Amy and I had planned to meet for several months.
Our only communication had been through Facebook, but we had a bond that ran deep.
A bond that doesn’t form from pretty things.
One that comes from shared pain.
We both walk the road of grief every single day.
Grief that happens after losing part of your heart, part of your reason for being alive.
Amy and I both have children who have gone to Heaven ahead of us.
And it’s not easy.
So Tuesday, Amy traveled from her home to mine………….an hour and a half journey…………so that we could talk face to face.
We ventured to Grayson Lake, because I thought this would be the perfect place for an evening visit (even though the sky was growing a little dark).
We found a bench overlooking the water where we could sit and visit, and Amy began to share about her beautiful 19 year old daughter, Beth, who died unexpectedly just nine months ago.
We hadn’t been there long before thunder began to rumble in the distance and a few drops of rain began to fall, so we headed back to my car and sat there talking just long enough to realize we had stayed too long.
Trees suddenly began swaying, sending leaves and small branches into the air all around my car.
The sky was more ominous than words can even express, and we knew we had to get to safety as quickly as we could.
Still seeing a clear sky toward Grayson, I thought we could outrun the worst of it.
Almost immediately, the sky opened up and rain began to pour.
Within seconds, we realized we were caught in a terrifying storm.
Lightning filled the sky and rain and wind came at us from all directions, causing visibility to be almost lost completely as I tried to drive.
As we came around one particular curve in the road, trying to stay right behind two trucks pulling pontoon boats who had rushed out of the parking lot just ahead of us, a tree had fallen nearly blocking our path.
Slowly, we all made it around the obstacle.
With hazard lights flashing, my hands gripped the steering wheel as we crept along, pounded by sheets of blowing rain with every inch we moved forward.
I knew there was no way to continue to Grayson in this kind of weather, so I squinted and watched for the house of a friend who lived close by and when I saw her house through the blurring rain I pulled up into her driveway so that we were tucked between her home and the rock wall that forms her back yard boundary.
She still doesn’t know we took shelter there, but there was something about being between a friend’s house and a rock wall that brought us comfort.
I looked at Amy as we sat there in the unexpected monsoon, and it seemed like the perfect time to tell her about my two friends Melissa and Tiffany who I lovingly call my storm sisters because of things we have faced together.
As the thunder boomed in our ears, I looked at Amy, smiled and said, “Welcome to the club.”
We laughed because there was really nothing else to do as we waited for the storm to weaken.
Finally, the storm let up enough for us to feel safe on the road and we headed home.
I still feel the aftershock in my body today.
My back aches from the stress of what we faced, and my mind is filled with so many thoughts about how this storm represented so much more than wind and rain and lightning to both me and to Amy.
This storm was our grief.
It caught us unexpectedly.
It was terrifying.
We tried to outrun out it but eventually realized we couldn’t see far enough ahead to possibly move forward.
So we did all we could do in that moment
We drew close to friends and found a Rock to keep us safe, and we waited it out.
We let the lightning strike.
We let the rain pour.
We let the wind whip.
We let the thunder roll.
And we laughed in spite of our fear.
Grief is a storm.
But the intensity of the storm fades as we draw closer and closer to people we love and to the Rock.
Peace comes in the midst of a storm when we trust Him with all our anxiety.
Somehow He gives us the ability to face the unknown roads ahead with confidence and a sense of purpose.
He faces the storm with us, gently reminding us there will be brighter days.
This photograph of the storm we faced on Tuesday was taken by Gina Porter.
Even though I probably wouldn’t have taken Amy to the lake had I known what was coming,
I’m so thankful for the memory with her.
God allowed us to experience in an earthly way what we share in a spiritual way.
We talked about our grief the entire evening after returning to my house.
Amy cried as she shared memories of her sweet Beth,
and my heart ached as I remembered and talked about my own Adrienne and Nick.
We finally said goodbye at midnight and Amy walked to her car to drive home.
I stood at my door, watching my new storm sister walk to her car and said,
“We survived a storm tonight, and we will survive this one too.”
I love you, Amy.
I love all of you who grieve as I do.
God is with you in your storms.
He is your Rock.
He is your Refuge.
Trust Him today and discover peace that passes understanding.
Peace that allows you to laugh even as the storm rages all around you.
Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge.