A THEOLOGY OF RAIN

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I went to two weddings in the last few weeks. Both were family weddings. Both were Christian weddings. Both were outdoor weddings.

The second wedding was all sunshine. But the first wedding rained.

A couple weeks before each wedding, I started to pray for good weather. I watched the weather app on my smartphone. The locations were saved so I could access them easily.

When we arrived at the first wedding, the clouds looked a little ominous. I opened my app to consult the radar. Then there was a sort of misty wetness. Good thing I brought my coat. Then a light rain. And my umbrella. By the time the wedding was over, it was a steady rain.

Believe it or not, it was a barefoot wedding. I kept my shoes on.

As we sat there waiting for the wedding to start, I wondered, how’s the pastor going to handle this one? He was a youngish, optimistic looking guy. But he was a piece of work, in the best sort of way.

He began by welcoming us all with only a passing mention of the weather. Later, he was forced to acknowledge the situation, but he was undaunted. I don’t know if he googled them, but he had a lot of ready Bible verses about the blessing of rain.

At one point, my husband whispered there might be lightning, but it turned out to be only the flash photography.

And I wondered, why. Everyone was praying for a sunny day. At least a dry day. This sweet, Christian couple with all their hopes and plans…. Why rain, Lord?

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LIVING LIFE BACKWARDS

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I think God kind of lives life backwards. He has a calendar and one date marked: The Revelation of Jesus Christ. We don’t know when that is, but He is viewing everything from that point in time.

Getting ready to attend the Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference (TGCW16) in June, I’m studying the first letter of Peter. And there it is. The whole book is just littered with references to this great cosmic event to come.

It is on God’s mind. And he tells us it should be on ours too….

Which reminds me of my dear daughter Grace when she was a child. She also has to live life backwards. Especially when it comes to stories.

I recall one afternoon sitting on our family couch with my two girls snuggled up to me for a good read aloud book, The Courage of Sarah Noble. A fabulous little story of a girl and her father crossing New England in the early Colonial days in search of a new home for their family. It’s a journey that has its dangers. Wild animals. People of all sorts who mean harm. That sort of thing.

And just as this little girl and her father are about to set off, her mother takes Sarah’s face in her hands and says, “Keep up your courage, Sarah Noble.”

End of chapter one. And I tell my sweet girls that we’ll read more tomorrow.

But Grace says, “Can I see the book?”

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RAISING A DAUGHTER WITH AUTISM: GRACE MIXED WITH GRIEF

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I see a blue and white comforter spread across my lap when I remember the beginning of this journey. How appropriate. Who knew that Blue would be the color of Autism Awareness Month so many years later….

I was waiting for the phone call. My husband had met with the surgeon the day before, and now he paced the sterile halls of Johns Hopkins Hospital waiting for word of how it had gone.

“We need to finish the heart surgery in 20 minutes. At 25 minutes, she will lose the function of her legs. At 30 minutes ….” He had informed us.

How we prayed! How we watched the clock tick by!

My sweet baby was only four days old. Five pounds was all she was, but every ounce was precious to us. We called her Grace.

We knew while I was pregnant that something wasn’t right. The day after she was born we met with a specialist who laid it out for us. Correctable heart defects now, possible kidney issues, hearing would probably be a concern. Oh, and growth and thyroid to watch for.

No one knew that autism would be added to the list, or that autism would end up being the biggest concern of all.

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THE ART OF LOSING

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A few years back, I read the classic epic poem the Iliad with my daughter, and I’m not gonna lie. I cried like a baby when Hector died.

I had always thought of Achilles as the Great Greek Hero of the famous Trojan War, but reading it this time, I didn’t like him. I just couldn’t see past his petty jealousy, self-pity, and childish revenge.

But here’s the thing: he won. And history is written by the victors, they say.

And then there’s Hector. He’s the brother of Paris who got drafted into a war he never wanted. He’s the patriot. The loyal son. The devoted husband. The loving father. He’s the Ideal Man.

But he lost!

And for me, it wasn’t just Hector who died. It was the death of the Ideal.

One of the most poignant moments in the story is when Hector crosses over the Greek fortifications with his warriors in what seems to him to be a step closer to victory…. But the reader knows better. We know that Mount Olympus has already ruled that when Hector passes over the barricades, he will be setting in motion a train of events that will lead to his own death and the downfall of Troy.

“Don’t do it!” we plead with Hector in the pages. “Don’t lose!”

Oh! And how life feels like a losing battle sometimes….

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ZOMBIES OR JESUS

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I had a terrible fall semester.

Started out all wrong. First of all, I ended the summer feeling – not rested, which scared me. I home school my kids, and I think we should at least START the year with a bang….

And before the first day of school, one of my daughters got pneumonia and another daughter broke her arm. (“She may get full motion back with lots of physical therapy,” the doctor tells me. Oh great! I’ve got plenty of time and energy for that!)

And then a couple months later, my adult daughter with disabilities had her first grand mal seizure in a public place. Ambulances. Emergency rooms. Cat scans.

Finally, the day after Thanksgiving, as I stood in line on my favorite shopping day of the year, I felt a wave sweep over me. Uh, oh. I hope I’m not coming down with something…. But I was. I had some sort of virus that lasted until after Christmas.

I look back on that holiday season as my most secular Christmas ever. I felt so depleted and I had so much to do, that I never even set up our Advent wreath. I didn’t do any of my traditional Advent readings, and I never sang “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

I thought, I’m not gonna make it. So many sighs. So many questions.

But then – I saw what I needed. Funny how that happens….

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