stuff, the fears fed, and details taken care of, I decided to switch up my preparation a bit.
Even though I woke up to lots of branches on the ground, a steady breeze blowing, and sheets of rain that keep coming and people were making it known on Facebook that they’ve already lost power, well, I decided to turn off the news and the worrying. I kicked up my feet and read. I prayed and sang. And then, I made french toast for the family members who are here. I made coffee and cut up strawberries. Then, I took some photos…
The rain is steadily increasing as the weathermen had said it would. I’ve got my list of things that I’ll get done, but do you know what’s cool?Although preparation of details is so important in impending emergencies, I feel a hundred percent more prepared when I’ve taken some time to prepare my heart and mind. For me, most of the fear is with regard to what the storm will leave behind… Will my sons and family be safe? And will they have places to live when the storm has passed. But feeding fears sure won’t make it any better. That’s for sure.
None of us knows what the future holds. We can gain information and do our best to prepare and ensure that things aren’t harder than necessary, but we are limited. We need each other. In the same way that those tanks gave me comfort, it gives me comfort to know that when tragedies strike, people often rise up. We don’t know what will be required of us…but preparation of heart and mind can help us be strengthened and equipped to act when the moment comes that something will be required of us. I want to be one that when my cup gets bumped, what spills out is something good…
Fears have definitely come to the surface this week in so many of our lives, but I’m praying that God draws us near no matter what we’re facing. May whatever storms on into our lives be seen as an opportunity to trust that God is with us. Hoping that truths of scripture become way more than words on a page but transform and encourage hearts deeply in the midst of this storm. I’m praying that people are reminded of God’s goodness, and how He uses ALL things in our lives as we offer them back to Him.
I know this trusting God can all sound like sweet theory…like Pollyanna faith that hasn’t lived or had to face any real hardship. I can assure you it’s not. I’m so thankful for the way I’ve seen God show up in people and places during storms that I don’t even want to speak about. Has He allowed the storms? Yes. But does He stay with us through the storm? Yes… when we invite Him to. He doesn’t come in like a Category 4 hurricane….(Well, maybe sometimes He does….) but He often knocks and waits for us to let Him in. I love the verse that says ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…” (Psalm 46:1) I love that is says, very present…not just aloof or here, but vigilant, making presence known. He can use severe mercies in our lives to draw us near to Him. Praying that a big part of our preparation for whatever comes is the inviting Him in, the knowing that He loves us and draws us near.
So, we all prepare in different ways. My fourth son surfs and then faces traffic and then comes home to help his family in the details. My first son traveled a little ways to be with family and is willing to step up to help in any way he can. My other son bought some paint and tools to work on projects…and me? I read and made french toast. We can handle the details differently and the ‘stuff’. But heart preparation can be something we all benefit from big time… (Take it from yours truly… sure made a difference for me…)
Well, I should’ve called this post ” endless ramblings” rather than “a few thoughts”, … Not even going to try to edit these scattered thoughts, lol. Hopefully you can see through the ramblings to the heart of the intended message…that God is with us through any storm….and entering into time seeking Him can transform how we walk through any storms we face…
By His Grace ~
Here’s a few verses to tell to your ❤ and for me to tell mine…
“For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat..” Isaiah 25:4
“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.” Psalm 27:5
“The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27
“Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress.”