Waiting for Rain…

You all, we need rain.  Badly.  You can see the results of the lack of rain on most people’s lawns around here… especially mine.  It’s not pretty, you guys.  April has now passed and there was sadly no such thing as “April showers” this year.    Occasionally, we get a tiny little shower.  But most of the time, the rain they supposedly predict on weather forecasts never seems to come.  Meanwhile, I have friends in other parts of the country telling me it’s been raining every day where they live, and they are so over it.  I jokingly asked – or possibly even slightly begged – one of these friends the other day, if she could somehow send some our way.  If only it were that easy…

But on a serious note, isn’t it the same way in our spiritual walks quite often?  One person appears to be feasting while someone else feels like they are fasting.  It’s like walking through a spiritual desert, longing for some word from God, the source of Living Water, to quench our parched souls.  Another person is just bubbling over with all the Lord has been teaching her lately, while another opens her Bible for what feels like months on end of seemingly no real dynamic connection with Him.

There seems to be this commonly held belief that every day walking with God should leave us feeling so close to Him, that all we are constantly learning from Him just joyfully spills over onto everyone around us.  But boy, is that not the case at times, at least for me.  Dry times seem to come more often than those times of spiritual refreshing and renewal.   So how do we endure those dry times well when we are undoubtedly faced with them?  I’ve been learning a few things through my own dry times lately that I hope I can encourage you with today.

1. Dry times come to all of us. And don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.  No matter how much it seems like someone has got it all together, has a way more dynamic relationship with Christ than you do, or has so many exciting things going for her that you can’t imagine her life being anything but perfect – don’t let what you see on the outside fool you.  Everyone goes through loneliness, questioning, and times when God seems absent… even those people who never share about them.

2. Dry times are different from dream pauses. Sometimes, because dreams of mine for the future are on hold for the present, it’s easy to think that God isn’t really speaking to me right now.  Instead, I must remember that what He has to show me today may be right in front of me in the everyday mundane and smaller picture, instead of just looking at the bigger picture and saying He’s being silent.

3. Dry times are better endured together.  I know for me personally, the need is great, particularly during those harder seasons in life, to have friends nearby who can remind you of Truth when you most need to hear it – even when you don’t want to hear it.  We all experience seasons that are unique to us, and since we all won’t be in a dry season at the same time, those of us who aren’t walking through deserts can be great encouragers for those who feel like they are.

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4. Usually the only way out is through.  Life is just plain hard sometimes, and often God does seem far away.  We send up repeated prayers and feel like they may never be answered.  We read our Bibles and don’t take away half of what we wish we did.  Yet, God’s promised that His Word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11), and that He will reward those who remain faithful to Him (Hebrews 11:6).  Keep pressing in and stay faithful, trusting He is working something good even when you have no idea what He’s up to and don’t understand His plan.

5. You never know when the rain might fall. Just like I’ve learned from watching the local weather forecasts, no one can really predict the future when it comes to rain.  Even the supposed “experts.”  Keep a positive attitude, remembering that He loves you and is with you even when you don’t sense His presence.  One day, perhaps when you least expect it, you’ll have some amazing and life changing moment with your Heavenly Father.  And like the beautiful rainbow that comes after an intense storm, the dry dark time in your life will result in an even more amplified and stunning encounter with the One who truly does know you best.

Hang in there, friend.  The rain is coming.  I’m believing it for both of us today.

christydsiggy2013

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The Beauty of Silence…

I’ve got a confession to make.  I’ve come to the realization that I think I’ve got a “frenemy.”  Maybe you too would be honest enough to admit that you have one of those in your life?  Both a friend and an enemy… the oxymoron of complicated relationships.  My frenemy, however, is not a person – but a spacial awareness in life that I find myself facing regularly and trying to battle through.  And that, my friends, is silence.

Silence is this awkward thing that not many of us seem to have much of these days.  This world is loud and clamors for our attention at every moment of every day.  From the constant invitations to connect that are coming to us all day long through our phones and social media, to the faster paced lifestyle that our grandparents never could have imagined, our calendars are full and so are our moments.  I’ve come to think it’s no wonder that when silence does present us with an invitation to sit with us for a while, it’s so easy to ignore it or push it away entirely.   It takes discipline, and I admire those people I’ve met who have developed that in this area.

