Don’t Rain on My Eclipse

Welcome guest poster, LeeAnn Stewart, a dear friend who recently started a blog!

My children and I were standing outside staring expectantly at the sky. On our eyes were the eclipse glasses I had preemptively ordered weeks in advance, after much research on which ones were NASA approved. We had attached them to plates to block out any rays that may try to creep in and harm curious eyes.  We had science notebooks ready for careful observations. For days we had been experiencing dry, blaring heat and that morning was no different. As we stood on the porch staring at the sun in expectation, at exactly 1:10, the moment the eclipse was to begin, we were greeted with – clouds.

That’s right – a humongous cloud had parked itself right in front of the sun. We got peeks of the giant star as the black disc gradually rolled in front of it, but it didn’t take long for the clouds to roll back across. Then the clouds turned black. My son insisted it was going to rain; I told him that the forecast was not calling for rain and we would be fine.

Then it rained. Hard. We were probably the only neighborhood in our town, possibly within the entire line of the eclipse that had rain. I literally felt like Eeeyore in the picture with the rain cloud right over his head. Then there were tears – mine. Okay, it was more than tears. Usually I go with the flow in situations that cannot be helped, but I was angry. Really angry, a feeling that seemed out of place and extreme in relation to the situation. Even while I was experiencing it I knew it was an inappropriate response, but at the moment, I just couldn’t seem to control my emotions.

I told God that it wasn’t fair, that He was displaying His creation for all to see, but, like Lucy, he pulled away the football and said, “Not today, Charlie Brown. This show is for everyone but you. Thanks for playing.” I saw everyone else around me grabbing that ball and running while I was left with my head down, feeling let down, again.

After months of struggling to get my feet back under me after some unexpected circumstances,  I had felt like I was finally a fun mom again. I had planned something special for my kids. They were excited, I was excited, and we had spent time preparing. When the rain came, I felt like God had let me down, and I was hurt. After I had some quiet time with Him I realized that this frustration was really just the symptom of a bigger problem that had been brewing in me.

In the midst of my growing faith, I was feeling the ache of deferred hope. I felt the bucket of all of my hopes and dreams dumped on top of my head once again. All of the dreams that are now put on hold. The desires that I have that are on the back burner when they were just within my reach. Every time the football was pulled away from me flashed before me like one of those old filmstrips.

I thought about David. The same David who stood before Goliath with just a slingshot, the same David who was anointed by God to be a king, found himself on the run, afraid for his life. He hid in caves. He pretended to be insane. He spent so many years away from his family and the peace and comfort of home. All of this was due to circumstances outside of his control.

The book of Psalms is full of the songs of David. Many of them begin with David expressing his fears, his anguish, and his loneliness. I wonder sometimes if he questioned his calling when he was lying in quiet in the darkness. “I didn’t choose this God. You did. Is it worth it? Are you sure you picked the right person? Did you forget?” As strong as David was, he was holding onto a promise that God had given him, a promise that was deferred in its delivery. There were times that he questioned God and asked Him when he would be delivered from the weight of the life around him.

Did God forget about David? Did he choose the wrong person after all (“Oh, you’re David, with the RUDDY complexion. I was looking for David with the MUDDY complexion. Awkward.”)? Of course not, because we know that that is not in the character of God, and we also know the end result of God’s promise to David. Through him came Christ, and through Christ comes our redemption.

While David was real with God, he never wavered in his devotion. He always ended his laments with an acknowledgment of who God was. He reminded God of His promises. Even though he was in a place where his dreams were on hold, he knew that God would bring him through.

We can choose to either wallow in our circumstances or embrace them and allow God to change us during that season..png

As I was making dinner that night I turned on a podcast by Sarah Clarkson, the title of which was, “Overcoming Obstacles So You Can Own Your Life.” She talked about how we often throw adult-sized tantrums when we find ourselves in situations we can’t control that go against what we think we should have. We can choose to either wallow in our circumstances or embrace them and allow God to change us during that season. God provided me with what I needed to hear right when I needed to hear it. It was a reminder to me that He does see where I am. He doesn’t turn back on His promises, and He hasn’t gotten so busy knocking someone else’s socks off that He forgot about me. In fact, David was a better king because of the times he had to lean on God, and we can become stronger people when we go through dark times.

