Facing the Storms of Life
The Story Behind the Poem
I wrote the following poem probably about thirty five years ago. When I read it I don't see a brilliant piece of poetry. I rarely wrote in those days except to journal. But it was one of those moments where I just knew it was not my hand that wrote it. Physically, yes, but I was just a conduit through which the Lord wanted to speak, to bring comfort, healing and hope to hurting people. It has a marvelous history. I've never published it. I'm not sure why, but today is the day. Here's the story behind the poem.
I was a young woman, mother, and Christian the day I wrote this poem. I had some dear friends across the street. We went to church together, our children played together, we had barbecues, went on picnics, track meets, birthday parties. We were pretty much joined at the hip. One day the woman came to me in tears. She and her husband had hit a rough patch in their marriage and she had turned to another for one night. The shame she felt, the godly sorrow for her trespass was overpowering her.
I don't know why or how, but I'd had a feeling something like this might have happened so when she told me I was surprised, yet I wasn't. I was thinking perhaps it was he who had strayed. I didn't even know for sure there was anything serious going on in their marriage. It was just a gut feeling.
"Lori?" she said in sobs, "Do you think the Lord can ever forgive me?"
She was so broken and contrite. Just like David after he committed adultery with Bathsheba. You can read his outpouring of sorrow and repentance in Psalm 51.
I told her "God can see the depths of your sorrow and He forgives you. Go home and love your husband and start over again."
That night the heaviness of it kept me up. My heart was travailing for their marriage. I was praying and the story of the Apostle Peter walking on water to the Lord came to me. The disciples had been with Jesus all day in a heavy time of ministry. He dismissed the people and told the disciples to go across the lake on ahead of Him and he'd catch up with them later. He wanted to go up on the mountain for a time of prayer. So off the twelve went.
A great wind came up and the waves began to batter their vessel and they had trouble rowing. Just before dawn, Jesus went out on the water and walked the long distance to the boat. When the disciples saw him they didn't recognize them.
"It's a g-g-ghost." They were freaking out. Jesus told them, "Have courage, don't be afraid."
Peter got so excited (as Peter always did) and said: "Lord if it is You, tell me to come to You on the water." Peter was not looking for his wetsuit, fins, and goggles, nor a life vest. He was saying, "If it's You, I want to come to You walking on the water."
Jesus said, "Come."
Peter put his foot out of the boat by faith and began walking to Jesus on top of the water. But then he looked around at the wind and the waves and took his eyes of the Master. He became afraid and sank. He cried out to Jesus for help. Jesus saved him. They got into the boat, and Jesus said, "Ye of little faith, why did you doubt." When the got into the boat the wind ceased. Then the disciples worshiped him and said, "Truly You are the Son of God."
So this is the story the Lord laid on my heart that moment in the middle of the night. As I wrote, the Lord, I believe, was wanting to tell my friends, to trust Him through this storm. Not to be afraid. "Call to Me and I will save you."
I gave them the poem and it ministered to them greatly. I did not save their marriage, nor did the poem. The work was already beginning, but they needed encouragement not to fear. Her husband forgave her with open arms and they patched things up. They had more storms as people do, and sad to say years later they moved away, then we moved away and I've not seen them in about thirty years. I hope they made it.
I will share the poem with you, and then the story will continue.
Trust Me Through the Storm
All may seem lost as the storm rages on,
I hear your voice calling, "Please help I can't go on."
You've been looking all around you at the havoc that you see,
It seems you're sinking deeper yet you won't look up at Me.
I'm right here, My child. Turn your gaze upon the Son.
I have the power and the love, yes with Me it can be done.
Because I can see blue skies just beyond the storm
I can see the meadow just beyond the wood
I can see the good even through the bad
So please won't you trust Me, trust me through the storm.
Just like Peter, you started out with might.
Your eyes were upon me as you walked in the light.
But then the troubles started, there came doubts and then came fear.
In your struggle to survive you forgot that I am near.
Things may seem dim right now, but just you wait and see.
You must trust, you must believe all things are possible with Me.
Because I can see blue skies, just beyond the storm.
I can see the meadow, just beyond the wood.
I can see the good, even through the bad.
So please won't you trust Me, trust Me through the storm.
After every storm, there's a sky of blue.
If you'll just hold on to Me, I'll bring it into view.
You've been wondering where I've been,
"Do you still remember me?"
Child, I've been here all along just waiting to set you free.
I love you, child of Mine, more than you'll ever know.
And I promise I'll never leave you and I'll never let you go.
Because I can see blue skies, just beyond the storm.
I can see the meadow, just beyond the wood.
I can see the victory, beyond your circumstance,
so please, please trust me, trust me through the storm.
