Before the Storms

Before the Storms


Juliet Caceres, PsyD,

Director of Clinical Operations, Timberline Knolls


The account of Jesus calming the storm is one of the most heralded of his miracles.  It appears in three of the gospels: Mark 4:35, Luke 8:22 and Mathew 6:4.

Countless lessons can be taken from this story of Jesus’ interaction with his disciples and nature itself.

I read this story in a recent practice of Lectio Divina and discovered amazing lessons of my own.

Lectio Divina (or sacred reading) is a practice that dates back to Old Testament times.  The emphasis is on slow meditative and repetitive reading of the scripture and noticing what words, phrases, impressions one is aware of. It is reading and listening to the scripture not just with the mind, but with the heart.  Early Christian monastics practiced this daily as a means of letting the Word soak into their hearts and lives.

In my reading of this beautiful passage, two things stood out to me.  One phrase was, “just as he was.”  “And leaving the crown behind, they took Him with them in the boat, just as he was.”  Here is a remarkable statement of self-acceptance and the freedom that comes with it.  He knew his identity as the beloved of the Father; clearly he needed nothing else.

The second, most interesting word which stood out to me was “pillow!” Yes, the scripture in Mark describes that when the storm arose, Jesus was in the stern, “asleep on a pillow.”  Now I found this a most interesting detail, and I was intrigued about why this seemingly random detail was included in the story.  In fact, every translation of Mark’s account describes Jesus asleep on a cushion or pillow.  As I pondered with my heart, the glaring implication for me was the intentionality of Jesus.  He did not just fall asleep.  He intentionally got comfortable and went to sleep.  There is a tremendous difference.

Rest is not something that one has to succumb to out of sheer exhaustion, much like an inconsolable infant or toddler fighting sleep.  It is an action that can be taken with intentionality and FAITH.  The scripture describes that Jesus enters the boat with nothing but himself and a deep understanding of his identity and union with the Father.  Yet, knowing the enormity of the storm ahead, he intentionally makes himself comfortable on a pillow and lays himself down to rest.  These two elements of the story cannot be separated.  It is indeed at the core of the integration of faith in the recovery process:  acceptance and faith.

At Timberline Knolls, we help residents come to know they can be as they are, that they are enough. This allows them to intentionally rest even in the midst of the storms of life through the exercise of their faith.


Juliet Caceres, Psy.D., is the Director of Clinical Operations, where she provides leadership and management of the clinical system to ensure the highest quality residential services. Additionally, she facilitates many of the groups and provides individual therapy. Dr. Caceres is also the Clinical Spirituality Director. She supervises and trains a group of committed Christian primary and family therapists as well as the Chaplin at Timberline Knolls. Dr. Cáceres has worked as a licensed psychotherapist for more than 20 years. Prior to Timberline Knolls, she worked at crisis centers providing child and adolescent counseling, Christian clinics, community mental health agencies, provided marriage and relationship education, and trained professionals on marriage education curricula nationwide.