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It was raining last Friday. I came home from CrossFit already damp with sweat and went immediately outside to stand in the rain. The rain poured down my face and trickled down my back as I lifted my face to the sky. Suddenly, and without too much thought, my feet stepped off the patio and into the grass. I stomped around in the puddles and kicked the water into the air. I remembered the joy in my granddaughter’s eyes when she did the same. She loves puddles!
I heard it before I felt it-LAUGHTER.
It leapt out of my soul refusing to be quiet. It broke free, not like one who had been held hostage; but more like a little girl who’d been squirreled away in her room for too long. It wasn’t a belly laugh, nor was it silent. It was joy singing into the wind. You know-the kind of joy born of relief and rest, comfort and trust. It danced upon the rain drops and I thought how freeing it was to laugh in the rain. Robert Frost once said, “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” Had my neighbors seen me they may have thought I had already gotten there.
But is it crazy to choose joy? Maybe. But I think I’ll stay here, carefree, untethered.
“I am happy out here. Dirty feet, messy hair and wild water on my skin…This is where I belong.”Brooke Hampton
I belong to freedom and freedom belongs to me. I no longer live in a place of captivity, fear, or dread. I hope to never return; for I know, I do not carry burdens without relief. I have the help of family, friends, and my Jesus-the Word of God! Every step is a step farther away from the cage in which I once lived. I can dance in joy and laugh in the face of the rain.
Sometimes the rains are not storms sent to destroy us, but gentle soakings meant to refresh us and make us stronger. For that matter, often times the storms make us all the stronger too. So, I partner with the rain. Hand in hand, we move together, swaying to the rhythm.
Mama said I was once a child full of laughter and joy. But some how, as I grew older and retreated to the small spaces of my bedroom I forgot God wanted me to dwell in spacious places with Him. When I put away my childish ways, I sadly put away my childlike heart. No more! For “His love broke open the way, and he brought me into a beautiful, broad place. He rescued me—because his delight is in me!” (1) He bent his heart toward mine as a loving father to his well-loved child. He whispered in my ear the words of life. He leaned his ear to hear my cries. He mourned with me when I mourned and rejoiced with me when I rejoiced. He taught me that I was safe with Him. So, I made my home in Him as He made His home in me. And each day, He leads me into a deeper freedom than I have ever known before.
Today, I come as a child, fully expecting, in wide-eyed wonder, to see the kingdom of God: a mystery revealed-within me. This is a kingdom of joy-found in Him. Joy is part of the true wealth offered by this Kingdom. It shines like the sun, glistens brighter than a diamond, and springs up like an oil gusher. Even when I am sad, this oil penetrates the deepest wounds, and brings healing to a mournful heart. (2)
So today, if you find yourself heavy or a little bit sad, go dance in the rain and jump in the mud puddles. I would NOT, however, recommend this it it is lightening. No rain to dance in, or puddles to toss about? Turn your face to the sun, close your eyes, and breathe in the heat from the rays. Let it soak into your very bones. Pick some wild flowers, play hop-scotch, write your name in chalk on the sidewalk. Be teachable. Marvel at the ants or the lady bugs. Listen to the birds singing or gasp in awe as they fly overhead. Pick up leaves, collect acorns or rocks. Dance in the light of the moon. Search, in complete belief, that you will find the man in the moon.
“Learn this well: unless you receive the revelation of the kingdom the same way a little child receives it, you will never be able to enter in.”Luke 18:17 The Passion Translation
I Didn’t Just Make This Stuff Up
- Luke 17:21b KJV “…the kingdom of God is within you.”
- Romans 14:17 NIV “The Kingdom of God is …a matter of…righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
- Psalm 118:4-7 Berean Study Bible “Let those who fear the LORD say, “His loving devotion endures forever. In my distress I called to the LORD, and He answered and set me free. The LORD is on my side; I will not be afraid…He is my helper.”
- (1) Psalm 18:19 The Passion Translation
- (2) Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul.” The Passion Translation