“Woo-hoo” From You Know Who – April 2016

3 IMG_2358.JPGWeather is an Attitude!

We Minnesotans love talking (and complaining!) about the weather.

In the winter … it’s too cold.
In the spring … it’s too wet.
In the summer … it’s too hot.
In the fall … it’s too short.

At Camp Lebanon, the weather is always GREAT!  That’s because we believe “weather is an attitude!” Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, indeed, no adverse weather condition can keep us from having fun at Camp! So why complain about a little (or a lot) of rain!

Much about the future is uncertain, but one thing we do know for sure: Every day there is a 100% chance of weather! Some of it will be sunny and nice, but sooner or later the thunderstorms, blizzards, and strong winds will show up to mess up our plans.

This is also true in life. There is a 100% chance of storms and blistery conditions coming our way. So why are we surprised when they arrive? And what do we do in these times of “inclement weather”?

When storm clouds gather at the family picnic, we run for shelter or grab an umbrella or jacket to cover us from the rain. For the storms of life, God has given us an umbrella: his Word for shelter and guidance. As the Scriptures declare, the Lord is our Refuge, our Rock, our mighty Tower, and an unshakeable Fortress. We can (and must!) run to Him and He will shield us.

In her book Beautiful Battlefields, Bo Stern shares an insight garnered at her daughter’s bridal shower. As they read through all the wonderful, sparkly cards, each one wished her and her new husband something lovely.  Some offered joy, happiness, and prosperity. Some wished them a house full of children (okay…that one was from her mom!). But none of the cards mentioned the one thing every couple absolutely must have in order to do life together. Not a single card said, “Wishing you the endurance you’re going to need to stay married for fifty years.”

Bo writes: “While most of us understand that endurance is required for any marriage to go the distance, none of us wants to write it in a happy Hallmark card.  The word ‘endurance’ conjures up images of laborious longsuffering rather than hearts and rainbows.  It makes marriage sound like a chore and a strain rather than heart-stopping romance.  But with twenty-seven years of marriage under my belt, I can testify to the power of endurance over the power of rainbows, and I will stake my bets on the enduring couple over the swooning couple any day of the week. Endurance is not negative; it’s one of the hidden treasures of the battlefield.”

Waiting out the Storms

So how do we learn to endure in the storms of life that are sure to come? First, we choose to know and trust the character of God.  And then we run to and lean on His Word for wisdom, hope, comfort, protection and provision on sunny days and stormy days alike.

Book Women.jpgBo Stern found herself in a powerful storm when her husband, Steve, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease).  Listen to her story:

Grief hit like a hurricane.  Facedown on the floor, I heaved out sobs of fear and sorrow so deep that even my faithful border collie left the room. All I knew for sure was that I was desperate to hear God. I needed Him to show up on my battlefield. At one point, I even pressed my ear into the carpet, listening for His footsteps, listening for anything that sounded like hope. And then, like the faint pinging of a ship on the radar, I heard two words. Just two words that kept coming over and over again, first like gentle ways on the shore and then with a stronger force and steady cadence.

Every minute.  Every minute.  Every minute …

I wondered what they meant. Maybe that God would be with me every minute? Nope. While I knew that was true, I also knew that wasn’t what those two words meant. I opened up my laptop and wrote them out over and over again, and then I stared at them on the screen. Every minute. Slowly, the deeper meaning of those words began to fall like glistening raindrops from God’s hand to my thirsty heart. When I set my fingers on the keyboard again, the words tumbled out: I have already been to every minute you will ever face. I have been to your future and back, and I have built provision in every minute where you will need it. You won’t see it now, but it will be there when you get there.

I thought about that for a bit then realized I wasn’t worrying about provision for that particular minute. In that moment I had everything I needed. I was worrying about all the minutes that would come. And then, like the sun peeking up over the mountains in the morning, this assurance began to shine over Steve’s dark diagnosis: God goes before me, so I never go anywhere first. He already knows where the days will lead and how the battle will turn out, and He has placed all the supplies we will need along the way. I’ll see them when we get there. – Bo Stern

On April Food’s Day, my husband, Bill, and I celebrated 30 years of serving at Camp Lebanon. On April 27 we will have enjoyed 31 years of marriage. WOO HOO! These years have been a journey of learning to endure through different circumstances, seasons, and stages of life. We’ve  known victories and joys and we’ve experienced struggles, storms and failures. Currently, we are navigating through the journey of dementia, having brought my mom home to live with us in December 2015. We are learning how to “re-direct” mom through the darkness of memory loss, especially on those weary days when she gets fixated on one particular thing and responds with resistant, angry behavior. We know that she has finally “re-directed” when her conversation turns to gratitude. Often, calm moments come as she sings hymns or recites Scripture.

This is a beautiful picture to me of what it means to learn to trust God’s character and Word as we endure on life’s journey. In the winds of stormy weather, my soul can be driven off its moorings by a “spiritual dementia” as I forget God’s faithfulness and provision or resist His strong and mighty hand that sustains and shields me. I, too, know that I have “re-directed” when my focus turns to gratitude and praise.  Only then does my soul find peace and solace in His promises. Endurance and perseverance find an anchor in the storm. Indeed, “Weather is an attitude!”

Happy Anniversary to my husband, Bill!  I am grateful beyond words to him for saying “YES” to JESUS … “YES” to me … “YES” to Camp Lebanon … and “YES” to my precious momma.  Thank you to the staff at Camp Lebanon and the many volunteers, donors, and prayer warriors who help this ministry bring the life-giving words of Jesus to thirsty hearts. And thank you, Jesus, for Your faithful provision and peace every minute, every minute, every minute!

“This God – his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.” – Psalm 18:30

 

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