Life is full of storms.

The rain comes down. We hunker down. Life gets messy, muddy. Dark skies crowd out the sun.

Storms dominate the news and our worst fears. Planning models are made, tested and tested again.

If we aren’t careful, storms take over, everything.

Looking for puddles to splash and stomp in

Looking for puddles to splash and stomp in

This week, my daughter’s preschool theme is rain. And, conveniently, it was raining outside. The heavy skies had been tipped, and water gushed down. It wasn’t enough for us to watch through the wet windows. Instead, we each grabbed umbrellas, Lauren put on her boots and raincoat, and we ventured outside.

Puddles beckoned, and Lauren stomped right in, with sprays of water behind. We peered into the layered skies and felt the rain on our hands. We twirled umbrellas up and down our driveway.

It’s true that storms can be scary. There are times we must seek shelter, praying for protection.

Yet, could it be we focus more on the storm, rather than the blessings through and from the storm?

You sent abundant rain, O God,
to refresh the weary land.

– Psalm 68:9

We forget the fresh smell of the earth after the rain, the way it makes you hold your little girl close as you run across the parking lot to your car, trying to dodge the raindrops. We overlook the blessing of storms driving little feet across the house in the middle of the night to snuggle and find security in our arms, and being able to remind them of God’s ultimate protection and peace.

We don’t go out and splash in the puddles.

We miss the joy that can be ours in the midst of the storm.

If it’s storming where you are today, look for the blessing. Search for God’s promises of His presence and His strength.

Put on your boots, and venture out.

Jackson’s heart for Joplin’s children

My four-year-old Jackson has really discovered the meaning of compassion this week.

With the tornadoes and storms hitting so close to home in the last several days, Jackson really wanted to understand what had happened, especially in Joplin. We have had many, many talks about tornadoes, and when he finally began to comprehend what these storms did to the city and how people were affected, he became very concerned.

In particular, he continued to ask me what happened to the children in Joplin. His heart was broken over them, and we have prayed together, on his prompting, for the children. He asked God to find their roofs and doors in the sky and bring them back so they could have houses again. He asked God to send the storms and tornadoes away so they could be safe. I encouraged him to keep praying, because by praying, we are taking action and helping those children and families.

After praying, Jackson decided he wanted to go to Joplin and build all the children houses so they could be safe again. He was very adamant, and talked about that for most of the day yesterday. Though that idea was a very sweet and caring one, we decided that instead he would practice here with Lincoln Logs. I recommended we look around the house for things we could give to the children to help them. So, we began our search, and he helped fill two boxes with toilet paper, toothbrushes, soap, etc. Today, our whole family went to a drop off point here in town, and Jackson delivered our gifts to help the children he is praying for.

This is the first time as a family we have done something like this. Independently, Matt and I have reached out to families in need, with the kids in tow, but this time Jackson took the lead. I am so proud of him, and I hope to continue encouraging him to show compassion to those around him, sharing Jesus’ love.

It’s never too early to encourage empathy in children, because even four-year-olds can have a heart for the world.

Jackson and Matt carrying our gifts to Joplin's children at a drop off point in Mountain View, MO