It’s finally fall out here in our neck of the woods — the last bit of summer has left us and the temperatures are relatively mild now. It’s nearly perfect outdoors. Not too cool, certainly not too warm. This in-between season gives us some reprieve before the winds begin to howl and the dry air begs to be humid again.
Sometimes life can feel like you’re in the in-between seasons. The last major event (albeit catastrophic or over-the-top-spectacular) has faded and is now a memory. There is very little (if any) cause to panic or be overly concerned. Matters seem to be manageable.
As the years roll by, I’m learning that this is precisely when I need to invest in the time I do have to prepare for winter. Those harsh seasons will be here without notice. The calm I now experience is GOD’s grace to allow me to get ready.
13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13 ESV
When the storms (notice I pluralized that) hit, there will be little time to respond with the power that is to be harnessed now. If you’re like me, I start to grab what is familiar and accessible — within reach. If GOD’s promises are stored in my mental warehouse, I’ll be more likely to retrieve them with greater ease.
It requires that I make the effort. Be fully intentional and purposeful. And at the same time, trust the process even when I don’t see immediate results — because that’s also part of the learning process. The end result of my being able to recall the truth when I need it most — that, my Friend, is what counts. That is where the evidence of having learned lessons is found.
I share these things with you because in the not so distant past I was not very successful at being storm ready. Perhaps you’ve experienced wishing that you had done the work of preparation ahead of time. Maybe like me you’ve experienced some of those regrets.
But GOD … in His grace and mercy … has allowed me to see with clarity and now I know what it means to hold onto what is necessary for me to get through the storms of life.
but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NLT
It’s difficult to watch someone react to a situation or their circumstances out of desperation. You know they’re not thinking correctly. You’ve seen then operate with greater clarity of mind in other times. As things become increasingly challenging, you want to intervene but cannot. Some things we are not able to ‘fix’ no matter how much we love a person. The counsel they’ve received may not have come soon enough or possibly they’ve rejected it altogether. Your heart breaks for them.
These are times when the view in our own rearview mirror take us to our knees in intercessory prayer on their behalf — because aside from being a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on, there is very little we can do to impact their space.
So, I say to you with all my heart, that if you are in a place right now of peace and calm, this is exactly the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to get battle ready. Store up those go-to verses. Find your people that will pray with you, throughout every season. Be diligent in your personal relationship with the Lord so that you can recognize His Voice and Presence in the stillness. Dig your heels into soil rich with the seeds of life and get rooted in your faith.
5 “I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing. John 15:5 NCV
At the end of the day, can we say with confidence, “I’ve done all that I can based on what has been given to me?” The life lessons we pick up along the journey are not simply for storing into a chest of memories. We live these times so that we can weather the times up ahead that we don’t know are coming. At best, we can encourage one another to take those courageous steps when our legs feel too wobbly to hold us up because we have been there.
14 Christ himself is our peace. Ephesians 2:14a NCV
Because Jesus came and gave of Himself, we have the confidence that we can have peace.
7 And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NCV
When residents hear that a hurricane is nearing, there is a surge in purchasing gasoline for vehicles, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines and first aid kits are packed. Like being on standby, you are on alert in order to respond with wisdom and urgency, leaving no room for regret.
How much more prepared than the last storm do I want to be? Is there opportunity for me to live with greater trust and deeper faith? Have I packed all that I can into my heart and mind about Christ that will cause me to get through the next crisis of my life?
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; Ephesians 6:13-16 ESV
I’ve told my adult children that one of the things you want to keep at the forefront of every decision: “Live life with few regrets.” In other words, make sure that you are consciously aware of the consequences and impact of every decision you make. Large or small. There will be less mess to have to deal with in the days ahead and in some cases, there aren’t mops big enough to swab the entire deck clean.
Living life storm ready, battle ready — however you wish to think it out loud — is living life with fewer regrets because you’ve made the conscious move to prepare yourself to get through those unpredictable seasons when your head was clear and you could arm yourself with all the necessary gear.
14 But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and forget about satisfying your sinful self. Romans 13:14 NCV
9 Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.” Joshua 1:9 NCV
6 Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid of them and don’t be frightened, because the Lord your God will go with you. He will not leave you or forget you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NCV
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary