Three Months of Riding Crazy Waves Grace

5224454-cartoon-surfer-girl--vector-illustrationFor a little over three months, our lives have been turned into a whirlpool. Not only by one event, but by an unusually brisk revisting current.

I have witnessed several friends who have gone through seasons of extreme long-suffering calamity. How they have survived is not beyond me. They clinched on desperately by fingernail faith. When that sliver gave way, God caught them with compassionate faithfulness.

We’ve all had our if-it-ain’t-the-hogs-it’s-the-chickens-and-if-it-ain’t-the-chickens-it’s-the-windmill seasons as well. Ones that left us staggering and not able to remember ALL that we went through.

Has ‘come on, Lord! Give us a break!’ become your constant prayer? Has God mercifully allowed you to keep one foot in front of the other, even if your hair hadn’t seen a brush in you don’t know how long? Are you to the place that you know He is the only way you still stand? Perhaps, down the road you will recognize how you’ve been molded and shaped in priceless ways, but at this moment, you are hunkered down at the faucet, waiting for that lazy drip of a life-giving blessing drop to splash a tiny bit of coolness on your parched tongue?

But, is it possible for things to swing the other way? Does God do that?

Make no mistake about it. He can, and He does!
Our fumbly-bumbly, non-suspecting family rafted along His swirling whitewaters of unmerited favor this summer. When the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills and the One that even the wind and waves obey chooses to cut loose, you’d best have your floaties inflated. Humility and awe soaks one to the core.

Ordinary days transformed by the millisecond into pivotal events worthy of entry in the Long Family Bible log. Seriously. Seemingly insignificant happenings from years prior became rudders to steer crucial life-changing events into being. So much goodness, faithfulness, and provision streamed in on a need-to-need basis. In the midst of these renegade waves cresting, I vowed to take a sledgehammer to my inner crystal ball and shatter that defective sucker. Who could say what was going to sweep into our lives next, for how long, or in what way? If cameras were rolling, we would be stars of a hit reality show or destined for a segment of Focus on the Family at least. By all rights some of the circumstances shouted extreme chaos, but a presence over took that stilled our hearts and allowed God to navigate the surges for us and vaporize our blind spots to appreciate how truly blessed we are.

Today, the whirlpool seems to be calming a bit. Our exhausted bodies thankfully seem to be given the gift of a breath, but who knows. Heaven knows I am not at all complaining, quite the opposite. We crave a sort of balance and stability, enough that even an ordinary vanilla yogurt day can be viewed as a blessing as well.

So what are these stories? This blog is about to light up with them. They demand and rush to be shared. However, some may stay curled, and who knows if they will ever give permission to unfurl publicly. What’s important is we can tuck the memory of His mercies in our back pockets when we are tossed once again over stormy and uncharted seas of life.

What I hope to pass on is that whatever one goes through is not fluff, but that every single bit is a key element to a bigger plan. May you let His hope guide you through the day and the darkest night–God is perfectly faithful and loves you so.

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matt 6:28-31<

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When Life is Chipping Away, Remember Chippie

Only this sized Chippie would be safe at my house.

Only this sized Chippie would be safe at my house.

One of my favorite stories is Why Chippie Doesn’t Sing Much Anymore by Marvin Phillips. A lady in Texas was vacuuming the cage of her parakeet, Chippie. The phone rang, she turned, and ZIP, Chippie disappeared into the sweeper’s abyss. She rushed to open the canister, and sure enough, there sat Chippie–a little dazed and filthy, but alive.

In a panic, the owner ran Chippie to the sink and stuck him under a full-blast of water. If that wasn’t enough, she grabbed the blow dryer, set on HOT/HIGH and fired away.

When the news picked up the story, the reported asked how Chippie was doing. The reply was, “Well, he doesn’t sing much anymore. He just kind of sits and stares.”

Do you feel like Chippie? Have disappointments and disasters sucked the life out of you? Or maybe you’re not able to wrap words around the problem, but something is not right. You just feel bleh. Your song has left you.

To break the grip of discouragement, I believe there is something to the singing. Doesn’t Scripture say if we cry out to God, He hears us? It works when it comes to prayer, so why not put our pleas to music?

If we sing, don’t you think God’s dial would be constantly set to frequency 100.% MY CHILD, featuring Today’s State of the Heart? For example, let’s look at the prison worship leaders, Paul and Silas. Here they were beat to thunder, unsure of the future, and up way past their bedtimes. They had no reason to pump up the prison jam, but they forged past the wounds, worries and weight of exhaustion. They ‘were praying and singing hymns to God, and other prisoners were listening. Suddenly there was such an earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open and everybody’s chains came loose.” Acts 16:25-26. God blessed their sacrificial offering so explosively that he set the captives free and saved a freaked out jailor and his entire family in the process.

How guilty I am of forgetting the power in the praise. Are you? There is a preciousness in the private, where one can blow the cobwebs out of your pipes and off your soul. And it’s one thing to sing alone, but at church with this voice, I always feel like I need to extend a heartfelt apology to the poor souls who sit in front of me. I tend to crawl into my muffled hole and not grasp that this is a voice God created like none other–one that is so special, He made it only so He would appreciate it. Mix it in others in this elite club, and I trust Him to balance out the tone with His divine mixer.

And what about those gifted ones who sing like canaries? You get to bless those who hear in ways that cannot be fathomed. The point is to do what He has called us to do: Sing to thrill him. It’s that simple

No matter what the circumstance, God has got the bases covered for us –even when we are wounded, worried, and have the weight of exhaustion bearing down hard.

So my friend, do you think you could muster up a little tune? Are you desperate for an earthquake to shake your situation and set you free? If so, when you eek out some praise, remember that He is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

He sings over us….how I love the sound of that promise!