We had roads washing out. We had creeks overflowing. A city close to us lost their beloved fire chief to the rushing water.
Then the fires. Oh be still my heart, the fires. We didn't have any rain to accumulate, and so the forest floors were beyond dry. And in came the thunder and lightning. I have always loved a good thunderstorm. When I was little, I would go outside and watch the storm build. Then the lightning could no longer be held in and was unleashed over the lake. And I'd sit there, counting the seconds until I heard the thunder.
It kind of felt like the clouds just needed to let everything out so that they could start new.
I LOVED thunderstorms. For 5 years in a row, when I was 12-17 years old, there was a thunderstorm on my birthday. They had never caused any devastation in my area, so I had no reason to fear them.
Then the roads washed out. And the fires struck and grew to unimaginable proportions.
This year is shaping up to be much the same so far. We went straight from winter (it was still snowing a few weeks ago), straight into summer dryness and temperatures. We haven't had a good rain since last October.
Roads are washing out. Creeks and rivers are overflowing. Peoples lives are being impacted in huge ways.
And today, they are predicting storms. I won't lie. My heart and my head are expecting the worst. My stress level is rising, imagining a repeat of last year. My soul hurts to remember the devastation that began 10 short months ago. I am already trying to prepare for the worst, even though it hasn't happened yet.
And I can feel God whispering, oh so quietly, in my ear, that He has me. I am safe in the palm of his hand. That I can see the beauty in the destruction. I can choose to remember how our entire province, and a neighbouring province pulled together to help us through. How people who had been affected by the fires in Fort McMurray 2 years ago remembered the pain they went through, and knew what we would need to get through. How I made friends with some of these men when they answered our prayers. And how He held all of us in the palm of His hand, both times disaster struck.
I can choose to think that these disasters did devastate, but they built at the same time. They built our community relationships, they broke down walls. They forced us to get to know people that we never would have otherwise. And not just to get to know them, and the others who helped, but to remember what was truly important. People. Relationships. Building memories.
When I packed up my house last year, preparing to possibly say goodbye to my possessions, I was reminded that the people I share my house with are so much more important than the things I have packed in to it. That the memory books we've created mean more to all of us, as I wasn't the only one storing away those precious moments.
I don't know where you are today or what you are struggling with. I don't know if you are preparing to possibly have your life turned upside down, or things are already all muddled up and confusing. Maybe you have just climbed out of a pit and don't know which way to head next. I don't know. But what I do know is that every struggle has a blessing. It may be hard to see at the time, but I promise you that it is there. He is holding you in the palm of his Hand, with plans for your future that you can't even begin to fathom.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for all you have brought in to my life. I thank you for the family and friends you have given me, and I know that those people are exactly the ones I need right now. I thank you that I have the chance to prepare for the worst, because not everyone is given that time. I do not want to take for granted anything that I have been given. I lift up those who are struggling right now, that you would send them the help that they need. That they would know that you are there, patiently waiting to show them unshakable love and peace. In faith I pray. Amen.