Month: August 2018

Bring the Rain


Yesterday, my husband and I were looking through boxes trying to put our hands on a very important document. Unfortunately, that document is still M.I.A. right now, but in the process I came across a box of old photos. I’m not sure about you, but I love nostalgia, those walks down memory lane through pictures. Some were taken when we were dating, some from our wedding, and others from when the boys weren’t yet old enough to walk or talk. I might have gotten a little teary-eyed a time or two. What I kept thinking, however, was how much more simple life was then…

Life before the rain came.

If you would have told me when those pictures were taken that our lives would be in the place they are now, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Maybe I would have denied it, or maybe I would have become crippled with fear, not wanting to move forward into a future with a sign flashing, “Pain Up Ahead. Proceed with Caution.”

The truth is, whether we realized it or not, we have been preparing for these storms long before they came crashing in, unannounced. We were preparing for it back when those pictures were taken. Back when life was simple and much more carefree.

There is a passage in Luke that reminds me of this, and you probably are pretty familiar with it yourselves. You might recognize it more from the children’s song. It goes like this:

“The wise man built his house upon the rock.

The wise man built his house upon the rock.

The wise man built his house upon the rock.

And the rain came tumbling down.

Oh, the rain came down and the floods came up.

The rain came down and the floods came up.

The rain came down and the floods came up.

And the house on the rock stood firm.” 

I’m not patting ourselves on the back by claiming to be wise. What I am saying is that preparation for a storm begins long before it hits. Think about it, you can’t wait until the eye of a hurricane is hovering over your house and then start boarding your windows and collecting batteries, candles, water, and all the essentials to ride out the storm. Those things are done in advance.

Spiritually, it’s how we live in advance that determines how we weather the storm. It’s those early morning times with the Lord over cups and cups of coffee, before the rat race of the day begins. It’s those times of praying, pouring out your heart to the Lord. It’s the times when your prayers seem to bounce right off the ceiling and you wonder if it even matters that you voice them. But you do it anyway. It’s taking your kids to church when you doubt that all the effort just to get there is worth it. It’s loving people who are unloveable. It’s gritting your teeth through tough days, and pushing through while all you can manage to pray is “help!” It’s remaining faithful when you want to give up. It’s telling God everyday, “I trust you.”

Serving Jesus in the daily grind and the mundane. Doing what is right when it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Staying the course when everything is going right and it doesn’t feel like you “need” God as much (LIE!). These are the preparation days for the storms. Deciding to serve the Lord NOW before the storms come.

Those pictures were the simple, day-in, day-out times. Life was good. We didn’t know the pain of losing children. We hadn’t been beaten by tough winds and heavy rain. We hadn’t yet faced all the pain that has come into our lives this past year. But I’m thankful that we’ve been building our house upon the Rock this whole time. The rains have come and beat upon our house, but it’s still standing. We’re not the same people as the ones in those pictures. We’re stronger in many ways, and our desire is to trust God more fully than we ever have,  with hands and arms wide open. With unclinched fists.

There’s a reason God doesn’t show us the bumps, roadblocks, and detours up ahead. He doesn’t give us a forecast of furious storms brewing. We’re simply not strong enough to be entrusted with that knowledge. But He is, and He is calling you to a life of faithfulness now, in the calmness of your life. He’s the one who will carry you through the storm, who will strengthen you in the midst of it, and who will bring you out on the other side, stronger than you were before. Not only that, He can take the wreckage of your storm’s aftermath and paint a beautiful rainbow up against the darkest sky. He can use your storm, and He will use it to bring glory to Himself.

If God has received any glory, attention and honor through our journey so far–if even one person has been pointed to Jesus through our storms- then the pain is worth every second. That’s extremely difficult to say and hasn’t been easy to learn. But if pain is what it takes for people to know Him, then…

Jesus…..bring the rain. 

Let’s Be Honest


The other day, I was having a conversation with a close friend. One of those good, heart-to-heart talks that all of us girls need from time to time–you know the ones. About halfway through, she gave me a sincere and humbling compliment. Her words were, “You don’t act like you have it all together, and that makes me feel like I can come to you with anything.”

Wow. Before you start accusing me of getting a big head, understand how undeserving I felt hearing that. Mostly because I know how many past times I’ve tried to “have it all together.” It’s exhausting, and since going through our losses, I’ve decided to give up trying. Why? Because I definitely do NOT have it all together, and I believe there is power in transparency and bearing each other’s burdens.

If you look through Scripture, you’ll find pages upon pages of imperfect people. One of my favorite passages is 2 Corinthians 11. If we were at a modern day anonymous meeting, these verses would be the point where Paul stands up, introduces himself to the group, and begins to explain his weaknesses.

“Hi, I’m Paul. I’ve been imprisoned, flogged, exposed to death, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked three times, constantly on the move, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger at sea, in danger from false brothers. I’ve gone without sleep, food, water, and have been cold and naked. I have been persecuted for the sake of the gospel. I have a thorn in my flesh that won’t go away. I’ve got problems.”

He’s not the only one…

Eve struggled with temptation and gave in (thanks, Eve).

Sarah was barren.

Leah wasn’t as pretty as her sister Rachel, and not as loved either.

Bathsheba had an affair with King David, and she lost her husband and her son who was conceived in adultery.

Esther was an orphan, raised by an uncle, and had the responsibility of saving her entire Jewish people at the risk of her own death.

Ruth and Naomi were both widowed.

Mary was a pregnant, unwed teenager.

There was the lady who bled for twelve years, the widow who lost her only son, the woman at the well who was searching for love and life, and Martha who worried too much about things that didn’t matter that much.

Those are just some of the women, and if I listed all the other examples of men and women who had stressful, life-altering problems, I could fill up the pages of a book. So why did God include all of these broken people from one cover of the Bible to the other? One reason, I believe, is to remind us that we are in good company. We all have our problems and we have a deep need for Him. Our weaknesses, stresses, and brokenness are constant reminders that we are never at a time that we do not need Him.

On our good days–we need Him.

On our bad days–we need Him.

On all our in-between days, we need Him just as much.

And we also need each other. Why do we spend so much time trying to convince others that we don’t have problems, knowing that couldn’t be more untrue? Take a few minutes to scroll through your newsfeed and you will find that most people only post the pictures that portray something happy. We try a new Pinterest cookie recipe and post a picture of perfectly delicious cookies, while the first batch we burned is behind us in the trash. It didn’t make it to the picture because it wasn’t perfect. Our kids are doing something cute? Let’s post it but delete the 100 takes before where everyone is crying or picking their noses.

Life isn’t picture-perfect. It’s messy, hard, and sometimes brutal. Everyday, people all over the world are given bad news, stressed about work, going through divorce, dealing with sickness, experiencing the pain of loss, and a myriad of other problems. No one has it all together. And no one is without a need for the Lord.

So let’s be honest. Instead of pretending, let’s take our masks off and be transparent. Let’s make ourselves approachable and available, willing to get our hands dirty by offering to uphold each other when life is messy. And while we’re being honest….

Hi, my name is Amy. I’m a perfectionist, worry too much sometimes about others’ opinions of me, and I sometimes struggle with believing I am enough. Everyday, I miss my babies, and because of my losses I can sometimes be crippled by anxiety. I need Jesus every single day of my life. If He doesn’t help me, I’ll fail. Without Him, there is nothing good about me. And finally, I do NOT have it all together.

That’s me being honest. Now it’s your turn.