The Crazy and the Calm

It’s been a crazy week here, with the wildest wind storm I have ever witnessed in Virginia. This massive storm affected a vast stretch of the eastern seaboard, bringing damaging winds and coastal flooding.

Tree damage in Stafford, VA.

While our home doesn’t appear to have suffered any damage, others were not so fortunate. This photo is one of hundreds I found depicting wind damage around Virginia. I read that the tree came down in the bedroom of a 4-year old boy who was playing in the basement at the time and is unharmed. How grateful this family must be!

Thousands of people in the storm’s path are still without power, including our relatives in Massachusetts. Many will be without electricity into the coming week as the storm cleanup continues.

My part of the crazy was coming down with a cold and fever in the middle of the storm, ending in laryngitis. I missed singing with my choir family today, but I am giving gratitude that the Holy Spirit filled our Lenten worship, even without my squeaky voice 😉.

All this served as a reminder of how unpredictable life can be, and that every storm can teach us about what is truly important. During this season of Lent, I have been mindful of God’s presence each day, even in the midst of crazy. In Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus shows not only that he has the ability to calm the storm, but he also slept through the storm:

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Growing up with the Atlantic Ocean in my back yard, storms were part of my everyday life. We prepared as best we could, hunkered down and rode them out. I slept through many of them too.

Throughout life, I have learned that it is easy to panic when the seas begin to swell. But it is far better to have faith enough to trust that God will equip us and then calm the storm. Only by faith can we begin to learn how to weather the storms in life.

My childhood back yard in Ocean Bluff, MA


When the Rain Comes

It’s been one of those strange months where my life perfectly matched the unpredictable weather. At times, May has felt more like March, with seemingly endless wind, rain and cool temperatures. This was unusual for the DC area, and was particularly unwelcome after the warmer weather we enjoyed earlier in the spring. But whatever the cause, the crazy weather mirrored the events in my life.

Confession: I am “that” person who thinks they can do it all, that they can handle every task in life without asking for help. It becomes a point of pride after a while, like a heavy crown that you feel obligated to wear. I don’t want to disappoint anyone (or myself), so I just roll up my sleeves and tackle the earliest looming deadline. Usually the stress doesn’t get to me, but when you find yourself in the ER with chest pains, it may be time to slow down.

Although I did my best to “sneak” into the hospital without anyone knowing, within minutes my pastor was at my bedside. I guess that was okay since he is also a trusted friend (and oh yeah, he’s my boss too 😉). He was there to comfort me and pray with me before they wheeled me in for a chest x-ray. I didn’t feel all the fuss was necessary because I thought I’d have a few tests and head back to my desk with no one else noticing.

I won’t bore you with the details of all that was going on in my life that day; they really aren’t important. It could happen to any one of us, at any time depending on our life situation, but all at once everything seemed to amass into the perfect storm. I felt the tide rising in the form of rolling chest pains. That 24 hours in the hospital seemed like eternity to me, and it was far from restful, but it opened my eyes to what matters most.

As minutes turned into hours, word spread and my phone buzzed with concerned texts and messages of assurance from many people who were praying for me. I felt completely covered by their love, and a sense of calm washed over me. All through the day and that long night I kept thinking about my father who died in 1986 of a massive heart attack a week before his 57th birthday. I knew I was where I needed to be and that I was receiving excellent care.

I am praising God because every test that was run came back normal. I will be having further tests this coming week and following up with my new cardiologist. I wish I could remember the names of all the nurses and doctors in the ER and observation wing who cared for me last week. (There were A LOT!) I am in awe of all they do each and every day.

Although I wanted to return to work the day I was discharged, the doctor insisted I take the remainder of the day off. Heading his advice, I went home and took a much-needed nap. When I awoke, I went downstairs to find a dinner basket that had been dropped off by a group of amazing ladies from our church. It was filled with food and flowers and other treats, and oh so much love!

As I look back at this crazy month (and it’s not over yet) I am reminded of the faithfulness of God as He sees us through every storm. He brings order to chaos, and provides rest for the weary when they need it most. For that, I am truly grateful.