Flowers in the Desert

Storms. They’re inevitable. Some bring rain. Some bring rain and wind. Some are like a gentle summer shower that helps the garden grow. Some are destructive and up-end everything in its path. Some you know are coming. Some catch you off guard.

My Gramps would come in from working out in the garden and tell my Granny, “Mamma, you’d better get those lima beans in, there’s a storm a brewin’” And sure enough, no matter how sunny it seemed at the moment he said it, the rain would come. Granny learned early on to heed that storm warning and gather in whatever crops were ready. We would be in the safety of our home, snapping beans (or whatever) while the winds howled and rain blew.

How did he do that? He had learned as a young boy on his parents’ farm to watch, listen and smell. The animals would act skittish. The wind would pick up. The air would smell different. All signs that were obvious when one was paying attention.

Life-storms can be like that too.  We can sense somethings coming on the horizon. We know to prepare ourselves because no matter how sunny life is right now, you can sense somethings brewing. We’ve had to prepare ourselves when our kids went to college, got married and moved away. We knew change was coming so we prepared ourselves for the change in family dynamics.

My father-in-law had battled cancer, kidney disease and a stroke and we knew from the medical reports and more frequent hospital stays we needed to prepare ourselves for his passing. These are life-storms that give you some clue they’re coming. It’s these that allow you to take refuge, gather your family and get the hurricane shutters on before they hit. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to still go through the storm but you saw it coming.

Then there are these…

Mallory and I had just dropped Carson off at football practice and wanted to get as many holes of golf in as we could during the hour and a half we had to play. We had just finished up hole 5 and were debating whether or not to continue. It was starting to get dark and we were on the very back of the course so we decided to head to the car (I hate when I show up to practice and my kid’s the last one there with the coach…)

As we were walking, we both heard a loud noise coming from the direction of the woods to the left of us. At first we thought it was the wind blowing the leaves but then quickly realized it was a line of sideways rain coming right at us!

We both started to run like we thought we could outrun the monsoon about to hit. At first we were laughing. We couldn’t believe how it crazy it sounded and how quickly it hit. But then it hit full on with lightning and thunder, was drenching us both and stopped being funny when I hit a tree root with my pull cart and my clubs spilled everywhere. In the 5-10 minutes it took us to get back to the car we were soaked to the very core. Water was dripping off us like we’d just stepped out of the shower; I couldn’t catch my breath from trying to run from the monsoon.

It caught us completely off guard and vulnerable.

Some life-storms are like that. They catch you off guard, drench you through and through and leave you breathless. I have to say I got caught in one of those recently.

I sure wish my Gramps would have been around to say, “Gathering in those lima beans, there’s a storm coming.” But he wasn’t and I got caught blindsided and gut punched. I looked up what a sudden storm with lots of rain was called. There was a whole list of names but my favorite two were frog strangler and duck drowner because that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling….strangled.

You know those verses that talk about God being your refuge in trouble? Y’all, those weren’t working for me. I guess because I picture a refuge as a place of safety…you know like the first storm scenario, with fair warning to come in from the storm and all. Not getting caught out in it and tripping over a tree root. What kind of refuge is that? So me and my Dad have been having some conversations about feeling like an abandoned frog being strangled in this latest storm.

Here’s what He’s showing me:

~ My Dad is gracious in that He lets me come to Him with full on emotion and put it out there. My Dad has big shoulders and can take my vent. He has an even bigger lap when I’m exhausted from being angry, hurt and scared.

~ My Dad will sometimes lead me into the wilderness. But there’s purpose behind it. Exodus 15 (This will have to be a different blog post…let me know if you want me to share the details I learned at a leadership forum J)

~ My Dad goes to the dark places with me and will give me a Word while there. Exodus 20:21 says “The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” He’s right there in the blackest of nights. Even when I can’t see Him. He really is my Refuge!

We took my grandson Cohen to see my blind Granny when he was just a few months old and she said, “Bring him to me. Even though I can’t see him, I can feel of him.” And she proceeded to feel his face, his ears, his hair, legs, toes. She got to know him by touch. When the storm causes such darkness that I can’t see my Dad, I sure am glad I can still “feel of Him.”

~ My Dad can make flowers grow in the desert. I read the article recently about this phenomenon in a Chilean desert. Here is what it said, “The Atacama region was punished, but also blessed by the phenomenon of a flourishing desert, something that happens only after the rains, this time brought about by El Niño and climate change,”  (You can read the whole article here: It took a storm of pretty significant magnitude to cause the soil to run onto the desert floor and produce beauty beyond compare….punished but blessed. He is my Refuge!

While the monsoon has let up some and I have had the chance to catch my breath, the flowers have not quite bloomed. But you know what? I have no doubt they will!! Because #mydadsbigger!!

Crazy about you guys!


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