It's taken me almost two weeks to post on this subject, but I feel I must share something. It's probably just for me and no one else may ever read it or get anything out of it. Sometimes we have storms blow into our lives suddenly, without warning...such a storm has blown into the lives of those who were raised in or have become a part of the Grand Prairie church. A little over a week ago, on January 31,2009, I was awakened to the sounds of my husband crying into the phone, "Oh God. No! NO. Jesus, help us!"
When you hear this at 5am, you know something is wrong and that a storm has just arrived on your front porch. The storm that had arrived was the news that our former pastor's son, Kristen Martinez, had been killed in a car accident early that morning. Those of us who were raised with Kristen just immediately felt the pain and loss. I could not even form words as my husband held me and told me what had happened. There was nothing to say, only tears and weeping. I felt like the winds of this storm had knocked the breath right out of me. Times like this, you just can't help but ask 'Why God?'...it's just not right for someone so young and in the prime of their life, to so suddenly be taken. It's been a difficult past couple of weeks but in the midst of this tragic storm, I have found God to be an anchor in my life.
The most amazing thing happened the Saturday night that we received the news of Kristen's death. At 7 pm our choir had a regularly scheduled pratice. Many were concerned about having pratice with all that had happened and felt torn. Pastor and Sis. Duvall are just awesome leaders and lead by God in all their ways, so I knew that by them deciding to go ahead and have pratice this night, there was something in store. At the pratice, you just could feel the heaviness on everyone's heart and mind, and it seemed so magnified because we were all together in one place. We praticed our new songs, and as we began to sing the last song, the presence of God moved into the sanctuary. It was truly like a wave of his spirit that was touching and comforting each one of us present. I could only weep and cry and let God and His spirit wash over me and take away some of the feelings raging inside of me. I felt such a deep move of his spirit that it is just almost unexplainable. An hour and a half later, we all left feeling much better than when we had walked in. No, the pain and the sadness was not magically gone, but there was just a feeling of peace that you felt like you had been given strength to keep going.
Here's what I learned that night and the nights since all this has happened. The sounds coming from a storm in your life and all the fury of a storm can wear on you after awhile. A storm can leave you weakened and damaged, tired and worn out. It can leave you with more questions than answers. But when we turn to God in the midst of the storm, we can find a solace there. I've found that there truly is a peace in Him in the midst of a storm.
Sometimes the Lord calms the storms that rage in our lives. Sometimes He stops the winds and the rains and says, Peace be still. Sometimes he calms the storm so that it's waves are still. (Psalm 107:29) I love when God moves into the situation and calms the storm and makes things right or new again. That's the way we all want our storms to end...with God healing, or moving and making things right for us again.
That's not how this storm ended. We had to bury a best friend, a brother, a son, a young man who was something special to each individual he came into contact with. We had to deal with a great loss. We've had to trust God in His ways and trust Him to help with our grief. God chose not to remove this storm from our lives...but what He had done is hold us close during the storm. He's spoken to us and shown His presence to be very close and very real during the storm. He's proven to me once again, that He's still God...whether we are on the mountain, or whether we are in the valley. Sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes He calms His child.
I'm grateful that in the midst of this storm that has hit so close to home for me, I've found God to be an anchor that holds in the midst of the storm. I'm learning to ask 'How God' instead of 'Why God'...The one thing I know for sure is the anchor still holds...
(Kristen in one of the photos I took for his college graduation announcements)