I apologized to my kids for my behavior, and went to bed in peace, telling God of his faithfulness, and thanking Him for removing the clouds so I could see the sun, which He did literally and figuratively. The clouds parted at the peak of the eclipse, right at the height of its glory. That’s exactly how it happens when we trust in God’s timing.

You can follow LeeAnn here!  

Expectations and Reality

“My car broke down. It won’t start,” son Hunter said. We were on the way home from a beach vacation. He was at least an hour behind us and we had no room in the car. None. No squeezing in.

Everyone has to get back to real life after vacation. No surprise there. Family vacations are full of fun and exhausting at the same time. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Biking, long walks on the beach, playing in the surf with grandkids Great fun! My issue? My expectations. After an jam packed full vacation, I expect to jump right back on the treadmill of real life. In my mind, I have on the cutest athletic wear, neon yellow running shorts, bright Nikes and a coordinating tank top. I see myself jogging along with a smile, everything is under control. My energy level is steady. I have a perfect school plan, meals planned and I fill my schedule with appointments. I bump up the treadmill to high speed.

Real life doesn’t wait until I get home and suited up and fill up my water bottle. He hits hard on the way home when our son’s car breaks down in N.C.. Calls and texts fly back and forth about insurance, towing and finally a hotel to spend the night in. I get a call from our drama director about the Scrooge production I assist with, nothing major or even negative, just another string pulling me back to real life too soon. The nine hour trip on the way home I consider sacred. I have a notebook out to jot down a to-do list. Reality should stay put until I get home. It doesn’t. Texts from daughter at home informing me that the front door is damaged. Puppy scratched it after getting locked out. Not pretty. Not what I want to come home to either.

My expectation for coming home and sailing through the week the way I planned it went down the drain. There were other complications that I won’t heap on you. The point is expectations. What are they?

Expectation-a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future:

“Reality had not lived up to expectations.”

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I expected to come home to perfection. I expected to be full of energy. I expected to walk out the schedule that I had ordained. It didn’t happen. Instead, I came home discouraged, tired and overwhelmed. So, gals, where do we go from there. I felt my morning devotions slipping into an abyss of darkness. I couldn’t pray straight. It sounded more like complaining, followed by begging than gratitude and praise.

Guess what. God understands. He didn’t pull out His rod and whack me with it. Instead, he used it to gently nudge me. Every Bible verse fit my circumstance exactly. God knew exactly what I needed. When I was at my lowest and I had cried big crocodile tears to my husband, a friend text me out of the blue, “Hey lady….hope all is good. Thinkin about ya.♥” I texted her a list of prayer requests and she prayed.

The truth is God already knew my heart. He knew ahead of time what the circumstances were and how I would internalize them.
Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous,
But the Lord rescues him from them all.– Ps. 34:19

I often believe that I have to be doing exactly the right thing in order for God to rescue me. I can’t be impatient or stressed or ________. It’s just not true. We aren’t rescued because of our righteousness, but because of His. He makes a way because that is consistent with His character, not ours. He relieves us of our heavy burdens because He is not harsh, hard or pressing, not because we aren’t. Grace and forgiveness are free for the asking. His mercies are new every morning.

I had to cut myself some slack and rearrange my schedule this week. I cancelled a hair appointment, missed a PiYo class, all because I knew I needed rest. My boundaries and my values must line up, so must yours. Some of you reading this may think cancelling things or rearranging schedules because you are stressed and overwhelmed is irresponsible. Your inner dictator may yell that you must always be all things for all people. It isn’t telling you the truth. You must take care of you. You must know your limitations. I’m not talking about sitting on the couch and eating donuts for a week because you have a hang nail. I still homeschooled this week, throwing in an extra day for one missed. I still kept my commitments for Scrooge rehearsals, met the tow truck to get my son’s car towed, managed my home. The problem is ladies, we expect to be super heroes. We are not. We are just humans, living in bodies that need rest. They need a regular infusion of prayer and the Word. These bodies need other sisters praying for us, texting us, supporting us. We are weak and that’s not a bad thing.

but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My loving kindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me– 2 Cor. 12:9

When we are weak, we are insufficient, but His grace is sufficient. It is always available regardless of the situation. I will boast in my weakness. I don’t have it all together. Circumstances throw me a curveball and I don’t duck. They smack me square in the face and my pseudo in control life falls off of its pedestal. It’s okay. His power is being perfected in those moments. Jesus can handle my expectations and my reality.

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday. Join us!

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