Listening in the Middle of the Storm

 

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You might be interested to know  …what I write here is really speaking truth to myself as much anybody else!  As the Holy Spirit speaks into my own questions, doubts, weaknesses, confusion, and disappointments–I often write it out in my journal so I can get itsoak it inbelieve ittrust Jesus through it all.  Something about writing it out and making it plain embeds it deeper into my mind and heart and hopefully, it’ll stick!  That’s the plan anyway!

The words that show up here are not just  “sharing of information” but words that are first pressed into my heart because I need them.   Then the Holy Spirit does this humbling, interesting thing and will sometimes prompt me to share that vulnerable page in my journal with you because maybe — just maybe — you might be encouraged by that Truth as well.

Then the LORD said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.

Habakkuk 2:2 (NLT)

In this case, my “tablet” is electronic  and the internet is the “runner” that carries the message via cables, routers and, well …frankly, ways I don’t even fully understand! Since 2012, God asked me to write for hope so I tap out  here what I believe the Holy Spirit has given me and let the internet carry it to other welcoming computers of those who choose to “open” the letter.  It’s quite fascinating, actually …and humbling and terrifying all at the same time.

The humbling, terrifying part is sharing in the middle of the storm –as it’s happening–instead of waiting until  the rainbow has appeared over a big, blue sky and you hear the angels in the background sing their “Ahhhhs” !  I’d love to wait but then the “real” might be a little more sugar-coated and the desperate cry in the deep end might sound more  like a squeal in the shallow end.

“The middle” is a very significant place where you’re intensely more aware of your surroundings and acutely alert to voice of the Rescuer…the Savior of your soul!

It’s at these points you feel you’re crossing a great chasm and the rope-bridge just broke and there’s one strand left…and you hang on every word Jesus whispers because you know your life depends on it. Everything is literally on the line and if you’re going to make it, you wait …you keep your eyes fixed on Him …you listen intently  …you yield to the One who has the best vantage point and the ultimate power to give the best plan for you.

With that in mind …I’m still in the middle.  I hear faint “ahhh’s” but they’re still over-the-rainbow.  The lightning and roar of the waves have moved further off in the distance but there are still remnants and storm surges …sometimes without early warning alerts!

Here’s what I know …words that the Holy Spirit speaks from the middle are worth tattooing on your heart (and your arm as well if that’s your thing)! It’s crucial, as my neighbor-friend so often emphatically declares!

“Come to Me with your ears wide open.  Listen and you will find life …”

(Isaiah 55:3 NLT)

In these recent days in the middle, two of the crucial words I’ve heard are …Protection and Preparation. 

Often, when you’re in the middle of a storm you’re so focused on getting OUT of the storm you can’t see past the windshield wipers thrashing back and forth across the whites of your eyes! Tears become a heavy rain that cause your vision to blur and the way seems cloudy and drear.

But if you could see just up ahead, you would see how God is protecting you from some hurricane-force wind that has the potential to  completely derail you and knock the life right out of you.  That pain you just suffered that left you with a significant loss of life-blood might be the Father lifting you up and making you lie down in green pastures so He can have your undivided attention and talk to you about a direction you’re headed that is going to lead to  very unhealthy thinking or situation or relationship or life-decision.  That future tsunami might bring   significantly  more pain and suffering causing a  blow that leaves  you feeling a lights-out-unconscious-kind-of-moment.

“See the gift,” my good friend always tells me!  Believe it or not, there’s a gift tucked in every storm cloud even though  it’s often wrapped in tear-drenched tissues.

As you’re being protected–held in the arms of Jesus …under His wings …resting in the shadow of the Almighty …recovering in green pastures — there’s a mighty preparation going on that is almost unimaginable during troubled times, but isn’t it always in the labor and pain of childbirth that a beautiful life comes into being!

It’s almost like the nine months of preparation in the womb.  It’s here you are developing and growing …gaining strength …taking on more of the image of the Father …His eyes …His ears …His loving, compassionate heart …His heart of understanding, wisdom and discernment …His humility and grace–looking more like Jesus every day.

A birth –a coming to life–is on its way!  There’s another road to travel and that wreck you just had at the bottom of the hill just helped you look up to see where your help truly does comes from!  The Maker of Heaven and earth is making something new in you …replacing damaged, worn parts and removing  diseases and viruses like fear of rejection or abandonment, people-pleasing, “image  management” (as my husband calls it), judgmental attitudes, selfishness, insecurities, anxieties, control issues, __________(feel free to add your own so I don’t feel so bad!) 🙂

But as in labor pains,  transitions are  hard.  In order to see the Light of Life — there often has to be the pressing down and the pushing through and the agonizing and the feeling of “I’m not going to make it!” before Light truly breaks through.

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While I sat with my Mama at the assisted living home during her last days here on earth, the nurses talked with us about the stages of dying.  We heard words like “transition”, “mottling”, “shallow breathing”, listening for the “death rattle”.  My Mama was getting ready to be birthed into heaven and it wasn’t going to happen without going into some kind of labor.  She seemed to be uncomfortable in her own skin as if she were shedding it all  to emerge out of this earth’s bodily cocoon and fly to Jesus.

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As she transitioned in her  dying process ,  I’ll never forget one of the  last things she said to me …“Hold me!”   I leaned in as close as possible, sliding my arms under and around her frail body  and held her close …kissing her face and telling her how much I loved her. And I think that’s what Jesus does for us in our transitions as we are shedding our cocoon of safety and gasping for air.  He slides his loving arms under and around us and holds us close while we’re shaking and says, You’re mine and I love you.  I’ll never leave you or abandon you.  I’ll go with you. Don’t be afraid!”

The Lord appeared to us in the past,saying:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

And if you look closely …you might just see the rainbow ever so slightly beginning to appear.  There. Is. Hope. my friend!

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Many times Satan whispers,
“There is no need to try;
For there’s no end of sorrow,
There’s no hope by and by”;
But I know Thou art with me,
And tomorrow I’ll rise;
Where the storms never darken the skies.

‘Til the storm passes over,
‘Til the thunder sounds no more;
‘Til the clouds roll forever from the sky,
Hold me fast, let me stand,
In the hollow of Thy hand;
Keep me safe ’til the storm passes by.

Song:  Till the Storm Passes By (Written by Mosie Lister)

**Special thanks and credit to my  family and friends who have been used of the Holy Spirit to speak into my life as well as the wisdom shared by Lysa Terkeurst in her recent book, Univited–Living Loved when you Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely.

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