This past week, all of Texas went through what we native Texans know to have been crazy and unexpected weather. We don’t ever get snow or ice storms, much less ones that last an entire week. Yet, not only did we get a crazy winter storm, but we got a winter storm that wrecked havoc throughout the entire state.
People were without power for days, some for the entire week and many also lost their water. Food spoiled in refrigerators and people would go to their cars just to charge their phones. The power grid could not handle the electricity needs and people were left in literal darkness. A darkness like no other.
This darkness was not typical darkness. It was cold, scary and lonely. People were forced to stay at home, because in many places, the roads were not drivable. Stores ran out of food, gas was on shortage (which meant generators had no gas), and people were forced to survive in a way that most of us have never come to know. As the darkness came each day, I dreaded the thought of having to sleep in the freezing cold again. Yes, it was freezing cold INSIDE because our power had been out for days and the cold had made its way in. I dreaded the darkness of the night and longed for morning to come. I longed for the sun to show its face.
It was on day three of no power that I had a huge breakthrough. I was sitting with my husband in our cold living room covered in as many layers as we could comfortably wear and snuggled up under as many blankets and comforters as we could find. We sat in the dark trying to not use up the little battery that we had left in our phones. We had flashlights, but it still seemed so dark. It was dark not just because there literally was no light, but because in the frustration and fear of everything going on, I had forgotten to be grateful. I forgot that although there may be darkness around us, I do not LIVE in darkness.
That realization came as my husband lit the various candles that we had around the house.
I saw the flames lighting up our home and I thought about how God is our light. In that moment, instead of feeling frustrated, I was grateful. I prayed and gave thanks because although it was very cold, we still had shelter. We had had all of those layers to cover with. I realized that God was using this difficult situation to help me understand that he provides us everyday with everything we need, which often times looks different that what we want. Things that I myself have come to be so ungrateful for and that I honestly don’t think twice about. Things like shelter, clothing, running water, electricity, heat and so many other things.
God used that experience to shine light in the literal darkness. That night, I slept so well. I think at some point, I even woke up to take some layers off because I was hot. Yes, hot! How? Only God knows, but I believe that it was his embrace that kept me warm.
Don’t let the darkness around you (literal or otherwise) extinguish your light. Allow your inner light and the light of God to shine through in your life. Where there is light, there will never be darkness. Think about how one small flame can shine so much light. Once I finally left that dark place, I came to the realization that so many people reached out to us and so many were able to help. My parents, brothers and friends offered to open up their homes so we could shower and be in some warmth. We were also able to wash some clothes and charge our phones. We had countless messages from people checking in and offering a lending hand. They literally shared their light with us when we needed it, but it was their inner light that a made a difference. Don’t forget to share your light with others. You may just be the light they need in their moment of darkness.