I don't know if I ever shared this story. It was always my intent to, so in case that I haven't, here it is:
In August of 2009 I loaded my children up and left my husband. He was very abusive. I had enough and after trying everything I knew to try; the last thing was to leave him and let him see he needed to change.
I hid at a friends house for a couple days. They were days filled with fear.
I had been advised to call our church's crisis counseling center for some help and guidance. He was so easy to talk to and helped me through some of the hardest days of my life.
There was one conversation in particular that sticks out in my mind. I told him that if this was truly what God wanted me to do, why didn't I feel peace? Why didn't I feel a calmness? Why was I so terrified?
He responded with "During the storm when Jesus was sleeping on the boat, His disciples were filled with fear. They were in the middle of a storm and it felt like Jesus wasn't responding. But that storm ended up strengthening them and made their faith stronger. One day, and I don't know when, Jesus will stand up and say "Peace, be still" and it will.
During the next year or so, I opened to that passage in the Bible countless times. It is written in Matthew and Mark. In Matthew's account it says that Jesus stood and said "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" It was that account that I opened up to every time I was scared or when I was at the point of thinking I was going to crumble. I almost found it humorous that I could just flip open the Bible and always flip to that spot when I was at a breaking point.
I never opened to Mark's writings of this story. I started to notice this. Mark is where it says 'Peace, be still' and unless I purposely went there. It never just opened to that place like it did in Matthew. (This wasn't because of creased pages, or a softening of the binding. It happened in a multitude of Bibles) I told God that when it was the right time, He needed to show me that place.
That was in August of 2009.
I told a few people, not many, of the story. Mostly just my closest friends.
In December of 2012, reality was starting to hit. I was at a fairly low point in life and just struggling to see through some dark times.
A friend stopped over one evening with a Christmas gift. That evening I was particularly struggling with how I was going to make it. I think I was worried about things in the future. Things I shouldn't have been worrying about but was.
I opened the gift and in it was a little wood block with the verse "And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and He said unto the sea, Peace, be still."
This was the verse that I had been wanting to read, but always seemed hidden from me.
Trust me, I cried. And it takes a lot to make me cry.
But inside, I knew that I still needed to wait until the time when I opened to it in God's word.
A short time later, I was sitting in church with my niece. We like to play hangman (I call it smiley man...we build a smiley face instead of playing hangman...I just can't bring myself to play it that way).
I try and do short Bible verses and was at a mental block. I flipped open the Bible and there it was. Mark 4:39.
Peace, be still.
I almost fell of the bench.
I'll be honest. I thought that because I opened up to that verse that I thought my struggle was over. I thought that meant my storm was passed and that I would have a time of smooth sailing.
I've never been more wrong in my life.
This morning I opened to Matthew 8: 23-27. The place where I have opened up to so many times over the past 4.5 years. It brought back the memory of the story and I decided to flip to Mark. I always note in my Bible dates and why something was profound to me. The date written was 12/12.
I had to laugh.
I thought in December of 2012 that my storm was over????
Little did I know what was right around the corner in 2013.
But God knew what was up ahead. He knew that my storm would be a bigger storm. A more violent storm. But a different storm.
The disciples went through a natural storm in that boat with Jesus. But their faith was strengthened for the bigger life storm up ahead.
In December 2012, God wasn't telling me that storms was over. He was telling me that particular storm of fear of Randy was over. It was in the next few weeks all of the court stuff would be over and the kids' names would be legally changed. I would be getting out of the boat and would start walking towards something better.
Sometimes I go back to that storm. I walk back to the boat and get in and row back to the middle of the sea. I remember the storm. And that's okay. To remember how far we came.
But sometimes I will try and recreate the storm. I try and stir up the clouds, wind and waves. I'll imagine again the lightening and thunder and the fear comes back. I need to stop that. I don't need to revisit that. I don't need to remember Randy's abusive words. I remember the lies people believed about me, the things they used against me. I don't need to remember and then feel worthless again. I need to remember that I've beaten that storm. I made it to shore and walked away. I'm not in that storm anymore.
I wish I could remember the name of the man who counseled me. I wish he knew how much he helped. I wish he could know how far my children and I have come. I wish I could tell him that I've beaten that storm.