Safe place

Without fail, if a storm is in full swing at night, Lauren will end up in my room.

Without fail, if a storm is in full swing at night, Lauren will end up beside me.

At our house, thunderstorms equal slumber parties.

Recently during one particularly nasty storm, I heard little feet running quickly through the living room and knew my little girl was in a hurry to be with me. I quickly lifted up the covers, and Lauren jumped in and grabbed hold of me. When she stopped shaking and started breathing deeply, I gathered her sleeping bag and stuffed animals to make up a makeshift bed on the floor near me. A little while later, thunder shook the house and Jackson appeared. A quick glance at the radar on my phone let me know this storm was going to be raging through the night, so I made him a spot on the floor in our room, too.

For whatever reason, the kids always appear on my side of the bed when thunder rolls. Or when they have a bad dream. Or when they wake up for whatever reason!

When they are scared, they come to me.

I am their safe place.

A few minutes after our family sleepover was underway, both my phone and my husband’s phone emergency alarms went off, and scared us all. Matt jumped up thinking we were under a tornado watch and tripped right over my son’s makeshift bed. Though we were just under a flood watch, at this point in the night, we were definitely all wide awake! We laid back down, and did our best to fall asleep as the lightning flashed around our house.

It was then that I heard my son start to pray.

He wasn’t praying to be heard, but I couldn’t help to listen and echo his words in my heart. Jackson was simply talking to his Heavenly Father, asking for God to keep us all safe in the midst of the bad storm and for us to be able to get the rest we needed.

God is his safe place.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
– Psalm 4:8

When I am scared, when I am unsure, when I begin to worry or when I don’t know what to do, God tells me to run to Him. He doesn’t want me to delay. Whether it is lunchtime or three in the morning, God longs for me to come to Him. He is the only One who can surround me with peace and keep me safe. He alone can quiet my soul and give me the rest I desperately need.

He is my safe place.

Enjoy the sunshine

Last week, our family was able to go out, without coats, and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Our family is squeezing every moment of fun that we can out of these sunny “winter” days here in Missouri. Instead of snow or ice, we have been blessed with above average temperatures these last few weeks, to the point where jackets have even been optional.

So, after lunch, I’ve been shuttling the kids outside to explore in the woods, to hide and go seek, to play on the swing set and to simply enjoy the sunshine.

I’ve noticed recently that so much of what we as Christians talk about is our struggles and the trials that we’ve had to or we are currently facing. Even I catch myself dwelling in this type of discussion, because God has taught me so much through the “valley of the shadow of death.” A common and oft-quoted saying in Christian circles is that we are either in a storm, heading out of a storm or heading toward a storm. Though I can understand the truth of that statement, I’m growing weary of focusing on the storm.

I don’t think we stop enough and bask in the pure blessing of being a child of God. We are so busy suiting up for the very real spiritual battle around us, that we shield ourselves from delighting in our victorious King. For many, Christianity is all work and no play, and it’s no wonder many faith communities are known more for their “no” rather than their “yes.”

Where is the joy? Where is the dancing? Where is the adoration bursting from our hearts onto our lips?

This week, I want to focus on the praise. I want my life to exude gratefulness to my Savior, who considers me to be His treasure. My life should sparkle before Him, cleaned by His everlasting love that defeated death itself to provide a way for me to be with Him.

I understand that life is often very difficult, and unanswered questions and hurts abound. I have lingered in those dark corners during different times in my life, and all it brought me was pain. Only when God reached down and helped me step into the Light and see the glory of His love,  was I able to leap into His arms of grace.

There is a time for everything, and as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, a time for weeping and for mourning. But, let’s not gloss over and miss our times of laughter and of peace.

Get out of the cage you have built around your heart, and breathe the fresh air of God’s mercy. Embrace the joy and freedom available to you in Jesus.

Enjoy the sunshine.

This picture makes me laugh because the kids are pretending they are actually riding this tiger like a horse.