Written By: Joy Byers
In the 1991 movie, The Perfect Storm, an unusually violent storm came upon a group of fishermen at sea, and they never came home. About 2 years ago that is what I thought my life was. A series of near impossible events coming together to create the perfect storm, and it began on September 14th, 2015.
Life was awesome - I had three children and three grandchildren, with one on the way. I was a part of the Living Proof Live event team, and enjoying every moment of it…and then the call came. It was 3:45pm on Monday September 14th, and they tell me my pregnant daughter was in the hospital and we had to come now. I never thought to ask why; I just jumped in a car with my hubby and headed for the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital and were directed to ICU and immediately my heart dropped - ICU? Should we not be going to the maternity ward? Things turned very quickly, as we learned that our baby girl has suffered a massive brain bleed and is on life support in order to keep our next gran in utero as long as possible. The next morning dawns, and our newest gran arrived in the world - the same day as her mother, my daughter, was declared brain dead. I was in that mode that some of us go into when tragedy strikes and I got done what needed to be done. I prayed with people, hugged people, shared Jesus with a Muslim woman who’s husband was barely clinging to life, and I spent time with our newest grand baby.
One week later, my mom called to tell me my uncle had passed away suddenly overnight. We're processing, praying, crying, and supporting her. Later that day, Mom called to share that my Aunt had passed away about an hour earlier. I was dumbfounded, I had no words... this could not be happening. All in the space of one week, I lost a daughter, gained a 2lb 9oz granddaughter, and lost my aunt and uncle. Nothing else could happen right? But it did.
Tuesday, November 10th, I put a call into the police because I couldn't reach my mother who lived in another province. I instructed them how to break in to my family home and then I waited. Finally, the call came.
She was found. She was alive and aware, but had been on the floor in the living room since Sunday night, having suffered a stroke. My husband looked at me, and I crumbled. Everything that had been building up for the past two months opened the floodgates, releasing a storm of its own.
I share this story because someone somewhere needs to know that in the midst of life's worst storms, God is present. In the midst of this storm God I and did business. He showed me the value of community and the treasure that is my team and church family. God brought me to a place where everything I believe and hold dear was challenged and He asked me some really hard questions that I did not necessarily want to answer then and there. It brought to mind another storm with Jesus and the disciples in Luke 8:22-25.
I sensed strongly God asking me "Where is your faith, Joy? Do you really trust me?" I really had to look within to see where and what my motivations were for my role in ministry. Was I honouring Him or was I paying lip service to Him? Did I truly believe in His saving work on the cross? Did I trust Him in ALL circumstances? Not just the easy ones? I did not love the all the answers I found.
At the Beth Moore conference, I was alongside my sisters in the journey, hands lifted, singing it out, praising Jesus, but there was a part of me that was so far away from God because I was angry with Him for the way things were going. Deep within I was challenging His goodness. I was raw and hurting.
In the midst of the questions that God asked me, I was afraid, I doubted, I wondered and questioned. So much had happened, I wasn’t sure I could get past it. But then Jesus, poured salve into the open wounds as He walked with me, as He held out His hand to me, and as He carried me and called me His own.
In Him, I found my footing in a new way, and I knew as I began to turn the corner that yes, I had fears, but I knew with certainty that I trusted Him. It was not an easy journey by any means. My Mom has since had 3 more strokes and can no longer speak, but I can hear her heart.
This Jesus who could still the storm, with His words has recaptured my heart in a new and exciting way. As I write this, I have no idea what each one of you is going through, but He does and He loves you more than you know. He will not leave you in your storm - do not lose hope - He is present and He is with you.
Give Jesus an opportunity to do the work in your life that needs to be done and He will show you Himself in an amazing new way and know that I am praying for you as He walks with you.