After the past 4 months of hot, dry weather, we've finally begun to see the beginning effects of rainy season and it's exciting. This last week has also been exceptionally hot, so on Wednesday night when the rain came at dinnertime, it was a beautiful thing. The breeze picked up and the cool rain flooded down causing the heat to diminish and even made me cool enough to get a sweater and put on socks before bed! That's the first time I've worn socks in Haiti yet! :)
Then on Thursday afternoon, the kids and I were working in the classroom and trying to keep cool as usual. I had intentions of playing some outdoor baseball with them, but the heat was just too intense to do anything but sit in the shade and keep cool with fans. However, shortly after lunch we began to see thick gray storm clouds approaching in the distance out of our class window. Much to our delight, rain was on it's way and as the darkness drew nearer I announced that once the rain started, we would go out to sit on the porch and enjoy the fresh scent and sound.
But when the rain came, it was just too hard for Bridgely to resist. He was the first one with his rubber boots on and ran out into the front yard, jumping for joy as the rain poured down. This set off a chain reaction as both Grayden and Teagan made a dash for their boots and also brought out Cheryl's pair for me to put on. I hesitated at first, eyeing the boots from a distance, but it didn't take long before I too fitted into my gear and ventured out.
I can't remember the last time I played in the rain up until that point, but I realize now that it had been far too long. As soon as I left the shelter of the porch, huge drops of water began to soak into my clothes, and it was only a matter of minutes before all of us were drenched through and through. Above the roar of the water gushing down around us, we managed to play tag and I don't think there could have been anywhere else in the world I wanted to be. We were jumping, spinning, laughing, squealing, splashing and loving every minute of it.
At one point, as I looked up toward the dark sky, (I had to squint my eyes from the sting of the drops coming down so fast) I had to catch myself in the moment. I took a deep breath of fresh 'rain' air and as the water streamed down my face, it was an indescribable feeling of peace and love - as if the Lord was washing away all of the doubt and anxiety in my heart.
Rain has often gotten a 'bad wrap' from the perspective of weather. We often perceive it to be gloomy when compared with bright sunshine and puffy white clouds, and yet yesterday I saw rain in a whole new 'life' kind of way.
As the heavy drops fell to the ground, they brought a sense of coolness and relief to the heat and dryness of the earth. The water began to wash away dirt around my feet, cleansing it of all of the built up dust and stone, and most of all, it provided a source of food to all of the plants, making them vibrant with color and full of life once again.
The effects of the water falling on the earth also symbolize a lot of what the Lord did in my own heart as I stood in the rain. I felt the Lord cleansing me of a lot of my own 'dust'. Dust that has been accumulating from concerns about what this next year may bring, and dust from the doubts that have been bogging me down as I make this important decision. There have been so many variables that have been churning in my mind, and yet in that moment I felt like in a lot of ways the Lord was telling me that I don't have to figure it all out, He simply wants me to stand.
When the storms of our lives come in, it's easy to cower away or run for cover in order to avoid destruction, and yet I felt like God was speaking to me, just like a song I've listened to recently, 'Stand in the rain'. If my faith is real, and my trust is secure, then Jesus can give me the strength to stand. And as I stand with the dark clouds surrounding me, His love and mercy and grace pours down and washes over me. Where the thick clouds hover, it is there that His abundant love 'reigns'. There is a peace that can't be explained and a hope that His plan is full of blessing, so I need not be afraid.
This week I believe I have learned a lot about God's character. That the love He has for His children is far greater than I allow myself to believe sometimes. He's been casting out my fears. He's forgiven me of my past. He's been healing me of my brokenness.
And because of this love I have realized this week that He isn't going to take me up a mountain and drop me off a cliff. He isn't going to lead me to the desert and not provide a stream. He is the God that provided for Moses and Joshua. He is the God that stood with Shadrac, Meshach and Abendago through the fire. He is the God that rescued Daniel from the lions. He is more than just the God of today, but He has proved His faithfulness from the beginning of time. And for that reason, I know that I can trust Him with whatever plans He has for my life. As He promised, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So though the path gets steeper and narrower and I begin to wonder if this really is the right path I'm on, I am comforted knowing that He is beside me and I have nothing to fear.
Thank you all for the support you have been to me during this time. Each morning all week long as I have checked my e-mail, my inbox has been full of encouraging messages and prayers from many of you who have read my last blog posting. I can't thank you enough for the love that you have blessed me with and I have truly felt your prayers during this time.
I wait in anticipation for what's next in this journey as I stand in His rain.