The booming thunder gave a clue as to why the power had gone out, and it wasn't very long before the downpour started. It was raining so hard that it was loud on our metal roof, and echoed through the house. I took the kids on to our covered front porch to watch the rain pummel the ground and splash the sidewalk. We stood, barefoot and coatless, and watched for a minute, and then I had a thought.
Do I want my kids to watch life happen from the sidelines, or to truly experience everything this world has to offer?
So I did what any
My daughter, who likes to push the limits on everything she shouldn't, is a rule follower when it comes to the fun stuff, and she wanted her coat and her boots.
I wouldn't let her down.
I held her and spun around, getting soaked and letting the water pour down our faces. Laughing and dancing, hoping she would see the joy that was to be had.
I finally relented and let her run into the house for her boots and coat, and turned my attention on the twins, who were staring, wide-eyed from the porch. Ben had gone in and was holding their coats in one hand, waiting for help to put them on. I took their coats, threw them back inside and grabbed the boys' hands and pulled them out, encouraging as we went.
Ben came willingly, but Grant was a little timid, so I picked him up and took him out and danced for a while. He thought it was great, laughing and pretend shivering in the not-so-warm spring rain. After a while, I traded for Ben, and we danced for a while, too.
Emma came out, hood up and boots on, and had a great time. The thunder boomed and we cheered. The lightning flashed and we grinned, as everyone in our house knows that lightning is God taking a picture for his fridge. We screamed, we laughed, we danced and hollered. My mother stood in the living room window, holding baby Drew and laughing at her crazy daughter and three splashing grand kids, and my dad watched from our shop where he had been working, laughing at us and shaking his head.
Eventually, the downpour subsided and we went inside and got dried off. Emma, who was already dry and warm, stayed out a bit longer, splashing in the mud and muck. I changed myself and the boys, and looked out the window to see Emma trying to get my attention.
She went to the outdoor table and first took off one boot, then slowly the other. She took off her coat and laid it carefully next to her boot on the table. And then, making sure I was watching, she ran.
The feeling of wet grass and mud between one's toes is addicting, and she squealed in delight and started jumping and dancing while I cheered from the window. She found the biggest puddle in the yard and after carefully checking the bottom for rocks, she backed up, ran and jumped, making the biggest splash she could. I loved it and cheered her on.
I continued getting things together as the power outage made my dinner plans impossible, an impromptu restaurant visit was in order. She played for quite a while until I had her come in to change. Dripping head to toe, it was a happy, delighted, soaking wet girl that came in the house. She had been taking her bucket and filling it with water from the mud puddles, and throwing it up into the air to "feel the rain" on her head yet again.
There is a quote from a song by MercyMe that says, "Bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free, bring me anything that beings You glory. And I know ther'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain."
I know I am not always the best at enjoying the moments of downpour and partially defrosted chicken with no way to cook it. I know I sometimes look at the rain in my life and grumble and complain, not looking at the opportunities that are presented to us when things don't go according to plan.
How often do we ask God to make a change in our lives, and then complain when things actually change? Are we looking for the window that God opens when he closes the door, or are we just staring at the backside of the door, willing it to open so that we can go down the path we wanted? How often do we pray to get out of our current rut, and then freak out when change is forced on us? Do we curse our boss for our layoff, or do we praise God for the opportunity that is to come?
How often does God give us a new blessing, and we don't make the most of it because we are so caught up in needing our boots and our coat? What do we miss by thinking we have all the answers and needing things to go according to our plan instead of trusting God and going with the flow?
Emma might of missed a great time if she had not been bold enough to shed the boots and coat and enjoy the storm for what it was. But she got there. It took her a while, but she got there.
And likewise, it's never too late to follow God's plan for our lives. Maybe we have been scared of what might happen if we trust. We might be afraid to give up control, and we might have a hard time letting go. But by holding on, we are missing the perfect plan God has for our lives. We are missing the freedom that is present in the storms of our lives.
And so I am deciding to spend more time dancing in the rain with my kids. I choose to see the blessings in the downpour and to trust God, as He does a much better job of taking control of my life that I ever could. And I choose to praise Him for the good and the bad, because He is good and I never know what those storms will bring.
There is a blog that I visit daily that means a lot to me. Bring The Rain is the story of one family's journey through the diagnosis and eventual loss of their daughter Audrey, and their faith is amazing. I would encourage everyone to pay them a visit and start at the beginning and read their story. It has changed my life and I'm sure it will yours, too.
Jesus, bring the rain.