This year my hubs and I were fortunate to spend it with his family, which was the first time in a very long time that most of us were able to get together. We chose to spend it in Galveston, on the beach, which was a great reminder of our beautiful Bright Waters we used to have on Dauphin Island. There was much laughter, lots of smiles, and seeing the family adore one another was a total blessing. I am grateful we had the opportunity to share it and create these memories!
While all of the festivities were taking place in Galveston, my son, immediate family, and friends were living a nightmare back in Mobile, thanks to an F2 tornado that decided to place its nasty head under the tree as an unwelcome visitor. As the news on FB and weather channels began to unfold, I quickly had to think through navigating my emotions between joy and total fear. One minute would pass and I could see the path of the tornado missing these friends but headed toward those friends, and all the while praying that my son and family would be safe as well. It was harrowing and a Christmas I will never forget, but thankfully NO ONE lost their life on Christmas Day in Mobile, and that was a complete miracle. Yes, homes were destroyed, churches too, but we have our friends with us, our communities will help rebuild, and that is a truth which will heal all those emotions I trust.
We woke this morning to realize that our time together was way too short and the twinge of 'love and miss you' would sting just a little all the way home. We also knew that our trip would be filled with a bit of traffic but once again, emotions were unsettled as we approached Baton Rouge. Our car was following a chemical truck which just so happened to have a leak that we didn't see until our car was sprayed. At first, we thought it was water, so my hubs turned the wipers on, going 75, only to instantly feel the dread when the 'water' smeared and blocked the visibility of the entire windshield. By the grace of God he was able to slow and get us off the road before we were hit or hit others, and then we went into survival mode of what type of 'liquid' were we trying to get off the car.
Yes, we were able to return the windshield to the bug smeared original state it was in, with a minimal oily film, but mile after mile and as the quiet reality set in, it became apparent how lucky we were in those moments of driving with blinders on. For the past few months I have been working with my therapist on 'seeing God' in the little things and one of my challenges has been to actively seek out and look to 'where God is' during times of stress or joy. Thankfully, I found him much more than I had hoped to this week:
I found HIM in the sparkle in my hubs eyes when he saw his kids,
I found HIM in the laughter we all shared discussing Waterloo Teeth and Bob Parker,
I found HIM in the sunset and sunrise on the ocean, in the drift of the sand that spoke beauty to my spirit,
I found HIM in the colors of the sea and the ocean, that spoke to my soul in quiet comfort,
I found HIM within our family, the love we shared, the memories we made.
But I also found HIM in the protection of my loved ones at home.
I found HIS gentle hand over the lives of so many that were spared.
I found HIS hand on the tree that fell and spared our home.
I found HIS hand on the tree that fell which protected the life of my dear friend Ellen.
I found HIS hand on the split second thinking by so many that saved lives of their neighbors.
I found HIS hand on my husband who calmly responded rather than reacted on the road today.
I found HIS hand on my heart, showing me just how protected and outrageously loved I am, my friends are, and my family is.
Many of my friends struggle with the concept of God and I totally understand that. But for me, in this moment, I am BEYOND GRATEFUL that I choose to embrace and believe in a God that despite the horrible things that life will throw at me, HE will reveal where he is and show me HIS hand in that reality. Maybe, just maybe this is the gift of Christmas HE was trying to get me to accept and for today, I am good with that. I also believe that it is HIS way in showing me how creative HE is, which of course I can so relate to.
Tomorrow I get to spend the day celebrating Christmas with my family. I can't wait to see where HE shows up there either, :)
I am so looking forward to this New Year, for celebrating LIFE and LIVING and LOVING one another, especially YOU!