Aftermath

 

Something that has been playing over and over in my head the past week or so is a song sung by Hillsong Worship.  Here is the link if you want to listen, but these are the words that struck me:

Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

Like a mighty storm
Stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

Take a minute and think about storms.

Think about the wind.

Thunder is loud and wind shakes the house.  Lightening makes the power go out and the rain drowns out all the noises we are used to hearing.  It is scary to be in the middle of a storm.

I do love a good storm.  I absolutely love watching the sky change color, and seeing the world in a new light as shadows are cast and clouds roll in.  Living in Michigan we get the extra privilege of watching storms roll in over the lake.  It’s amazing!  God’s creativity up close in an awesome display of power.  The wind has its way and nothing can stop it.

Trees down.  Roads blocked.  Power out.  All signs of great big and powerful storm.

We have 3 kids.  And every single one of them was afraid of storms at some point in their lives.  They probably still are; although 2 of 3 won’t admit it because they are big kids now! But, the third has no qualms about sharing her fears and running to us for refuge in the middle of the night.  She is quite comfortable throwing her hands up in the air, running to our room, and riding out the storm safe in our arms.

If we are being honest here; aren’t we all a just a little bit afraid of storms?

I think every single one us has prayed a prayer or sung songs about surrender.  We have all gone to the altar to give up ourselves.  But, have we really meant it?  Do we just say it/sing it and then go home and only let Him in part of the way?  Do we say to Jesus, “You can come in and have everything.  Oh, you wanted that too?  Maybe not yet; I want to keep this little part.  I will just keep this one little corner.  I will be in charge of this area and you can have EVERYTHING else.”  

I know I have.  I know I still do.

It’s really scary to give it all.  To lose control.  To lose yourself.  It’s just like a storm.

I do want all of me, and every part of my heart to be in line with His.  Fully surrendered, with every corner filled with His love and His spirit.  But, I can’t do it on my own.  It takes surrender.  It takes a storm.  A big and scary, knock the walls down, lose the power kind of storm.

I need the walls around my heart knocked down like the trees that fall in a thunderstorm.  My reliance has to be found in Jesus not in things, or people, or myself.  And, while the rain washes away what I saw as the only path in front of me I cling to Him.  My power can only come from a Savior who went to the grave and defeated death.  Any other power is not sustainable; especially when it’s from self-made connections that take me away from Him.

And, you know what?  It’s really scary!  No matter how much of big kid you are!

So, when I sing about surrender, and rushing winds, and storms I am really asking for Him to take away my hard and human heart.  I am asking to be consumed by Him; to let the rain fall and the storm wash away all of the parts of me that are not found in Him.  I am praying for a storm and a wind that sweeps away all of the things I have anchored down in my own strength.  I am admitting my fear of the storm.  I am admitting my need for the storm.  I am admitting my complete inability to weather it without Him.

But, when it’s all done; when the wind dies and the rain stops…it is gonna be something so beautiful.

Think about the aftermath of storm.  The fresh air.  The refreshed and vibrant colors of the trees, flowers, and grass.  The birds singing with complete abandon to their Creator.  The ground has it’s thirst quenched and there is an indescribable peace that lingers in the air.

I want to be found in the aftermath.  I want to be found in the knowledge that I am loved through the storm.  That I am chosen by the one who created the rain.  That the one who clings to me through the thunder and shelters me through the wind loves me so fiercely that I cannot be separated from Him.  That He wants all of me.  That He is willing to walk with me in my surrender, to hold me through the storm, and take me safely to the beauty of the aftermath.

So, I am going to choose happy today because His arms are wide open and waiting for me come running;  He is my refuge; I just need to be willing to admit my fear of the storm.

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Peaches

peaches_for_syrup

Stubborn.  Seriously, my youngest has got to be the most stubborn girl I have ever encountered.  She has always done things her own way, including the way she decided to come into the world.  At eight weeks early, in the middle of the night, and so fast we have no pictures to prove she actually came out of me, she started out calling the shots!  Yesterday was no different in the life of my Olivia.

The school offers breakfast in the morning for the kids that come early because their parents have to leave for work.  Olivia rides the bus in the morning and always has breakfast at home.  Well, at least that’s what I thought.  I found out yesterday, after reading an email that said she was overdrawn in her school account (she also takes cold lunch, so there is no reason for her to even use her lunch account), that my dear, sweet, Livi has been eating TWO breakfasts! Not only has she been getting a double dose of the most important meal of the day, she is getting it by eating PEACHES!

Those of you who know my Olivia, know two things about her:

1. She prefers to eat poptarts

and

2. She REALLY prefers to eat poptarts

Imagine my surprise, when I questioned her about the debt at school, and she told me it was because she was eating peaches and milk in the morning!  Seriously?!!  It is a fight to get this girl to eat anything that is not her norm.  By the way her norm includes; green beans, mashed potatoes, NO meat, a few select cheeses, and you guessed it poptarts.  Most definitely, not peaches!  Sometimes, I wonder how she survives!

I am guessing she gets her stubbornness from me.  I have been known to dig my heels in and not give an inch on several occasions; just ask my husband!  I am sure if you checked with my parents you would find that I gave them some headaches while I was growing up too (only when it came to my diet of course).  But, I just could not get over the fact that she was eating peaches!  I was happy she had made a healthy choice (as healthy as school peaches can be anyway) but why didn’t she just ask me?  Was it because she thought I would say no?  Or did she think I couldn’t help her get what she wanted?  Whatever it was, she was sure she could handle this breakfast issue all on her own.

This all got me thinking about the numerous times that I try to take care of things on my own.  Whether it’s because I think God is too busy dealing with other issues, or there are situations where I think I am the best person equipped to handle the situation; I admit I can be that stubborn girl who thinks she knows best.

Don’t get me wrong, I think stubbornness is a great quality to have when channeled in the right way.  This inherent determination, that Livi seems to have, has gotten her through the very challenging times she has already had to face in her young life.  But without surrender stubbornness can be a dangerous and isolating little game.  That is the game changer!  Surrender doesn’t negate determination.  Surrender brings us closer to the One who can get us through to the other side of what we are trying to do on our own.

My little girl could have avoided some consequences if she had just come to me and asked for peaches!  But she didn’t and she got into a little bit of trouble (as I tried to suppress my laughter)!  Sometimes, it’s as easy as asking for something we want and other times it’s a lot more complicated.  Today, I am going to choose happy because I have a little girl and a big God who are helping me see that there is freedom in surrender!