Do you have a certain time of the year that you think about lessons learned, how far you have come and where you are now? Maybe it’s a time like now (which would be the end of a school year in normal time), or at the beginning of a new year. Maybe it’s an event that completely changed the trajectory of your life and you look at life from that moment. I know for me one of those is losing Dad, but one of the main ones is this time of the year – around my recovery anniversary and Mother’s Day.
Because my relationship with my Mother is one of the biggest parts of my life I’ve had to work through. Also because, 12 years ago on Mother’s Day, I got on a plane from Philadelphia where my Mom lives to go to treatment in Florida. All I thought then was that I was going to treatment for my addictions. Little did I know how much my relationship with her would change from that day. So that’s why I take this time of the year to reflect.
Those few years in recovery were stormy with her. Sometimes the rift between us felt like huge mountains, like we might never talk again. Other times it felt really stormy, like I was a sailor in extremely rough seas and had no idea when I was ever going to get back to land. From disagreements, misunderstandings, to long periods of time not talking and hard hard discussions, we seriously had our struggles. You would think things would get better when I got to treatment, but they got worse between us for quite a while. In fact, whenever God puts someone in my life who struggles with their Mom, I believe it is no mistake. It’s those moments where I can share my testimony and help another.
You know why? Because it did get better. Slowly. Really slowly. God healed our relationship in his time, not ours. To God be the glory.
Of course we still have our differences, but we respect each other for them and try to love each other where we’re at.
I really believe if it were not for the storms and the mountains, I would not be where I am today. Those years of struggle with her also contained many beautiful things like getting sober, meeting my future husband, getting engaged and married. They also contained other difficulties like losing Dad and grieving what was the relationship with Mom that had to change in order to get better. Those mountains that seemed insurmountable, became surmountable with God. Those storms that seemed like they would never end, did end. The beauty came through the pain. God was working hard and I am grateful for every broken road, every tear, every painful conversation, every time period of not talking to my Mom. Every one.
Have you had a season like this in your life that felt like the storms would never end or the mountain seemed insurmountable? Is that season right now, in quarantine? Is it the overwhelm of motherhood? Is it the stress of not knowing when we’ll go back to normal? Whatever it is, remember God is in control of the storm.
Job 9:5 says, “It is God who removes the mountains.”
Maybe we’re supposed to be reminded right now that life is in a constant state of change that only God has control of and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Maybe we need to remember what we’ve heard about the storms of life.
Dolly Parton said, “Storms make trees take deeper roots.”
How bout this one?
“The devil whispered in my ear, “You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.” Today I whispered in the devil’s ear, “I am the storm.”
“Not all the storms of life come to disrupt your life. Some come to clear your path.”
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm’s all about.” – Haruki Murakam
And the most famous, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Let me share with you where in Scripture I was led to on this storm topic. It’s in the Psalms. Go to 107. It’s one of thanksgiving to God for bringing the lost ones out of their storms and it starts in verse 23 and the Psalmists are referring to what happened when some of the lost went out to sea and what happened. This is from the New Living Translation version,
“Some went off to sea in ships,
plying the trade routs of the world.
They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action,
his impressive works on the deepest seas.
He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves.
Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths;
the sailors cringed in terror.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits end.
‘Lord, help!’ they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.
He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.
What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely to harbor.”
Psalm 107: 23-30
This passage reminds me that even when the seas are rough, and I’m scared – the Lord will carry me through to stillness. He can do the same for you.
And when those storms feel more like mountains…What do we know from the Word about the mountains? That our strength doesn’t come from them – it comes from the Lord. He is greater than the mountains we face.
“I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” Psalm 121:1-8
He will NOT let us stumble.
He will NOT slumber or sleep.
He stands beside you as a protective shade.
He keeps you from ALL harm and watches over your life.
He keeps watch over you as you come and go…
Both now and forever!!
So those mountains? Yeah, they don’t scare our God. Nothing can move him.
He works his plan in the MESS. Our mess is right where He’s creating His message.
And guess what, all you need is faith as small as a mustard seed. That is surely what I started out with on this journey. After years of being raised in religion, at 30 years old I finally realized all I needed was a little real faith to truly lean on Him for my life.
Matthew 17:20 says,
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
It’s all based on faith.
Through every trial, through every storm, through every mountaintop I’ve faced – my faith has grown and the Lord has shown me He is truly FAITHFUL. He’s not going anywhere. THAT is what I learned in this last season, these last 12 years.
“I’m not going anywhere Meredith. (Period),” is the steady message I’ve heard.
Maybe now is a good time for you to get some perspective on where you’ve been and where you are going.
What are the storms God has brought you through? What are the ones He’s bringing you through? What are your mountains? Do you see that your help comes from God? Maybe now is the time to lean on Him a little bit more and truly see that no matter what comes out of this, He’s still going to be there. Period.
Do you know the story about eagles and storms? Eagles are the only bird that loves a storm. In fact, they fly into the storm because they know they can use the pressure of the storm to fly high above it. God created them so their wings lock in order for them to rise above it. It’s like as soon as that storm comes, they are created to be set and secure.
Do you know this about yourself and your creator? He gave you these Scriptures to help prepare you and secure you for the storms of this life.
May your faith help you rise above the storms and help you see that God is doing a work in you. You may not see it now but he IS.
One more thing, there are two songs that remind me of how He is present in storms and greater than the mountains so I’m sharing them with you here in case you need some music for reflection.