A Mixed Bouquet
By Kimberly Thomas
I understand it's been raining where you are ... I mean REALLY raining. Life-storms can sure dump on a person, can't they? I know all about that.
Recently I found a little verse in Psalm 71:20: "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again." David knew about storms, and like him, many of us have had our share of "troubles, many and bitter."
I've certainly had my portion.
I lost my husband to cancer. Ten weeks from start to finish. Yes, it was hard. It was a tornado. Yes, that storm re-arranged life as I knew it. But it has long since settled down and God restored many things.
I struggled to regain my strength after a stroke. The neurologist told me I should have died. I didn't. That storm wreaked havoc in my life. But, like David, I knew God would restore my life again.
He did. And today, though I should be dead, you would never know I ever had that stroke.
The year after I married again, our newborn son was diagnosed with severe Hemophilia. We were not prepared for that deluge and we wondered what it would mean for our son. By the grace of God, we have learned to navigate those uncharted waters.
In spite of the heavy rains in my life, I have discovered an abundance of blessing
sort of the "flowers after the showers."
I have seen the FAITHFULNESS of God, and I have seen my own FAITH grow. I know that regardless of what the storm looks like, my anchor is held firm in my Rock and my Salvation. What He promises, He will do.
I have learned to LAUGH and to have joy in the middle of the downpour. Proverbs 17:22 tells us, "A cheerful heart is good medicine." I have a cheerful heart, and it is well with my soul. Laughter of the heart can transcend the deepest grief.
According to Rev. Fred Lowery, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Bossier City, Louisiana, "Laughter is essential for a balanced life and healthy wellbeing."
There have been lessons in OBEDIENCE. What peace there is in obeying God's call, and obeying His word to stand firm! A portion of Deuteronomy 6:3 tells us to "
be careful to obey so that it may go well with you." God knows what He's doing when He leads me down a path that's unfamiliar. He made the map
I will trust His directions. I will follow Him, and I will have no fear, and it will go well with me.
I discovered a new level of WORSHIP. Psalm 108:3-5: "I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth."
Worship opens our hearts to God in new and intimate ways. It allows Him to fill us with his love, forgiveness and healing.
I know how to EMPATHIZE with others who been through storms. I understand grief. I understand physical pain. I understand fear of the unknown. I understand depression.
I've learned that through my heartache, I can offer help and hope as others face similar trials. Galatians 6:2 calls us to "Carry each other's troubles and problems, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." As Christ-followers, if we've "been there, done that," it's our privilege to share in the pain of our brothers and sisters and walk alongside them in their struggle.
I have learned to REST in the peace of God. "When you demand answers, you sacrifice peace." That's His word to my aching spirit. I rejoice in the REST found in His strength, care, and in the miracle of His life-changing power.
One more thing I've found is STRENGTH. I have learned that, like Paul, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13). When God calls me to pain, He provides the power I need to get through it. I am stronger now than before the showers.
Have you noticed? My discoveries spell F-L-O-W-E-R-S. It's a mixed bouquet, but I'm tying a ribbon around it and offering it to my Father. I think He'll love it!
(All scripture is taken from the New International Version.)
Kimberly Thomas is married and the mother of four children, ages 18, 15, 6 and 2. She lives in St. Charles IL, and enjoys reading, traveling, music, writing, public speaking, and spending time with her family. Kimberly is in the process of writing an autobiography based on her life experience in the death of her first husband. You can write to Kimberly through the Letters page of this magazine.