Life Lessons From A Literal Storm

Kaylee Jo Gregory
It is hard to put into words the transformation that my heart has gone through in the past few weeks. I am a 17 year old girl who is by no means anywhere near perfect. I am selfish and self centered at times. There is no way to sugarcoat it because that is what I am at some points. When I watched the tornado rip through our town on the radar, I was so heart broken. I had never felt so scared of the unknown. The day after the tornado we made our way home from Lexington, where we were for our state cheer competition. I was eager to see the destruction because I didn't believe it to be true. I never thought something like this could happen to our little town. But it did and our “normal” was flipped completely upside down.

I served for the most part at Catalyst. I worked with my other friends to unload trucks, organize supplies, sort clothes, and walk people who were affected through to shop for what they needed. If I am being honest, for the first few days I was selfish. I was tired and only thinking about myself. Even if I didn't show it, all I wanted was to complain. I wanted to complain about how I didn't have power or water to come home to at the end of the day, while most families didn't even have a roof over their head. I was blind to the fact that this wasn't about me. The Holy Spirit really slapped me in the face when on the third day, I was helping an elderly woman load supplies into her car when she hugged me. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a hugger, but in this hug I didn't budge. It's so hard to explain this interaction because it was so genuine. This woman held me in her arms while she told me how much of a blessing this was and how much of a blessing I was to her. She explained to me her situation and it almost brought me to tears. At that moment, I was beyond humbled. I started to serve with selflessness. I didn't want to complain anymore because I knew that what I needed to do was hold these victims close and allow the Holy Spirit to shine through me.

I also never really understood the true meaning of community until after the tornado hit. I always hear preaching about it but it wasn't until I witnessed everyone stopping everything they were doing to help, to really grasp the true meaning and importance of it. Our leaders and members of Catalyst have worked tirelessly 24/7 to meet the needs of our community. I have seen so many families being helped and have seen Jesus shining through every volunteer as they work for others without taking a second to complain or worry about themselves. I love my church especially because the genuine love that Catalyst has for people and Jesus is so clear even when a tornado destroys our sweet little town.

It is so exciting to see so many teens and younger humans stepping up to help where they can in the face of destruction. Everywhere I look there is not only a group of adults, but there is always a few teens ready to step up, and they do. I Timothy 4:12 states, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” This verse has become so evident in the past few weeks. No one has looked down on us because we are young. They see our eagerness to help and then assign us to a job. I am grateful that the adults didn’t mock our immaturity and stick us somewhere where we would be out of the way. We worked right alongside them. We were able to show, through action, that our age didn’t matter.

Our love and faith is just as strong and Jesus works through us just the same. We love our community and we selflessly give ourselves to it because we understand that this is not about us. This is about those who need our help. Our voice can be heard because we are not being silenced by the doubt of our abilities. I am so thankful that as a youth we can show the Holy Spirit through us while we work to help rebuild our community. I am not glad that this tornado happened but I am thankful for what is coming out of it. Our community is coming together again. Our community is loving each other again. It will take years to put our little town back together but our hearts are already mending.


Penny Tyree - February 18th, 2022 at 12:58pm

What an amazing testimony from a beautiful young lady. When we least expect it the Lord shows us exactly what our purpose is. God bless this young lady and all her friends

Stony Hildabrand - February 18th, 2022 at 1:46pm

God bless you young lady as you serve your Lord in your community. Continued prayers for your Providential path. God bless.

Angie Dudley - February 18th, 2022 at 7:56pm

You rock KJ... this was an outstanding read and should be nationally recognized!!!

We love you kiddo

Carol Kees - February 18th, 2022 at 8:21pm

Beautiful testimony KJ so proud to get to know you better through your words!!!