This past week was one where the rain fell steadily in my life. Sometimes it splashed lightly in little droplets that danced on the window pane of my heart. At other times it bucketed down in gushing storms that made my heart cry out in pain.
My dearly loved Mum was very ill. She was in the ICU in a hospital that was too far away for me to visit. I live in Australia. Mum lives in Sri Lanka. My regular daily communication with her via email was suddenly severed. The same day that she was transferred to the ICU, my son who’d also been sick needed to be taken to hospital. Trouble usually comes in twos and three’s doesn’t it?
Mum has been my one-woman cheering squad through all of my life and she has excelled at it. She’s been my favourite, regular, daily email correspondent over many many years. My special friend and confidante. Her all encompassing love has been unconditional. No one can replace the very special place she occupies in my heart. My Mum is unique and loved more than she would ever know.
I was glad I could be there for my son. That was a comfort. But I couldn’t be there for my Mum. I longed to go and visit my Mum. I longed to hold her hand and tell her how special she was to me. I longed to comfort her. I longed to ease her pain and discomfort. I longed to communicate with her. I longed to tell her how much I loved her.
But of course I could not do any of these things.
And so I did the next best thing. I turned to God and asked Him to take care of her. I asked my friends to pray. I communicated feverishly with my family who live all over the globe. I prayed she would get better. I was very grateful to my siblings near at hand who were doing so much for her.
On the Monday morning, I hopped on the 8.30 bus to the City. My plan was to take my son his breakfast, spend time with him and to bring him back home. The O bahn ride is always one I enjoy. An ordinary bus travelling on an extraordinary rail – zooming through very pretty countryside at the rate of 100 kmph. I love it.
Did my heartache that morning prevent me from enjoying the ride? Surprising as it may sound, the answer is ‘No’! In actual fact, the ride brought balm to my soul. I put on the headphones of mp3 player and listened to praise music as I travelled. I talked to God. I prayed for the needs of my family and friends. I prayed for my Mum and my son, both who needed extra prayer.
Around me, the world looked fresh and beautiful on that cool autumn morning. We travelled through many sun dappled groves where Gum trees waved their beautiful green branches and a lively creek gurgled it’s way downstream. I caught many glimpses of amazing beauty around me. I couldn’t help but drink it all in and worship my Creator in gratitude. And God spoke to me.
‘I have created all of this, Anusha. You can entrust your Mum into MY Hands’, He seemed to say. It felt like a foretaste and a brief glimpse of heaven as I worshipped. A breathtaking moment of realisation. A gift from God to me that day. And so I knew, that no matter what happened – I could trust God with Mum’s future and her life.
As a child of God I have a hope that shines brightly through the darkest night, that grabs my heart and keeps it secure through the fiercest storm. I know that when I reach the end of life’s journey, I will step into something even better. Life with God. And that’s not all. I am assured that on the other side of the grave, I would also meet my loved ones who know Him. Death is not the end. It is a doorway to something far better. Something far better than I could ever imagine.
And so that day, God reached down and comforted me. He assured me of His best for my precious Mum. He told me He was in control. He told me I could trust Him. Once again, I learnt to keep dancing in the rain even through the storm. Yes, the rain fell all week. But I glimpsed a beautiful rainbow which dazzled and beckoned at me from the far end of the storm. My heart quickened. My soul was dipped in the beauty and freshness of hope. My prayers were answered.
My dance was one of unceasing praise to my Amazing God.
And unceasing prayers (of thanksgiving and hope) for my Beloved Mum!
It was sizzling merrily on the stove. I went to my kitchen and opened the lid. I stirred the minced beef curry, peering in to check how it was doing. It didn’t look right. So I looked again.
It’s colour wasn’t quite dark enough, I decided. Perhaps the curry powder wasn’t sufficient! I opened my jar of roasted curry powder and using a teaspoon, added a little more.
I next opened my tin of dark roasted curry powder and spooned a little of that too. And then for good measure, I put in a spoonful of chillie powder in.
