Rain came down in driving sheets. Lightening flashed. Thunder rolled. My oldest was on the verge of panic over the storm that surrounded us. I continually tried to reassure him that we were perfectly safe, but to no avail. As we pulled into the parking lot at a shopping center, he exploded into a panic. With extreme agitation he said he saw a tornado. I scoffed at his statement and firmly told him he needed to calm down. But, as I peered through the windshield in the direction he was pointing, I saw it.
Bearing down across the highway, a swirling mass was headed straight for us. Fear gripped my throat and then a rush of adrenaline burst through me. I began searching the parking lot for my sister’s vehicle. She had her son and two of my boys with her. Time slowed, stalled and sputtered to a stop.
With my son clinging to my hand and my 6-week-old daughter, swinging in her car seat from the crook of my elbow, I raced for my boys. I gathered them close, instructed them to hold on to my shirt and trotted towards the store entrance.
We gathered all of us, my mom, sister, nephew and my children in the ladies pajamas department. We huddled on the floor in each other’s arms. As I looked into my children’s faces I saw fear. I heard fear in their voices as they asked if they were going to die. Fear was so thick around us, threatening to suffocate those who yielded.
We prayed out loud as people passed us by in the dark isle-ways. We claimed God’s strength and protective hand. I pleaded for God’s calming force to fill my son's hearts.
Four years have passed since this frightening event. This summer, like none I can ever remember, has had us spending hours upon hours in the basement from tornado warnings in our area. Each time, I see the fear, uncertainty and panic creep into my boys eyes. The memory is still so fresh. When the possibility of bad weather presents itself worry fills our home.
I’m no stranger to worry. I understand its far reaching grip. At times it covers me like an old itchy blanket. I kick and yank, yet I’m encompassed with its prickly irritations. It is a repulsive companion I struggle to shake loose. Left to fester worry soon invites fear and anxiety to occupy my heart.
Over the years I have learned to champion over worry and its colleagues. Every verse that speaks to me about God’s strength, protection and love is placed into my verse book. Whenever worry begins to stealthily creep back into my soul, I begin to quote and quote and quote, until I feel God’s steadying hand.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand Isaiah 41:10
In you O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. Recue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge to which I can always go; give the command to save me; for you are my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71: 1-3
SO, when the storms of life come our way and fill our hearts with concern our family will be raising our eyes up to the Lord, filling our mouths with His promises and feeling His comfort in our hearts.
For He is our ROCK and FORTRESS.