Monday, July 1, 2013

Riding Out the Storm

It's been a little stormy around here. In more ways than one. I'm not exactly sure when this particular one started brewing, but it seemed to come out of nowhere.

I had a truck full of happy boys, fishing poles, and tackle boxes. The sun was shining, and it felt good to get away. They couldn't wait to show me all of their favorite fishing spots! And I couldn't wait to spend a little time with just these guys...

But the further along Highway 51 we went, the darker the sky got. Pretty soon, giant rain drops were falling on the windshield and thunder was rumbling. In a matter of minutes, the heavens opened, and it was raining so hard that I almost had to pull over. It was disheartening, to say least. Here was my one chance to go on an adventure with my boys, and, today of all days, it had to storm. 

It's so easy to lose heart. I know firsthand. And I'm not just talking about our fishing trip.

You see, for the past month or so, S has had some very difficult days and nights. It has been trying in every sense of the word and incredibly reminiscent of some of the struggles during our first few months home, but different in that instead of being the size of a small 3 year old, now she weighs a whopping 50 pounds and is almost the same size as Palmer. {Holding a raging and hysterical "big girl" has proved quite a challenge.} This setback we are experiencing seemed to come out of the blue, just like that afternoon thunderstorm. We were making so much progress. She was learning, and I felt like we were making huge strides toward attachment. Until this latest storm...

Now, we are once again facing sleeping issues and behavioral problems, and for the past few days, S has shown an alarming emotional instability. I have no idea what triggered it, and I have no idea how to help her walk through it. I truly believe that she is being attacked, and I have no doubt that the spiritual warfare against this precious little girl of ours and, really, against our whole family has intensified tremendously over these past few weeks. And it has left us very much in a place of darkness, of confusion, and of discouragement. 

Back to our fishing trip. By the time we drove down the old, tree lined gravel road, it wasn't just pouring. It was hailing, and the sky was so gray, it almost looked like night time. I told the boys it was no use staying and that we should go home, but they had a slightly different perspective and a much different attitude. It's not the first time their eyes could see what mine couldn't. And in His great and tender mercy, the Lord used their hopeful hearts and this afternoon thunderstorm to uncover the true state of my own heart...

Thank Me for the very things that are troubling you. You are on the brink of rebellion, precariously close to shaking your fist in My face. You are tempted to indulge in just a little complaining about My treatment of you. But once you step over that line, torrents of rage and self-pity can sweep you away. The best protection against this indulgence is thanksgiving. It is impossible to thank Me and curse Me at the same time.

Web: Hey Mom! Fish aren't like humans! They like the rain.

Palmer: Yea Mom, we don't mind getting wet. It's just a little rain!

Hank: This is the best kind of fishing weather. Honest Mom. We don't mind at all.

Web: I think it's heading west. It looks like it's clearing up over that way.

Hank: I'm gonna look for a rainbow. I bet we'll see one.

Palmer: Come on Mom. PLEASE! Let's stay until it stops!

Barrett (the child after my own heart): Big Tunder scare me. Me wanna go home!

I understood how Barrett felt, and although this particular thunderstorm didn't concern me, the one raging at home and the one raging in my heart was a whole different issue. I know what it feels like to be scared, and I definitely understand wanting to go back to what is safe and comfortable. The thing is, with some storms you have no choice but to just ride them out. Most often, it's not as simple as turning around and going back...

With the exception of Barrett, all the boys wanted to stay and wait for this one to subside. Those serious eyes and imploring voices were so refreshingly earnest and full of hopeful anticipation that I couldn't resist their request. They had no doubt in their minds that this storm would pass and all would end well. They succeeded in convincing me to stay, and so we waited {and waited and waited} and watched as the wind howled and felt the thunder shake the truck and saw a magnificent lightning display. I wasn't sure it was ever going to let up...

But, eventually, we did see the sun peeping through the clouds. And soon enough, the rain let up to a drizzle, and the boys proved to be right. It was indeed the perfect kind of day for fishing. Within 15 seconds of their first cast, Palmer was already reeling in a nice size bass.

Palmer: Here Mom. Will you take it off for me?

