Lately there’s been a lot of talk about storms. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and a possible Jose have saturated many of our conversations. People’s plights have delved into our hearts and minds and rightly so. But it’s given me pause to think as well. Where do you go in a storm?
Would you head to an evacuation center just to be safe? Or would you hunker down and weather it out? Would you run to family in another safer place? Would you count on prayers to carry you through? Would you say I would go but I can’t leave my belongings. I can’t leave my pets. They are my family.
How about the storms in your life? Where do you go? Do you cling to your spouse, your children? Do you hunker down and just stoically weather them out? Do you just zone out and try to pretend they’re not there? Do you run to a professional safe place, like a counselor or rehab center?
Any or all of these things can help us find solace in our storms, but they are not the solution. Instead, I turn to the Rock that is higher than I. What does that mean? It means that God is bigger. I once told someone very special to me that God was bigger than all her changes and bigger than the whole state she lived in and I had turned her over to Him because He could care for her much better than I could. God is stronger than any storm, higher than any rock you can flee to, and kinder than any family we can cling to. He is our protector, our fortress, our deliverer. Even when we are not delivered from a situation, such as sickness or calamity, we are still delivered to His loving arms. He holds us fast and never lets us go.
I’m reminded of a story in the Bible about two men. One built his house upon a rock and one upon the sand. This is not a slur on all those living in Florida right now. Our hearts bleed for those people. The house on the sand washed away but the house on the rock stood firm. The rock is the Rock. It is our God, that we put our hope and trust in. When all else fails, when the wind blows, when the waves crash, He is our tower. He will not fall, and neither will we. Where will you go in your storm? I’m going into the arms of God.
I’ve had another birthday. At this stage of my life, I almost don’t want to have a birthday, except for the cake, ice cream and presents. I’m losing a lot by having a birthday. I’m losing another year of my life, my knees are failing, my heel hurts, I’m getting more gray hair and I put on weight for every indulgence. I’ve lost my children because they have all moved out. One of them I haven’t seen in almost two years. I’m a lot more tired, but I don’t sleep well. I’ve never worn make up so I can’t cover up my aging. I think me and my house are deteriorating at about the same rate. I wonder which will last longer. I look at my husband and he is no longer a young man while I think I’m still a young woman. Until I look in the mirror and say to myself, who is that older woman? I look at all my friends and see that they are getting older and wonder why am I hanging out with all these old people?
This is all meant to be facetious. Actually, age has many benefits. You gain experience. Some of that experience comes through hard times but hopefully, you learn something. If you’re smart, you don’t make the same mistakes you made before in life. You grow more loving and less abrasive. In other words, you mellow out. I’m not as rigid. I once wrote a poem about how I used to be very black and white, and straight and narrow but now I bend. I do bend more now, and it’s actually a good thing. I have more compassion for people. I don’t judge as much as I used to. I have a grandchild. You can’t really have a grandchild without growing older. Having a grandchild is one of the best experiences of my life. I like the saying that says if I knew how much fun grandchildren were going to be, I would have had them first. But also, I get along much better with my children now. I stopped bossing them around. I have no control over them anymore and they know it. Now, I just give a few bits of wise advice and watch them not take it. I don’t really suffer the repercussions because it’s their life now and they need to make mistakes to learn just like I did.
I’m growing closer to God. How can I not? Each year brings me a year closer to meeting Him. Sometimes, I even think I may look forward to it when I’m a little older. So happy birthday to me. We never really grow old in heart, just in body. My body is not who I am. Someday I will shed this encumbrance and fly away. For now, I’m thankful for everything God has given me, and for what He’s allowed me to accomplish. I’m looking forward to what this year will bring. The success story is up to me.