Ruff Summer by Kim Clayton

It’s the last week of August.   School buses, buzzing locusts, cool nights – they all point to one thing: summer is slipping away.   Let’s all pause for a moment of silence...  Thank you.   Does it seem to you that summer was doing battle just to get here at all this year?  The first few months looked like this:  rain, rain, drizzle, downpour, rain, sun (quick, get the mower!), rain.  Crops, gardens, and lawns barely stood a chance.   And in the midst of the wet and dry summer, I’ve been living a rollercoaster life.  As a matter of fact, I did ride two small coasters on our trip to Kings Island where, guess what, it rained.  But mostly the rollercoaster consisted of emotions big and small.  Branden, my youngest, is heading off to college soon which means we’ll soon empty the nest.  And, we got a puppy.  I know, bad timing, right?  Summer in my house looked a bit like this:   smile, cry, smile-cry, “No, bad!”, “Go potty,” cry, smile, “Get that outta your mouth!”, smile-cry.  Ugh, I’m nauseated, let me off this ride.

So you’ll notice the picture of our two dogs I put with this post.  Do you see the way our oldest dog, Frank (upper corner), is sitting there all calm in his maturity, and how the new puppy, Stella is a blur of activity?  It’s a visual of who I am and who I’d like to be.    I wish I could weather the storms more like Frank, who looks as if to say, “Well, this is new… but we’ll get used to it.”  But unfortunately, I seem to be more like Stella.  I jump about in my uncertainty, in and out of focus, as if to say:

God, how do I…

Will he know how to…

What on earth will we…

Maybe I should…

Oh my goodness, I’m so glad my Heavenly Father is strong enough and infinitely patient enough to take on my messy heart and overactive brain that switches gears so quickly.  One minute, excited for the adventure, and the next minute, waving my hands Miss America style at my brimming eyes.  He’s not rattled by my reactions, but takes it all and says in Phillipians 4:6-7,

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” 

Don’t worry?  Easier said than done.  There are at least eleven mentions of “Do not worry” in the Bible, and even more of “Do not fear”.  When I fix my eyes on the future and the unknown, my heart squeezes a bit and I get anxious about what is ahead, much like climbing the hill of a large coaster and fearing the drop.  I forget at times, most of the time, that where I’m headed, my Father has it covered.  He has already been there, waiting with arms wide open to catch me.

The verse goes on to remind us to replace worry with prayer and to thank Him for all he’s done, something I also forget to do.  If we look back and remember all he’s brought us through, how faithful he has been, it’s like knowing the bottom won’t drop out.  There’s a cushion.  I think of how the Israelites would worry about every little thing and Moses would remind them of the parting of the Red Sea.  How on earth could they forget something like that?  How do I forget all he’s done for me?

And then a promise to experience peace, and not just any peace, God’s peace, that exceeds understanding.  A blessing.  Deep in my soul, it’s there, and the truth of it wells up.  I know it will all be okay, because it’s all in God’s hands.  In my heart I hear a simple question, “Do you trust me?”  My answer can only be yes.  “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

I believe, only help my unbelief.

I trust, only forgive me when I worry.

I surrender, only help me to let go.

Amen.