Friday, September 06, 2013

Be still... as the storm passes by....

 Well, it's been one of those weeks... the kind where you feel like nothing has really gone right, and now you're behind on the things you were supposed to do, so next week already feels not that great.  Actually, it's kind of been that way this whole last month.  Whenever we get away (vacation, home assignment, even a date night) for any amount of time, I have a habit of assessing my life and making plans of how things can change so they can be better.  So... being 'away' for 3 months meant I came back with lots of plans to make my life better... intense Scripture study, daily journaling and prayer time, more activities with the boys, consistent dates with Brian, more time with friends, new ideas for church, studying Japanese every day... and of course, the majority of those have not happened. :)
So after a few weeks of Brian working extra long hours away from home, car troubles, new busier schedules with school starting, etc.,  it's easy to look back on those 'plans' and feel like a complete failure.  But last Monday, God gave me an incredible gift.  I was letting the stress of the last few weeks get to me a little too much, and my wonderful husband recognized this and kicked me out of the house for a few hours... isn't he great? ;)
I had a few errands to run and then I wanted to just spend some time alone with God... it was a desperate hunger for His peace and understanding in the midst of just normal, crazy life.  So after my errands were finished, I went to a favorite coffee shop but it was closed. :(  Plan B led me to get coffee to-go and walk across the street to sit on the beach for a while.  We've had an unusually dry summer, so my heart sank as I walked closer to the beach and saw rain storms approaching.  I almost cried... I thought, 'God, you know I need time to sit, pray, read my Bible... even though I know we need rain, why does it have to rain right now?!?'  But it wasn't raining yet, so I found a covered bench, pulled out my Bible and sat down with my coffee.  And the most amazing thing happened... I literally watched rain storms blow by for over an hour... and they never came inland.  It was definitely raining on the ocean, and I never felt one drop.  First of all, this meant the old hymn 'Til the storm passes by' was running through my head the entire time... I mean, how can you sit and watch storms literally pass by and not sing that song? But in addition to that, I had a wonderful hour of being still with God, listening, praying, reading Scripture, and coming away very refreshed... it was absolutely amazing.  And when I got back to my car, it started raining. :)

But of course, real life started again the next day, and it's been a week of continued car problems, more long hours of work for Brian, a cultural blunder for me, frustrating language lessons, and the list goes on.   But God continues to remind me of that hour on the beach, when the storms were literally passing by.  So many times I am frustrated because MY plans don't go the way I think they should... but when I give everything to God - my plans, my time, my family, everything - he amazes me every time.  If I give him time every day to be still and listen, to pray for the people He has put in my life, to study Scripture, He will help me get everything done that needs to be done.  When my focus is on Him, I won't feel guilty or defeated about stupid things I said or did or what I think others think of me.  Even though it's been a crazy week, God has given me reminders each day of His love for me, how He's working around us, and how He can make the storms pass by.  We'll continue to make mistakes as foreigners and feel frustration in language lessons... but He's right there with us, providing peace, granting wisdom, and giving us exactly what we need at the moment... like amazing boys who make us smile and exquisite flowers on the walk to the bus stop. :)

'Be still, and know that I am God.' Psalm 46:10

'The Lord sits enthroned over the flood.' Psalm 29:10

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