I live in an area that is vulnerable to hurricanes in the summer and fall. A major thunderstorm that occurred in May, however, was almost as bad, if not worse, than any hurricane that struck my city. I used to be scared of thunderstorms. In spite of the fact that they weren’t paralyzingly scary anymore, I didn’t get much sleep the night the storm broke out because of the constant thunder and lightning. I curled up with my Rosary and a couple of toys like a little child and prayed myself to sleep.
When life puts us through storms, we often react the way the disciples did in today’s passage: we panic, feeling like this storm is bigger than us. Worse still, we may think that God may not be with us. Fear not, my dearest sisters in Christ, because when we find ourselves in the middle of a storm (literally or metaphorically), God is with us to help us through it and out of it.
I suffered from anxiety in my college years. The anxiety worsened after I graduated. I didn’t have my friends or a job. I had problems sleeping. I felt like I was getting nowhere in a hurry and I couldn’t use a college campus as my safety blanket anymore. I was filled with overwhelming anxiety and despair of my future.
Even though I was praying, I didn’t feel like God was there. I felt so alone. I was already taking medication as needed, but I sought comfort from things that ultimately didn’t work out in the long run. One rainy afternoon, I cried out to God. Not out loud, but just in my heart. I asked Him to help me out of this. The answer came a few days later, when white smoke came out of the Vatican’s chimney. I felt like my life was already getting some stability because there was going to be a new pope.
But Pope Francis’s election was only the beginning of my recovery. It took me months of prayer and spiritual direction for me to fully recover from my anxiety. I went on retreats and started volunteering at my parish outside of being at the food bank during the holiday season. Eventually, I no longer needed to have medication and my anxiety attacks went from happening every day to maybe once or twice a year. And that is a huge step for me. But I couldn’t have done it without letting God into my boat to help me ride out the storm inside of me.
A motto I’ve taken to heart is “Shaken, not stirred.” Yes, like the James Bond martini. But there’s a hidden meaning to it beyond a love for spy films. No matter how life shakes us up, God keeps me from being stirred away from Him. The resilience that I’ve gained is why I feel grateful, even during the storms in my life.
Today’s featured song is “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns. In a video of a live version, the lead singer said “I guess that what is showing me is that sometimes, he calms the storms in our lives, and sometimes, he just rides them with us. But either way, blessed be the name of the Lord.” I pray that God will help you through whatever storms you have to endure, dearest sisters in Christ!
1.What are some hardships in your life that you feel worked out for the better?
2.What storms in your life are you going through now or recently? How do you think gratitude can help you get through it?
3.How do you think God can help you during times of anxiety?