Wakening Storms Strengthen Us

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Contributed by Columnist Sarah Hudson Pierce

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Recently I find myself praying the alcoholics prayer which really calms my soul when I find myself in deep despair — sometimes hardly know which end is up —  when I find myself in despair as I hear all of the news

Because hardly a day passes without a national disaster or storm, I am led to  share my personal belief — that we often have to hit rock bottom before we begin to grow — and that God uses storms to strengthen us.

I have been there. I should know.

Pain can be the tool to till our heart, to allow us to become who God wants us to be although we most likely will never reach that goal..

Having lost my father at an early age, having known poverty, going to bed hungry every night, I learned early on what it’s like to live on the edge of my existence. Being overwhelmed with sadness I cried myself to sleep at the orphanage, feeling so alone.

Had it not been for becoming a Christian before going into the sterile existence of this childcare institution I am not sure that I would be here to share my story today.

But enough said about that for a moment.

Back in 1989 I met psychiatrist, Dr. Nathan Bender, when I spoke to the Downtown Shreveport Rotary Club. The theme of my talk that day was my ongoing belief that it takes experiencing deep pain before we start to grow. After my speech Dr. Bender approached me, telling me that a number of his patients had confirmed my belief, that it takes deep pain to cause us to reach within to begin our growth process.

Whether some people escape devastating pain I do not know. Perhaps it is because most of us don’t feel   sharing  our hurts with  others, afraid of being hurt and gossiped about in the process of trying to be more human and open in our communication.

Fortunately today we are less afraid of sharing our traumas.

Of course I know that we never get past the point of being guarded because it is only human to want to protect ourselves. After all we feel that we must first learn to find out if another is trustworthy before we unveil our pain.

I became more open one step at a time as I tested the waters, seeing just how much truth others could be trusted with. I’ve been helped more often than I’ve been hurt.  

It takes being a friend to have a friend.

Just knowing I have a few friends who would go the distance to help me in my emotional and physical needs has given me the strength to survive the wounds of my life.

We need each other. People are placed in our paths for a reason.

I must mention that  a retired psychiatrist, Anne Redelfs, author of The Awakening Storm  inspired the title of my story today. Having met her at the Marshall Christian Writer’s Conference in 2014 I was impressed with her story of surviving Katrina.

Anyway had it not been for the storms in my life I might be dull and boring even to myself but  I am never bored — not even when I am alone.

Knowing God is in control gives me the serenity to appreciate the life I’ve been blessed to experience and I want to share my stories giving others the courage to share theirs one step at a time.

I am most grateful that God has always placed those people in my path when I need them the most to get me through the storms in my life.

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