6 Encouragements For Life's Stormy & Sunny Seasons
Joy and gratitude are easy on days like Thursday when professional milestones are achieved and the sun continues to shine in many ways for the rest of the day.
Joy and gratitude are much harder on days that don’t go according to plan. Days like Friday. An unplanned lunch stop resulted in a series of rookie errors, a comedy of errors and a weekend of an administrative and financial hassles. An opportunistic stole my cell phone from between Drew and I as we sat waiting for our food to arrive. I had just sent an email, and placed it on the table, my hand had barely released it when a man watching from nearby, ran up beside the table, and grabbed it and fled the scene in a getaway car outside the restaurant. In my shock I forgot my Apple password with no access now to my trusted number and so after many failed password attempts I locked my Apple account. Unable to now delete the iPhone, the thief invariably had full access to the contents of my phone. Impressively he managed to help himself to a substantial amount of money using my bank apps (I don’t know how), transferring small amounts at a time and using the card-less cash send method. The very system created for convenience created massive inconvenience. Spending the long weekend at the police station, at MTN, cancelling cards, waiting at the bank, and making fraud claims was NOT how I had envisioned this long weekend with my husband. More than the loss of the material object that can be claimed from insurance, it was the invasion of privacy and safety that left us feeling angry, tired, and shaken.
But fear in man might be shaken but our faith in God is unshakable. Sometimes our plans are shaken up, changed and rearranged so that we can reawaken, and be reminded to rely on Him and not on our own strength. Storms come in different shapes and sizes. But don’t underestimate the rush of a storm to sweep you up in waves of grace, the beauty of a storm to wash away hardened hearts to clear a renewed path, the power of a storm to make you root deeper to grow more. Reflecting on our unplanned weekend encouraged me to come up with the following lessons that I hope can comfort and encourage you in life's sunny and stormy seasons.
1. Be in the messiness and mystery of life together. I am grateful for a life partner who says “the most important thing is that we are together”. Drew and I respond to crisis in very different ways. Let’s just say I am the spice to his vanilla. There is no doubt though that this weekend was a team effort. When the one felt weak, angry or bitter, the other was positive, hopeful and strong. Though it was my phone and business account hacked, Drew was right beside me in the queues, at the police station visits, and acting as my scribe while I was on the phone to the banks. Problem solving builds resilience in your coupleship. I believe that problem solving is an essential skill, a real team and trust building exercise.
2. The God in our seasons of wilderness and deserts, is the same God in our seasons of harvests. Sometimes God calms the storm and sometimes He lets the storm rage on and calms His child. May I never forget on my best days that I still need God as desperately as I did on my bad days. I made one rookie error after another on Friday, but I can still see His heart in everything He did in between these errors, the small, subtle and significant ways He was the good in a bad situation.
3. There is always light. Gratitude is not ignoring the darkness. Choosing gratitude DESPITE the darkness and in the wild is courageous. There will always be seasons of unknowing and uncertainty, lean into Him, and have the courage and boldness to not need all of the answers. For Light always drives out darkness.
4. Do not allow one man’s sinful actions to distract from or dilute the countless love filled actions by so many others. For our caring community of family and friends, we are so grateful.
5. I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t believe in a God of coincidences. My God is an intentional God. So I purposefully and intentionally find meaning, a lesson to be learnt, a purpose in the storms of life and I pray that God reveals parts of my character He wants to refine and mould. For me this exercise gives me Hope and encourages me to check my heart attitude. I encourage you to write down what you can learn, instead of asking why is this happening to me, ask what is this teaching me?
6. NEVER forget your Apple password. Trust me. Lock your phone. Trust me. Make your trusted number someone else's number. Trust me. Don't make all your passwords the same. Trust me. Back up your phone regularly. Trust me. Safely record information like your phone's IMEI number. Trust me. Insure things of value. Trust me. Thank the Lord daily for the protection of you and your loved ones. He isn't done with you yet. Trust me.