A Surprise the Day Mom Died
As the years passed by the poem was kept in my journal (my friends had their own copy). I never shared it with anyone, but I turned to it in my own storms. Then one year a vicious and terrifying storm struck my mother. I won't share the storm with you because it's a personal family issue, but as my mother was always the solid rock for me and my sisters, now the roles were reversed. She called me sobbing and broken, fear and guilt were ravaging her. That night, unable to sleep, I was travailing for her in prayer. I went to write in my journal and ran across the poem. I wrote another copy and sent it to her and with some words of encouragement. I'm sure she must have acknowledged it, but I don't remember. The storm passed and I forgot all about the incident.
Fast forward at least a decade, and mom fell ill. She was only sixty-six. She had just been diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer (she did not tell us it was terminal and we did not learn of it until the doctor told us at the end). She had her first radiation treatment and that night woke up unable to breathe. She was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was on a vent for several days and she rallied a bit and they took her off. A day or two later the infection went into sepsis. I got a call to drop everything and fly down to California ASAP to say goodbye.
All the way to the airport, through the flight, and waiting at my sister Chris' house for our other sister to arrive so we could drive out to the desert and say goodbye, I was worried and anxious, "Did I ever tell Mom the way to salvation? Did I ever tell her about Christ, other than to mention Him in passing? She knew I had a deep faith in Christ because I did tell her when I first made the commitment, but I mostly talked about church, and occasionally some things about God. But I couldn't ever remember throwing her the life ring of the way to salvation, to tell her who Jesus was and why He came. It was eating at me all the way on the two-hour drive to the hospital in the desert.
We got there and she was waiting on life support. My step-dad had to sign the paper to give permission to take her off life support and let nature take its course. I can remember being panicked. I wasn't ready. Maybe there was still hope. But it was not my call. He was set to do it and it was the right decision, but I was struggling with letting her go, and wondering if she knew the way to Christ.
We all spent some time alone with her before they took her off the vent. I spent ten minutes maybe, singing Jesus Loves Me, and telling her God loved her. Then the doctor came in and took out the vent tube, and turned off the machines. We all stood around her bed waiting for her last breath. But she kept breathing, though very labored. My step-dad couldn't watch anymore and he and his sons left. My sister Chris and I were left with the nurse and begged her to give mom as much morphine as was legally allowed because Mom and been shifting and kicking slightly the whole time. The nurse said she was in pain. We were not leaving until she was comfortable. The nurse did so. She was still breathing. We left because Mom said she never wanted us to see her go. I was going to break that request and stay with her but the family got all upset. So we left her. She died at five a.m.
My step-dad called us at seven and told us to come right over and start going through her things and taking whatever we wanted. I was angry he would do this so soon, but I now realize everyone grieves in their own way and he just couldn't bear to have so many reminders of her.
While my sisters were in the bedroom, I stood in the living room by myself grieving in my own way. My step-dad came out of the bedroom and handed me a very old worn black King James Bible that belonged to my grandmother. Mom got it when she died and had requested it be given to me when she passed. I took the Bible to the motel that night and began to page through it and out fell my letter and the poem. I read the letter and marveled at what it said. I barely remembered writing it, but glad it was in there because it allayed my fears about whether I had told her about Christ. It wasn't a perfect presentation, but I believe the meaning was clear enough.
The first part of the letter was an explanation of how the poem had come to be written. I told the story from Matthew 14 to put the poem into context, and that it helped me when I felt overwhelmed in the storms of life. I told her I hoped it would be of some comfort to her. Then I said:
"To me, this is what it says: All Christ wants is our hearts, our trust, our ears, and our eyes, then our feet, hands, and mouths to do His will. That is the crux of being a Christian. He knows we can't know it all and do it all and that we blow it. He knows we aren't perfect and that's why He, as the perfect One, took our place on the cross, so we wouldn't have to suffer in the hereafter for our mistakes, sins, etc, and so we have a way in the here and now.
So many times when I'm overwhelmed and can't understand why I'm going through something I am reminded that "His ways are higher."
The psalms are a great comfort then too. I'll be quiet now and let you read.
Love ya, Mommy,
I Hope to See Her Again
I wept with joy in my hotel bed. How beautiful of God to confirm to me I had indeed told my mom about Christ and the cross. I don't know if Mom chose Christ as her Savior before she died. She always had a fierce faith in the fact that God loves us. But a true conversion this side of heaven I do not know. But I know I gave her the message and I always try to picture her in heaven, waiting to meet me at the gate. Mom has been gone for sixteen years. I think about her every single day. I miss her every single day. I still cry when I tell the story of her death or some variation. My heart yearns for her more every year and every day. The world is not complete when Mama is gone. But I have hope I will see her again.
© 2019 Lori Colbo