Thankfulness…Even Through the Storms…Can It Be?

The view in our back yard as the sun went down last night.
The view in our back yard as the sun went down last night.

What are you thankful for?  Facebook has a thing where every day in the month of November, people tell what they’re thankful for on their daily status.  My mind always goes first to God, family and friends.  Then I have to work at it the rest of the month to come up with creative things for my page.  I could say, “Today, I’m thankful for ice cream.”  I really am thankful for ice cream.  It makes me happy and tastes good.  However, who wants to hear about that?

A couple of weeks ago, we had our local elections.  Many of you probably did, too.  On Wednesday morning after the elections on Tuesday  as I was on my way to work, one of the local candidates was standing in his suit and tie on the street corner with a huge sign that said, “Thank You!”  Wow.  I was so impressed.  Out of all of the candidates who ran for various offices and others who promoted issues of interest to them; this was the only person that I saw actually taking the time to thank his voters.  I am sure there probably were some thank you’s extended that I didn’t see.  However, it was so abnormal in my mind that this man would be out so early in the morning to thank his voters.  All I could think was, his mother has to be proud!  I’m going to watch for that name to be running for president someday!

Last night, tornados hit the Midwest with force, killing some and robbing many of their homes and businesses. Some of our kids were here visiting while we watched the television to determine whether we were in danger or not.  I was getting texts and calls from out of town family telling us to pay attention…the storms were coming right towards us.  There was even a point in the evening that all of the sirens started going off to tell us to get to our basements and the T.V. started making a horrible emergency noise to alert us of the danger outside.  Luckily we were only inconvenienced and had to eat dinner in the downstairs bathroom—all six of us.  Others weren’t as lucky.  My prayers go out to them.

One thing that kept resonating in my thoughts through all of the evening was something the weather man said.  He kept repeating, “We in this area were much better off than the states west of us because we had rain recently where they didn’t.”

Apparently, the rain stabilizes the atmosphere and was helpful in keeping us safe from the threatening winds on the way.  Without the rain, the atmosphere west of us was volatile and much more susceptible to the dangers ahead. Thus, the winds and storms did way more damage there than here.  Wow.  Doesn’t that sound like another lesson from God?  Some of us who go through tough times—rainy seasons in life so to speak—get mad and turn our backs on God wondering why He would let these bad things happen to us.  Then there are those who have had a pretty quiet life, not much ever going wrong that freak out off of the freak out charts when a trial comes their way.  They haven’t had a lot of practice in dealing with storms in life to have learned how to trust God and stay focused when the rain and winds begin.  However, it’s the trials in life that prepare us for the storms ahead.  They teach us to stay calm, trust God and actually help to stabilize the situation as our faith grows through each circumstance.  Having been through some cloudy days, I can look back now and realize they were situations that God used to strengthen and stabilize my faith as I trusted Him.  Now I can face a storm with confidence, knowing that God will be there with me.

So like the politician, perhaps we should be standing on the street corners with a big Thank You! sign in our hands when the winds rage around us!  God understands where we are, where we’ve been and knows exactly what it’s going to take to get us to where we need to go.  The next time the storms rage and the rain pours, praise God.  In fact, maybe we should go out and dance in the rain with thanks and praise on our lips.  For we know that even though it is raining, the Lord is allowing valuable faith lessons to pour into our lives to prepare us for the days ahead.

Please join me in praying for those hardest hit last night in the storms. I pray that even as horrendous as it all may seem, that God might be glorified in the days ahead.  Let there not be anger from the lips of those affected; rather, thankfulness for the hidden blessings after the winds.  In this month of November, what are you thankful for?  Can you look back at rainy times in your life and understand now how they have helped stabilize your faith? Can you see new insight today that you didn’t understand then?  Please share with us!  In the meantime, have a great week and don’t forget to get out there and be a blessing!

1Peter 1:6-7   In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.


