I’ve always loved rainy days. My mother would make hot chocolate and popcorn and let us watch a movie. And every dismal day since, has felt cozy and special. Until one day, the rain came pouring in … and so did a new perspective.
There was a sweet story on the news this summer about a hospital that held a “prom” for its young cancer patients.
It showed all these adorable little children – some bald, some with bandanas and others wearing hats – all dressed up in their “princess” dresses and tiny tuxedos “dancing the night away.”
And someone commented that, just like the children, “When God brings a storm, we need to dance in the rain.”
Well, here in Florida, we have hurricanes. And the one our family has been experiencing over the last six months has showed up in the form of an eating disorder — and has left us all huddled together for dear life.
Right now, we\’re still in the middle of shakily climbing out of the bathtub, taking down the plywood, sifting through the debris and clumsily trying to figure out how to dance.
Unbeknownst to us, our oldest daughter, Karis, has been struggling with Bulimia/Anorexia on and off for the past several years. It was her way of coping with several highly stressful situations during her teenage years.
The struggles that we were aware of, we thought were normal, teenage angst that would disappear with time and maturity. Others, we were completely unaware of. But she was able to fly under the radar with her eating disorder since everyone in our family is also thin.
Once she realized the seriousness of the situation and wanted to get well and start eating again, her body wouldn\’t allow her to and she needed help.
It was like finding yourself going the wrong way on a turnpike (not the most brilliant name for them!) but it won\’t let you get off to turn around!
One month shy of her 18th birthday, you can imagine her feelings of failure and embarrassment having to tell us this.
So in February, we took her for a two-month stay at Remuda Ranch, in Virginia. It is a highly recommended Christian treatment center for girls with eating disorders.
While there, she learned valuable, biblically-based skills for dealing with stress, self-image, emotions, past hurts etc., as well as being kept up with her schoolwork.
She returned in April to finish up her senior year and graduate with her classmates at Altamonte Christian School.
But neither the storm, nor the dance, is over. And lots of prayer would be greatly appreciated.
Her plans to attend New Tribes Bible Institute in Wisconsin this fall, where her brother, Shane, attends, have had to be put on hold for a year– and this has devastated her.
While she was able to initially put on a brave face and see all the good that God could do in her life as she stays home and works, now the reality of it is becoming quite hard to swallow.
So what was already an emotionally charged and highly stressful situation for her, as the hard work of any kind of recovery is, has now become even harder and more magnified.
As this secondary storm begins to blow, pray that Karis will begin to dance. Pray that when God taps her on the shoulder and says, “May I?” that she\’ll accept with her sweet, famous smile — and let Him twirl her away, right into His perfect will.
Pray that she\’ll yield to His wise, strong, loving arms and allow Him to teach her more and more new steps everyday.
Pray that she\’ll find exactly the job, the ministries and the relationships that God has planned for her to have this coming year, since the beginning of time.
Pray that she\’ll keep her head up, look straight into His loving eyes, not watch her feet, and let Him lead her in a graceful, wonderful waltz — right through the rain that He has allowed.
And pray that we\’ll all dance right along with her — loving, trusting, encouraging and never losing faith or hope in the One who permitted the storm in the first place.
While you may not live in Florida, we know that our daughter and our family are not alone when it comes to the hurricanes of life. So whoever you are and whatever your storms may be, let\’s just dance — together.
When the rain comes in, let\’s twirl around, catch the splashes on our tongue, and laugh at how ridiculous we all look in sopping wet clothes and straggly hair. Let\’s just be thankful to be alive and to be a part of whatever it is that He is doing — no matter how hard.
And then, let\’s go sit on towels at our kitchen table and sip hot chocolate and eat popcorn. How about it? I have both marshmallows and whipped cream!