Sometimes Lightning Strikes

image: public domain
public domain image

On Hannah’s last day at the beach, we took a long walk at low tide. Strolling along the tide flats, we searched for beach glass and admired the beautiful houses on the far end of the bay. As we walked, the wind picked up and the sky grew darker.

My sister, Laura, and her family were staying down the beach, so they walked out to join us. We talked, admired the kids’ shells, and enjoyed the morning. To our surprise, we heard thunder in the distance. No big deal, we figured, at least it’s not raining.

Then the sky grew darker still and lightening shot across the clouds. We decided to head back to the house, walking quickly. As we chatted, one of the girls said, “Mom, your hair is standing up. Does mine look funny too?” We looked at each other and laughed at the static electricity in our hair; Hannah and I took a picture.

Russ didn’t laugh, he grew serious, calling out, “Spread out everyone and run for the house. We need to get off the beach.”

We were still a long distance away from any kind of shelter, so we ran.  At first we took it lightly, I mean really, what were the chances of lightning striking us? But as I looked at my husband and children running toward the shore, sometimes through knee-deep water, I remembered something.

Tragedies happen – people die – God loves us and yet his will can be painful.

I was scared. I wondered what it would feel like to be struck by lightning. I wanted to pick Wogauyu up and carry him, but I knew we would be a slower and bigger target.

It seemed to take ages to get back to the shore, where we ran along the lower edges of the spit. Finally we were on the grass, walking up the path to the house. I didn’t feel safe until we were all inside, shielded from daggers of electricity.

My sense of security and my innocence are gone forever. I lost my daughter in a car accident. Six months later my firstborn son died.

I am confident of this, God is so much bigger, greater, wiser than I can possibly imagine, and this life on earth is shorter than it seems. I bend my knee to him. In light of eternity, our sufferings pass so quickly, but in this moment, right here, right now, my heart is fragile.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults and with my song I give thanks to him. Ps. 28:7

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

15 Comments

  1. Pam
    August 24, 2015

    You never chose to lose your innocence (to tragedy), but you have chosen to continue to build your life and faith in God. He is cherishing you even more because of that. As you draw closer and closer to Him, He will give you His Strength, and someday, somehow, may even restore. Be watching for His ways to do that, because He will not let you down.

    Reply
  2. Sarah
    August 24, 2015

    Oh Lisa, I am praying for you and your family–most often three times daily.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 25, 2015

      Thank you, Sarah – thank you so much.

      Reply
  3. Janie
    August 24, 2015

    Thank you for reminding me that God is with me no matter what…and for sharing your walk!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 25, 2015

      You're welcome, Janie.

      Reply
  4. Angela Arnett Stone
    August 24, 2015

    Oh so true. 18 years ago my older brother committed suicide. 18 days ago my younger brother committed suicide. It strikes twice and when least expected. God is good. He is true. He is love. But sadness? It is real too.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 25, 2015

      Oh Angela, I am so sorry for your losses – I can only imagine the depth of sorrow you and your family are experiencing. I'm praying for you now.

      Reply
    2. Jeri
      August 26, 2015

      Oh Angela, my hear grieves with you.

      Reply
  5. Elizabeth
    August 25, 2015

    Wow, that is quite the experience. I don't think I would have understood the danger like your husband did. You will never be the same, that is true.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 25, 2015

      I didn't realize either, but it really sunk in when I started reading about it online. I'm glad my kids know that it is an important sign. Good to hear from you, Elizabeth.

      Reply
  6. Shilo
    August 25, 2015

    Oh, Lisa. I've followed your blog for years (and I believe we have some mutual friends in my town of Lynden). I've wept through many of your posts this year. Simultaneously, your way of pointing to God's hand in the midst of excruciating circumstances has encouraged my faith and caused good, hard conversations between me and the Lord. Thank you for sharing the raw pain and new reality you are living in while testifying to God's character & faithfulness in your lives. It has impacted me tremendously.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 25, 2015

      Shilo, thank you for commenting and encouraging me. This is such a hard journey, sometimes I fear that everyone is sick of reading about grief – but it's where I am in my life. I'm sure we do have some mutual friends!

      Reply
  7. Jeri
    August 26, 2015

    I will have to read up on this. I don't know if our hearts ever truly heal. I dreamed last night of my grandmother and my uncle, her son, that have both passed away. Sometimes death doesn't seem real. I remember when my step-father (who was my dad) died, I moved through getting everything done for my mom, but when it came time to walk into the church for his funeral, I lost it. Somehow walking down that aisle towards his casket made it real. It made it final. My heart grieves for families that lose someone they love.

    Reply
  8. Mary Ostyn
    August 30, 2015

    Lisa, I was riding in a van on a curvy mountain road in Ethiopia today, trying not to worry, reminding myself that God is in charge of our safety, not the driver of this van, not the driver of the oncoming truck. And I thought of you and of Kalkidan, and how there just aren't guarantees in life. And yet, God is good, all the time. That I do believe. And so I will trust. Even as I (humanly) also feel fear too…
    Love you!
    Mary

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 30, 2015

      I am thinking of you every day and following your blog closely, Mary. Much love.

      Reply

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