I’m So Busy, My Head is Spinning…Like a Whirlpool, It Never Ends…

Is that how that song goes?  I think it’s supposed to say, “I’m so dizzy, my head is spinning…” but I just threw in my own word to fit into my theme for today’s message!  That’s the beauty of being an author, you can make it say whatever you want it to say no matter if it is right or not!  I apologize but now you’re going to be humming that tune all day aren’t you?

Jim and I had our grandkids and daughter-in-law come to town this weekend for a much welcomed visit.  We loved catching up on what’s going on with their lives and seeing how much the kids have changed once again since our last visit.  The house was noisy and full of life for about 24 hours while they were here.  I was also dog sitting for some friends and throwing a puppy into the mix made it even more interesting.  On a side note, I have to tell you a funny story just because I’m a grandma and we do this kind of thing.  Brycen, my grandson has other grandparents that raise chickens.  He, my grand-daughter Kayla, and I took the dog for a walk and I was listening as the two conversed a few steps behind me.    Brycen asked Kayla who is two years old, “Did you know that chicken poop helps your garden grow?”  Kayla responded, “Yes.”  Immediately Brycen said, “No you don’t!”  We just all broke out into laughter…the kids are so much fun!

This morning, Jim left for work, the kids are back home doing their regular weekly activities and the dog went home yesterday too.  Here I sit, in my office…deafening quiet all around.  I just glanced at the news before I sat down to write and I was reminded of so much devastation in Colorado still after many days of fighting forest fires.  I saw three more guys were killed in Afghanistan this weekend.  Many in our area are without power and have been for days with this blistering heat.  There are people everywhere who planned for their daily routine to be happening this morning and much to their dismay, their circumstances have changed everything.  Some are running for their lives, grieving the loss of a friend or loved one, while others spend the day removing huge trees so they can get out of their house or get to work.

Life is like that isn’t it?  We can make all of the plans in the world and when it is all said and done, many get changed not by any doings on our part but because of our surroundings and happenings around us.  Some become whiners.  Others embrace the obstacles and tackle them one by one.  We can embrace the chaos around us and believe God has it all under control, or we can try to control things that are out of our control and be miserable.  There is nothing one can do when a fire comes raging down the mountainside behind your house other than get out of the way!   When loss occurs or obstacles block our paths, all we can do is trust that there is a reason for all of this chaos around us.  We may not understand or begin to comprehend the little part all of this plays in the big plan of our lives, but we need not worry or be afraid.  God sees all and He knows our suffering.  He will not allow anything to come our way that He won’t use for good as long as we believe in Him.

I feel a little weird, perhaps a little guilty, in a quiet house as I write this today.  However, I am reminded that I’m not writing as one who has never seen suffering, loss or had total chaos in my life.  I have been through fires of one sort or another in my lifetime as well as losing loved ones and had many things get in the way of what I thought was my plan.  I hope that I am coming with a message of hope to those who are passing through life’s fires.  Trust in God.  Depend on Him for everything today as you pass through the trials of life.  He is Faithful.  He is Loving.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  He is all you need to see this through.

Someday soon, you will once again have tranquility in your life as well.  The storms will have passed and you, like me, will be in a quiet house.  You may even feel guilty for having such peace when so many around you are in turmoil.  Bask in the quiet.  Renew yourself in God’s Spirit and Strength.  For there will come a time when all chaos once again breaks out around you and you will need that inner peace to get you through.  So if you have that feeling, “I’m so busy, my head is spinning,” stop and reflect.  What is it that is causing your head to spin?  Is it something that you have no control over and you just need to run or is it something that you can easily rid of your life and get back on the path?  The big thing is to not let your busy-ness consume your life so much that you lose focus.

What’s the saying when you’re on fire? Stop, drop and roll!  So when your life is raging out of control and you’re one who is trusting in God, I would think you should stop, kneel and pray! Then enjoy the peace and stillness that follows as God begins to remove the chaos and put out the fires in your life.  Or from the mouths of babes, “When life gets tough and only gives you chicken poop, plant a garden!”  Our time on this earth is too short to not go make the best of it despite our circumstances.  May God bless you and calm your world today.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

1Chronicles 28:20  And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.