"There's a storm moving in," he said, staring at the looming clouds that quickly stole our bright day.

Sitting under our covered area, I watched as the puffs in the air absorbed earth's precipitation like an infants' diaper. The clouds - once light and fluffy - had become drenched and dark. Just when we thought the clouds could hold it all in; they opened up and the rain came pouring out fast and hard. The humid summer day was swept up in wind and water and the sky was orchestrated by the drum of thunder and the cymbal of lightening. He begged me to come inside and stay dry. My head said go yet my heart urged me to sit and watch.

The God of our universe was beckoning me to join him in this moment.

This land-shaking event was a reminder of how my own life felt like wet clothes hanging heavy on tired bones. How my emotions had bottled up like the clouds and burst forth without thought or control. How bitter tears ran down my cheeks like the rain on the window pane. How my head was hot like lightening and my mouth loud like thunder. Words had spilled out and had now been taken by the wind for anyone who had ears to listen. My pleasant, sun-filled day had changed as quickly as the weather; becoming a storm that viciously wrecked the land and left the trees bare.

As quickly as the storm blew through our neighborhood, it ended. But damage had been done. Following that stormy day, I was wrecked with figuring out how to rebuild. God spoke of Reconciliation and Love, but my flesh whispered Anger and Resentment. Searching for answers to a fresh start, I stumble upon the wisdom of C.S. Lewis:

[quote]I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, or this month or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people. -Mere Christianity[/quote]

There may be all sorts of excuses for us: -That time you were so unfair to the children was when you were very tired. -That slightly shady business about the money - the one you have almost forgotten - came when you were very hard-up. -And what you promised to do for old So-and-so and have never done - well, you never would have promised if you had known how frightfully busy you were going to be. -And as for your behavior to your wife (or husband) or sister (or brother) if I knew how irritating they could be, I would not wonder at it.

I had my fair share of excuses for my own storm. It was easy to cast blame and say that I expected a different kind of behavior than the one I received. But, the arrow had hit the target and I was blinded with the realization that my own behavior had failed to be decent. Pride tried telling me to run but Humility forced me to sit and learn the lesson.

[pullquote_left]When Jesus said to settle our differences quickly, he meant it.[/pullquote_left] When Jesus said to settle our differences quickly, he meant it. Otherwise, the storm will only continue to gain momentum, much like a hurricane brewing out at sea. A category one storm becomes a catastrophic five and the damage much more detrimental than the first blow of chilling wind. In order for our lives to not be swept up in bad weather, we have to view ourselves with clarity.

We have to see our true selves just like we see the sun on a clear day.

In the New Believer's Bible, the footnote for the beatitudes states:

[quote]

Seeing ourselves as we really are produces two vital spiritual qualities: gentleness and lowliness (Matthew 5:5). We have an accurate and honest assessment of ourselves that, in turn, affects how we approach others.

[/quote]It goes on to say: This contradicts the world's way of thinking, which advocates standing up for your rights and asserting yourself in order to get what you deserve. The meekness Jesus describes here is not weakness or cowardice, but rather power under constraint. The more we humble ourselves and admit our weaknesses, the more we will rely on God's grace - and the happier we will be with ourselves and others.

Receiving clarity for damage control; I chose Love over Anger. Loving my neighbor like myself is the step towards turning a stifling summer day into a cool, fall breeze. With love, all my sins are washed away and I begin to treat others how I want to be treated: Forgiven.

[quote]Question: How do you choose to weather the storms of your own life?[/quote]

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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