I have so much to say that I'm keeping running notes in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. I'll just blog a little about it every day. It might be random or out of order, but at this point it's the only way I can gather my thoughts enough to share with you.
On Wednesday night I got the news that Ike was heading our way. I began making plans and starting processing through what I should do. I got gas and went to the grocery store after a meeting at church Wednesday night. I got what I thought I'd need for 3 days. I began filling up water pitchers to put in my refrigerator and everything else you do to try to prepare for a devastating hurricane. I had intended on staying in my apartment and "hunkering down" (a Texas term).
On Thursday, Gretchen Butler called me and demanded I come to their house, that I shouldn't be alone. I told her that I appreciated it, but I was fine.
But the more and more I began thinking about it and looking at the storm on TV as it was approaching, the more fearful I became. Its times like these that you just want your family, to just feel at "home" around those who love you and know you best. I didn't have that because my family is very far away. At that point I decided to go to the Butlers house on Friday to ride out the storm with them.
I can not even put into words what we experienced during the storm. It was very scary, the unknown was unnerving, it was pitch black dark but I could hear the wind in a way that is indescribable. I could not see the damage it was doing or if anything was coming towards where we were staying. I know I prayed through most of the night, having the peace of God through it is the only thing that would calm my fears.
To experience God and how big He is in a storm like that is a great point of reference. To relate the power and strength He has to a hurricane is interesting, while at the same time receiving His peace through the relieving of my fears as I am praying to Him through the night. It reminded me of people who are going through storms in their lives, that through it all they have the opportunity to feel His peace when they should be scared out of their minds.
I won't lie, often times my humanity took over and I was fearful. I remember during the worst of the storm, sometime during the hours of 4 - 6 AM, I was listening to the TV news on the radio and there was this lady who had also been listening that called in. She explained where she lived and how she was in the eye (the calm) of the storm at the moment, but could hear the reporting of how horrible it was on the back side of the storm to the people in Galveston. She was completely afraid, crying. She said that she couldn't afford to get out because she lost her husband last year, and that she was afraid all during the first half of the storm and was terrified about what was coming towards her and wanted to know if what she was hearing on the radio was coming towards her. The newscasters were so great with her, they asked her to stay on the line, and over the radio brought on the meteorologist and had him speak with her directly to answer her questions and calm her fears.
This lady was alone and afraid. And I think to myself, that could have been me, alone and afraid. But I had people like the Butlers who took me in. Sometimes it’s just good to go through a storm WITH someone. I also knew my mom (who was in Mississippi), who was probably just as fearful as me, was praying. I also got a text from one of my best friends (also in Mississippi) at around 1:30 AM that just said, "I want you to know, I'm not sleeping. I'm not there with you, but I am up with you and with you in this storm, and I'm praying."
So this is a great lesson. You don't have to be alone; whether it's in a REAL storm like Hurricane Ike, or any storm you go through in life. Sure, Jesus can calm the storm, or calm YOU in the storm. But at times, He will also use others to go through the storms WITH you. Trust me, it makes a difference.