Northwest Rain

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It is so very good to be home.

Don’t get me wrong.  I grew to appreciate Colorado in the five years I lived there.  I grew accustomed to the dry climate and consistent blue skies.  I loved going to the Rocky Mountains.  I found love and beauty in many things there.  Especially the people.

But I really missed the rain.  Northwest rain.  Cold.  Consistent.  Gray.  Drizzly.  I love it.  Really love it.

Just now, I sat outside on my parents’ front porch and soaked in the rain.  (Not literally because I was under the roof.)  I tuned everything out and listened to the rain.  I watched the dry ground soak it up, flowers and plants drink it in.  I took deep breaths and willed the rain to saturate my soul.

Life isn’t made up of sunshine alone.  Everyone’s life has rain.  Sometimes it comes in a thunderstorm.  Sometimes it comes with partly sunny skies and rainbows.  The common denominator for every single person regardless of how it comes is that it surely will come.  Sometimes when it rains, it pours.  And that’s when life gets especially interesting.  It’s one thing to deal with a little spring shower.  It’s a completely different experience to navigate through a downpour and a flash flood.

You know what I have discovered over the past few seasons of my life?  Instead of trying to avoid the downpour, it’s better to learn how to swim.  Suffering is part of life.  Might as well dive in.  I’m learning not to fear being in over my head but I confess that I’m not a strong swimmer.  Sometimes I grab onto something that I think will help me float, only to find that it drags me down instead.  I’m trying desperately to learn how to reach out and grab onto a true anchor.  Something that won’t cause me to drift or drown.  That something is called hope.

  • Hope for my marriage.
  • Hope for my son to learn how to care for himself and thrive in spite of Type 1 Diabetes.  And then look beyond himself and reach out to care for others someday.  Do I dare to hope for God to heal him?  Yes.  Yes I hope for that too.
  • Hope for my daughter’s compassionate nature to lead her to places and people who are on God’s heart.
  • Hope for us to daily (sometimes even minute by minute) turn to our God for help, shelter and safety in the deluge.

There is a fine line between accepting suffering and contending for it to come to an end.  I walk that fine line every day.  It helps to remember that suffering produces character and refines faith.  Suffering has purpose and rain brings beautiful results to the land.  That’s why I love rain!  Because it is a constant reminder to me of growth, new life, beauty.  Of hope.  Of the One True God, the giver of life.  A constant reminder that the rain is worth it.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.  James 1:12

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For The Birds

bird 1Outside my backdoor window are countless tiny birds.  They aren’t flashy or pretty, but they are fun to watch.  I’m trying to follow one of them with my eyes and I can’t because its movements are too quick.  I can’t imagine why there are so many in my backyard this morning.

The reason I was looking out the back window is because I was praying and didn’t want the kids to see the tears in my eyes.  This week has been challenging for me.  Not sure I need to list out my challenges for all to read, but one of them has been that my neck went out causing tremendous pain.  I have had a chronic neck-thing for the past 11(ish) years and nothing frustrates this task-oriented person more than this issue.  You don’t realize how important a simple thing like turning your head is until you cannot do it….for several days.  I (try to) continue to do all the stuff I normally do during my day, but it definitely sets me back and hinders me.

So I’ve had extra time on my hands.  Time when I would normally be exercising, cleaning, grocery shopping, gardening or wrestling with George.  And this week, that extra time allowed me to come up with quite a long list of everything that I think is lacking in my life right now.  My list isn’t lengthy, but it is rather deep.  And the more I dwell on it the more responsible and guilty I start feeling.  I can see several things that I could be doing better/different…and if I only worked harder, prayed more, fasted more, DID more then I’m sure everything would be better.

Sometimes deep thoughts like these just aren’t helpful.  They can lead to discontentment, guilt and complaining.

And I was complaining to God this morning.  I disguised some of my complaints as prayer or “seeking God”, but in all honesty I wasn’t asking the Lord for His will or His counsel.  I was telling Him what was wrong with my life.  I was also telling Him everything wrong with me.  My thoughts on all the ways I fall short were coming fast and furious as I tried to tell Him how sorry I was.

So He sent the birds.

As I watch them a few Scriptures come to mind…

“Even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”  Matt. 10:30

“I tell you, do not be anxious about your life…look at the birds…they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”  Matt. 6:25-33

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”  Matt. 6:8

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”  Jer. 31:3

When will I remember that its not all about me?  It’s truly not about my life, my strengths, or my weaknesses.  It’s not about my bills, my health or my endless lists of meaningful tasks.  It is also not about my perspective; what I think I need, or my definition of “God’s provision.”

That stuff is for the birds, so to speak.

Now I’m watching the birds with tears in my eyes, but these are different kinds of tears.  Thankful, relieved, refreshed kinds of tears.  Tears that come when I realize I am loved and taken care of…not because of anything I have done.  But because of Who He Is.

I’m praying He sends His little bird-messengers to you today too.