facing the thunder.

My sister was always the brave one.  The one who stood next to the door with my dad during a frightening thunderstorm.  Taking in the majestic power, the unbridled ferocity, and the flashing lights all around.  A look of awe and wonder spread across her face.

Me?  I was either downstairs reading or upstairs in my room with a blanket over my head.  I hated thunder.  I hated rain.  Hated.

And then, I went on a 12 day hike in the Adirondacks in New York as a freshman in college.  The possibility of rain and thunder storms was inevitable.

One of the “requirements” for the trip was that we spend some time in solitude and quiet.  Two nights to be exact.  And if you’ve ever been to the Adirondacks, you know it’s not at all hard to find a quiet spot.  Seclusion is part of the experience.

The first day that I spent in “quiet time”, I actually kind of enjoyed myself.  We’d been hiking for 7 full days and I was tired.  Completely wiped out.  It felt absolutely indulgent to be able to finally rest and think.  And breathe.

And then the second night came.  It began to rain.  Hard.  Which was all fine and dandy, except for the fact that my shelter that I had made wasn’t as sturdy as it looked and it began to sink with the weight of the water.  But then, really, even that was okay.  It was the rolling sounds coming quickly over the hills that brought my hands together into a tight clasp, my eyes squeezing firmly shut.  My heart was pumping so loud, so fast, that I feared it might pop out of my chest.  I once again resorted to pulling my sleeping bag over my head, but unfortunately,  it didn’t seem to have the same effect as when I was small.

I was alone.  I was outdoors.  It was raining and thundering.

This was quite possibly my worst nightmare. 

And then this Bible verse popped in my head:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

I don’t know where it came from, as I’ve never been good at remembering verses or quotes or anything of the sort.  But regardless, I suddenly felt my breathing return to normal.  My hands turned from a fisted clasp to a relaxed grip.  I opened my eyes and I saw the flashes.  Bright, crisp flashes.  Flooding the sky with light.

I didn’t sleep that night.  Instead, I had the most deep, heart to heart talk with God that I have ever had.  I did consider begging Him for my life, but then I thought that this was probably an entirely useless component of time.

So I just talked.  Then I stopped talking.  And then I was completely still and came to the conclusion that I would always have fear in life.  Nobody is fearless; there is always something.  Thunder.  Interviews.  Heights.  Promotions.  New school.

What matters is that we delve into these fears.  That we come to grips with what we want the outcome to be and that we stop worrying over every inch and detail.  I was out in the middle of the Adirondacks.  Incredibly alone (but not really.)  And whether or not I felt fear didn’t change a single thing.

And so, I faced the thunder.  I just let it be.  I let myself be.  And then I witnessed the most beautiful calm the next morning: a sunrise that would blow anyones socks off.  I experienced the most delicious feeling of satisfaction and contentment.

Never facing our fears means never seeing what is possible if we get through them. 

QUESTION: Have you ever faced your fears in a really big way?  What happened?  What fear would you like to conquer?  

I’m still attempting to conquer my fears of public speaking!!


14 comments on “facing the thunder.

  1. Caitlyn says:

    One of my fears was having my house on fire, which happened recently. I honestly feel much better after reading this post. God has a plan for everyone, even if it’s not what we had planned. I just need to put my trust in him! Thanks, Sarah!!

  2. fabulous post, perfectly stated…that’s one of my favorite verses!

  3. Katie says:

    Great post! What a cool experience, too! I also used to be terrified of thunder when I was little – I remember hiding in cabinets to try to stay safe.

  4. Going on a 12 days hike in the Adirondacks sounds amazing. Especially the solitude portion. That’s something that I would definitely love to do.

    • Sarah says:

      It was pretty spectacular! I would highly recommend spending one or two days in complete solitude and quiet to anyone. It’s a wonderful experience. 😀

  5. Sarah, this is an incredible post! What an empowering experience to have.

    I used to avoid the things I feared like the plague, but now I tend to look at them as more of a challenge to be conquered.

  6. Beautiful, beautiful post, Sarah. I love moments like that that seem so surreal and strike such intimacy with God that you can hardly put the experience into words. But thank you for sharing! I’ve had moments like that where I feel God’s peace resting on me after I’ve surrendered something and there’s nothing like it.

    It seems I don’t have many fears these days, which I love. But maybe that’s because my mom is a total worrier and I find the act so unattractive. I just try and live life and let the rest be. God’s in control anyways so there’s not much I can achieve by fearing what’s out of my hands.

    I love that you shared about your faith. It’s ALWAYS encouraging to read other people’s testaments of God’s faithfulness.

  7. tmeach says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by my site…I’m glad you liked the Frankfurt pics! I’ve actually been following you for a while at your rtstd blog, and I’m looking forward to continuing to follow you on your new one here! I really appreciated your post today…Life overseas sounds very glamorous, but it’s sometimes really difficult to be away from home. “Be still and know that I am God” is a verse I have turned to time and time again during those ‘lonely’ moments. Thanks for sharing your experiences and inspiration…

  8. I actually really like thunderstorms!

    Except when I’m running or when a tornado destroys my town 😉

  9. Nicole says:

    Awesome post, Girly!! Love you! 🙂

  10. Sara says:

    Beautiful, beautiful post!

  11. britannie says:

    Your style of writing is seriously amazing!

    Remembering to trust in God to protect you when you’re scared is the most amazing feeling isn’t it? It’s like your heart just melts 🙂

  12. Katrina says:

    I used to say I wasn’t afraid of much.
    But after April 27, I have a new fear. Tornadoes. Living through what came and destroyed my city was a miracle. And when we had storms a few days later, I woke up in a panic and tried to hide under my bed before I was fully awake. I’m 35 years old and I tried to hide under a bed. I’m scared of storms now. And you’re absolutely right. Psalm 91 is what popped in my mind. “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty”

  13. Sagarika says:

    The photographs are great, especially the one with the umbrella.
    And the description of your experiences with ‘Thunder’ are really well-written.

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