A couple of months ago my sweet, rowdy, yet contemplative six year old was sitting by the window watching the rain.
He, of course, wanted to play outside. He always wants to play outside. Rain, snow, sweltering heat, no matter. And I usually have no objections, but this was a thunder storm so I had to refuse.
Joe always jokes that, if anything ever happened to us, Judah would keep the other kids alive with his foraging skills. He is rough around the edges sometimes, but he is fiercely loyal. He's outdoorsy and creative and he's a make-it-happen kind of guy, like his daddy.
He sat there frowning, obviously not enjoying my "no" and staring outside.
"Mom, what are we going to do to stop the rain?"
Oh, my sweet Judah.
This is a hard lesson to learn. It's one that many adults still haven't quite mastered.
"Well, baby, we can't stop the rain", I said. "That's not how it works. It's hard when we don't have control over things, isn't it? But we don't decide when it rains or when it stops raining. Only God can do that".
He didn't really seem satisfied with that nugget of wisdom. ;)
But, again, most adults aren't really happy about not being able to control things, either.
I am one of them.
But what I wanted to tell him, what most adults probably really need to hear, what I hope he will understand one day, is that most of the time,
The rain is not about you.
Most of the time, God is doing something bigger, for a greater purpose that we can't see. The rain is for someone or something, no doubt. God doesn't act without purpose.
And, sure, sometimes, it's for you or about you.
But most of the storms...most of the struggle, most of the inconvenience, most of the things that offend us, most of the things that makes us grumpy have very little to do with us.
I wonder how we would respond differently if we could remove ourselves from the equation. What if we walked away from the window and did something productive? What if we thanked God for the rain and enjoyed the beauty in it, even if it's not what we had in mind?
As a follow up to my post about fear, I am posting this.
A commitment to write more in 2016.
Sometimes fear prevents me from writing or from clicking "publish" because I want it to be perfect every time.
And so, it might not always be on this blog, but I am going to write more this year. I have had this nudging in my spirit for quite some time.
I have been a lover of words for all of my life. I am moved by so many authors and stories and quotes and I have sensed that God is urging me to use the written word (maybe spoken word?) to serve Him.
It's one of those yeses that I don't really understand. There are so many others who are more qualified and who have amazingly beautiful words.
But here we are.
I have asked Him how I will do this and I don't have a clear itinerary. I have asked Him "why?"
...and His simple answer was "Because I have something to say".
Use my words, Lord. Be near.
Fear can always find me.
Ever since my dad died, twenty-two years ago, fear has lived in my closet.
Fear doesn't surprise me most of the time. Most of the time it's like my shadow...walking along beside me. Relentless.
It's there for all my daily tasks, nagging at me.
In the parenting - telling me that I'm failing.
In my marriage - trying to convince me I'm not enough.
In my friendships - reminding me that vulnerability is dangerous.
In my car - showing me dark, detailed scenarios.
In my attempts to minister to people - laughing at my weak faith.
Even in prayer - whispering lies and doubts.
And then sometimes it sneaks up on me. I walk around the corner and it jumps out in front of me with a new threat that I'm not prepared for.
I'm guessing fear might have taken up residence in some of your homes, also?
I confess it often and I got the best encouragement from the Lord through the last priest I spoke with.
He told me to look to Our Lady when the fear begins lurking.
God gave her a seemingly impossible task: Be the Mother of the Messiah.
It was a task that would bring her great joy and also grave sorrow.
Was fear sitting beside her as Gabriel spoke? As she knocked on Elizabeth's door? As she and Joseph made plans to travel to Bethlehem?
Was fear tapping on her shoulder as she rode on the back of the donkey? Waiting for her in the corners of the stable?
Surely it was pulling at her veil when she ran into the temple, wondering if He was lost.
It had to be sitting with her at the foot of the cross.
I have no doubt that fear was always grasping for her attention, reaching for her hand, trying to get her to look into it's ugly eyes.
But she didn't look to fear, she looked to Him.
And she said yes.
Fear was probably beside her, but instead of listening to that liar she listened to the One who is able to do all things, to the One who would give her all she needed, and said "be it done to me". Whatever it is.
Whatever crazy thing you ask, Lord: Yes.
Whatever you want me to do. Wherever you want me to go. Whomever you want me to love. Whatever you ask me to sacrifice.
No matter what trial lies ahead, You will be there and You will be enough.
The answer is just Yes. Be it done.
We don't have time for fear. Our life is but a breath (Ps 144:4) and You are the oxygen. Give us eyes to see that You are everything.