Friends, it is my pleasure to feature one of my talented friends on my blog today! I met Emily Cummins when she was a BRIO Girl candidate in the summer of 2007. (The BRIO Girl was a young woman who exemplified Christ-like behavior and the values of BRIO magazine. She was selected by the BRIO staff every year from stacks of applications. The BRIO Girl had the opportunity to write a monthly column for publication in the magazines. And the top four candidates got to visit us in Colorado for a really fun weekend! You may remember popular BRIO girl Natalie Lloyd who went on to become a regular columnist.) It has been a joy to get to know Emily over the years, to watch her become the world-changer she is today, and to continue to call her a friend. I hope you are encouraged by Emily’s story!
I remember this one particular day from my senior year of college like it was yesterday. It had been raining all day. And I’m not talking about your typical Florida downpour here. It was one of those gloomy and gray top-up-on-your-convertible kind of days. Those days are just depressing—unless of course you have a big blanket, bowl of popcorn and good book in hand!
On top of the rain, I had a big career decision at the forefront of my mind. A life-altering decision that had a domino effect attached to it—whatever choice I made would intimately effect everyone around me—and I felt the pressure like the weather around me: dark and heavy.
And then my phone buzzed. One new text message. My best friend just got engaged to her high school sweetheart. Genuine excitement mingled with a twinge of personal irritation at my own love life began creeping into the mix.
Boyfriendless. In the rain. With a life-altering career decision at my fingertips.
Need to Breathe has a song that has resonated with me over the past few years. The chorus goes like this: “Even when the rain falls, even when the flood starts risin’, even when the storm comes, I am washed by the water.” With these words tumbling around in my head and the sound of rain beating against my roof, I rose to a brave conclusion: I was going to figure this thing out…these emotions out…and be washed by the water. Literally.
Now don’t laugh, but I seriously kicked off my shoes, walked outside and just stood there, slowly, yet steadily, getting drenched. I held my hands out, palms up, and just felt the fat, wet drops hitting my fingertips. Then I began to pray, or maybe more accurately, I began to yell at God:
Even when the rain falls. God, it’s falling alright…and I don’t just mean the rain. I feel life falling on me. I feel opinions, relationships, dreams, and expectations falling all around me. And I just don’t know what to do.
Even when the flood starts risin’. God, it’s rising. I feel the pressure up to my eyeballs! The people I love—the people I care deeply about—are expecting me to make a decision about my career, and God, I’m worried about how it will affect them.
Even when the storm comes. God, this is a full-blown storm! I feel soaked both on the outside and the inside.
I am washed by the water. God, how do I get there? How can I step out of this rain cleansed? I need clarity to make the best decision for my future. I need your direction in this whole love area of my life! I need to be washed by you, but I just don’t know what to do to get there.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
The rain continued to steadily beat against the palms of my hands as tears streamed down my face. My pain and the pure act of God’s presence in the rain, washing and cleansing my heart, collided in a way that was so pure, so sweet, so beautifully satisfying.
I didn’t have any new answers. I didn’t come to a dramatic life-altering conclusion. I didn’t suddenly have a new boyfriend or know exactly what decision I needed to make. But I had talked openly, honestly and rawly with God. I stood in the middle of the storm around me both literally and figuratively and discovered that even when the rain falls, I am washed by the water.
I am washed by peace.
I am washed by love.
I am washed by grace.
I am washed by the presence of God.
As I stepped back into the warmth of my house, grabbing a towel and a steaming cup of coffee, I knew I had discovered something much deeper than the answers I was searching so desperately for. I had discovered what wrestling with God really felt like. I discovered what being honest with my Creator really meant. I discovered that sometimes being honest with how you feel is more important than the answers you’re searching for. And sometimes, peace is discovered when you stand in the middle of the storm and cry out to Jesus.
Because, even when the storm comes, I am washed by the water.
Emily Cummins is a University of Florida and College of Central Florida alumna who is passionate about becoming who God made her to be and inviting others on the journey. Emily is the Associate Director of Communications & Branding at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, and she partners with churches nationally to discover and implement their voice on social media. Emily also serves as the Impact Coordinator for Leading & Loving It and is a supporter of People of the Second Chance. If you can’t find her tweeting, you can probably finding her cruising in her convertible on a back road.