Editor’s Note: Your storms are there to cleanse you

This is a new series of notes from the editor of Espire21, Tasha Okeke  to share with you and inspire you in life. 

Just over a year ago I went through the roughest storm of my life. It was unexpected and came on what seemed a sunny, bright day when all was going good for me. 

You see? I said all was going good for me. I didn’t say everything was going great for me which it would have been if the storm didn’t come in the first place. 

It was an incredibly rough ride. This year started off very differently than it ended with mental health struggles, complications with medication, frequent breakdowns, barely scraping by in university and the constant questioning of “Why is this happening to me? 

Every time I tried to get back up I would fall again. Many moments I wanted to throw in the towel and just give up. 

During storms you can’t see clearly because everything is tarnished with thick, grey clouds that cloud your vision and tumultuous winds that want to set you off track. It just doesn’t make sense and it hurts how you’re not the same happy person you were before this all started happening. It feels like you’re damaged. 

One of the biggest lessons I learnt throughout this experience was how to rely on God and faith in him when it doesn’t make sense. Like, truly makes no rational sense. For example, how can you go to the doctor to get back on your feet when you’ve hit rock bottom but the medication they’re giving you is somehow making you worse that you can barely walk in a straight line? How can you go to church to feel a sense of solace but somehow as I soon as you step in, you’re on the edge of a panic attack?

This isn’t a post to tell you a naive story of how I was in the midst of a storm but I was smiling out of pure joy because God was there. A lot of times it felt like he wasn’t and it was all a cruel joke. A lot of time I was ready to start going against him because none of it made sense! But the truth is in any tragedy, once you start going against hope then the lights have really gone out. You’ll have nothing and it will indefinitely get worse. So, it was a testing time to stay hopeful because at the very least it gave me an option of survival.

Now out of the storm, I’m not the same woman I was before. Physically, I feel different. Spiritually, I feel different. Before I genuinely couldn’t take a full deep breath, but that was normality to me so I never questioned it. The past two weeks I’ve been beyond calm and it’s strange to me – at first I thought it was a fluke, like a placebo effect. But, the last time I had a really good night’s sleep was 5 years ago and that was because I was put on Valium for insomnia.

It’s only once you get out the storm you realise you don’t return to being the same person before the storm because that’s not why you went through it in the first place. It’s so you could become stronger and you could become wiser. Because now you know you can overcome a storm and how to handle one, so it cleanses away your fear and weaknesses. 

For me, my storm taught me I could endure vulnerability. I wasn’t scared to get hurt or feel the extent of pain from past wounds that were weighing inside me like dead leaves. I could stand in it and own it. 

It was only until then I could make peace with it and move on. 

Maybe you’ve endured something this year and you feel it robbed your joy and stained your life. But whether you got through it or are still going through it – remind yourself that it’s going to pass and you will come out of it different as it would’ve changed you, but you will be a stronger person than before you went into the storm. 

Psalm 89:8-9

Much love to those who stood with umbrellas and helped me get through the storm, my heart expresses so much gratitude, more than you realise.

I wish you all the best for 2017, and hope you close the door on 2016 on a positive note,

Tasha xo

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