I woke up early this morning and was unable to go back to sleep because of all the thoughts rolling around in my head. Today, I go in for “Hand Surgery #10”. It has been 15 months since this ordeal began. For an entire year, I was drugged daily and in pain constantly. I don’t remember many details, especially during the first 6 months while I was undergoing 8 0f the 10 surgeries. When I think back to that time, it all seems like a foggy dream…or maybe, a nightmare! I was finally able to quit taking all of my pain medications in May and that has made the past three months wonderful! Before I go back into my drugged fog, I wanted to express some of the thoughts that have come to me during the past few days.
I love to sit by a window on stormy days and watch as the skies transform themselves. It is exciting to see the wind kick up and the lightening streak across the sky against a backdrop of dark, billowing clouds. I love to watch the raindrops fall from the sky, bringing moisture to the earth. Perhaps, because I have lived in the desert my whole life, rain storms seem like an invitation to go outside and play. Dancing in the rain and playing in water that has just fallen from the heavens feels like an adventure. My kids and I have been known to do just that on many occasions. Thunder…that isn’t nearly as exciting for me. I was terrified of it as a child. It seemed to shake the ground around me and it often sent me running to my room to hide under my bed covers. As an adult, I have come to tolerate it and have even learned to appreciate the awe inspiring part that it plays. But my favorite part of a storm cycle comes when the raindrops have quit falling and the wind has blown itself out. It comes as the clouds begin to break up and the darkness dissipates. At that point, a beautiful phenomenon occurs. The sun, which was there all along, hiding behind the storm clouds, just waiting for them to do their thing, cannot hold back any longer. The first rays of light seem to push their way through the thin edges of the cloud and the “angelic halo” effect that is created makes them seem as if they are glowing. In photography this is called “backlighting”, but you may be more familiar with the term “silver lining”. No matter how bad the storm, you can always count on the “silver lining” at the end. It’s kind of like the Grand Finale.
There have been several storms in my life lately. In the beginning, they seemed like an adventure, a challenge to face head on. It almost felt like I was outside, enjoying the change of weather and dancing in the rain. But as the darkness intensified, as the foundation I was standing on began to shake beneath me, I found that I was no longer enjoying the changes and challenges that the storms were bringing. There were many days when I shook my fist at the heavens and demanded to know why the rain just kept coming…why the sun couldn’t shine through for just a little while. As I look back over the past few years, I can see that the Son was always there, just waiting for the storm to have its way so that He could come out and show me the “silver linings”. Those linings have come in many different forms. They have come as new friendships developed and old ones were strengthened. They have come through opportunities to increase my knowledge and education. They have come in the ability to be home with my youngest children during their last months as teenagers. And they have come with the strengthening of testimony as I’ve learned to rely on the Lord in a whole new way.
While the storms have been difficult to weather, they have not been in vain. All of the upheaval–the rolling thunder, the blowing dust, the broken branches, and the downed power lines–has been worth it because of the lessons I’ve learned. I have come to understand that it is through life’s greatest trials that we receive the greatest blessings God has to give. Although the “silver linings” are difficult to see until the storms have passed, we would be wise to remember that they will come…and then, we will wonder what all the fuss was about.
Today, I am entering into a new phase of my stormy life. As I head back into surgery, I will lose much of the coherency and freedom I have enjoyed in the past few months. While I know that it will be difficult to enter that foggy state again, I also know that the Son will be there in the background, watching, waiting, and providing the warmth I need to sustain me through every hour. I know He lives. I know He loves me…and that he loves every single one of you. Whatever your storm may be, there is a silver lining waiting for you at the end of the storm cycle. Just hold on…