I moved a storm. Yep. You read that correctly. I moved a storm.
Ok, so I didn't personally move the storm, but God certainly did.
With my daughter's permission, I'm going to fill you in on a snippet of what's been clouding our home for the past few months. To make an extremely long story short: a few months ago my daughter was suddenly hit with severe anxiety. It paralyzed her personality, crippling her in so many ways, and left our household feeling trapped in the eye of a storm. There were days that my husband and I would have to physically remove her from the car just to get her to school. My husband was in tears the day he had to carry her into the school grounds because she was physically fighting my efforts.
Teachers, counselors, staff, even the principal of the school, rallied around our daughter to make her days easier. She wasn't being bullied, nothing even remotely damaging had happened to her. She couldn't explain it. She was crying because she was crying, and she had no idea why. She was worried about the "what if's" - what if something happened to her? What if something happened to me? What if something happened to her dad? Her brother?
We read book after book about anxiety, we met with a psychologist, her pediatrician, a behaviorist...and we were all at a loss. My church family covered her in prayer, as well as myself and my husband. Every day I was begging for prayers: "please pray for me, I'm so lost. I don't know how to help her. I can't get through to her." My daughter's prayer journals were filled with words like "why is this happening to me? Why won't it stop? Why can't I be normal?" I tried to tell her that her anxiety and worry meant that she was lacking trust in God - but she couldn't even grasp the idea of turning to God because she felt her world was spinning. Her outrages in the mornings would exhaust her, and once home from school, she would nap and then wake up with barely a memory of the morning.
I had to beg others for prayer because I couldn't form a single sentence when it came to my time with God. My tears were my prayers for months.
Finally, we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We weren't quite out of the danger zone, but there was some light trying to break through the clouds. And then she had a four day break from school, just a couple of weeks ago. The night before she was to go back to school, she was inconsolable. Crying because she was scared. "What if I get sick at school? What if something happens while you're at work? What if...what if...what if..." I locked myself in the bathroom and started to cry out of anger and frustration.
In between my tears I sent a group text to the women in my life I lovingly refer to as my prayer warriors. I needed prayer.
Each morning I wake up before the sun rises to make a cup of coffee to sip during my time with God. The house is dark, I don't turn on a single light, and I quietly make my way through the house, careful not to wake anyone. The morning my daughter was going back to school, my back was turned towards the window in my kitchen, but there was no mistaking the flash of light that filled the house. Shortly after that came the thunder. I paused, afraid to breathe. I waited. More lightning. More thunder.
This is my daughter's biggest fear, aside from the unknown "what-it's." Thunder and lightning. I grabbed my cup of coffee, turned around to look out the window and whispered, "are you kidding me, right now, God??"
I was mad. I was frustrated. I couldn't believe God would do this to me. To my daughter. To us.
I walked upstairs to find my husband awake, staring out the window. "Babe! Did you see this lightning? It's crazy!" My husband loves thunder storms. Our bedroom was being lit up like a summer day at noon. I just looked at him, ready to cry, and headed straight to my closet - my war room.
As soon as I closed the door to my closet, I broke down in tears.
"Why are you letting this happen, God? Can't you give her a break? She doesn't need this! She's already nervous! She's already scared! Why are you doing this??"
I kept talking, directly from my heart. Anger, frustration, hurt, and fear was pouring out of my eyes in the form of tears.
"You can move this storm, God. I know you can place your mighty hands down here and push this storm away. Do it! I know you can and I want you to do it! Move it!! Please God, I'm begging you! Even if it's just long enough to get her to school, move it! I know you can!"
I continued my quiet time with God (although I don't know how quiet my angry whispers were...), and went on about my morning, kissed my husband good-bye as he left for work, got myself ready and prepared to wake my daughter to help her get ready for the day.
Just before I went into her room, my husband called. "You know what's weird? I haven't seen any lightning since what we saw this morning..."
My heart stopped. I wasn't even paying attention. I never looked outside. I didn't notice that the lightning and thunder stopped.
"You know why it stopped, don't you?" The words nearly jumped off my tongue. "I prayed about it!"
I know my husband wanted to give a belly laugh, but instead he offered a polite giggle. My joy didn't allow room to translate his laugh as persecution. My prayer was not only heard, but answered immediately! I nearly ran up the stairs to wake my daughter; I was so excited to tell her about the way God answered my prayer.
"Isn't that amazing? That lets us know that He is near to us all the time! He hears our prayers!"
I sent my daughter off to school, and began my hour long commute to work. I was still on a fluffy cloud (because the storm clouds were gone) and had to tell more people about the way God answered my prayer. I shared with my mom; I sent a group text to my prayer warriors, and I shared with my coworkers.
One of my coworkers responded with, "so I have you to thank for that?" Confused, I asked what she meant. She proceeded to tell me that in all the years she lived in the valley (approximately a 20-30 minute drive from my home) she had never experienced thunder like she did that morning. "It shook the whole house! I've never been through anything like that!" My smile must've been from ear to ear...I remembered that I asked God to move the storm, not necessarily stop it.
I spent the rest of the day with a smile on my face, praising God to anyone who would listen.
God will do that sometimes. He likes to show off every now and then. Especially during the storm.
When we are in the middle of a stormy part of life, that's when God will grab the opportunity to calm the storm. He knows that when He calms our storms, we will sing his praises to all who will listen.
Does that mean that should be the only time we praise Him? Of course not. We need to praise Him in all things....the good, the bad, and the ugly. But the moments like this, when it's so clearly obvious that He is near and listening to our words and our hearts, are the moments that will sit deep in our hearts and serve as a reminder when we face another storm. When I feel like God isn't hearing my prayers, when I feel like my words are being scattered in the wind...I'll always come back to the time God moved the storm.
For all the days of my life, I will never forget the way God answered my prayer that morning.
I poured my heart out to Him with genuine conviction and belief that He could do anything.
My faith was not little that morning. My faith was big. It was loud. And it was real.
When we feel like we are drowning in the storm, let's approach God with conviction that He can do anything in our lives. After all, He shaped the mountains, he placed the stars, and he controls the oceans.
He can move the storms for you, too.