As I sit in a quiet house and listen to the storm this morning, I keep thinking about “storms” in my life – both literally and figuratively.
I remember our trailer being flooded (a few times) when I was growing up. As soon as the downpour began, my dad would pace the hall, peek through the tiny back window, and watch the creek rise. I remember my grandpa wearing waders as he carried me to “higher” ground during one of the worst floods.
I’ve also had some figurative storms in my life. My dad’s sudden death at the age of 56 tops the list. Some storms I’ve weathered alone – or with a few friends – difficult times through which I have grown, but I am glad they’ve dissipated.
Yesterday, I was walking about an hour later than usual, and I could definitely see and feel the storm brewing as I crossed the Harmar Bridge. Part of me thought, “turn back.” The other part was secretly delighted I’d have an excuse to play in the rain! And, I did!
But, as I neared the gazebo along the Ohio River, I noticed a car following me. When I turned, the woman motioned for me to wait. She exited her car, and I recognized her as we’d met while serving together in Honduras on the same mission team. She said, “I was heading to school this morning and saw you walking in the rain, so I brought you an umbrella.” Really? She’s turned around while rushing to school, navigated the side streets, and ventured out in the rain to give me an umbrella? I was already wet – happily so – but I can’t tell you how much that bright yellow umbrella meant and means to me.
I tried to refuse her gift, but she insisted. The rain was a mere sprinkle by then, yet she thought I might need it as I finished my walk. Now, that umbrella is sitting beside me in my dining room as a reminder that we need “umbrellas” in our lives – people who are willing to come alongside us, love us, give us strength when we have none. People who offer a gift as Linda did this morning or who lend an ear for hours. In fact, just now my husband came flying down the stairs, keys in hand. He said, “Oh, I was just coming to get you!” He thought I was out walking in the storm, and he was coming to get me. See? We need “umbrellas” in this life.
All this storm talk sent me to Mark 4:35-41. Jesus and his disciples are in a boat during a storm. Jesus is sleeping through the storm, but his disciples awaken him because they’re frightened. Jesus first calms the storm, then turns and asks his followers two questions I often ask myself: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
I can’t help but think…ummmm…you were with Jesus, and you were scared because?!?! [Insert big sigh here.] I, too, am with Jesus. Why do I fear in the storms? Do I not have faith that He’ll bring me through by being my “umbrella” and surrounding me with “umbrellas” who love me? Hasn’t he helped me weather storms in the past? Admittedly, I have been experiencing some fear lately as I transition to being at home: finances (I have no salary this year), parenting (the weight of responsibility for my children’s education – spiritually and academically – since I’ve never taken responsibility for these before), and time management (wanting to do it all, but knowing I can’t and shouldn’t).
So, as the lightening flashes this morning, I am amping up my faith. Although I know a little fear is OK, I know my faith in Him and my prayers to Him are the consistent umbrellas that will bring me through daily – along with some awesome friends and two “awesomer” accountability gals.
What are your storms today? Are you scared? Pray. Read His Word. Know He’s God. And, find an umbrella – someone whom you can trust to love and stand with you through it.
(Note: My favorite “umbrella” just made me coffee:)