levees and friends

This past spring, our city has gone through a deluge of rain. In fact, it was the second year in a row Houston has been hit with such a downpour. The floods that ensued have been devastating. Our suburban neighborhood, designed with a levee of protection, has been one of several around the city spared by the rising waters.  This levee is a a raised embankment that channels the waters of the overflowing Brazos away from us. The waters have risen, the roads have even shut down in places, but the levee has protected us, leaving our homes, and our families, dry and safe.

levee at camp sienna

Storms happen in life. Hard times hit us all. Psalm 107:29 says, “He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.” The bible doesn’t talk about IF the storms come. It assumes they DO.  Storms of grief…. of worry and fear.  Storms of sadness and anger .  Storms of the need to let go, but the lack of trust to do so.  Our storms are full of emotions that often drive our actions and attitudes day to day.  Storms, that on some days, leave us covered and trapped.

This past spring has been a season where we have experienced the emotional kind of rains. Losing pets is tough, especially on your kids who grew to know them like a sibling.  Helping your child grieve and learn a new normal is hard but necessary.  And, to put in bluntly, bullying sucks.  The word can be overused, I know, but when your child experiences it it is real.  Really real.  Ugly words said can leave a stain on your heart for years to come.  Words that came unexpected from former friends, people you had a love for and trust of. And as a mother, witnessing this can rip at your heart in a way you hadn’t felt before.

As I reflect back on the last several months, I begin to realize…. just as the levee has protected our homes and community from devastating floods, so too, has our family experienced the same kind of protection by our friends.

All around, we have had friends loving us, being sad with us, and just taking on some of our heartache in order to protect us from the flood of emotions that grief and hurting hearts bring. These friends acted just like the levee does. The storms came, but the rise of waters that follow the downpour have been channeled away from us by each act of love and friendship… by prayer.

Watching my daughter be on the receiving end of some rather obnoxious nastiness was hard to do. Mommy claws can be SHARP and LONG. But seeing true friends walk with us through that ordeal helped us deal. And it wasn’t always big noticeable acts… these sweet friends just loved on us through simple acceptance and kindness and prayers that we never specifically heard out loud, but we felt in our hearts.

levee fully surrounded home

I have to be honest with myself here. Am I like a levee? Do I help shield the storms of life from taking over my friends?  Do I help build up and protect from the heavy burden of hard rains?

I have had so many friends go through so much this last year. SO MUCH. We can’t change the fact that the storms will come, but we can try to keep the flood waters from overcoming those that we love.  Do I share in my friends’ hard times, taking on some of their heartache, and just love on them?

If I can do that, I can help guide the remnants of their storm away from them, protecting them from the flood of emotions that can easily swallow us up. Galatians 6:2 says “Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” When I read this, I realize it is my DUTY as a Christ follower to carry burdens with my friends. Jesus does so for us all the time. Every day. All day. No matter how big or small the circumstance.  Jesus, our crown-wearing prince, is our ultimate protection.   Is it any coincidence that in my research of levees,  I came across the diagram below, showing that the top of a levee is called a crown?

levee diagram

So… am I following His lead… am I like a levee? Do I raise up and protect others during their time of storms? Do I help to channel away all the murky waters of sadness and fear, frustration and heartache?

Every time I come up on one of these strong embankments, I will try to remember to ask myself this.  It will be a self-check of sorts.   Rains come, waters rise, but the strong embankment of friendship can protect from the flood of it all.  Friendship that can last a lifetime if it’s grounded in the one who gives us ultimate refuge.” Carry each other’s burdens…. “

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