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Posts Tagged ‘rain’

You know the word “ford,” right?  Not the pick-up truck.  As in a river.  It’s the shallow area where one can safely cross a river.  To have a ford, you need a river.  A river is a depression in which water flows.  So you need a depression, and water, and then you need the shallows.  Read on. 
 
My oldest younger brother moved out last month, into a condo.  Tonight for the first time I got to see it with furniture in it.  Well, furniture and boxes and a general mess upstairs.  He managed to fill the entire place remarkably well.  So my visiting sister and I helped unpack for a while.  He has a skylight, on which our majorest Autumn Rain of the season was pattering peacefully. 
 
After an hour and a half of organizing and throwing things away, we decided we were hungry.  So we piled into my brother’s little white car that, due to a belt problem, squeals wildly whenever he shifts from reverse to drive.  The rain still came down, and when we got to KFC for their $3.99 colonel strips deal, there was a miniature river glimmering in the parking lot lights.  So our good brother dropped us off at the door.  My sister and I, we were wearing shoes not made for wading.  We wouldn’t even walk through the wet grass.  So we were grateful. 
 

Our brother’s renter met us there a little after 9 o’clock, and after my brother prayed, “Thanks for the chicken,” we finished our meal.  The employees swept and stacked chairs on tables around us, even though they close at ten.  Anyway, we were ready to leave and the rain had let up so my sister and I thought we could jump the smaller river.  We stood on the edge, and judged.  I teased that my good brother might carry us over, or lay down his hoodie for us.  There was no jumping.  We would splash water all over our poor feet.  So we moved upstream to search for a ford.    

Which is when my brother decided to be the ford.  He put his two well-shoed feet in the water, and we stepped one foot at a time across the current.  It was a marvelous adventure, and we were quite dry.  Heroe brother to the rescue! 
 
The only time we were really wet was when we got into my car to go back to our house.  My car leaks.  See, when I got it several years ago the windshield was cracked.  And the dealer promised replacement as a condition of sale.  So he sent his pathetic contract crew to do it.  They didn’t come, and then they came the wrong time, and then they came with the wrong windshield so they came the next day with the right one.  And finally I had a windshield, but my confidence was duly shaken.  And as soon as it rained I realized I was justified.  My windshield leaks at the seams.  Maybe my car leaks in other ways, too.  In fact I know it leaks through the rubber seal around the door on the passenger side, and it might leak through the sunroof, too (yes, even when it’s closed).  So my seat was wet, and the dashboard dripped on my sister’s foot. 
 
Safe and dry now, we’re at home.  My parents were asleep early, the house dark at the remarkably early hour of 10:30.  And I trust my brother is safe, even though he was going to investigate several police cars with flashing lights near his condo.  It’s a nightly occurrence there.  He and his roommate need prayer for safety and that their neighborhood will be influenced with the gospel.  It can happen. 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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Friday was one of those days in one of those weeks from one of those months.  My closest friends are out of the country or on their way out.  One will be gone for a whole semester, to the blissfully romantic Oxford, the Oxford in England, full of history and literature, thought and conversation.  In England there is rain, there is beauty, there is architecture, there are accents!  What’s more, she’s going to study worldviews in a small class of 9 Christian young men and young women, doing life with them.  Already she sends home emails reveling in happiness beyond her expectation. 

On Friday I was feeling rather alone and untraveled.  Autumn is here with an air of adventure, and none has knocked on my door.  But God is quite the gracious Giver of good gifts.  He blessed me with hours of conversation in the evening.  Friends gathered and the casual conversation was whether God changed His mind, and the way He ordains intercessors for us against His wrath.  Then we officially talked about jealousy, but we didn’t say much on that topic.  What actually happened led into a discussion on grace and glory, predestination and the rights of God versus the rights and capabilities of man. 

Even though we didn’t delve into jealousy, our text was 1 Corinthians 13:4: “Charity suffereth long and is kind.  Charity envieth not; Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”  Charity, or LOVE, does not envy.  It is not jealous.  Love is the call of all Christians towards their neighbors.  Jealousy prevents us from entering into their happiness in the way Paul describes in Romans 12.  The simple reminder that love is my call was enough to convict me of my attitude towards my friend.  So I decided to rejoice with her.  (I really am absolutely delighted for her experiences, and excited for their impact!) 

But the grace and the lesson didn’t end.  Deciding to rejoice with her, I was yet challenged by my friend’s confession of happiness.  Her email bubbled over with enthusiasm for life and people, and happiness at being where she was.  Once she even wrote she can’t remember the last time she was so happy.  When was the last time I was simply happy?  What did it look like? 

The privilege and delight of seeing a friendly face can light my face with a smile, and untroubled happiness.  Knowing God is in control and He’ll take care of the details is blessed happiness.  Knowing I am blessed is reason to be happy.  And I am so blessed.  So I set out to be happy. 

