Before the storm and in it

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A few months before our first storm, in our everything is finally going smoothly again season, I had painted a picture. Now clearly I am not a great artist, but this picture represented praising God through the storms of life. I had decided I was going to praise Him through anything.

I had no idea how much I would need to remember those words and that initial feeling when the painting was complete that praise was my offering, no matter what.

I have learned that the praise from my lips brings me joy. I have learned focusing my eyes on greatness rather than the destruction around me brings me joy.

I have found that a God that cares enough to keep me in a home when income was cut by 2/3 for over six months now,  cares enough that my husband crashed a car and survived, cares enough that there are days of strength in the midst of illness,  cares enough that my children bringing me laughter after days that they make me want to pull out my hair, is a God that cares ENOUGH.

Life is not JUST what you see in front of your face or in your moment. There is a whole world going on around you despite that storm. There is ALWAYS something to find to praise.

When I was consumed with depression and despair, all I spoke out of my mouth was anger, frustration, hopelessness and turmoil that was inside me. It was bringing about death and destruction.

I decided it was time for a heart change when I sat in the shower dreaming of my blood pouring down the drain. I was awakened by the Spirit of the Lord stirring in me… “This is NOT what I have for you!”

The strange thing is, my despondent depressing days surrounding mostly my illness. Nothing tragically frustrating had happened in our life for  a few years at my darkest time. Things were quiet and mostly good, except I was physically sick and felt miserable. The pain was blinding and living in a fog had broken me…for a moment.

It is now that I can look back and see God was saying, you are stronger than this. He had a testimony for me to share, and the work had only just begun.

I decided at my worst that it was time to get my heart right. Out of the heart your mouth will speak. I had aloud despair to consume me and to be my heart condition and I would not settle for  it!

It was after that shower that I had looked up and saw the painting I had painted. I painted this painting by ‘accident’ I had no intention of a tree, or a storm or hands raised, I was painting and it took shape.

I decided looking at this picture that I wanted to WALK in a heart of praise. I wanted praise to consume me, I wanted praise to pour from my lips continually.

I have had these moments before, I have always been a worshiper, but God was doing something even deeper than I could imagine!

I had no idea the battle front I would be facing when I made that decision all those months ago to praise Him in every storm. But praise Him I have, and praise Him I will. I know that He has awesome plans for us, and while I blog and learn new joys every morning, you watch and see, He is going to do GREAT things in the midst of these storms. I mean my lands, look at what He already had done through my last blogs.

Challenge this day my friends: It is time for a starting place, I do not care how small it seems, praise Him this day for something. Praise Him for a sunrise, for a hope, for a moment, or for the simple fact that

He is GOOD.

Psalm 30:12

That I might sing praises to you and not be silent. OH LORD MY GOD, I will give you thanks forever!

(NLT)

And the storm stirs again

It has been a wild ride in our household the last few years. I have written in the past about all the frustrating storms we have gone through. I describe these storms in our life as frustrations. Nothing in our personal experience has been as drastic as others may have gone through. Our personal storms have been more like a small earthquake with some shaking up and a bit of damage, but is eventually repaired. The loss has not been completely devastating, as so many face.

As I am reflecting back, I clearly see that these storms raise their ugly heads and stir the safety around us into a tempest mess. Each time we face one; we have thrown our quick tantrum and then come to the realization that God is still God  and is always in control and will see us through it.

Each storm that we have come through,  we are stronger for it. Our foundation may be shaken a bit but because it is firm, our foundation is not destroyed. We have learned how to hold on tighter than ever before while we wait for the worst to be over. We have learned to lean on and trust in new ways. May every bit of glory ALL be the Lords~

I am not diminishing anyone’s storms in their lives by sharing that we can get through them and even be stronger than when we started.  I do know that our personal storms range in great variety. But I know who is the victor as we dig in to the very truth and nature of our God. I know that there is a plan and a purpose for our lives and when we face these storms they are just a minute in the grand scheme of time and what God has before us will be accomplished!

Recently we were sure that our most recent storm was just about over. Rejoicing and shouting out that we had seen the end in sight. Only to discover that what we thought was the end was just a new stirring to take us even deeper in our faith. We had a direct hit from the enemy. We recognized the hit for what it was and took control over that area in our lives.

These are the questions that arise:

Are we still trusting in the middle of this storm? Yes.

Do we know our storm will end as every storm eventually does? Yes.

Am I going to allow my faith be moved because of a new set of winds blowing in my face? Absolutely not!

I will be a part of the force, changing the atmosphere around me, not be a part of the storm but an opportunity to share my victories!

Challenge this day my friends: Hold on tight, do not bend, stand firm, for your storm will come to it’s end. Allow yourself to be stronger from it and never forget to share the testimony. In the midst of that storm reflect back on other points in my blogs; equip yourself for the storm, expect a good outcome, sow into others lives anyway, and trust that joy is always yours!

Proverbs 10 :25-

When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,

but the righteous stand firm forever.