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September 15, 2017

In 2005, there was much devastation around due to Hurricane Katrina. It was responsible for over 1,800 lives lost and over $100 billion in damages, yet dissipated 7 days after it started (8/23 – 8/31). The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina couldn’t fully be articulated as families were destroyed, dreams deferred, and hopes dashed. In a twist of fate, it was exactly 2 weeks prior that I was evicted from my apartment of 5 and ½ years and lost my temp job within 24 hours of each other (with losing Joi’s dad, an ex and having major surgery just a few months before that). Joi had just turned 4 years old, and I was bouncing from couch to couch and zip code to zip code as others took us in…we were homeless. My storm never dissipated however, it raged on and on and on. I eventually became angry and numb at the same time, a very dangerous combination. I honestly felt like the walking dead and saw no hope, though I was in church every Sunday. And I threw myself into giving my time and energy at various donation centers that were created to assist those impacted by Hurricane Katrina (but if it weren’t for some of those donation centers, we wouldn’t have had clothes and shoes).
During that time, a few knew of my full circumstances and extended love and compassion towards us. There were also those that knew that treated me like the scum of the earth (talk about kicking someone while they are already down…whew!). It hurt. Like hell. I didn’t defend myself, I just took it and added it to the long laundry list of things that I was being told was wrong with me. I was hurting. I was in pain beyond what I could even comprehend, but I didn’t even know how to put it into words to share my heart and my soul. I could barely think straight my head was so cloudy. It took 7 months for me to eventually secure shelter of my own and begin the process of becoming wholly healed. Because in addition to the losses, I was dealing with residuals of abuse and rape that I never shared with anyone.

Now here we have Hurricane Irma that happened almost exactly 12 years later (8/30 – 9/14) causing 81 fatalities and over $60 billion in damages. Immediately I started receiving text messages and phone calls asking if Joi and I were okay and if we were prepared. I know everyone was referencing food, gas and supplies, but all I could ask myself was “Are you ready for the storm…again?”. Truth is, the storm never stopped. As with many of us, there is so much that we go through that sometimes we just cry out and ask God can we get a breather. Just one moment where the seas are calm and the sun is shining. When I lost my Mom last year, I felt a familiar pain…the one I felt 12 years prior. My heart was broken in places I didn’t know existed and my head was cloudy. Just like it was also 12 years ago, there were those that extended love and compassion, and are continuing to do so. And then there are those that aren’t quite as nice…eh. So, I sat and braced myself for the storm (ironically, we only received a little rain), and as I did so my Mom’s favorite gospel left my lips in a quiet hum. Before I knew it, I began to belt the words out as a personal testimony rising from the depths of my soul with tears flowing freely down my cheeks. I can’t sing worth a lick, but it was music to my own ears. 

Whether  it’s a figurative storm or a literal one, I’m reminded that my soul is anchored…thank you Mommy! (Hebrews 6:18-20)

My Soul Is Anchored by Douglas Miller –

Though the storms keep on raging in my life; 

And sometimes it’s hard to tell the night from day; 

Still that hope that lies within is reassured 

As I keep my eyes upon the distant shore; 

I know He’ll lead me safely to that blessed place He has prepared. 

But if the storms don’t cease, 

And if the winds keep on blowing in my life, 

My soul has been anchored in the Lord.


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