Braving thunderstorm of grief


Isn’t grief like a thunderstorm? There are those times the thunder rumbles until you stop your ears, and you are sure it’ll send everything else crashing in a split second. You have no vision of life with clear blue skies and what was once a haven of rest and dreams is only blackness with dark tornado clouds as far as you can see. When lightning strikes, there are only more dark rolling clouds that give you glimpses of the sky beyond.

You’d think pulling the shades would lessen the roar of the clapping thunder. Just like grief, there is no escape; there is no way around it. Finally, in one last attempt, you tell yourself it isn’t so bad a storm after all. How soothing… until there is another giant crash sending you from your perch on the couch. At last, landing in a helpless heap, you cry out to God, who allowed it to storm in the first place.

We question why a good God would ever allow a thing as such in the first place.

Then I tell him this is way beyond what I can bear; my physical body can’t take it anymore. I know fighting it will never work. Never. At last, I search for his eyes, and I see love, I see tenderness as calm as the storm is wild. I hold my breath. Surely not? There is no mistaking it. The peace in his demeanor is unmistakably as accurate as the torrents of rain streaming down the window pains.

I quiver. I see how I questioned God’s integrity in allowing the storm in the first place. Now his tender compassion compels me. In my mind, I run to him. I know that nothing will harm me if I stay with him. I then realize the only way through the storm is to accept his plan in allowing it. Now resting in his strong arms, I whisper, “I trust you, Lord, do with this storm what you see best.” Another bolt of lightning strikes. Awed, I watch it; this time, I now see the power of the one who made it and is now keeping me safe. I wonder what I’d do without him. Everything looks different when in his arms.

Soon another clap of thunder rattles the window pains. I shutter, then looking at my savior, I realize that since life had become a bit easier, I unknowingly took my eyes from the one who guides the storm. “Jesus,” I whisper, clasping his hand tighter. I thank him for never leaving me.

The following day, as I stroll outdoors, I’m awed at the fresh beauty I see all around. Lush green grass is growing, flowers that had been dried are watered and even the birds are singing with extra gusto. “Do they, too, appreciate sun more after a storm like that?” I wonder.

I muse over the beauty brought forth from the devastating storm. Still, I wouldn’t say I like storms, and neither would I choose not to have the absolute security I found resting in the arms of the one who allowed it.

Now, as you, my friend, face the storm ahead of you, there’s no need to fear. If we give our complete yes to God, we are beyond safe. Still, our physical bodies ache for the actuality of the physical presence of the one we miss so deeply, or even of Jesus himself. He understands. Yet, as we seek, God does reveal himself to us in ways we never knew would be possible.

My challenge is often to step from the bustle of life long enough to allow him to do so. This past weekend we took time off as a family to go camping for a few nights. There is something about just taking the time to drink in the wonder of nature and not having any work to do other than making sure everyone has food and is cared for. The children loved every bit of it besides the reality of having to go home after all their fun fishing, kayaking and splashing in the creek.

Cooking over an open fire is relaxing to me and now, with not having two or three babies tugging at my skirts anymore, I can help with more of it. This time Julia helped me make biscuits in a large cast iron pan over the fire. Instead of making individual biscuits, we patted the dough in a pan, covered it with tin foil, and cooked it slowly. We ladled sausage gravy on top and ate it with strips of bacon fried on a rack over the fire. My brother Micah introduced the idea of spritzing (a spritz bottle works best) Worcestershire sauce on top as it browns, complimenting the smoked flavor.

Whether you find a few quiet moments in your backyard, or make them in your kitchen, you’ll find these too easy and delicious all the same.

Emergency Biscuits

Yield: One dozen

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

6 tablespoons lard or shortening

1 cup milk

Mix first 4 ingredients. Add milk, fold in. Drop on cookie sheet, or if you are tight on time, just press into a 9 by 9 inch cake pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until done. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy them with a dash of garlic powder or herbs such as basil, parsley, or oregano.

By Gloria Yoder

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427

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