Sunday, February 1, 2015
I can remember quite well the summer I was 10. That was probably the summer I spent the most time having sleepovers with my cousins. There were 3 girl cousins my age growing up. One who lived in California and two that lived here---including a step-cousin I had met when I was 8. We spent a ton of time together that summer. My California cousin came for a visit and I can remember one night in particular during monsoon season, a storm had come into town and our power had gone out.
My cousins and I all huddled around a battery-operated night light that was my baby brother's at the time. My dad had gone outside to check the power and I was so scared. I was scared he would never come back or that our house would catch on fire or flood.
But I had my band. I had my team. My cousins kept me brave that night. I watched the shadows dance off the walls as the thunder cracked louder and louder but I knew I would be ok because I wasn't alone.
Another storm I will never forget was during my days at ANASAZI. Because I was there from June to July, I ended up enduring monsoons in the middle of nowhere---with a 8x8 tarp for protection. The first time I experienced a monsoon on the trail, I started to cry. I begged and pleaded for them to let me go home. I told them I was afraid of storms when I was in my own bed and that I couldn't possibly endure it out in the desert.
We hiked through most of it but when the sun started to go down, we built personal shelters out of our tarps and were sent to bed. This was the very first time I remember feeling completely alone during a monsoon. I sobbed under my tarp and pulled my journal out, aware that the lack of light would prove difficult. But I didn't care. I knew I needed to write. I knew writing would help.
I scribbled out most of my fears almost illegibly but the rain was still pouring and I didn't feel much better.
So I started to pray. I prayed out loud. I pleaded with God to stop the storm because I was scared. I was afraid of dying or getting hurt. I was afraid of the loneliness.
I ended my prayer and laid there for a minute, wishing that God was actually real so that He could answer my prayer.
And just like that, the rain stopped.
I could hardly believe it. I had never received an answer to prayer so bluntly before.
I pulled my journal back out and began to scribble the events of the night. I wrote, "Tonight while it was raining, I said a prayer and asked God to stop the rain because I couldn't take it anymore. And you'll never believe it! THE RAIN STOPPED! There is a God. I know He is there. I know He heard me. I felt Him tonight."
It was during ANASAZI that my testimony of prayer began to grow. I was so afraid of death and I felt like we faced so many dangerous obstacles but each time, we were lead to safety.
The storms I have faced have taught me so much about who I am and who I want to be. Some of them have knocked me off of my feet for a period of time but I've gotten up eventually.
I can see that happening with my current storm. I've been knocked down and I'm not up yet. I'm still figuring this all out and trying to repair the damage. But today something clicked. Today, on another Sunday that we were late for church because I dread sacrament meeting alone with my littles, I was listening in Relief Society about patterns becoming habits and how quickly we can become comfortable and set in our ways and I realized, I don't want to be this. I don't want to struggle to go to church. I don't want my children to get used to this example and think that it's normal that we miss the sacrament 50% of the time, sometimes more.
I may not be where I want to be. I may be struggling with this picture of my life and how it's turned out. I may still question why this has all happened in the particular timing that it has.
I will still struggle to feel like I fit in on Sundays. Some of the lessons will still cause a lot of pain in my heart. I will still feel alone and stressed out most of the time in sacrament meeting.
But it won't be this way forever.
Because eventually, I'll figure this all out. Eventually I'll be standing taller than I've ever stood. I will face this storm and beat it.
Because I know I am capable of greatness. I know I am strong enough to endure the hard days and enjoy the good days.
Although I don't understand it all, someday I will. Someday I will be able to look back and think, "Wow. I made it through another storm."