I’m so guilty of pushing away the silence now more than ever.  Not only are my days currently full of work and parenting solo, but the little people in my home don’t really allow for me to have that much time to think quietly.  From the time their feet hit the ground in the morning, there are constant demands, giggles, and commentaries about their lives.  And when their feet get back into their beds at night, my mind is often so ready for some adult conversation, that a show or some time on social media is way more inviting to me than being quietly alone with my thoughts.  Furthermore, when you’ve been through grief and loss, thoughts may pop up at times that aren’t welcome where silence abounds, making that silence even a bit scary.

But recently, I started realizing what a disservice I was doing myself if I didn’t intentionally make time for quiet moments throughout my day.  I cannot be intentional about the way I live out my days if I don’t have time to think through the decisions I will make for those days.  I cannot move forward if I cannot have time to process the past.  I cannot reach my goals and dreams if I don’t have any time to think about why and when I want to accomplish them.  And most importantly, I cannot have enough time to spend with my Savior if I don’t allow silence to be a regular part of my day, where I can stop talking and just listen for His still small voice that isn’t often heard in the noise.

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Mother Teresa said, “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”   

And so, I’m choosing to embrace the silence – even when it hurts, when it makes me feel isolated, and when it would be so much easier to keep drowning out.  Because if God is the friend of silence, then I need to make silence my friend too.

And after all, isn’t a friend way more fun to have along than a frenemy?

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Thanksgiving blessings…

Just like that, another Thanksgiving is upon us.  (Does anyone else feel like this year flew by?) For those who have experienced loss, this can be such a bittersweet time of counting our blessings, yet feeling that ache of missing those no longer with us that churns in our hearts a little stronger around holidays.  We are definitely feeling it, but there is still so much to be grateful for, and I always want to try … {…Read More}

When the carving brings hope…

A few weeks ago, we sat down like so many other American families this time of year, to invest a night in the activity of carving pumpkins.  Now, you must understand that I make this incorrect assumption every year when we buy pumpkins and plan our carving night… that is, I tell myself that my kids are old enough to do the carving now.  I know.  Faulty.  But to justify my thoughts, my kids do … {…Read More}

The beauty of the slow brew…

I will never forget the way our house used to smell each morning after I brewed a pot of coffee. It wasn’t just any old brand of coffee, either. This was coffee made of rich Ethiopian beans that we would get through a company supporting fair trade and small business opportunities in developing countries. And, as an extra bonus, five dollars of every bag bought went to help fund our pending adoption. B never really enjoyed … {…Read More}

Why we should all keep walking…

I don’t know what it is about walking, but it’s really enjoyable for me. And I feel like I don’t do enough of it. Walking is an easy task in and of itself, but it can sometimes be laborious too. You can set out for a walk eager to get some exercise, and come back home exhausted due to the length of the walk you took. Of course, now that I’m trying to train for … {…Read More}

When birthdays become life lessons…

Calling all the mamas out there today… Yes, you, with the child you feel like you are constantly disciplining for the same old reason.  The one who wears you out with the way you have to stay on top of them with a balance of discipline and love, wishing you could just love without the discipline for just one day.  Isn’t disciplining so exhausting?  It wears me out and makes me long for a day … {…Read More}

Like a conquering hero…

  Last weekend, the kids and I got tickets to go watch our local orchestra perform for next to nothing.  We got great seats and sat back to listen to an amazing performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony… which, in case you didn’t realize, is actually more than the “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” part we all know well.  70 whole minutes, in fact.  While the kids started squirming a bit, I tried to follow the … {…Read More}

When loneliness becomes a gift…

I’m back.  But it feels like I should write that as, I’m baaaaaaack.  Because it seems like forever since I’ve written a blog post.  I’ve missed it, not because anyone out there really needs to read what I have to say, but because I feel like I need to write.  It’s this push in my heart, but there are seasons and breaks and busyness and things that get in the way. For us, it was … {…Read More}

A call to gratitude (and a book review)

My least favorite time of year, when it comes to parenting my kids, is when the toy catalogs come out.  Right around when the holiday decorations start being seen around town, our mailbox starts overflowing with its own décor – catalogs galore.  And not just any catalogs, but catalogs that appeal to little people with big eyes.  Eyes that are prone to see all that they don’t have, that their friends do. We are blessed … {…Read More}