I stirred the minced beef briskly. This time, it looked a rich, dark brown mixture; a delicous aroma wafting up my nostrils. Mmmm! That smelt good! And it looked....just right! I left it to cook for a little while more and then turned off the flame.
When God looks at me, I think He sees what I could become. So he pours a bit of hardship on me – or else, He allows trials and storms to happen. He lets me experience life and difficulty and tough times. All because He loves me.
He knows far better than I do about what’s best for me. While the curry powders of life rain on me, I look at Him puzzled and unhappy.
“Why God?’ I ask Him. ‘Why me, God?”
But He the Master, knows what’s best. And when He looks the next time, perhaps the melting pot of life’s circumstances would have changed me to become even more beautiful in His eyes.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6,7
It’s for my good, isn’t it?
Let me cherish the trials…. while He changes me!
“I look forward to popping in, to learn many new dance steps from you.” Those were words that my friend Lilani wrote in my guest book in response to my blog last week. (Thank you Lilani!) Her words kick-started my brain into a new train of thought.
I know that I’d probably learn many dance steps of life from her. In fact, I’d learn more steps from all of you out there! Life is an adventure in learning isn’t it? We can glean much wisdom from many others who walk with us – those who’ve gone before, those who travel by our side, to us, even those who follow behind.
I thought about how much I loved to dance. When I was a teenager I’d danced merrily at many teenage parties and thrived on it. When I became a Christian at the age of 16 – I stopped dancing for awhile. Instead, I looked forward to the day when I would dance with my husband – at home – at weddings – wherever. I was in for a surprise. My beloved husband wasn’t into dancing. And so, for many years, we didn’t dance at all – (not counting the little jigs I did in my home when in an cheery mood)!
Till November 29th 2003. On that beautiful day, Shan and I attended my niece Dil’s wedding in the very picturesque setting of the Blue Mountains. The wedding included dancing. An exuberant unknown lady in an exuberant party mood, pulled my reluctant husband to his feet. I grabbed my chance. I danced with Shan! And we greatly enjoyed it. Since then – we have been dancing. Not very often. But often enough. And much to my dear husband’s surprise, it’s been great fun!
This past week, I’ve been pondering on the dance steps in life that I’ve been learning over the years. Reaching middle age may not seem attractive to the young. But you know what – I’ve discovered that with increased age comes increased wisdom. (Well – perhaps a little more wisdom?) Maneuvering ones way through life is not always easy, is it? But experience and age bring new inner strength and also more of the skills needed to make dancing possible and easier to do, especially in wet weather. I am so glad I stand where I do today, having learnt a few new dance steps along the way. Being on the right side of 50, is a great place to be – despite a body which is no longer youthful and feet that ache when I dance!
Here are some of the dance steps I’ve learnt:
1. Yield myself totally to God
2. Trust in Him implicitly. When I’m perplexed – keep trusting.
3. Expect great things from a great God
4. Practice Gratitude
5. Do what He asks me to do. Be obedient!
6. Be blameless and pure as far as possible
7. Forgive! Forgive! Forgive!
8 Learn Discipline. Learn patience!
9. Smile Often. Laugh at myself.
10 Look for the good in others
11. Pray often.
12. Fill my days with thanksgiving and praise
Learning the dance steps needed to get through my rainy days does take effort. But you know what? We are not alone. In the Holy Spirit, we have a Teacher. In Jesus we have a Friend. In the Word, we have instruction.
Keep dancing my friend. Beyond the rain is waiting ……………….….
a beautiful rainbow that shines brightly… just for you!
I stared at it. What a lovely surprise! A few months ago, the bush had been dead. A small, shrivelled up brown mass of twigs, after a hot dry Summer.
And here it was, just a few months later, not only green and luxuriant, but flowering as well.
Call it a miracle! It really was one. I’d meant to cut if off, because it had looked dead. What a good thing that I hadn’t! I now had the pleasure of enjoying it’s loveliness.
