Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Other Side of the Storm // My Testimony

Last night we got hit pretty hard by a literal storm. And it was nasty. The wind whipped relentlessly through the trees while the rain beat down harder then I've seen in a long time.

The thunder bellowed in the air and the lightening cracked through the center of the sky. It was a sight, and a scary one at that. I remember another storm a bit like this one, where the lightening crackled so hard that it literally shook the ground and ultimately changed my entire life. 

We were sitting at the "dinner table" one night several years (and I air quote that because at the time we were actually eating off of TV dinner trays in the living room, but that was essentially the dinner table to us) and my mother and I heard the loudest crack of thunder and lightening I had ever heard in my life. I'm honestly not exaggerating when I say it shook the house.

We peered out of the side window in our home to see if anything was hit, but noticed very little, so we decided to proceed back to our meal. As we sat back down to continue with our marathon of The Office, it suddenly occurred to us that the TV picture was a weird shade of bluish green. 

That's odd.

But then came the smell. There was something off within in the home and my nose was the first to pick it up. "It doesn't smell right in here," I explained to my mom.

We stood and wandered into the back of our home to investigate. No sooner did we reach the end of our home, then we realized that there were large flames shooting out of our dryer that were quickly spreading throughout the back family room. We scanned the rooms around us and noticed the walls starting to slowly turn black.

It was in the walls.

I scooped up my cell phone and our family dog and booked it outside into the storm all while dialing 911. I was panicked to say the least. After waiting what felt like a lifetime (an all of 3 minutes and 48 seconds), the fire engines arrived on the scene. But it was essentially too late. 

It took the local fire department over 2 hours to finally put the fire completely to rest and the inside of our home was scorched beyond repair. Most of our things were destroyed by either the fire or the water damage.

But we were alive.

God had pulled us out of the fire and kept us (and our pets) safe. The fire that could have eaten us whole took from us only possessions and I am eternally grateful for the new outlook in life I received from the experience. I had been saved.

Five days later, at a local Christian summer camp, I clearly heard God call me back into a relationship with Him, and I chose to devote my life to His purpose. It was scary, new, and I honestly had no idea what the heck that was going to look like, but I knew that if He could pull me out of that terrifying storm, then what couldn't He save me from with my life fully dedicated to Him.

That was nearly 7 years ago and my life has not been the same since. And believe me when I say, that does not by any means, mean the storms have stopped. It simply gives me the understanding that I am not going through these storms alone.

That experience has also taught me perseverance through the storms of life, because after my life altering storm, my life was just that...altered forever. I learned that getting through that storm with God by your side, leads you to a thousand blessings on the other side. Persevering through that rough time taught me a lifetime of lessons about the benefits of sticking with things, not quitting, and not giving up hope.

Last night was scary, but I had prayer to comfort me and an incredible man of God by my side to physically walk with me. Both things provided to me by my Lord and Savior. Both things a blessing provided after weathering the previous storms of life.

Are you in the middle of a particularly stormy season? Please let me encourage you to lean on the only one who can lead you out of it. He is so good and will bring you to the other side of that storm.
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