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Lessons in the Storm

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Every Summer, my oldest two granddaughters (and the other two, but they can do it during the school year too) get to stay ALONE with us for a week.  Any other time, the two girls are always together, so they need some Gma alone time.  Grandma loves it too – less need to discipline and more loving!!!  This week is my oldest granddaughter’s turn.

 

Storm Approaching Paradise - Coral Island, Phu...

Storm Approaching Paradise – Coral Island, Phuket, Thailand (Photo credit: Captain Kimo)

Friday evening, a storm blew through.  And I mean blew through.  My granddaughter and I were looking out our wall of windows, and the trees started tossing and bending all over.  Soon, a large part of one of our trees (a dead one we need to get rid of) landed in the front yard.  I personally adore storms, but my granddaughter is not a fan.  I took the opportunity to talk to her about storms and how the trees that bend in the wind were still standing.  These trees were still full of life and strength, but their branches went with the wind instead of resisting.

 

The dead trees had no life, no bend, nothing to hold on with, and they went down.  Actually another tree went down as well along with our neighbor’s new privacy fence.  My hubs was very glad that the trees are down.  He will have to cut them up for firewood, but he will not have to take them down.  The following are a much more detailed (deep) example of the things we (my granddaughter and I) talked about.

 

1.  When troubles storm your life, bend with the wind.  Don’t stand rigid and refuse to budge.  Change is inevitable.  Troubles are inevitable.  When we become inflexible and stubborn about life, it can take us down.  (Why me? Why NOT you?;  I don’t want to..)

 

2.  If you are a Christian, are you keeping close to the source?  Are you sucking up every drop of nourishment you can from the Living Waters?  When you remain supple through an intense relationship with the Root – Jesus – you can bend with any wind and remain strong and standing tall.  If you have stopped drawing from the Root, you may have dried up, back-slid, become apathetic, etc. about the things of God.  You, even with Christ as your Savior may still break if you don’t stay close to Him.

 

3.  If you are not a Christian, would you like to have a root system that will hold and sustain you through the storms?  Send me a private message at bryasy911@yahoo.com.

 

 

Did I mention we are without power?  Last night and today was spent without air-conditioning, lights, and all the other creature comforts I am so used to.  Over 100° temperatures haven’t helped.  This was a lesson for the gd in what life is like without all the conveniences we’re so used to (TV, internet, …).  She is not impressed.

 

When we do not stay close to the Power Source, we walk in darkness.  I, as most people, have had times where I was closer to God than other times.  Often the times of intense closeness happened during a life crisis.  When one of my children decided to check out some things (like a Satanic bible) in the senior year of high school, I had to engage in a fight for him.  I read books; I prayed; I quoted Scripture; I became so close to God I could feel His presence more strongly than at any time before or since.  I have not at any time needed God as much as I did then, even though there have been many hard times in my life.

 

I learned something through this.  I learned to battle for my children.  I learned to lean hard on God and not on Angie.  I learned the power of Scripture.  I learned much more than that, but for now, we’ll let that do.  When you have power in your life, it makes a world of difference.  You can continue to live in darkness, either as totally not connected to God through Salvation or as a follower who has slid into bad habits, or you can go to the light and let His power course through you.  It makes even more difference than the electricity in our homes.  It is an eternal difference.

 

The Granddaughter and I have also started working on teaching her about the Bible.  She loves to have me quiz her.  Today, we started making up index cards with the questions on one side and answers on the other, so she can study at home and we can concentrate our work.  I want my grandchildren to know about God and His works through the Bible.  While she’s willing to learn, I will do all I can to feed the need.

 

At some point, basics will not be enough, however.  I also talk to her about God (like the storm stuff) as we go through our day.  I point out God’s hand, and we talk about what it means to live for God, as well as practical ways to do so.  I want her (and the others) to have that Living Water and that Power in her life.

 

I don’t always know if I’ve said what I wanted to say, but I do my best, and I hope God will speak to you through the words you find here.

Where was God when….?

