The rain came pouring down.
At 2 AM, I wake to God’s fingers sifting crystal beads onto roofs of house and barn.
Horses are shedding winter coats. I wonder where they stand during this dark, icy night. Are they out vulnerable in the paddock, frozen rain pelting their bodies? Or have they sought shelter in their stalls?
I guess all but the gelding will stay warm and dry this night. Roscoe likes the rain, no matter the temperature. Perhaps he welcomes smeared clay making him a horse of a different color, followed by itching. Perhaps he likes rolling around on the ground for a bit of relief? And then comes the wash of rain . . .
Don’t we all need cleansing from the hard agitation life smears through our souls?
I fall back to sleep with these thoughts, believing there’s good coming from storm. I need cleansing from fear and sad, so long pelting—bruising—contorting this God-made soul.
I need His healing hand . . .
I wake to frozen. Stepping off the front porch, I see every branch, every bush, every red berry clinging—all after a harsh night, cocooned in ice, glossy but brittle.
I get it.
I can look all beautiful and glossy—the outer veneer of me. But I can be so frozen, so fragile, so brittle on the inside, afraid that the slightest wind might just break me in two. I stand hoping, waiting . . .
Trees and bushes cannot move or melt themselves. They must stand rooted and wait.
Wait for the risen sun.
Wait for the warmth.
Wait and receive.
So it is with me during my ice storms of life.
I may have seasons of warm where summer breeze delights. But seasons change. And icy storms threaten to break. And I wonder how I’ll ever escape my beautiful-on-outside crystal prison-on-inside and all those cells of paralysis keeping me captive without one–single–person–every–really–knowing.
I feel the weight. My heavy heart wonders why—wonders how long—wonders if ever the frozen in me, around me, will thaw in me—in them. And I wonder if I might just freeze to death from the icy of my days and darkness of my nights—of the chill of lost loves hoped for.
Often, I just get busy.
I try harder.
I plot and plan.
I push myself.
And I push away the small, still voice of God because I’m trying to save myself and who has time for God when your inner life is on the line?
But the angst grows when I try so hard—when I shut Him out. My plan for relief fails.
The inner angst stays, expands, takes over. My fearful, frozen heart shrinks when all I’m trying to do is catch another breath—face another day—run from pain and loss. Any road will do.
Oh my soul!
There is another road. There is a better way.
Wait for the Lord.
Wait for His deliverance.
Wait for His guidance.
Wait for His mercies, new every morning.
He gives me hope. He quiets the cacophony of my all-alone.
I am never abandoned in my icy-hard. He is with me. He will warm me, in His time . . .
I walk slow back from the barn after feeding the helpless, awed at branches with green moss, crabapples still holding on, despite all the harsh, each barberry bush speckled with red, encased in glassy ice.
How frozen magnifies glory! How weakness showcases strength!
And then it begins . . .
The sun has risen over Lake Michigan. It shines warm on the farm. I see the landscape of our lives changing.
Frozen softens. Melting begins.
Bright light forces my eyes to squint. I can hardly take in all the glory as branches sparkle and drip diamonds.
I run for my camera and fly back out the door in only a rusty camisole, worn jeans, and bare feet slipped into old rubber muck boots. The honey locust rains on me, frozen limbs melting, sun shining through. I stand under, an excited kid letting the melt speckle my bare arms and face with grace.
How good to be bare before my Maker!
I smile full.
God washes over me this morning. He melts my frozen, scared, scarred heart, and sets this captive free, or at least just a bit more than the day before. I’ll take it.
All this is glory of grace, given to one who can do nothing but stand and receive!
I need only one thing in this life! To know I am nothing—that I can do nothing—without God’s mercy and grace. That—is—all. Then, I am free to receive everything I’ve ever needed—that I ever will need, or want.
But what about all the set-backs, the pain, failures, the deepest lamentations?
“Sometimes we have to experience failures, trials and humiliations, permitted by God, before this truth imposes itself on us, not only on an intellectual level, but as an experience of our entire being.” Father Jacques Philippe
Sometimes, I must be frozen so my soul stills in solitude, permitting me to come face-to-face with the One who loves me like no other. Sometimes, God rains hard and cold, out of love, to convince me of my complete powerlessness to do good by myself—to save myself—to heal my inner angst.
An old prayer of Soren Kierkegaard’s is mine, this day:
Father in Heaven! What are we without You! What is all that we know, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if we do not know You! What is all our striving, could it ever encompass a world, but a half-finished work if we do not know You. You’re the One, who is one thing and who is all!
Whether I am frozen by cold or melted by warm, God is with me forever, using all for my good and for the good of those He chooses to touch through me. And you.
Here, a prayer written for me—and maybe you?
I praise you, Father, for all my soul seasons and circumstances, believing all comes to me sifted through Your loving hands. Though I may not see with my eyes or understand with my mind, grant me faith to believe. Melt away my doubts and grant me the awareness of your constant presence. For in Your presence, we are made whole. Amen.