Resting in God—Your Storm Cellar

April showers bring May flowers, and if you live in the Oklahoma plains like my grandparents did, you often found yourself in the cellar during a tornado warning. IMG_0226 I remember one particular spring weekend my grandfather taking all of us grand kids to the cellar as a storm blew in at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. I remember peering into the living room to see Grandma looking out the front windows of the living room as she prayed about the storm. Grandpa was calling to me and my cousin, “C’mon. Get down here.”

God desires for you not only to survive the storms life brings, but also to thrive once you come through them.

I remember the smell of the earth as we sit in the middle of the cellar. A few of Grandma’s canned fruits and vegetables leftover from winter lined the walls. Grandpa had his little radio tuned to hear some type of weather reports. But Grandma stayed in the living room, watching the storm and trusting God for the tornado to pass over her property untouched.

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat, (Isaiah 25:4 NIV).

Rather than being anxious about the storm, I wanted it to hurry and pass so we could get outside and play in the puddles I knew would remain in the driveway.  Less than an hour later, we received the all clear and my cousins and I scurried outside to enjoy what water was left standing after the heavy rain.

Storms are an inevitable part of life. God desires for you not only to survive the storms life brings, but also to thrive once you come through them. If you’re going through a storm today, settle yourself in the peace of God’s presence as the storm passes, and look forward to the joy He will bring to you once the storm is passed.

“A man is getting old when he walks around a puddle instead of through it.”

~R.C. Ferguson

Learning to Rest

New seasons can be difficult sometimes, and transitions into that new season can be even harder. When my husband accepted a new position that required a move from the beautiful, sunny Arizona to the cool climate of Indiana, I knew the next few months would not be easy. Looking back now, it beach chairs pensacolawas the most difficult move in our almost thirty years of marriage. The mountain of challenges erupted with loading the truck for the physical move and finally exploding into 18 grueling days in a hotel room with our dog, while almost everything we owned sat in a moving truck because of delay after delay in the close on the Arizona house.

Every plan I hatched dwindled into nothingness.

We prayed. We asked God for His will and His plan—and not our own—even though I really thought I wanted that house. We finally let go of it all, lost the purchase of the home in Indiana and rented a home for the next year.

As we settled in, it seemed every plan I hatched dwindled into nothingness. I stood and watched as God shut each door of opportunity I dreamed up. Compelled to plan, organize and prepare as many details as possible, I found this new season extremely frustrating. I struggled to hear from Him—not because He was silent—but because my mind flooded with questions of why “nothing seemed to work out.”

Finally, one word began to come up in my spirit: rest!

Over the next week or so as I researched the word, friends sent me texts, Facebook messages and posts about rest without any idea that God gave me that word. He continued to tell me to rest, and I believe He’s teaching me what that looks like. He confirmed it repeatedly through His Word, through messages at church, and even friends and family have encouraged me by sharing things on their heart for me about rest.

I’m not just talking about putting your feet up for a bit, or taking a nap to rest your physical body—although I believe a physical rest can be a part of it. It’s hard not to feel like I need to be doing something all the time. When my body is still, my mind is working.

One of the definitions of rest really struck home with me: to cease from striving. Striving—that certainly described what I’d been doing these past few months while in transition. In my research about rest, I found a book from the 1600s. Although it’s a difficult read, and I’ve not made it through the nearly 400 pages, each paragraph of this book, The Saints Everlasting Rest, pours over my hungry heart and speaks peace to me. In one small paragraph from the heart of the author, Richard Baxter, says:

“They who seek this rest [to cease from striving] have an inward principle of spiritual life. God does not move men like stones, but He endows them with life, not to enable them to move without him, but in subordination to himself, the first mover.”

After a vacation to the beach, I believe the transition was complete. I desire to rest in God. I believe He’s calling us to a higher place of rest. For me, it’s a place where I need to let go and relax. It’s time to really allow Him to call the shots and give the direction without ideas coming from me. It is difficult to stay still and only move when He moves me, but I want to completely surrender—even in the smallest little detail—to the plans and purposes He has for me.