Running Through Rainstorms Toward Hope


After living in Florida for years, I should know better than to get caught without an umbrella by a summer afternoon thunderstorm. By the time I made it home, my clothes were sopping wet and I knew the only attire that would have survived the storm was a swimsuit.

When I set out on a walk in my neighborhood there was only one stray cloud in the sky that didn't look all that threatening.

But too far from home or a neighboring porch, it started to rain and I ducked under the nearest tree for cover {no lightning, I checked}. 


At first I thought my little tree-shelter would keep me relatively dry while I waited for the rain to let up. 

But it poured harder and soon I was so drenched that I just decided to run for home. 



Sometimes I find myself running for cover from the storms in my life that threaten to submerge my God-sized dreams.


I want to safeguard these plans and purposes God whispers to my heart so I try to keep them tightly wrapped to protect them. But I slowly realized that it's not my dreams I'm protecting, it's actually my heart.

I used to think that I just wouldn’t bother dreaming so I could keep from being disappointed. 

But it only made my heart tough and cold and flinty. And I was disappointed anyway. 


So over time, I decided to crack open the door of my heart.  


Disappointments still arrived but I realized I could survive them because God met me there in the midst of them.




I started to see that whenever I took a step closer to one of my God-sized dreams, I would talk myself out of the celebration my heart felt. 

I wanted to prepare myself for disappointment, failure or rejection so I could let those around me know it before they pointed it out to me. I never wanted to be surprised.

But then I changed my thinking. I thought about God. I thought about God being here in person and handing me a gift.

I thought about me telling God that I knew this gift would probably break and fall apart, get lost along the way or be tossed on the trash heap someday. 

I thought about me telling God that I would be disappointed when the gift was gone so I wouldn't even bother using, enjoying or appreciating it. 

I thought about me handing back to God the gift I had so wanted and he had graciously given me.

And I thought about how it would grieve the heart of the one who gave the gift to me.



Maybe you’re holding an umbrella over your hopes for the future but they’re still drenched and dripping. 


Maybe you’re running through the rain, raindrops pelting your face, dripping into your eyes so you can’t even see the road ahead.


Maybe your dreams have been trampled in the mud, left swimming in a puddle, and you’re wondering if you should fish them out or just let them float away.


Take heart. 


Pull on your rain boots. 
Hold the umbrella high. 
Splash through the puddles.
Keep running toward hope.



As I slogged home through the rain, I noticed the bird I’d passed earlier. I had snapped a photo of the gray heron, wading in the pond, while it was still sunny out. 

But now the bird was still standing in the same spot, oblivious to the rain because the rain was bringing just what he was hoping for. His dream dinner of fish, frogs and insects.

When I reached my front door, I set out my shoes to dry and wished I had paid better attention to the skies before I set out on my walk. 

But I was kind of glad I got caught in the rain because I was inspired by the steadfastness of the bird.

After the storms batter and barrage my dreams, and I persevere through the squally days, I see radiant, dazzling, breathtaking, astonishing hope in front of me, breaking through the clouds. 

And I just know there's hope up ahead for you too.



I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for Your Heart. Join me there for more encouragement!



Comments

  1. Your posts about hope are so inspiring!

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  2. You are so right about protecting our hearts so that we don't take a risk on hope. Hope is risky and we don't want God to take the blame.
    Your writing is inspired, Valerie. It always makes me think deeply.

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    1. Thanks so much! Hope is risky but when God asks us to take a risk, we can't say no since we don't want to miss out on all he has for us. I am learning that he is not safe but our hearts can be safe when we trust them to him!

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  3. Wow - this made me cry. Thank you, Valerie, for once again speaking directly into my heart, exactly what I needed to hear. - Shawna

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    1. Shawna,
      Hope is such a fragile thing, isn't it? But we all need it! I'm so glad we feel the same way -- we'll hold onto hope and God will meet us there with what we need. Always love to hear from you, friend!

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  4. "
I started to see that whenever I took a step closer to one of my God-sized dreams, I would talk myself out of the celebration my heart felt.

    I wanted to prepare myself for disappointment, failure or rejection so I could let those around me know it before they pointed it out to me. I never wanted to be surprised." these words really connected to me Valerie. I know we so often feel this way. feel like a fool for hoping. these paragraphs you seamed together were so rich with hope, I loved them. Thank you.
    "Maybe you’re holding an umbrella over your hopes for the future but they’re still drenched and dripping. " these are perfection descriptions. I enjoyed reading a non cooking post from you too this Wednesday

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    1. Summer,
      Thank you so much -- I love your encouragement! And thank you for appreciating my cooking posts too! :)

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  5. Love your thoughts and your hope and your encouragement! I miss you Monday nights....

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    1. Hi Susan,
      I miss you too! So good to hear from you and thanks for your kind words!

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  6. This was so inspiring! It made me think of the other night it rained at my house for 2 hours. Ahh the south! On my way to church it stopped raining and got sunny. The glare off the pavement was blinding and beautiful! Those unexpected storms can turn into such beauty if we keep going.

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    1. Sarah,
      So true! The unexpected storms in our lives can turn into unbelievable beauty if we don't give up and grow weary of holding onto hope -- that's where believing God's promises are true become so important.

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  7. And once again, on the day I am reading this (several days after it showed up in my reader) is a day when I absolutely needed it. This week has been full of storms- thankful for the hope on the other side.

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    1. Tami,
      Oh, I so cherish your encouragement! You truly have a gift of saying what my heart needs to hear exactly when I need it. So grateful for you and I'm praying for you as you weather your storms -- there is hope ahead!

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