And for a split second, I panicked. Did I remember how? Somehow I forgot that this was part of my job description - Momma to Four Fishermen must know how to take a fish off the hook! Thankfully, all those fishing adventures with my own Daddy paid off!

The fish were plentiful that afternoon, and even though we didn't find a secret stash of money in any of their mouths, we had a blast catching them and reeling them in (and untangling lines and trying to keep Barrett from getting hooked). And as the sunshine continued streaming though the billowy white mountains of clouds high above us, it almost looked like God was giving us a tiny glimpse of heaven. For the remainder of the adventure, we kept our eyes upwards looking for a rainbow. Although we never spotted one, we weren't disappointed. I didn't need to see a rainbow or money in a fish's mouth to know that His provision is always perfect and He always keeps His promises. The evidence is everywhere, and in typical fashion, my little guys were the ones to remind me just where to look! They told me from the get-go that they knew the very best spots, and they were right!!! 

...and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;

and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;

and hope does not disappoint,

because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

When we finally got home, the original storm that we had left behind had only seemed to have intensified. And for a few days now, the dark clouds are still hovering and the thunder continues to rumble. The rain continues to come down in torrents, and I don't have a clue when it's going to let up. Unfortunately, there is no long range forecast and no map to see how much longer this particular storm is going to last. For all I know, this is just a small storm preceding an even bigger one. Or maybe, just maybe, we're on the tail end of it and before we know it, it will all be behind us. Regardless, we will just keep our eyes upward and thank Him for the unbelievable privilege of being part of this crazy adventure. And with hopeful anticipation and hearts full of thanksgiving, we will watch the heavens open up and see His healing rain fall all around us. And we will learn to be grateful for this storm, because through it, He is providing just what our weary and thirsty hearts are desperate for. More of Him!

Here in this storm, I know my heart is being healed, my hope is being restored, and my mind is being transformed. And I believe He is doing the same for Sophi, for all of us!

And this storm will pass, and the sun will shine again. And more storms will come. I'm sure of that. And those will pass. In fact, they will all pass. Except for what is eternal, except for what really matters. And more than ever before, I long for that day when there are no more storms and no more tears and no more pain. And I know it will come, and when it does, I truly believe my voiceless little girl will be singing with the angels, perfectly healed and completely whole. 
In the meantime, we'll ride this one out, and we who have our voices will use them to praise the One whose light always shines in the darkest of storms, whose presence never leaves us and whose hands always steady us.

Thanking Me for trials will feel awkward and contrived at first. But if you persist, your thankful words, prayed in faith, will eventually make a difference in your heart. Thankfulness awakens you to My Presence, which overshadows all your problems.

Jesus Calling, Sarah Young

As we wait, will you join us in praying for the wisdom and direction we need to help Sophi continue learning and growing into the little girl God designed her to be? Will you pray for grace and patience to fill our home and for His love to abound?

If we go on obeying God, we shall find that 'light is sown for the righteous.' We are so impatient- "I thought God's purpose was to make me full of happiness and joy." It is, but it is happiness and joy from God's standpoint, not from ours. God always ignores the present perfection for the ultimate perfection. We bring God to the bar of our judgement and say hard things about Him- "Why does God bring thunderclouds and disasters when we want green pastures and still waters?" Bit by bit we find, behind the clouds, the Father's feet; behind the lightning, an abiding day that has no night; behind the thunder a still small voice that comforts with a comfort that is unspeakable.

Still Higher for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

When we got back that afternoon from our fishing adventure, there was a stack of dirty dishes in the sink and bottles that needed to be washed. So with my Bible opened to Micah 7:7-8, I tackled the dishes and had a great view of the storm out my kitchen window. {Thankfully, it seemed to have let up just a little, and she was happily riding her bike on the patio.} Since then, my Bible opened to these words - this incredible promise - has been a permanent fixture on my kitchen counter...

Maybe you are in the middle of your own raging storm. I'm sure it looks different from mine, but you probably feel the same way I do now and wonder if it will ever pass! May your heart find courage and comfort in these words as you ride out your own storm...

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy.
Though I fall I will rise;

Though I dwell in darkness,
the Lord is a light for me.



  1. Thank you for being so real! Praying for you all tonight!!

    1. Thanks Crystal! I saw your recent blog, and I'm excited for you guys! Praying for you too...