Several years ago while reading Beverly Lewis’ Amish series I became intrigued by these plain people and wanted to learn more about them. We have an Amish community about 45 minutes from us in Etheridge, TN so some neighborhood friends and I decided to take a trip back in time one Friday morning. We were able to pick up some fresh produce and home baked bread and found their community market. We stopped at one home and struck up a conversation with the woman who was selling her delicious fried pies! We were in the middle of a drought ridden summer and asked how they managed without having any rain. Keep in mind that these people don’t typically have running water. She stopped and simply said, “It rains when it’s supposed to”. Those six simple words resonated deep within me. It took me a long time to completely accept that and to trust that it does indeed ‘rain when it’s supposed to.’
In March of 2004, at the age of 43, we found out I was pregnant! It was a bit of a shock for us and everyone else. We had 4 boys ranging in age from 7-20.
That’s when the rain began.
A week before I was to return to work in January after maternity leave, I got a phone call telling me that my position was no longer available. We never anticipated that we would be living on only one income.
A few months later my husband resigned from his position and into full-time ministry we were thrown. Some of us kicking and screaming! We packed up in August and made the move to Nashville going from a struggling one income family to a no income family.
I’m pretty sure it’s pouring rain at this point.
After our meager savings and the generous gifts of friends were gone, we struggled. On several occasions we found ourselves hitting up the local food bank in order to have enough to eat. There were months we couldn’t pay our mortgage payment to the point where losing our home was inevitable.
The bottom had fallen out.
Our marriage of almost 30 years was hurting. Financially, emotionally, physically – we were bleeding. The “D” word was thrown around. I was empty. Alone. Defeated. Done.
I was drowning in the flood . . .
And then, God painted the sky with a rainbow full of promise.
Things came full circle for me. Literally. I attended a Deeper Still conference back in Birmingham where this journey began. In a room filled with thousands of other women God spoke to me. It was as if the entire weekend had been tailor made just for me and the desert I was drowning in. Beth Moore talked about rediscovering the lost art of treasure. In Luke 2:51 it tells us that “his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” In reading the previous verses you see that Mary has just been through a valley of her own. The Greek for treasured here is ‘syntereo’ which means to ‘keep in the memory, to protect, to preserve, to think of and care for’. I began to realize that I did indeed have treasures in my valley.
We began to have family dinners together – something that was a rarity in our fast food household!
We got involved in a small group that became church for us. We lived life together for a time – embracing all the ugly, dirty, beautiful things that defined that.
I stayed home with my children.
Our oldest son, who had stayed behind in Birmingham, called one day and said he needed to get away from some of the things that were negatively influencing him and wanted to come back home. We were his safe place to fall.
My husband and I got to spend time together. For better and for worse, for richer and for poorer we sloshed around in my flood barely able to keep our heads above the water at times. Even though we had been married for almost 30 years and worked together, we basically lived very separate lives together. We had a lot of distance to cover before we found each other again.
I’m learning to hold these things in my heart and protect my treasures. I’m not there yet but God is abundantly patient and full of grace. It does indeed rain when it’s supposed to!
I’m going to kick off my shoes and walk in the rain . . .