The resurrected bush, taught me the value of not giving up. It’s so easy to think that my prayers are of no use when years of praying seems to have yielded no results. It’s tempting to feel that hoping is useless when all my efforts have brought are more pain and frustration!
When the going gets too tough to weather, It seems that the logical thing to do is to give up.
But … no, what would life be without hope! Often the best results arrive at the end of a worst case situation. Without the cross, there would have been no resurrection, would there? And without the resurrection, we would have no cause for faith. Or for joy! Or for hope!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:13
Don’t stay there. Grab on to your hope…. it is worth it!
There I was – 26 years old and unmarried; possibly an old maid for the rest of my life! I’d never had a boy friend. Not that there were no contenders. But the young men who were interested in me were not those I had any interest in. The two or three men whom I’d fallen in love with over the years, didn’t seem to be interested in me!
I’ve always been a romantic at heart. At the age of 19, I’d believed in fairy tale endings. My parents had a very happy marriage. And so …… I looked forward to the day when I could begin my own fairy tale ending in life. I told God one day “Lord – there seems no one on my horizon. You will have to manufacture a man for me.”! I heaved a great big sigh! And wrote a few sad poems in my poetry book!
Life is often clever at surprising us don't you think? Sometimes those surprises are not ones we want or like. But on this day – on the 4th of August 1984, a truly amazing and wonderful surprise dropped into my unsuspecting lap. My friend of 4 years, Shan – told me that he’d been interested in me for awhile. My response? Surprise! “Really?” I’d never considered him in that way before. We were good friends – no more. I didn’t think there was a future for us. Or was there?
And you know what? As I thought about it….. something very strange occured. I began to feel positive about it – just like that. As I pondered, my positive feelings increased. As the days passed – God spoke to me clearly. I had a very strong conviction that Shan was the the God ordained husband for me. And I fell deeply in love!
Thinking back, I realise what a miracle it was how it had occured! Three other eligible Christian friends had approached me with their interest awhile before – but I hadn’t felt this way then. I simply said 'No'! But now, just in 4 short days – I was certain that Shan was the one for me. He was gentle, he was kind. He was tall, he was handsome. He had a lovely dimple on his right cheek when he smiled. He and I were both Christians, involved in Christian ministry together. We both liked animals, specially dogs. We both loved books. Yes, we had similar interests. And yes, I believed he was God’s person for me. And so I said a resounding ‘Yes’. And my fairy tale ending began.
It’s 28 years later now – and I look back with joy. Yes, my finding my life’s partner was indeed a reason to dance and still is. Two years ago, I found another reason to dance. God answered my 2nd big childhood dream. On the 10th of July 2010, my first book, ‘Enjoying the Journey’ was published by Back to the Bible in Sri Lanka. I became a published Author. Its book launch was another big epoch moment in my life. Another wonderful beginning. Another reason to dance.
Today I begin my blogging adventures, ‘Dancing in the Rain’. I’d like to begin by sharing my big reason to dance in the rain. I’ve already mentioned two reasons why I’ve been dancing through life. But those dances were dances in the sunshine.
What I would like to share through my blog is something even better. Not just the dancing in sunshine when all is well, although that too. But the dancing when the rain falls heavy on my shoulders; when I get wet – when the thunder shrieks loudly and when lightning strikes! It’s not easy during such rainy seasons to smile and to dance. But dance I will.
My big reason to dance in the rain happened 38 years ago. The Person behind it was JESUS. He became my all in all. He opened life in ways I had not experienced before. What has He done for me? Everything. Yes, everything! He turned rainy days into rainbows. He turned sadness into meaning. He changed me from the inside out and gave me a new song to sing. He helped me overcome my stormy days. And replaced them with hope. The anticipation of wonderful things to come!
And so today, I dance. Not just a dance that occures when the sun shines. But one that happens no matter what the weather. Here’s hoping that you too will join me as I dance in the rain. Life is short – and so… it’s time we enjoyed it to the full, before the curtain falls.And life’s dance is over.
I have a reason to dance! His name is Jesus!
You can read new posts on this blog via the RSS feed.