Sheltered From the Storm

walking_on_water_jekel

This evening I went grocery shopping. It was raining when I came out of the store. I had four bags in my hand and did not have the ability to hold an umbrella. There was a lady standing beside me in the lobby. I turned to her and said, “I’m trying to figure out how I will hold my umbrella so I can cross the street without getting drenched.” She quickly offered to carry two of my bags while holding her umbrella over us while we crossed the street. I said kindly, “thank you” as we departed.

It didn’t take long for the bus to come. I jumped on the bus and rode to my connecting stop. It was raining very hard by this time. However, it didn’t take long for the next bus to come. I jumped on the bus and while I sat there I watched two women get on the bus with a plastic poncho. One of the women sat directly in front of me. I was staring at her white hooded poncho as she got off the bus. I never really liked those things, but at this time it really looked nice and I desired to have one.

The temperature had dropped and I was wearing a summer top with leggings. I was uncomfortable, cold and wet. My shoulders were bare and I was very cold from the air condition blowing on my wet skin. I was debating whether I should get off the bus to get one of those plastic ponchos to cover myself.

There were two stops that I passed. I continued to look out the window because I just didn’t want to get off the bus again. I also wasn’t sure if the store would sell them so I decided to take the risk and walk in the rain. How bad could it be to get rained on in the summer anyway? I got off the bus and was waiting to cross the street dreading the 15 minute walk home. In the corner of my eye, I saw a connecting bus that would carry me down the street and drop me exactly a few feet away from my home! Usually that never happens to me! When I got off the bus, a lady got off the bus with me. I turned to her and told her how worried I was about getting caught in the storm but I said, “Where God guides, He provides!” She let me share her umbrella as we walked up the street and we spoke about how good God has been to us. Surprisingly, I only walked about 3 feet in the rain!

When I got home, I thought about my experience and was motivated to share my story. So often we worry about the storms we are going through in life. We are trying to figure out what we should do or how we will do it. We plan our course of direction and we are not prepared when the storm comes our way. We may even see a solution to the problem but it may be out of our reach.

When you walk through the storm, the Lord goes before you and provides protection, provision and favor. He carries you through the storms of life and leads you to your destinations. The timing of God is always perfect. Did you notice in the story how smoothly my connections were made. When God is working, your path opens without resistance and without a struggle. In Him, you may rest. For the good sheppard knows what you are in need of exactly when you need it, so trust Him. When we allow Him to work out our problems, we will be covered through the most heaviest storms of life.

“He that dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty. “Psalms 91

In A Split Second – How One Day Changed My Life

car accident

On August 16, 1998, I was helping my friend move to Macon, Georgia to attend Macon State University in the Fall. She rented a moving truck and we started loading her furniture, personal items, etc onto the truck. We stopped at the gas station before we started the long, vigorous moving trip. I was getting a very strange feeling that day before we left the apartment. Our trip was delayed because of a short rainstorm, but the sun came out right about the time we left to pick up the truck.

As my friend pumped the gas into the vehicle, I stood between the gas pump and the truck. I just felt extremely anxious and nervous. I was shaking inside and immediately sat down inside the truck while my friend went to pay for the gas.

As we started on the highway, we smelled something burning. Since it was a hot day, we thought it was the air conditioning unit so my friend turned it off. We played music and talked about her new beginning at Macon State. She mentioned that the truck was not picking up speed and we were going no more than 50 mph.

As we continued to drive, the burning smell grew stronger. Suddenly, we saw a man on the right side of us, waving his arm outside of his car window, flagging us to pull over on the right side of the highway. We crossed over three lanes of traffic, but as we entered the emergency lane my friend was pumping on the brakes and the truck would not slow down. We was going about 50 mph when she decided to slam onto the emergency rail to slow the truck down. We continued to bounce back and forth onto the emergency rail while my friend yelled for me to jump out of the truck. I thought she was crazy. I told her I was not jumping out of the truck.

I immediately looked into the rear view mirror and saw a trail of the blackest smoke that I ever saw in my life. It smothered the entire highway. My instinct told me that I had no choice but to jump. When I opened my door, there were flames shooting from under the truck. I did not expect to see fire. I did not look back to see what my friend was doing, I didn’t think about anything but getting out of the truck. As I jumped, I felt tremendous heat on my legs. It felt like I was moving in slow motion. I somehow landed on my feet and stumbled to catch myself. The truck continued to roll. I felt my friend’s arm hug me as we stood and trembled and cried together.

As the truck rolled, the front area where we sat burst into flames. Suddenly, it started to thunderstorm severely. I stood in the heavy rain screaming and crying. The man who flagged us down pulled his car to the side of the road to help us. There was a woman and child in the car. We sat in silence inside their car as we waited until the fire and emergency unit came on the scene. In the faint distance, I heard the screeching sirens of the ambulance and fire trucks.

As I reflect on this dramatic experience, my eyes still fill with tears. I never knew the man’s name that assisted us. I can’t even remember what he looked like. I never even got the opportunity to thank him. Amazingly, my friend and I did not have a scratch or burn on our bodies. We were not crippled or paralyzed. Nor did we perish on that day. I sometimes reflect on all the things that could of happened and I probably would not be here to even tell you the details of this incident.

The Lord lifted us out of that truck and gave us another chance at life. I never quite looked at life the same after that day. It’s a testimony that I will carry for the rest of my life. I didn’t understand why my life was spared on that Saturday afternoon, but after years of walking with Jesus, I come to realize that this incident was the beginning of my ministry. I’ve had several accounts of testimonies through severe trials, obstacles, tribulations. But through it all, I’m standing in victory. God is faithful.

