Monday, April 15, 2013

Responding to the Storms of Life

Ever feel like you are exactly where you need to be?  I rarely feel that way these days, but sitting in church on Sunday, I knew I was supposed to be there, at that specific church, to hear that particular message.  My dad and I were hesitant to go to church on Sunday because we were tired.  I reasoned that we hadn't been there for two weeks because we were in Aruba and we should suck up our sleepiness and go.  So we did.  When we got there, it turns out it was the 210th anniversary of the church and there was going to be a celebration.  Awesome. They are going to take a walk down memory lane and we aren't going to be able to relate to any of this because we've just started going to this church.  We could have slept in, I thought.  Boy, was I wrong!  They did take a little walk down memory lane, but the pastor discussed the storms in life and touched on the storms the church has gone through in its 210 year history.

In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world 
John 16:33    

Ah, yes.  In this world, I will have trouble.  In this world, there will be storms.  How I know that so well.  If you've followed my blog for any amount of time recently, you will know that I've had a lot of trouble.  It might be easiest to break it out into three storms -- the death of my very best friend, my dad's unknown heart condition, and my struggles to get into law school.  The pastor addressed the congregation saying that you are either about to head into a storm, are in the middle of a storm, or are just coming out of a storm.  Uh huh.  Hopefully, we are just coming out of the storm related to my dad's health and I will know by the end of August about law school.  As for the storm of Dude's death, well, that will most likely be an ongoing storm -- not a full blown tornado, but the rain from that will periodically fall for the rest of my life.  Suicide survivors are ripped apart at the core of their very being, but at the same time, are united under a pain that is unlike any other.  It's something I will live with for the rest of my life, but I know that Dude did not realize the devastation and lifelong effects that would result from his decision.  He would want me to move forward and be happy, so I am committed to looking for the rainbows amidst the rain of this lifelong storm.  So, storms.  I know storms.  But what does all of this mean?

The pastor discussed two responses to the storms of life:  FEAR and FAITH.  F-E-A-R stands for "False Expectations Appearing Real" and F-A-I-T-H stands for "Forsaking all, I Trust Him."  Fear is a natural and self-preserving response.  I've written here about how grief can manifest itself into all encompassing fear.  But, as the deep grief dissipates little by little, you come to realize that you are still here -- and you are still here for a purpose.  What my "new life" will look like is totally terrifying at times, but that's when faith becomes the best response.

"Forsaking all" -- Before Dude's death, I held onto him tightly, and honestly, would not have forsaken him at any cost.  But, he ripped himself from me.  I have unwillingly given one of the most important people in the my life. With that, I have given up the life that was comfortable and familiar to me; the life I enjoyed even in the hard times.

Starting April 4, 2012, I began to live a new life -- a life completely unfamiliar and painful and full of fear; a life that did not involve Dude in the way I thought it would.  This "new life" has potentially set me on a path to law school.  That has not been a cake walk.  We'll see what happens with that.  And, to top it all off, this "new life" involved my Dad, my hero, being rushed to the hospital and undergoing heart surgery.  First, my best friend removes himself from my life forever. Then I encounter obstacles in a dream I have put off for too long.  And my dad, my hero, was almost taken from me....

So far, I am not a fan of this "new life".  It's confusing and frustrating and lacks some serious clarity.  However, it is in these times, when I/you truly do surrender all to God -- even if only because I/you just don't know what else to do. 

I am completely out of control.  He is in complete control.

Forsaking all, I trust Him. 

Trust me, and don't be afraid.  Many things feel out of control...Let Me lead you to the rock that is higher than you and your circumstances.  Take refuge in the shelter of My wings, where you are absolutely secure.  Jesus Calling, April 15.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.  The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2

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