The Storm

A balance the child on my hip and look up to the West. I hear the thick bellows of dark, pregnant clouds. The storm is rolling in.

 

Maybe you are in the same position I am. The clouds have been building for a while. Circumstances, genetics, the weather- they started to make a foreboding wall of dark; blocking the Son and laying like a heavy blanket on the soul. I smelled the air as the little one and I made our way to the chicken coop. He’s eight months old…eight months without any regular denominations of unbroken sleep. I am spent and God feels far away.

 

Let it rain. 

 

I close my eyes and let the thunder wash over me. Oh dear God, let it rain. As I make my way back up the hill, baby and eggs in hand, a few gentle drops wash my face.

 

Hope.

 

Beloved dare I say hold on.  If you’ve been pressed. If you’ve been shaken. If you’ve been confused. Lift your head and hold your ground. Breakthrough is on the way. The winter cannot stay and the clouds cannot remain. Eventually, each trial, each testing reaches its fullness and must break. So tenderly will the rain that once blocked the sun now be the very source of life for the new thing to grow. Lift your eyes and let the thunder wash over your soul.

 

The roar of heaven. 

God is not impotent. He is not negligent. No not this God. He is not stagnant nor fickle. He is the living God, with the outstretched hand. He is the savior God who comes down from lofty places and binds up the broken-hearted and refreshes the weary. Though He tarry wait for it. Let suffering have it’s work and give birth to perfected Faith. He will redeem every broken situation and breathe purpose into the pain. It will all end in your good and His glory. Hold fast. The season is about to change, it’s about to shift, therefore STAND. Truly He will be all the more marvelous to us  on the other side. Only, don’t give up. Surely He is Emmanuel, God with us. Christ the perfect kinsman redeemer. This Yahweh the God who is as breath to us. He will make all things new.

 

He always does.

 

(Below is a link and the lyrics to a song that has often been balm to me in the midst of hardship)

  1. God moves in a mysterious way
    His wonders to perform;
    He plants His footsteps in the sea
    And rides upon the storm.
  2. Deep in unfathomable mines
    Of never failing skill
    He treasures up His bright designs
    And works His sov’reign will.
  3. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
    The clouds ye so much dread
    Are big with mercy and shall break
    In blessings on your head.
  4. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
    But trust Him for His grace;
    Behind a frowning providence
    He hides a smiling face.
  5. His purposes will ripen fast,
    Unfolding every hour;
    The bud may have a bitter taste,
    But sweet will be the flow’r.
  6. Blind unbelief is sure to err
    And scan His work in vain;
    God is His own interpreter,
    And He will make it plain.

Advertisements

National Sibling Day

It would appear someone has decided to make another holiday that I knew nothing about. Well, until the legions of photo happy people started posting pictures of all their siblings on Facebook. Naturally, I had to join them. And it got me looking… and thinking.

 

To my seven sisters, and one brother:

 

I know you didn’t choose me. You didn’t choose if you were older than me or younger than me. You didn’t choose if you’d leave me in your wake or end up in mine. You didn’t really get a say in my genetic make-up or any other one of my attributes. And you still don’t get to choose whether I’m the kind of person you really want to have for a sister or not. So…

 

If you’ve ever shown me an ounce of kindness,

If you’ve ever called when you thought I might be tired,

If you ever encouraged me to keep writing,

If you ever sent me a card everyday for a month because I was in a really bad way,

If you ever tolerated my rant,

If you ever forgave me for my sins (and they are many),

If you ever told me that I was beautiful,

If you ever trusted me with your heart, your time or your family,

If you ever thought well of me,

If you ever prayed,

If you ever bit your tongue,

If you ever spoke the truth in love,

If you ever thought highly of me,

If you ever believed the best,

I know that was a choice.

Thank you.

 

Concerning Chickens, Neighbors and the need for Mercy

All I can make out is frantic squawks and a flurry of white feathers. Moments before I was pouring myself a bowl of cereal and noticed my Rhode Island Red dashing for the street in holy terror. Half a second later it all makes sense as my two year old emphatically repeats “Doggy! Doggy! In da shard!” Now I’m standing on the hill staring down a stray dog who decided he wanted to “play” with my chickens.

As it went, ten minutes later, I could only account for the well being of one of my chickens but Oaklee (the dog) had found a comfortable spot on my kitchen floor while waiting for his owner to come get him. The whole thing had conflict written all over it. Pit Bull, white feathers all over the yard, small child… what kind of owner… now all my chickens…

There was no conflict.

Oaklee is a dog. Dogs chase animals. He was properly tagged and well cared for. Not to mention obedient. I could tell the owner was waiting for the other foot to fall. The lecture about how he needed to be more careful. Especially with that type of dog. Turns out he’s just a really nice guy, married, with two kids of his own working two jobs. Oh, and he and his wife would like to know more about backyard chickens.

Now, my hens are all back home, my newly discovered neighbor brought us pizza and Oaklee has a permanent friend in my daughter. But here’s the real deal. I didn’t just decide to stuff all my frustration at some dumb dog monopolizing the better part of my afternoon. I didn’t just grit my teeth and be kind because that’s the “christian” thing to do. The fact is yesterday, I was wrestling with something much more important than the animal instinct of pit bulls to eat chickens. I was wrestling with my own animal instinct.

I’m afraid for some time now, rage has sought to be my primary defense mechanism. It comes bursting out, like a dam- breeched, when I least expect it. Always fronting strength but leaving me, and often something else, very broken. And yesterday, I was trying to pick up the pieces again. Over the years, the Father has worked to free me of this. Leading me through crooked paths in my heart to rooms filled with pain, fear, or the need for control. Surprised and ashamed by the recent resurfacing of this dangerous coping mechanism I’ve had to fall on my knees and ask Him again “What gives? I love you, so why am I struggling with this same old nature?”. Though likely not an exhaustive answer, I’m left with these thoughts…

1. When we grow it’s very tempting to revert back to old coping mechanisms. It’s as if in the face of new territory we want something familiar. Also, our walk of sanctification consists more of going down than it does going forward. That is to say, letting Christ pierce deeper into our heart. Each cell in our body has the same DNA in it, likewise the heart. And so we’re prone to struggle with the same thing no matter how many layers deep we go. I think my make-up will be forever prone to the same destructive tendencies but maturity will cause me to recognize and rest in my constant need for Him. No more need for those nasty coping mechanisms.

2. Pride is more dangerous than rage. I came to the sobering realization on the couch this morning that I’ve been courting pride. Subtle mindsets, masking themselves as a desire for holiness, have caused me to start focusing on myself and those around me. What I should be doing. What they should be doing. What we should be doing. Really noble sounding but utterly full of self-righteousness and a critical spirit. As dangerous as rage is, pride is more dangerous, because it cuts off our hearts from the one realization that can make any difference. I need You. You are the only one who can do this. He knows this and loves me to much to let me go there. And so, the stage is set, and I now see again the sobering reality of me apart from Him. There is nothing good. Only pain.

 

But that’s not too big for Him. His mercy… well let’s just say it’s a lot bigger than dogs and chickens. It’s able to pay the steepest of debts, compiled at the highest of interests rates. And so now, I’m broken, yes. I’ve got some things I’m going to have to work through. But I’m also grateful too. Grateful that I got to meet a neighbor and that when I did, my Father had taught me well this lesson…

We all need mercy.