Friday, April 10, 2015

Quite a night last night.......

So Northern Illinois had quite a night last night.  I knew we were going to be in trouble when it was 40 degrees in the morning, 72 and sunny at 1:00pm and then the storms started.  I knew that there was a tornado watch most of the afternoon and extending until 11;00pm, but I did not think it was going to be like this.

The first warning I heard was around 7:00pm.  I could see on the radar that most of the activity was west of where we live, but it was moving north and east which would put Gwen and Tim and the kids right in the path of this killer storm.  By 7:30pm their sirens were blaring and they were in the basement.  It was, thankfully quiet at our house.  I was keeping Gwen updated via text message, as I was watching the weather news on TV and also watching the radar on my phone.  As people began sending videos and pictures in of this massive wedge tornado, all I could do was pray.  In the middle of the worst of the storm hitting at Gwen's house, a new weather cell popped up south of us that had "circulation".  At somewhere around 8:30 I heard a warning that this storm would be hitting at Doug and Susie's house at 8:55 and our house at 9:10.  Suddenly, we were all in danger.  All I could think to do was pray.  Frantic prayers, begging for safety from these awful storms.  Thankfully, this southern storm cell traveled EASTWARD rather than north and both Doug and Susie and my house were clear of the storm.  By 9;30 the storm had passed Gwen's house with no real damage (other than lots of rain and large hail).  What a blessing.  Many were not so fortunate.  The devastation of this EF4 tornado is just awful.  It will be months, if not years, for the effected areas to recover.

When I finally settled in bed at around 10:30, I realized that I was still in that sort of "panic" mode.  It took me quite some time with lots of prayer to calm and finally sleep.  This was just so close to home.  There was a time when I was paralyzed with fear of tornados.  When I was a young grade schooler there was a devastating storm that destroyed a suburb near us.  I was home alone during that storm and remember being so scared.  After that, fear really grew in me.  As an adult, I still had some problems with tornados.  It was very hard to be at peace.  But after allowing Jesus to expose some of these deep fears and bring his healing into my spirit, I have been able to "weather the storms" so to speak.  When I realized that I had sort of slipped back into that fear last night, it was troubling!  I am so thankful that Jesus understands exactly where I am, no matter what the circumstance!  Our family has had plenty to deal with in the last months.  Last night I discovered that this return to fear is just another result of grief in my life.  And I felt that comfort and peace that only comes from Jesus.

Certainly Illinois is not alone in the experience of the devastation of storms.  As a matter of fact, we are not even in "tornado alley"!  So there are many people in other states that face these scary nights much more often than us.  I know that I will be much more watchful and PRAYERFUL as others face these storms!  But I am also going to be gentle with myself!  I have learned so much as I have been going through my own grief process.  It has really changed how I view so many things.

I have been "parked" in Psalm 19 during this last week.  Here are verses 7-9....from the Passion Translation

God's word is perfect in every way. how it revives our souls! His laws lead us to truth, and His ways make us wise! His teachings make us joyful and radiate His light, His precepts are so pure!   His commands, how they challenge us to keep close to His heart!  The revelation-light of His Word makes my spirit shine radiant!  Living my life in the holy fear of God keeps me faithful, and to follow him keeps me full of life!  Nothing He says ever needs to be changed.  

Today was a wonderful weather day (although it was still very windy...during the night last night we had very strong wind gusts).  It was in the 60's and sunny.  It is amazing who a few hours can make such a big difference.  During those times of storms it is good to hold on to the truth that calmer and sunnier weather is right around the corner.  Yes, the weather changes, but thankfully, God never changes and His word never changes!

Jesus, thanks for giving me grace last night as I faced that fear.  Holy Spirit, be with all those that were impacted by that storm last night.  Bring peace and comfort as they walk in grief through the coming months.  Thank you for showing me with hope during the times when I feel so hopeless.  Send that shower of hope over each of those people.  Thank you for your Word that speaks so clearly.  Amen

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