That Friend

Do you know that friend that always has a major crisis going on in his or her life? Every time you talk, their ongoing struggles consume the conversation? And all you want to say is “Get over yourself. You have made it through worse situations and frankly, there are people with even more difficult struggles”. Well, what happens when “that friend” is you?

What happens when you are the one that feels like you are a burden to the people around you? You feel like a Debbie Downer because every time you talk to them or send them a text, it’s about yet another thing you are going through? Right now, I am “that friend”.

Since last June, I have been working with a Counselor on multiple traumas I have experienced throughout my life and although the work done and the Counselor himself are extraordinary, it is completely overwhelming and exhausting.  I get so lost in, not in reliving the trauma, but the years it has stolen from me. Years of anger, depression, oppression, bad decisions that have kept me from the truth and the promises I have been afraid to pursue.

There are mornings that the healing pushes me to pursue God’s truth and His promises for me; and then, there are mornings—like this morning—when it takes everything in me not to call out of work. When I finally willed myself out of bed, instead of putting on my face of fortitude, I didn’t have the energy to put anything on my face at all.  I wanted so bad to reach out to my friends to ask them to pray for me because the weight was too much to bear. I started typing the text, but quickly deleted it as I remembered that just a couple of days earlier I had requested prayer for another crisis that was weighing me down.

Instead of reaching out to my friends as I wanted to, I chose to turn on the Christian radio station to tune out the chatter in my head. As soon as I heard the first song come on, I knew the Lord had taken over the song selection and was my very own DJ. Song after song, I felt the burden that was weighing me down lift right off of me. Song after song, I was reminded that I was not alone.

I was reminded that instead of keeping me from God’s truth and His promises for me, anger and all of the emotions I have felt for 30 years were protecting me from even darker roads than the ones I had travelled. That when I fixed my eyes on Him, I had finally found everything I needed. He lifted my soul and opened up my eyes. He is rewriting my story and nothing could be better.

This healing journey I am on is a difficult one and I know there will be tons more of good and not so good days ahead. But as I listened to the playlist on the radio, I realized that my angst not to text my friends was not because they wouldn’t be encouraging; the angst was the Lord prompting me to reach out to Him. In my fear of being “that friend”, I was reminded that Jesus was the only friend I needed.

Shelter from the Storm

The storm raged. The rain poured. The thunder roared. The lightning filled the sky. Nevertheless, she had no trouble falling asleep; it was late and she needed rest. Not long after, the room seemed warm. She thought to adjust the thermostat or turn on the fan, but not even a warm spell could fully disturb her slumber. Despite the warm temperature, her body was comfortable and at peace. She removed the top comforter, rolled over, and nuzzled into her soft bed.

When she awoke the next morning, only a remnant of the prior night’s storm remained. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, a new day had begun. As she looked around her room, she noticed the clock was blinking 4:37; evidence that the storm was indeed bad enough to cause the electricity to go out and return while she slept. She immediately thought of the warm spell which had attempted to disrupt her rest. “That must’ve been why I was so warm”, she thought. She then heard a soft whisper, Though the raging storm scare and even cause you discomfort, rest in Me. I will hide you in my arms and the storms of this world will not disturb your slumber. She was taken aback by such words of comfort and security.

Once again her Heavenly Father had used a storm to bring her a message of assurance, joy, and above all peace. He reminded her how “He made the storm be still” (Psalm 107:29) and, if she would seek Him as her refuge, He would be her ever shelter from the storm.

Peaking Through the Clouds

Guest Blogger: Brian Stortz

Have you ever experienced pain in your life?  Maybe it was grief that came with the loss of a loved one or some disheartening news from a boss about the future of your job.  Maybe it was a dreaded diagnosis from a family physician.  Either way, the storm clouds can come into our lives without warning and our hearts can ache.

For those of you who do not live in Florida or who have not kept up with the weather, we have been experiencing the storm bands of tropical storm Isaac all day.  They can be very sporadic with the sun shinning one minute and it pouring so hard the next that if a frog opens his mouth, he could drown.  While the weather can have a mind of its own and be unpredictable at times, I believe we can also relate its behavior to our own lives.

The clouds give way to tears and it appears that our world is falling apart.  We cry out to God and ask Him to save us. We feel better and the sun begins to come out in our lives, sometimes momentarily. Then suddenly we remember the loss or the news and another band of storms comes rolling through.  This cycle can continue making us feel as if there is no hope; as if we won’t make it in this life.  When we are in a storm, all is dark around us and it appears as if the rain engulfs us for miles and miles.  However what we can’t see, which can be seen on a radar image, is that just around the corner is the sun!  It is ready to peak its warm glowing head out of the clouds and illuminate our lives.

The Psalmist also faced such circumstances and wrote the words found in Psalms 30:5b “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  What situation are you facing today?  Does it seem that the dark clouds have overtaken you and that rain is coming down all around you?  Do you feel that you are drowning and no one cares?  Just remember that despite the darkness of the clouds, God still hears our cry and rescues us.  Psalm 145:19 says “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”  Know that He will part the clouds and just around the corner the sun will be bursting through!

Free to Dance – Day 16

She stood mesmerized by the lightning storm that filled the night sky. No rain. No streetlights. No car lights. Just lightning. Flashing continuously without a care. No rhythm. Just flashes of light.

As she gazed out, she felt His strong and warm arms pull her close to Him from behind. She loved His embrace. The lightning storm seemed brighter, stronger. Slightly more frightened, she drew deeper into His arms.

You seem so far away. More distant with each flash of lightning. Are you okay?

“I wonder if I could ever be as free as lightning? Free to dance wherever I pleased. Filling the dark sky with my brightness without a care of who I would disturb.” She replied.

The things that flow from that sweet mind of yours. So unique. Do you know that is why I love you?

She couldn’t see His face, but she could feel His smile through His words. She let out a small giggle and said, “only You could!’

You still believe that?

She didn’t reply. Both still amazed by the light show on display, He continued.

Your heart was never whole. The pain you are now feeling are the cracks being filled. The love you never felt, you are now feeling. The loss you never knew is now real. It was never my intention to hurt you.

But she was hurt…a strong ray of light flashed, filling the sky and penetrating her heart.

You may have held on too tight this time, but you will learn to hold with a looser grip. 

He could feel her trying to pull away, but He had to let her know how much He loved her.

Only I know the pain and scars you carry. I know it makes it difficult to trust, but you can trust Me.

Once He felt her struggle lessen, He pulled her close once again.

You can trust Me. Believe Me. I will never allow anything that would tear you down. Even if it hurts horribly, you will grow from it.

You question my motives, but I see the larger picture and the war down the road. The battles you will fight, will require you to fully trust in Me. You will need a full armor of what only I can give. Your life is a constant battle, but you are one of the few I can trust to handle such things.

I see your strength and perseverance. You are far better than you were yesterday. And tomorrow you will be better than you were today. Lean on Me. Trust in Me. Love on Me, but most importantly, let Me love on you! Be free to receive. Be free to let go. Be free in all you do…knowing if the joys of today are not the joys of tomorrow, it does not make them less joyful. There are new joys everyday!

Protect your heart, sweet one. The actions of today may prolong unnecessary pain. Pain I only intended for a short while. Please don’t extend it any longer than it needs to be. You know what to do to guard your heart. Just trust your heart because I live there. I will give you the wisdom you need. Just remain in Me and I will remain in you.

She no longer felt His arms around her, but she knew He hadn’t left her. She continued to stare at the flashing night sky. Now smiling because somehow she knew, the lightning wished it was as free to dance and to shine as bright as her heart did tonight!