Saturday I went to Steeling the Mind Bible Conference, put on by Compass Ministries.  I imagined the happy me, which is much easier to live out when brought to mind!  Should I see a friend, I would be happy.  Should I spend the day with my dad alone, I would be blessed.  Should I get encouragement in my walk with God, I would have assurance that He was heeding my days.  And He was.  He let me know. 

For example, the second-to-last speaker was a woman raised as a Muslim.  One of her many points was that Muslims live in fear, not only of non-Muslims, not only of “monsterous” Jews, but even of each other.  Women obviously fear men, who have essentially absolute power over them.  They also fear the envy of others, by which the jealous party would, they superstitiously believe, put a curse on them: the evil eye.  Envy and fear of envy separated the community, leaving no room to trust anyone.  Jealousy is a serious issue. 

In the British Isles, there is rain.  Here the past week we have had rain more days than not.  Friday night it rained.  Saturday night, too.  I’m afraid to sleep for missing some evidence of God’s grace reminding me that “no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  But even sleep is a peaceful, cozy gift. 

This morning at church we watched part of Beth Moore’s teaching on the Blessing of Asher.  Asher is a Hebrew word translated either Blessed, or Happy.  Leah named the second son of her handmaid Asher, after years envying Jacob’s love of Rachel and jealousy over his affection.  At last she simply named a son “happy,” content and blessed, going forward straight on the way, fruitful.  And Beth Moore taught us not to be responsible for the happiness of others (or of ourselves!);  happiness is a gift by the grace of God, so we ought to seize our happy moments, with gratitude. 

A friend blessed me with a compliment when I needed the encouragement, and her husband even offered to help diagnose my poor car whose Service Engine Soon light has been on and off for over a year (but I haven’t found a good mechanic to fix it).  My day was really too amazing. 

After church I sat in a meeting of youth leaders, pondering the high school girls small group of which I’m a part.  And I realized that I’ve been running around, forgetting to be God’s vessel, forgetting the blessing it is to share life with these ladies, forgetting that when I walk with God, I will want to and be able to connect with the girls in love.  There doesn’t have to be a formula or a schedule.  If I want to see them, this won’t be a burden.  In my life I’ve observed that happiness (and pain at times, and many other things besides) comes through people, through fellowship, through getting deeper into relationships and community.  Do you realize what release I remembered and reclaimed? 

Finally, on my way to visit my aunt in Greeley, CO (and my grandparents and a few cousins, an uncle and another aunt), I was riding in our big, truck-like van, watching light glint off the ring that reminds me of God’s presence and claim on my life.  So often I ask Him for things, but today I thought of the way characters pray sometimes in biblical dramatization novels by the Thoenes: “Blessed are You, O Adonai, who…”  So I started.  God is blessed for being, for doing, for giving.  Blessed is He for knowing the end from the beginning.  Blessed is He for ordaining good works.  Blessed is He for holding my friends in His strong hands.  Blessed is He for being my sure refuge and comfort.  Blessed is He for the blood He shed, and for reminding me of His faithful covenant through the Lord’s Supper this morning.  Blessed is He for the celebration that the Lord’s Supper is and represents, the community of saints waiting for the Beloved.  Blessed is He for hearing my prayers.  Blessed is He for being Almighty. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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In a couple weeks I am planning to go on a weekend roadtrip with a friend.  This being January, and living in the blizzard-prone midwest, I am praying already for good weather.  (You can join me praying for good weather, too.)  My excitement over this trip is such that I’m rather worried about the disappointment a weather cancellation could bring. 
While pondering these facts in church this morning (not because I was distracted, no-o, but because church is relevant to real life), I decided that if the weather changed my plans, I would delight in what God does have for me that weekend.  See, the weather is quite out of my control or yours, and it is my belief that whatever not in my control is particularly in God’s.  (This is only a way to look at the world, because I believe that God is in control of everything; but I must take responsibility for my stewardship of the things over which I have “control.”)  So weather is a gift from God.  Every gift that comes down from above is good.  God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. 
So weather is God’s good gift to me.  I often feel that way.  I could lie back on the ground and watch wisps of fine vapor float over a few stars at a time, contrasting the sharp clarity of the uncovered stars with the pearly veiled stars.  Or there is the brilliantly blue sky deepened and darkened by scattered enormously tall cumulous, filtering out the sunlight to let us glimpse the midnight color of the sky by the light of day.  While out sledding over the Christmas holidays, I lay back in the foot-deep snow, crossed my arms beneath my head, and watched the currents blow geese across the wind-swept sky. 
If the weather alters my plans, I can only conclude that is because God’s plans were so much better.  Whenever God doesn’t give me something I deeply want, I’m almost excited, because it means He has something else – some other course for me.  His ways are always better than my ways. 
Weather.  Lightning.  Rain.  Snowflakes.  Clouds.  Fog.  Wind.  Sunshine.  God’s gifts. 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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