Growing Among the Weeds

While going for a walk, I noticed patches of grass and weeds growing between the cement on the sidewalk. I started to think about how little soil it took to provide growth.

I related this image of a weed with handling difficult life experiences. You may be placed in hard place, but still have the opportunity for growth. I never paid attention to how grass can grow in such a hard foundation within a tight area and still flourish and have life.

When you are found in a difficult situation, you will tend to experience a series of life lessons that command your attention for growth. The life process never ends. From birth to old age, you will continue acquiring knowledge, wisdom and opportunities for growth. Sometimes the worst experiences provides the best opportunities to learn about yourself and others. In the hard places is where you find out who you really are.

The Apostle Paul stated, “To be content in no matter what circumstances you may be in.” Sometimes it’s difficult to accept your circumstances because you are constantly focused on your surroundings. You may be dealing with an uncomfortable environment or dramatic changes in your life, but when you take the time to search within for healing, forgiveness or whatever is disrupting your peace of mind, you will find that life has much more things to offer despite the challenging opposition.

If the grass and weeds can grow in such a dry place without the essential nutrients of a rich, fertile soil, how much more can you flourish in the midst of a a challenging situation?

Reflection of God’s Love

I just have to provide a follow up on my most recent post. On Sunday morning, I was reading, “Our Daily Bread” and since I didn’t read Saturday’s devotional I combined both readings into one. It was about God’s Love! When I went to church, my pastor specifically preached on another scripture I read the same morning on “Mark 7” and also preached on God’s love confirming my recent posting. I also reached for Joyce Meyer’s book, “The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word” while lying in bed. I opened the book and it turned automatically to “Receiving God’s Love.” So I posted the scriptures that I found below. It was very strong in my Spirit to post this experience.

I just have to tell you that God will work through you if you allow Him. I have millions of stories similar to this one. Some may call it coincidences, but I have to acknowledge the truth. I cannot discredit or disregard the simple to the biggest things that God has done for me.

Walking in the Light

The word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

I went to the library and decided to walk since it was about 65 degrees. It was a gorgeous day, especially after dealing with the biggest snowstorm of the year about a week ago!

On my way back, I was wondering about my direction in life. I know what I want to do, but I just don’t know how to get there. We all know that we need to enjoy the journey and not the destination, but sometimes to be honest, I desire a shortcut pass the struggles, disappointments and challenges of life.

The world has taken a strange turn in the past few years. I have been through many transitions, but I’ve been at a level of peace that I can’t comprehend. 

I believe in unexpected opportunities in the midst of a crisis. I might be a little more optimistic than the majority and it serves favorable. It also helps me overlook the panic and despair that others may feel and experience at this time.

While I was walking, I happened to look down and saw a business card on the ground. I picked it up and noticed  that it was from a church ministry.

On the back was printed, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in the darkness.” I stopped in my tracks in astonishment. I also reflected on the verse I read this morning in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.

Some may believe it was a coincidence. I believe God speaks in gentle whispers to get our attention.

 

How God Speaks to me

WD-1

I was really down this week. I’ve felt completely drained, discouraged, depleted and unmotivated. I was feeling overwhelmed with life. I was lying in bed with the Writer’s Digest Magazine on my stomach staring at the ceiling.

I was determined to finish reading this magazine before the month was over. It was one of my silent New Year’s resolutions–which I really don’t believe in because I never attain the goals….so I simply call it my daily or monthly plan.  Anyway, I was looking up at the ceiling in silence and then closed my eyes for about 45 minutes before I even decided to pick up the magazine.

I started reading page by page struggling  to gain focus and concentration. I was determined to read every page because sometimes I cheat and skip the minor details in anticipation to get to the big, “How-to” articles.  But then, it happened!  As my eyes skimmed the pages, I saw my name in print!!! “Yolanda Berry” as my eyes slowly looked above my name to see the piece I submitted back in December. It was a letter that I submitted via email to the editor in frustration about how difficult it was to be recognized as a new writer without samples of your work in the publishing industry. 

They published my clip in the February 2009 issue of the Writer’s Digest!!! The title, “Write Your Novel in 2009.” I remember picking up the mail the day after New Year’s and finding the magazine in the mailbox.  The title seemed to scream, “Write it Now!” It was a very subliminal message which I took acknowledged secretly.

I’ve subscribed to this magazine for years and have been more of a dedicated reader than a writer. I read my clip and instantly got a boost of motivation!!! This is exactly what I needed to start off my New Year!!! No more procrastination. This is it!  This is worth the “Fight of My Life!!!” I can put on my running shoes now!

Thank you Writer’s Digest!!!

 

The Unknown Road

The End of the Road-2005 Copyright Yolanda Berry
Artwork by Yolanda Berry

On my way to church one day, I was determined to finally make it there on time. There’s a new road that has recently been constructed that connects to another street. I normally take a left turn at the light instead of continuing on the new road facing me straight ahead, but this morning I decided to travel the unknown road to find out where it would lead me.

As I traveled down the road, I felt a little anxiety hoping that I wouldn’t get lost so I could make it to church on time.  On the path I normally take, I would have to wait at the stoplight for long periods of time since it was not a heavily traveled street on Sundays. 

 Fortunately, I discovered that the road turned out to be a shortcut to a major parkway and in return took me closer to my destination than my old, traveled path. While I was driving, I immediately started thinking about the decisions made in life. Some people are so set in their ways or habits that they rarely take the road less traveled. They are either afraid of change or afraid of where it may lead. They never consider an alternate route. Unfortunately, they waste valuable time waiting at a red light or traveling farther than they have to go.  Sometimes risking the unknown maybe is the exact solution we need to lead us to our destination.