Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dancing in the Rain

There is only one word to describe a day like today....monsoon. Fortunately, I had five precious hours to myself. Unfortunately, I had a lot to do with no escape from the rain. Even though I live in the same (small) town of the school I attended, it is a rare opportunity for me to get to revisit those old stomping grounds. My errands led me that direction today, allowing two things to constantly play on my thoughts: college and God.

Oh how I miss college. I miss the friendships, football games, late nights, alone time, freedom, adventures. But most of all....I miss God and the newness of our relationship. I had always grown up believing, but college...that's where He became real to me. I remember the hours I would spend reading my bible; the deep conversations I'd have with friends inviting new perspectives; the days I'd pick up lunch and drive to the duck pond to have "lunch with God." I felt Him. He spoke and I heard. Whether it was a friend's kind word, a note from a roommate, a cross in the sky, a lyric to a song....I saw His message.

Just because God was so prevalent in my life, however, did not mean it was anything close to smooth or perfect. Many of the storms life threw at me then were some of the toughest I have ever faced. It's taken me years, not to understand, but to fully embrace that God allows rain.....monsoons even...to come into our lives. As I was in and out of the rain today, I thought about just that....what it is like being in a storm. It's wet, cold, uncomfortable, irritating, lonely. We seek refuge anywhere we can find it, regardless if it's where we need to be. And our prayers (at least mine) usually take the form of pleading for it to pass by, to get through it. Never have I once prayed for a storm to stay or continue. I hadn't even been challenged to think differently until a few weeks ago. My husband and I were driving home from a friend's pre-release party when a lyric to one of her songs caught me completely off guard:
Oh, but I still don't know how long it'll rain
Till all our fields grow full with ripened faith
Before I go and face my father's graves
Oh I pray, your storms, would stay....
Till it takes what it came for.
(Tanya Godsey)
There are truly no words to captivate what came over me other than feeling as if God was speaking directly to me. It was difficult to fight both tears and chills as I listened to those words over and over again. It wasn't the answer I had hoped for. It wasn't really an answer I had prayed for.....but it was one I needed to hear.

It's been a very tough year for so many reasons. Countless times I have come before the Lord's footstool and simply prayed for understanding, hoping the answer would be presented with a clear reason. For so long God has met that question with silence......I guess he has been busy writing the words on Tanya's heart. Through her melody God wrote this message on mine:
"Laura, I know you don't know how long this time will last, but I do. I'm allowing you to walk through this so that you will grow your faith in me. Please keep trusting and walking with me through this storm and all those to come.....let them do what I sent them to do.....so that I can fulfill my purpose in you. I want to change you, grow you, know you like never before, so that when you reach the end of this life, you will be everything I intended you to be, and you'll be ready to come home to Me."
I guess this realization is just a reminder that "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord [really does] direct his steps." Sometimes the storms come, not to intentionally harm us or bring us pain, but to get our feet moving back in the right direction. We can either lay down and surrender, fight, or learn to dance in it!
I prefer the latter!