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Along with the survivor stories we all have, are those from people who do not feel like survivors or have lost loved ones.  I know one person who lost a loved one in the Indiana tornados and several who have loved ones that survived it.  One tornado was <10 miles from the trailer where my son, daughter-in-law, and all my grandchildren live (next to my sister).  I know how quickly life can turn.

Last time we talked about survivor stories, but today I’d like to talk about the other side.

What if it were my family planning a funeral or figuring out what to do with nothing to our names right now?  Would God still be good?  To that I give a resounding: YES!  Believe it or not, I’ve had some pretty awful things happen to me and/or those I love.  Life is like that:  it comes with the good and the bad.  People have a tendency to give credit to God in the survival stories, but often blame Him when the bad things take away life or possessions.

Where was God…

…when fifteen-month-old Angel Babcock was pulled from a mobile home to land in a field some distance away?  Where was God when her mother, father, and two siblings were killed by the same tornado?  Where was God when little Angel let go of life yesterday?  Why this family and not another?

I am not God, so I can’t answer all the questions.  I do know God, however, so I can say this:  God was there.  He was with them as they crouched in fear, hearing the sounds of destruction coming for them.  He was there as those lives were taken and that baby was laid in a field.  He was there with Angel as she drew her last breath and went to join her family.

God has a plan

God loves each and every one of us.  He loves us in a way we may never understand, for His love is beyond understanding.  We never go through anything that God does not know about.  For some of us, that is comforting.  For others, those who do not know God’s love or cannot see it in their moment of darkness, may see it as a reason to blame God for what they see as a curse.

The truth is that we cannot determine if something is a blessing or curse at the time of its happening.  In every one of the tragic events of my life, God has woven His love throughout the experience.  Sometimes I couldn’t feel it at the time, but always, in looking back (or in looking up in the midst) I see Jesus.  He was there, and God’s fingerprints were everywhere.

Where was God when…

One of the darkest moments of my life was when my Mother passed away.  One of the most beautiful times of my life was when my Mother passed away.  What?  How can it be both?

Given 6 months to live after a cancer diagnosis, my mother managed to live 11 months.   Not only did she live that long, she went to WalMart only a few days before her death.  Having seen several cancer deaths, this was an unexpected blessing.  I stayed with them during this time, going home on some weekends to see my husband and daughter, to help take care of her.  We had a great time, one that can never be taken from me, during this.  We were out and about almost every day.  Many times you could find us shopping at WalMart and being silly.  We liked to make up languages to speak just to make heads turn.  There were hard times here, but the time spent together, the time to go over old pictures and hear old stories, the time to prepare — all of these were priceless.

I had gone home when I got the call that Mom was in the hospital.  The plan was hospice, but a football-sized, matastasized tumor in her stomach broke in two and the pain was unmanageable at home.  I was so grateful to have missed this moment with her.  She was in the hospital only a few days.  Watching her die, watching the pain and confusion in her eyes, watching my dad sobbing over her and telling her he’d marry her all over again, all of that was a deep, deep pain.  But through it all, God was there.  All the family was able to gather in her hospital room.  We sang hyms; we prayed; we cried; we hugged; we watched a beautiful woman slip away to glory.  She would not go until my second son was able to make it, so we were gathered around her bed, holding hands, as she escaped the bonds of her body and went to meet her Jesus.  It was awful!  It was beautiful!  It was priceless!

You see circumstances are simply that:  circumstances.  They do not determine much, but how we respond to them, how we look at them makes all the difference.  If I had not been looking for the God, if I had been focusing on the pain, I would have missed a beautiful thing.

God gives us free will and that brings a lot of pain when we choose sin.  But, even in all our willful mess, He came to give us a way to Him – because He LOVES us!  Love isn’t about feelings.  Feelings come and go.  God never goes.  He is always there, even in the middle of the biggest storm.  Look up into the eyes of Jesus. Raise your hand and ask Him to pull you up and walk with you back to the boat.

Do you see God’s hand in the hard times?

How do you feel about this post?  Some of you may feel differently.

Go back to your survival story and look for God’s fingerprints.   Share them here if you wish.

Can you “Praise Him in the Storm”?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHdcyue0bSw

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