How to see Hope in Your Storm

Recently, my sister-in-law shared a post on social media of a beautiful picture of sunrays shining. She spoke about how moving from "The Sunshine State" to Michigan has made her appreciate the sun even more. It made so much sense to me, because when something is scarce, I seem to miss it. Which leads to noticing it in all its glory when it visits. 

Not the State of Sunshine

I've shared here before that I struggle with waves of depression and anxiety. That's been the case lately, and it leaves me feeling like there's a dark cloud overhead. Imagine how you feel on a rainy day...unmotivated, melancholy, and heavy. On any given day, the "bad weather" rolls in and the forecast looks dim. It's been a journey to recapture the joy since those moments are few and far between in my own mind. I have to be intentional to seek out happiness and not just concede to being this grumpy and sad woman I've become through life's bad weather.

As soon as I began to see the rays peeking through the clouds, my family experienced tragedy. I've lost a piece of my heart alongside the ones I love. Watching despair and pain engulf those closest to me, that I care so deeply about, has only seemed like more dark, angry clouds coming overhead. It reminds me of a summer afternoon in Florida when the sky is about to open up, and it looks almost angry and determined. For those moments of darkness, the world seems to move slower and the sun seems so unattainable.

Rays of Hope

In the midst of this heartache, I was asked (during a devotional with some dear friends) to describe who God is in a word or two. I know the clich├ęs and they were swirling through my head: good good father, faithful, the rock for which I stand, loving, all knowing, powerful, sovereign, hope, etc. However, I'm a bonafide truth-teller, and after everyone around the table easily chirped up with an adjective, and it became my turn...I couldn't speak. None of those terms seemed true to me. All of those words seemed like a God of rays of sunshine, and I could only see clouds. There's a difference between knowing the sun is always there, no matter what the forecast, and feeling the warmth and comfort of it on your golden skin. 

As our time together went on, my mind was becoming "aware" of current situations and moments in my life. I suddenly remembered that I had a relationship that was so broken beforehand, but He restored it through this time of pain, to a beautiful thing. REDEEMER. I remembered a person I care so deeply about really questioning the power of God at work in their life and ready to commit to His love. SAVIOR. I remembered the perfect timing of a good book, or an old friend, or a group of women joining to shower my family with love. HOPE. There it was, my GOD. My sunshine. 

Forecast of My Soul

Like the 4 o'clock hour on a June afternoon, the clouds began to part. The rays of sunshine I had missed began to shoot through with intention. My awareness warmed my heart like a day in the sun does. It energized my soul like a solar powered light.

 
 

The truth is, the sunshine is always there. And also the truth is, so are the clouds. But the difference in the forecast of my soul, was which one I noticed.

This is Candace. She hates long walks on the beach and would prefer a short drive to get a doughnut. Her creative spirit leaves her husband constantly guessing which room she'll decorate next and her kids requesting elaborate birthday parties. She'll tell you the truth, even if you don't want to hear it. But don't worry, she'll make you laugh to soften the blow. Her heart longs to share the realness of her life and provide someone else a "me too" in a moment of isolation. Words are her thing; she writes to heal. God grasped a hold of Candace as a teenage mama, and she's been desperate for His love and sensitive to His voice everyday since.