The Sweet Smell of Rain

Sheila Campbell

From my kitchen window I watch the clouds building in the southeast. The dark billows look like giant black waves with foaming peaks. White streaks within the dark mass threaten to pelt the earth and all that lies within its path with rocks of ice. As I watch the storm approach, I wonder how the storms in our lives would look if we could see them coming? If we could see them building on the horizon, how would we react to their approach? How would we prepare? How would we shelter our hearts?

The Texas panhandle has a dry climate and moisture—however it comes—is always welcome. So as the rolling clouds begin to cover the great expanse of sky and blot out the late afternoon sun, I watch with both anticipation and apprehension. The storm hits, and the house echoes with the deafening sound of wind and rain. The clattering of small hail sounds against the windows. Lightning zigzags across the sky and thunder rattles the windows, seemingly shaking the very foundation of the house. I am thankful for the shelter of home that protects my family from suffering permanent harm.

Storms of life hit us in much the same way. Like the deafening sounds of rain and wind, they can consume our thoughts and block out all else. They rumble through our lives like a spring thunderstorm, shaking the foundation of our hearts. But if we have sheltered our family in the Word of God and built our foundation on the Rock, then we have a shelter in the storm.

Being a homeschool family has helped provide this shelter by allowing us to be together on a daily basis. We often talk about the benefits of life’s storms upon the gardens of our hearts and how “a little rain” can wash a heart clean, refresh our outlook, and motivate us to reset priorities. When we thank God for the rain in our lives, we find not only that our hearts are thankful, but often a ray of joy returns even before the storm has passed. It may not always be that “dance in the rain” gladness, but there is a contentment evident of a sheltered heart in the midst of the rain.  

While the storm rages outside, my children and I gather inside. We talk about the benefit of the rain and the necessity of spring storms as we warm ourselves with hot chocolate and wait for the storm to pass. We know there may be some damage, and once the storm passes, some repairs to make, but we pray the damage will be minimal, and we take comfort knowing that we will tackle those projects together.

As the storm outside begins to pass, the winds calm, the lightning ceases, and the thunder becomes just a distant rumble. The rain and hail that once pounded against the windows and fell in sheets beyond slows to a gentle, steady rhythm that washes away the dirt and grime of winter. I wrap a heavy jacket around my shoulders and step out onto the shelter of the porch. The air is cold, but it smells so clean and crisp. The clouds become lighter and glow with a pink hue as the setting sun drops beneath the clouds and colors the land with long rays of fuchsia and gold. The awe and beauty, the quiet stillness, and the sweet smell of the rain-washed land make me wonder if this is how a storm-washed heart appears.

I wrap the jacket closer and gather my children to me. I lift up a prayer of thanks for the passing storm and the new growth that will result. Despite the cold, I know that spring and new life are not far away, and my heart rejoices.

Sheila Campbell began homeschooling in 1991, and after the death of her husband in 2001, she homeschooled as a single parent. She also was the parent of a special needs child whom she cared for at home until his death in 2004. These difficulties have strengthened her walk with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and it is her prayer that her words will encourage and inspire others. Sheila invites you to visit her blog at  

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Publication date: May 10, 2013