I live in Colorado. It’s October 10 and yesterday, it was almost 80˚ outside but we were told a storm was coming… I called my friend and asked him to stop by and do whatever had to be done to my sprinkler system. I asked my daughter to pick up all the dog poop out of the backyard. (Have you experienced a mass amount of backyard dog poop after a snow storm…?). Last night, when I got home from work, I mowed my grass (which also sucked up leaves that had fallen so far. Have you experienced a mass amount of fall leaves on your lawn after a snow storm…?). I brought my plants in from the front porch. I prepared. And this time, the local meteorologists were right. It actually snowed and it was 20˚ when I woke up.
Have you prepared?
“and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.” – 1 Thessalonians 3:2-5 NLT
We warned you that troubles would soon come…
On this earth, we will have troubles… we will face storms. It’s guaranteed. The Bible is full of warnings. And when I started to see my life entering another storm about eight years ago, I had no idea what troubles to expect – only God did. And after a year of striving for answers and trying to find a solution, I started to realize that I was too caught up in my circumstances and not caught up in the One who redeems all circumstances. So, I started preparing. I refocused my gaze on the One who created me, believed in me and called me His own. I started to discover who I truly was and what I was created for. I started feeling His worth instead of basing my worth on what others thought of me or the circumstances I was in. I started becoming more self-aware and Jesus-aware. He is always with me. WITHOUT FAIL. Did I anticipate the storms that were coming? Yes. Did I know what they would be? No. I only knew that if I was going to survive and glorify the One that can calm any storm, I just had to be prepared for whatever came at me. And 2013-2019 brought some storms I would have never dreamed of… Storms that not only attacked me, but went full barrels loaded after my kids too. (PS. Not today, Satan. Don’t go after my kids.)
Was I prepared? Ha! For everything that happened…? I had no guesses. It wasn’t like a weather forecast. Was I prepared for the battles…? Yes. Did I have to seek counseling, direction, advice, help in crazy ways, support…? Absolutely. But I was prepared for the hits. I survived the battles. Some things were over-the-top hurtful. Some things were scary. But, I knew who God was. I knew who I was. The foundation I stood on could not be shaken. Did I always know what to do? No. Have I made mistakes along the way? Yes. I know I didn’t always handle the brokenness of my circumstances well. I have to extend grace to myself for those moments and accept my humanity and imperfections. I know it’s okay not to be okay… but I never want to stay that way. I have the tools to move on.
“But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you. So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord.” – 1 Thessalonians 3:6-8 NLT
I’m still bruised and healing, but strong and determined. I have HOPE (my word for 2019). And He will redeem my story and the battles I’ve fought like He’s been doing for me since I was a little girl. And these past few years have also been sprinkled with great joy and blessings – those are the things that bring life to my soul and set my heart on fire.
I’m so thankful for the “Timothys” in my life – checking in, seeing if I’m standing strong in my faith, encouraging me when I’m discouraged, pouring love, hope and words of life in to me and my circumstances… I have “Timothys” pouring into my kids too, PRAISE. THE. LORD. Just reading Jesus’ words to me are also grounding, life-giving and freeing. Every storm just gives me another layer of ministry to offer in what He calls me to. Every storm has given me another way I can give empathy and support to others. I’m ready for the next one…
Are you prepared…? Because storms are coming. They always come.
Figure out who you are. Stand on a firm foundation. No one needs to be defined by their circumstances – that part is up to you.