Slippery When Wet

I knew a woman whose mother committed suicide. As she packed up her deceased mother’s belongings, a friend came to assist her. The friend never said a word because in that moment, her presence and help said everything.

I try to follow her example whenever someone is grieving or distressed. But alas, in my desperation to make that person feel better and know that I care, I probably say too much or the wrong thing particularly if I haven’t walked in their shoes.

Have you noticed? Life is Slippery when Wet.

And folks saying “every cloud has a silver lining” or “look on the bright side” doesn’t make me feel dry or safe when I’m in the midst of  a thunderstorm.20141101_143953

In fact, when I’m hurting…emotionally or physically…my first inclination isn’t to look for the greater good even though I believe Romans 8:28-30 to be true.

Some of those slippery paths have included:

·         Three miscarriages

·         A husband deployed during Desert Storm

·         A newborn son hospitalized

·         Family members with chronic health problems.

In hindsight, the intensity and duration of each storm strengthened my relationship with the Lord. They also enabled me to empathize and encourage others.

Even so, I can’t presume to know how others feel.

I’m no longer in that place and depending on where I stand, my perspective changes.  

For when I’m standing at a cross road~~fearful of the unknown, worried I’ll make the wrong decision~~the last thing I want to hear is, “Don’t worry. Everything will be alright!”

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Walking across a wooden bridge, slick from rain, is more daunting than standing beside the bridge with both feet on the ground. So I don’t want someone shouting from a safe distance, “Things could be worse. Don’t be afraid!”

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A young woman whose military husband was deployed overseas told me, “People say they’re praying for me. They quote Bible verses. I know they mean well and I’m thankful. But telling me to think positive, doesn’t help. My situation stinks! Acknowledge my pain. Don’t be afraid to let me cry.”

Her words hit home because I’ve  been there…..slip sliding through life. And frankly, there’s nothing like a good cry to release the pain.

James 1:19 says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak…”

Slow to speak shallow, trite, or patronizing words when someone else is hurting.

How do you want people to respond when you’re in pain?

What has helped you in the difficult times?

Show Me a Sign

Rain all through the night,” announced the man on the radio.

I welcomed the winter rain. We need the water. But most folks across the country are ready for Spring. They’re sick of snow. And who can blame them?

Sometimes we need a change.

Perhaps it’s not the weather. Financial hardship, marital problems, rebellious teens, ill health, or a tedious job will stretch our patience thin.

We pray, but nothing changes.

So we hunker down and wait for the season, or storm, to pass.

When I’m overwhelmed by duties or sorrows, searching for answers, I’m prone to act like Gideon (Judges 6-9). I want assurance that God is present and has a plan.

Show me a sign, Lord.    

That was my exact prayer when a three-day rainstorm paused, and the sun broke through the clouds like a welcomed guest. Enjoying the calm before another storm, I walked to my mailbox and found a package. Inside the package was a slim metal bracelet that I had ordered eight weeks earlier.

A package long overdue, but not really because ….

God’s timing is perfect.

A smile spread across my face as I read the tiny, engraved words on my bracelet.

Abide in Me

Not exactly the answer I was looking for that blustery day, but I knew it was a sign from above. Circumstances change, but God’s response remains the same.

Abide in Me

Abiding is that sweet union which allows believers to experience uninterrupted fellowship with Jesus. When we abide in Him, not only can we rest and experience peace, Jesus says we will bear much fruit and have joy (John 15).

When we abide in Christ, our eyes are fixed on Him and not our circumstances. We lean on Christ, and not ourselves.

As storm clouds gathered on the horizon that day, I ran my fingers over the bracelet. Three words once spoken by Jesus were now etched upon my heart, wrapped around my wrist.

Abide in Me

Today and every day…..even in this storm.

Photo of Bird: Molly Smith Detweiler 

Thunderstorm: Karen Foster