I recently returned from the privilege of joining with several other women in taking 27 girls between the ages of 12 and 18 to camp.
In the woods.
For five days.
And it was fantastic!
It was such an honor to be surrounded by these amazing young girls and awesome leaders! And I feel like I had one suspicion confirmed for me: girls smell better than boys. Even after five days of camping.
There was an afternoon that was set aside for us to take the girls to a lake and do some canoeing. Just after lunch as we were talking about it, the sky quickly started clouding up. As I looked, I couldn't help but think about the coming storm and what that would do to our chance of canoeing. But, undaunted we set out. On the way, it started raining. I'm not talking a light sprinkle, or even a steady drip. I'm talking pouring!
Then it went from pouring to hailing! Yes, hailing!!!!
But we continued to the lake. Hoping that maybe the storm had already passed the lake. No such luck!
When we got there, the storm was coming. We said a prayer that if possible, the storm would pass us, but if not that all would be well.
So we waited out the storm.
We did it dancing.
We turned on the music in one of the trucks and danced in the parking lot. We got rained on just a bit.
Sure enough, about a half hour later the storm had worked its work and the clouds were skeedaddling away, we got the girls on the water and had a great time. We even saw a bald eagle!
Here's what I took away from this experience.
The storms will come.
Sometimes, when we pray, the Lord will remove the storm and get it clearly out of our midst.
But often, He allows the storm and gives us a chance to wait it out.
But why? Why doesn't He just make it go away already? What about our plans?
Well, the storm has its purpose too. Maybe that bit of ground needs rain. Maybe that rain will put out a small fire. Maybe that lightning will start a needed fire. Maybe that storm will make us wait and learn patience. Maybe that storm will give us the chance to dance.
I don't know why some storms come to us.
I know in one of the big storms in my life I have been saying for a long time, "go away, I'm tired" but it hasn't gone away. I know I'm far more patient than I was years ago. I know I have far more endurance that I did before battling many storms. But I also know, I'm not there yet. I'm not at the end. He still has more for me to learn and experience.
And maybe, this time, or for just one day I will be wise enough to accept the storm, turn up the music and dance through it, knowing He has a purpose in it.
That may sound very easy and even idealistic. Right now, in the midst of the storm, it is even hard to write. But the reality is I need a break from looking at, wondering what will come of it, and trying to anticipate what will come next. I need to let go and just dance.
If so, turn up the tunes, dance your little heart out and let the rain fall. It will fall no matter what, so we may as well turn our faces to it, let it wash us, and pull out that smile that may need dusting off from the storms we are in the midst of.
If you are on the other side of the storm, thank the Lord for helping you make it through and maybe you could turn on some music for someone who is in one. If you are headed into one, pull out your raingear: the scriptures, prayers, words of those who inspire you to find the Lord. And load up on music that uplifts and inspires you, and put your dancing shoes on. For those somewhere in the middle, don't give up!! Keep praying and fasting and holding to the promises of God.
And in the words of Lee Ann Womack, "I hope you dance!"