I read Luke 3-6 but the most value I got was from the last verses of 6. Jesus talks about exactly how he wants us to be. Specifically actually. He talks about blessings and woes (6:17), love for enemies (6:27) judging others (6:37), handling your heart and it’s true fruit (6:43) and then about the foundation of your faith (6:46). All this sounds really good, like all things in the bible that Jesus says; clever, wise, repetitive so you don't forget and purposefully worded to paint a picture in your head.
It wasn't, though, until I read a devotional in reference to the last part of chapter 6 – about the foundation of the spirit and using what Jesus teaches in times of storm – that I realized WHY he was saying these things. The devotional asked me three questions:
- What storm is threatening to sway you?
- How deep is your foundation in Jesus? How much deeper would you like it to go?
- What will you do to develop a deeper, stronger foundation?
Reflexively, over the years of widowhood, I tend to think of my storm as.. well… widowhood. And everything that came with it. But as I stated in the last chapter of John – I really do feel that that particular storm is finished. Thing is – what scares me is the old saying, “the only thing constant is change”. I’m sure there are more changes, more storms to come. I’ve had some over the years, unrelated to, but still complicated further by widowhood. My life has been “no crystal stair” to climb upward – still I have to acknowledge that upward is indeed the direction I’ve been climbing. I’m no longer shouting in the deafening storms of grief and depression. I'm no longer fumbling in the dark with the problems of those storm clouds. My life is pretty amazing. As awesome as that feels to say – I think the threat of new storms and how that fear affects me – THAT’S the storm I’m battling now. Call it PTSD, if you will. I’m better than I was, and I've healed my own way by making sure I'd always be mentally prepared to rebuild from whatever comes next – but I'm still very aware and fearful of the possibility of new pain, new setbacks and God forbid – new grief.
Interestingly the main things a single mother has to worry about like money, future planning, grief counseling, single parenting, new relationships, running a household, and stress management – these are what I help other people build stronger, smarter foundations for. These are balanced and managed in my life, thank God – and I’ve (literally) made it my business to create systems to help myself and others keep these foundations intact and their lives less stressful.
My storm has to do with worrying about the things I CAN'T control. It threatens to sway me every time. My imagination gets the better of me and I’ve come up with 800 scenarios of death and chaos, casting looming gray shadows over the things I CAN'T organize, manage, counsel away, or plan for in this wonderful new life I’ve created. It’s the main reason I started reading this bible. In the beginning of the journey I said – I wanted a deeper foundation. I’d want it to go so deep I don't even bat an eye at storms like this. So what will I do to develop this? The devotional says this:
“We know that sooner or later storms will come in one form or another. If we don't put Jesus’ words into practice, we are on shaky ground. But if we build our spiritual lives on what he says, we can withstand anything that shakes us. And what strong words has Jesus given his followers?New Women's Devotional Bible NIV – Zondervan 2010
Yep. You guessed it. Scroll up. 🙂 First paragraph. “He talks about blessings and woes (6:17), love for enemies (6:27) judging others (6:37), handling your heart and it’s true fruit (6:43) and then about the foundation of your faith (6:46).”
I don't have the answers as to exactly how these will specifically help me in the future of storms, because like most people, I bet, I can imagine a million possible storms, but can never predict or prepare for the one that actually comes. I will say, it's probably better to have Jesus in your arsenal than nothing at all.
Meditation: I know I can't control everything, and storms will come whether I’m worried or not, weak or strong, tired or ready. In which case, my worrying is pointless. My strength is in my obedience to keep reading the Word. My readiness is my ability to use the armor of the Word.
I’ll trust in the Lord, and keep building my foundation on his Word. He will be my rock, my solid foundation.