August 13,  2014

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” Matthew 11:29-30

The scenery: Sunday morning, in the Dominican Republic, sitting on the balcony at my dear friend Ludi’s house while listening to “Even Now” by Will Reagan. Ludi is a sweet elderly friend of mine. I met Ludi in March of 2013 and instantly connected with her. Her loving-kindness draws you to her like a moth to the light. Ludi’s been walking with the Lord for a few decades now. If I’ve ever doubted the Lord’s PEACE, I am affirmed through one conversation with her. She’s been healed from diseases, persevered through poverty and through her husband’s death. Even so, life and love ooze out of her pores. What a blessing it is to know her.

I’m sitting at her dining room table as she serves me Dominican coffee, avocado and potatoes, while sharing stories of the Lord’s provision in her life. She shares Matthew 11:29-30 and then says (in Spanish, of course) “Lord, if your yoke is easy and your burden is light, why do we feel the opposite at times? Why do we spend most of our lives as if we're in a constant storm?” It’s no coincidence that tropical storm Bertha is passing through DR at this moment. Her quaint little apartment has an open balcony, and I could feel the cold breeze blow through from the rain and wind. It’s all coming together, and this scenario is utterly perfect.

As I finish my breakfast and sit on the balcony to spend time with Jesus, I start thinking about the rain that’s pouring down outside. How liberating is rain? It’s hard to really ponder on that because it’s almost like rain is a burden, avoided like the plague. Clouds start rolling in and it’s an automatic—“uh, oh, get inside…rain’s coming”—or—“rains ruining our plans”—or—“hide from the rain so you won’t get wet.”

South Florida is a rainy place during the summer. Sometimes the clouds roll in so quickly, you aren’t able to really prepare to stay dry. A few weeks ago I was at the park with a few of my youngin’s and we pressed into the topic of healing. As our conversation came to an end, rain started drizzling down. With the entire park at our disposal, I had an idea. I said “put your stuff down, girls. Let’s frolic.” Although they were hesitant, and found me to be a little crazy, they put their stuff down, laughing as I attempted cartwheels in the rain. The rain fell lightly. We laughed. We danced. We cart-wheeled. We frolicked. It was so liberating.

A day later, a dear friend of mine joined me to watch the sunrise on the beach. After about an hour of reading Psalms and singing praises, the clouds began to roll in. “Rain! I hope it falls.” Sure enough, as we lay there on the sand, drops of rain began falling on our faces. We covered our stuff and rain straight to the water. A few others on the sand did the same. We laughed. We befriended fish. We shared travel stories. And best of all, we shared Jesus with an 11 year-old boy. It was beautiful.

Here’s what rain has taught me lately:

The moments that I’ve actually embraced the rain, it’s been the complete opposite of a burden—it’s been a moment of joy and life.

When you choose to embrace the rain, you don’t just stand in it as it falls on you, you laugh—you dance. The “burden” that once was rain, becomes a moment of freedom, growth and obedience. Embracing the rain leads to experiencing joy in the rain.

As I dwell on how perfect Jesus is in this situation, I think about the opportunities I’ve missed to dance in the rain. The times that the storm has rolled in, and I’ve ran for cover. But, oh Jesus, Your grace is as abundant as the drops that fall from the sky, soaking every part of my body. Lord, teach me to embrace the rain and dance in the storm…or run to the immeasurable ocean ahead of me. Your burden is light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsREeLYJ0KQ (Even Now--Will Reagan)

"Your love is sweeter than honey

Your love is stronger than death

Your love lifts me off my burdens

And teaches me to dance

Teaches me to dance."