I can’t stop the storm,
but I can make space
for you here,
under my umbrella.
I can marvel at your
willingness to dance
back and forth
between the wild outpouring from the heavens
and the little shelter
I have for you here
I can delight
in your awe and wonder
at the sky
of how you
tasted the rain
I can walk
a little ways with you
on this part
of your journey through life
and help you get safely
to where you’re going.
Zecariah 4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
Galations 5 22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
I felt like God was saying “I’m building you a bigger umbrella.”
“That’s odd,” I thought, so I continued to lean into prayer hoping to gaining a greater clarity on what the Spirit was trying to communicate in the depths of my heart.
I thought of my toddler daughter earlier that morning and how I’d delighted in her joy at frolicking back and forth between the thrill of a spring rain-shower and the comfort of holding my hand and leaning on my dry leg under the umbrella. I thought of the lighthearted joy I felt in shepherding her free spirited self to the safe shelter of our destination.
“Oh, a bigger umbrella – that makes sense,” I thought.
An umbrella is a shelter I can hold for others, kind of like the gift of faith. I can’t stop the storms of life from pouring down on us, but I can be a safe space for others to stay dry and walk with them them as they journey to their next destination.
God knows I need a bigger umbrella, so I can experience more of the joy I had the other night when a young man, who I helped when he first moved to America as a refugee several years ago stopped by to tell me about all the new opportunities opening up for him here, along with all the dreams coming true and things he never thought possible starting to come to pass. I let him “walk under my umbrella” so to speak by playing a role in helping him and his family adjust to life in America and make connections with other people here, along with continuing to provide encouragement and a safe space. Much like my toddler daughter, he is a delight to my soul.
While I’m busy putting my family first – at the same time I am always pressing my heart to God asking for ways to expand my ministry here on Unite in Prayer and in my local community, to spread faith in ways that are meaningful to others and energizing for myself. I have been in a long process of prayerfully surrendering my plans for God’s, doing my best to trust the “still small voice within” no matter where it leads. I increasingly recognize that with my limited budget of time and all of my family responsibilities, I need to prune my commitments down to projects that are truly life-giving. This is a challenge for me because my gifting is unique, so it’s tempting to fall into the trap of people pleasing rather than stand in the strength of who I really am. I find myself at the edge of what I can do, realizing on a deep level how badly I need God to open doors for me and my family, to help us all find a way to fully and freely be ourselves in the world.
Lately, I’ve been inspired to work on a crowd-sourced poem, which has me reaching out into my local community to various service organizations trying to form partnerships and build relationships. I love the feeling of connecting with new people from diverse backgrounds, who have hearts for justice and are doing wonderful things in the community. Nothing gives me greater joy than seeing the joy in others, hearing their voices, being a part of their stories, walking with them through trials into the inevitable joy that follows and being my contemplative prayer poet self. I hope that God helps break some barriers down, so I can build these kind of relationships through the project.
So what would a bigger umbrella look like for me? I would love more opportunities to walk with others, to delight in others unique God-given gifts, to hold faith and space for others to live their dreams and have a realization that my small part is enough because where my gifts leave off, other members of the body of Christ’s begin. I would like more grace, support and community around my own children to free up more grace to extend my work outside of the home without feeling like it’s costing them.
My journey is one of surrendering my own plans, finding my own limitations and opening up to God’s, wherever they lead. It’s taken me through deep gut-wrenching trials and also into many miracles of grace that have simply blown my mind. I am hoping to see ever more of the glories of God revealed as I continue to walk this spiritual journey, and I’m hoping to create space for others to experience mind-blowing miracles of grace as well.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
Do you need someone to walk with on this leg of your spiritual journey through life? Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to welcome you under my umbrella and keep you in my prayers.
Lord thank you for speaking into the depths of our hearts through scripture and private revelation. Thank you for walking with us through our unique journeys through life and revealing your loving presence in the ways that we most need at all times. Please help us to trust in you and surrender our lives, hearts and work into Your loving hands, trusting that all we have to do is our best, and You will lavish Your grace through us into the world in miraculous ways. Heal the deep wounds of our hearts, which are areas that block Your grace from flowing through. Open up doors and opportunities for us to *just be ourselves* in the world, to do the bold and creative work that You intend for us and created for us to do. Protect us from the temptation to conform to the ideals of this flawed society, and bless us with a deep and abiding faith to fully embrace Your miraculous Divine plan for our lives. Lead us to those, who we can be blessed by blessing with our unique gifts and talents. Protect us from saying yes out of guilt and obligation. Open up for us the fullness of joy, which can be found in serving others by the power of Your spirit. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.
written by Nicky Gant for http://www.uniteinprayer.org 5/22/2021