We can all relate to stories, because our lives are made of them. Our chapters may look different in the details, but we all share in love, laughter, pain, and death.
I share this story and hope that if you are walking through a difficult time you are reminded there is hope.
The definition of a Perfect Storm:
- a particularly violent storm arising from a rare combination of adverse meteorological factors.
- a particularly bad or critical state of affairs, arising from a number of negative and unpredictable factors.
According to Merriam-Webster the definition is a critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors
I live in a place where thunderstorms roll in and out faster than the time it takes to watch your favorite sitcom. In spring time and summer, heavy winds and tornadoes are commonplace. Every year there are homes and towns that lose life and incur devastation, caused by colliding winds clashing together with a force so powerful it only leaves destruction in its wake. Some people live in climates that would chill the rest of us to the bone, while others choose coastal living and face the dangers of hurricanes and flooding. Regardless of which climate we choose, nature has a way of combining elements that come together at just the right time to form forces that can leave immeasurable damage.
Equally as devastating are the tidal waves and dark clouds of difficulties that often blow in and catch us by surprise. Life sometimes has a way of dealing us a bad hand when we are already down, or striking us at a time when we are already drowning. All at once, life can issue a series of problems that come together at the same time, and cause us to feel the burden is too heavy to carry…..as if we are in the perfect storm.
My family was caught in a force just like this……..
In February 2014, our two year old daughter, Adalee, suffered an ischemic stroke on the left side of her brain while we were on a family ski trip in Park City, Utah. Out of the blue, with no pre-existing conditions, we found ourselves a thousand miles away from home in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with our baby girl. Adalee lost her ability to use the entire right side of her little body. Adalee’s face was paralyzed on one side, and she lost her ability to speak, walk, and move her right arm, hand, and fingers. For three days the team of pediatric doctors performed a series of tests to find out why Adalee had suffered a stroke. After reviewing her veins, blood, and heart the doctors could not find the reason of her “acute situation”, but ruled that her stroke was caused by “The Perfect Storm”. In order for this to occur there were a handful of factors that had to come together in just the right way, and at just the right time, to result in this life threatening situation. We were told that not finding the origin is good, and so much better than having a disease or problem with a major organ. We learned to take this as good news, yet Adalee’s little body was still left debilitated. The wake of destruction had left its damage.
The first few hours in the emergency room of the children’s hospital were a whirlwind. As the team of nurses and doctors whisked my child away to get an MRI, I stood facing a dark, empty corridor in the ER. My heart felt like a heavy bowling ball pressing down on my chest, and my stomach was a ball of knots being quartered and pulled in four different directions. For the first time, I was able to stop and think about what was taking place.
In a raging instant our family had been turned upside down. All we knew was that our daughter’s life, our lives, might never be the same. Her abilities, her personality, and her words were deteriorating before our eyes. The rug of normalcy had been pulled out from under us, and life as we knew it was now completely different. As I closed my eyes to take a breath, I felt the Lord speak to me. The voice was not audible, but I heard it just the same.
“I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”
“I am here, I am God, and I. AM. CONSTANT”.
Time stood still, and I will forever remember what I felt sweep over me. I felt God’s peace fall on my head and shoulders like a soft blanket. It was as if He draped a cloak over my shoulders and I could feel the peace adorn my neck. The overwhelming sense of peace rested upon the anxiety in my stomach, and it calmed me. It did not make the ache in my stomach go away, but it did compose my emotions. In that instant, as the Lord spoke, He assured me that He was there.
Even though it was just a second, I felt like time froze. The Lord breathed through me several lessons with great depth and meaning that I would not only use to deal with this crisis, but that I would carry with me forever.
In one moment, my faith gave me peace, eternal perspective, and strength.
God’s sovereignty overpowers any circumstance, and I saw through a new lens how this life on earth is so very short. My heart began to rest on the hope that one day if Adalee did not fully recover physically, she would be whole again in eternity. Our material possessions and physical abilities here on earth cannot be measured against an eternity with God. I found peace in that moment. Peace that would get me through this perfect storm. Peace that would help me accept whatever her life would be from that moment on.
I began to understand my faith was holding me up. As the days progressed, this strength helped me to be able to handle the situation, process the loads of information we sifted through each time we spoke with the doctors, keep a clear mind in order to make the best decisions for Adalee, and to be emotionally strong for her. I felt a resolve that I would be able to do whatever it took to help Adalee move forward. If that meant taking care of her for the rest of my life, then I would do everything in my power to fulfill that purpose.
We are never guaranteed that we will never experience tragedy or loss. However, we can rest assured that when we experience pain and difficulties there is a way we can find strength. If the wake of destruction has already left immeasurable damage in your life take heart. We can all know that when the perfect storm seems to swallow us there is peace and hope.