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My husband and I moved to Seattle from North Idaho right after getting married in the summer of 2000. It wasn’t necessarily where I’d wanted to be, but it sure beat the heck out of North Idaho, or at least it did to me at the time…I thought…until we actually got there that is. Having been born in California, I’m a true California girl through and through. Sunshine makes my heart tick and my feet dance! I had little to no love and patience for the dreary, wet, gray that greeted me all too many a morn’ in Seattle. Thankfully, we were able to high tail it outta here to sunny San Diego after just a couple, but seemingly very long years.
Ah, San Diego, now there’s my kind of paradise. It especially felt so after having come from the rainforest capital of the northwest! But what I’m sure you’d really like to know right about now, rather than hearing more about the distaste I’ve had for Seattle, is why am I now living back here if I disliked it so much the first time? Two things I have to say about that: first, I’ve asked myself that very same question a ton too many times in the last four years we’ve been back, and second, the funny thing that I’ve discovered about saying that you’re never going to do something is that God has a funny way of asking you to do just that; or at least that’s been my experience, but all of that is a whole other story for perhaps another time. What I’d really like to focus on instead, is what the Lord has been speaking to me through this Stressed-Less journey regarding my attitude about all this Seattle rain.
Here, in what's often referred to as the great northwest, there’s a saying that goes something like: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes or drive five miles and it’ll change. While it’s meant to be a joke, the reason it’s funny is because there is actually a lot of truth to that. However, when someone has attached a happy stipulation to the sun, and an unhappy stipulation to the rain, this flip-flop weather pattern suddenly becomes a very un-fun roller coaster of emotional mood swings. This is definitely not how God has intended for us to live, but rather He says in His Word to, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” ~Phil 4:4, this being just one of many scriptures I could quote. Even though I’ve known this for quite some time, I still find myself allowing things as frivolous as the weather, to affect me negatively. The question is why? I discovered the answer to that question in the first week of the “Stressed-Less Living” study.
Back when I was living here in Seattle the first time, I was not yet a believer. I did not become one until just a couple months before moving to San Diego. It was there, in San Diego, that I heard and learned Col 3:2: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Since then, I’ve lost sight of this truth and my focus on God and instead have allowed the stress of my struggles in life to cause me to start re-focusing on all those “earthly things” and by doing so I’ve lost sight of the many blessings the Lord has poured into my life. In week one of this study, we were challenged to start a list of five things the Lord has blessed us with, to share that list, and then to add to it throughout our journey as we were made aware of additional blessings. If you haven’t read my first list, but wish too, you can click here to do so http://theword-vs-theworld.blogspot.com/2013/04/blessed.html, or read on for the continuation of that list.Though I don’t naturally like the rainy weather here in Seattle, it truly is a blessing in so many ways. It has taken the last four years to gradually grow an understanding and appreciation for this. Sometimes, when it rains and rains and rains, I feel like the cold, dark, dampness is never going to end, but then the sun suddenly appears, and wow! – the beauty (blessing #9) that is illuminated all around me is truly amazing! My life has been a lot like Seattle and its rain in many ways. There has been struggle after struggle pouring down, and seemingly day after day, with too few sunny days lately. At times, I’ve felt I’d drown if I had to endure one more storm, but when I’m reminded of the beauty that God continually creates with the landscape here by all the rain, then, I too am reminded of His purpose for our struggles (blessing #10). Just like the flowers and trees use all the rain to establish their roots, and to nourish and strengthen them, God uses our struggles to teach us to dig into His word, take root in Christ, and grow strong in the Lord. And this way, when a sunny day (blessing #11) does finally rise in our lives, we are able to flourish and blossom (blessing #12), rather than becoming burnt and withered by the hot scorching afternoon sun.
Two more additional and often over-looked blessings that come from the rain are:
Blessing #13 - I don’t have to deal directly with the affects drout has on other parts of our country/there are no water limitations set on us. Blessing #14 – our grass and landscape is almost always green without having to spend any additional time and money watering. Both of these are a huge plus considering water is not a cheap commodity these days!
So, is the fact that it rains here more often than not, in fact unfortunate? Well, I guess that all depends on your perspective. When we’re focused on the things of this world, and ultimately on ourselves, the answer to that is a resounding yes - it is unfortunate that it rains here so much. However, if we turn our eyes upward to the heavens, focusing on the Lord’s glory, and on soaking in His word, then we can begin to be filled with His truth and our thirst can be quenched. For what I’ve come to realize through the journey of my struggles thus far is that God’s blessings overflow from the drain-waters of our storms.
“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” ~Isaiah 58:11
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” ~Ephesians 1:3
“I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me, let us exalt his name together.” ~Psalm 3:1-3
(*Original poster image courtesy of Amy Henderson Photography)