The weather report cut off the song on the radio last night, announcing severe weather coming our way. The sky, dark and full, was in pursuit of me as I drove to pick up the children and head home. Buckled and heading east, I ask the girls how their day was as wind swirled red dirt from the fields over the country road. We pull into the drive and unload before the storm unleashes its' fury.

The rain and the wind didn't last long but its' power was intense while hovering over our home. Looking out the window, I could see tree trunks digging in their heels while their leaves lost their grip and swirled into the air. The birds that orchestrate our evening symphony had all scurried into their hiding spots, no longer singing their lively tune.

Raleigh walks in the door, just as the storm begins to pass and is greeted with shrieks of "Dadd-eeee" from the girls. After dinner, we go outside to inspect the damage. I pick up seat cushions and brush off water that had puddled in their cracks. The grass was slick but it didn't stop our four year olds from a game of chase.

Raleigh and I do a quick tour of the yard and notice that the blueberries are still blooming, the hydrangeas look a little beat up, and the only survivors of our vegetable garden were a few blooms of strawberries and zucchini.

Holding Ridley, we settle into the rocking chair out back. The gentle back and forth creak of the rocker is as calming as the now clear skies. It is dusk, and the sky is painted a soft pink. I breathe in the smell of wet grass, baby soft skin, and a hint of jasmine and think how quickly the evening has turned. The storm raged but only for a little while, leaving us with an unexpected evening outdoors. The outdoors beckons us to sit, laugh, and play. 

Summer is sticky in the south and storms will always come and go. Does that not remind you of our life circumstances? We all have these moments in life where we feel stuck and the rain just keeps pouring down on us. There seems to be no relief, no stopping. But suddenly, the storm is gone and all is calm again. It is quite remarkable how after the rain, the grass is a little bit taller and the blooms a little bit wider.

It seems that God uses the storms to grow us, doesn't it?

And after the storm, we rock ourselves and stare at a perfectly calm sky knowing that it was only by His great grace and mercy that we survived. We aren't heavy anymore - it seems right to laugh, to play.

Friend, if you are stuck in a storm right now, know that your present suffering is a chance for you to grow. It might not seem that way but take heart in knowing that better days are yet to come. Soon, the storm will pass and you will find yourself stronger than you ever thought possible.  Hope is just around the corner, saving you a seat in that old rocking chair. 

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen