Friday, September 15, 2017

Storms of Life

Last Monday morning, I was meeting online with my boss in Europe  as the winds were starting to pick up.  Later that morning, I sent a mass email out asking for some information, and several workers throughout Europe asked how I was and were praying as Hurricane Irma was making news worldwide.  I had to break early afternoon when we finally lost Internet, just in time for the tornado warnings, something we thankfully don't get very often where I'm from.  

As you probably know, despite some record-setting flooding that did devastate areas of downtown and some beaches as well as the expected power outages and loss of trees, we actually escaped the path of the hurricane itself, experiencing "only" tropical storm conditions.  In other words, we were spared much wrath.

Image result for charleston irma
Battery Downtown
Not a personal photo, taken from Time Magazine ;)
Personal Photo this time :)
One of many boardwalks that didn't make the storm :(

As the next few days have been characterized by checking on others, cleaning up, and catching up, there has been a strong sense of gratitude in many a local heart especially considering those in the islands and Florida as well as Texas and Louisiana.  I think it's a combination of our last two years of flooding, Harvey, memories of Hugo, and the uncharacteristic nature of this storm, but this hurricane had our attention.  And I think anything to that degree should cause us to look to One who has power over nature for help. 

As we get back to life as normal, I can't but help think of the storms of life that many of us or around us face, but also the fruit of these storms.  They shake things up.  This results in the trees and branches that are rotting, weaker, or are not firmly rooted to end up with piles of debris on the side of the road.  And I think it's the same in our own lives: when the storms of life come, they also shake us until that which is firmly rooted remains.  How crucial it is that we root ourselves in the Lord who is a sure foundation, the One who is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  

Jesus taught those who follow Him that "...everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."  In light of the havoc and ruin we've witnessed from physical storms, I hope we'll take Jesus' words seriously for the metaphorical ones as well.  

People weren't the only ones who were ready to get back out Tuesday.
Lots and lots of butterflies!

And while the Lord is so kind and good to instruct us on how to survive the trials of life, may we also acknowledge when He, in His mercy and kindness, spares us from the "storms" that are headed our way, like we literally experienced here in South Carolina.  

Friday, September 8, 2017


Speaking of communication, sorry for the lack of mine with you!  Ever since I started full-time, there's been a lot to do!  I've been preparing for my upcoming travels, working a lot for the organization, and several doors that were closed or not even there have opened recently to meet with churches and individuals who want to know more!   

I was thankful when a family asked me to dog-sit last weekend.  Sometimes it helps to "get away" to be able to pray more intently about issues on our hearts and minds.  It was also a chance to be creative and even try new things like painting!  Okay, so this was a mini canvas with a stencil for ages 6+ that only required minimal painting, even following a pattern they gave.  It was still a thrill for me, and hats off to any 6-year old who can stay in those lines!

My masterpiece.   Don't look too closely. ;)

At one point during the weekend, as I was doing some creative writing, I was dwelling on Psalm 119:105, specifically the word "word," wanting to know more about what the Lord was referring to.  It's a very common term after all.  So I delved into the Hebrew, not surprised that it refers to speech and utterances; but one definition stood out: commune(-ication).  And it opened my eyes to the genius of the word and how God designed us.  Words/speech are a form of communication, but the fruit and I suppose goal, in this case, is to commune with the one we're communicating with.  I may just be a language nerd, but isn't that amazing, the connection between words and relationship?  And it matches God's heart and what He says elsewhere that the purpose of the Scriptures is so that we can know Him personally.  How beautiful and amazing is that?

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105

I should add that "word" has many definitions, including but not limited to news, counsel, commandments, promise; so, it's relaying different types of information to others.  In that regard, one of my largest roles and responsibilities is communication as a liaison between EE EuroMENA and the international headquarters as well as between the leadership team and the different nations we represent.  And I must say that it makes me so thankful for the intercultural communication class I took in grad school, which I now apply on a weekly, if not daily basis!   

Finally, you may have noticed some changes in the ways I'm communicating, like how this blog is now private. :).  I'm re-thinking how I'm going to communicate with those who are interested in what the Lord is doing.  While I do want to inform and even "commune" through words with those who desire, it's important to me to protect the privacy of those I serve with as well as preserve the value of personal communication.  So I'll be praying through what and how to share with others in this "communication age" where the norm is to gain real-time access to all the information and photos we want with just a click.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-technology; just wanting to be wise and restrained, keeping the big picture in mind. Hope you'll keep reading!