For My Good

From November 25th until December 30th, I felt like I was surviving…doggie-paddling in an ocean of turbulent parenting struggles.

Life was stressful and tempestuous; it was overwhelming and fierce; it was draining and stormy; it was painful and unstable; it was angering and choppy…and it was EVERYTHING else raw and ugly. Seriously, friends, the waves were rough and the winds were roaring. And if I was gut-wrenching honest with both myself and you, there were truly times when I was fearful I might just drown was drowning.

And just in case you’re wondering if I’m “over-feeling” or “over-describing” this stormy sea, check out this post. I wrote this entry on December 29th, the day after December 28th…the day when my proverbial legs and arms were aching and tired, and I was begging for a life-preserver of ANY kind. I had hit my limit, and I had come to the end of me.

But then something happened on the afternoon of December 28th.

As I called out to the Lord in tears of utter desperation, pleading for His help and begging for His rescue, the Lord graciously met me in the living room…in the middle of my storm…and completely changed the way I was viewing my storm. On December 29th, I wrote the blog entry mentioned above and though the seas didn’t changed on the 29th, I had.

The waves were still rolling; the thunder was still roaring; and the wind was still ripping, but I was in the boat (with Him), and I felt tremendous peace. I guess you could say, “I was in the eye-of-the-storm, beholding the calmer of all storms.” 

No longer was I fearful of the wind and the waves because my eyes were on me and my storm  on Him.

When I wrote that post on December 29th, I had no clue that on December 30th, my “36 Day Storm” would come to an end. And though you (and me, too) may have assumed that I would have rejoiced over the stilled seas and the calm waters, I wasn’t. In fact, I was rather miffed.

Why?

Because there was a strange dependence, a beautiful brokenness, and an unexplained peace that came in them middle of that storm–an experience that I truly wished I had pursued 34 days earlier…when the storm first started brewing.

And as I have thought about all of this over the past 15 days (days where the behavior has been stilled and the drama has been hushed), I have come to believe that though the storms of life can be scary and sometimes terrifying, storms have the ability to teach what the sunshine cannot. 

And what is that?

The storms remind us of our need…our need for His refuge, our need for His rescue.

And as I have thought through this truth, the Lord has been faithful to point out areas in my life (specifically in my parenting life) where I have come to believe a distorted word…to live a distorted truth.

So what is that distorted truth that I have been believing and even (in some ways) living? That distorted truth that I would never want to admit out loud because it sounds…well…just that bad?

That my children are for my gratification and for my glory. 

So I’ve been catching my thoughts in the past few weeks, challenging my beliefs, and asking the Lord to change the way I view my kids and the parenting storms of life. And I’ve come up with these burning questions–questions that I don’t want to shake or ever let go–questions that I want to let permeate my heart and infiltrate my mind–questions that I want God to use to change me from the inside out.

What if parenting isn’t about my gratification but about my good?

What if parenting isn’t about my glory but about my growth? 

What if those storms aren’t about my safety but about my sanctification? 

What if my hard is simply for my holiness?

Because if I truly believed that the storms of life were truly for my good, and for my growth, and for my sanctification, and for my holiness then maybe…just maybe…

I wouldn’t be so quick and so desperate to escape the wind and the waves,

but rather…

I would view the storms as His billowing grace…forcing me to the foot of the cross and blowing me into the arms of my forever refuge and my eternal rescuer. 

Just…maybe.

For God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Psalm 46:1-3

For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat… Isaiah 25:4 

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

….
‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

….

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Blessings, Laura Story

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