by - May 09, 2013

One of the first symbolic acts I did after deciding to leave Tulsa was buy a red umbrella.  No one ever made me carry black umbrellas for years, but I had chosen to as an act of conformity.  Black umbrellas are perfectly fine, but my favorite color is red.  Again, (and this is key) I had a choice all along, but I didn't live like I did.  Then, once upon a time, God set me free from my own choices.  He drew me with loving snap out of it.  So, I staged a rebellion against the path I was on, and I bought a red umbrella...even though there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  Umbrellas have been popping up a lot lately.

In my counseling sessions it has become routine that I draw to help illustrate a point. When I draw it I talk less, and we both have something to look at and consider.  So on my yellow notepad I will scribble out a scene as they've described it, or illustrate quickly a concept we are discussing about their circumstance.   There is a reason some books come with pictures, why when you build a building you have floor plans, and why pictures capture a moment, a face, a sunset like our words may not always be able.  We are visual.  For some reason stick figures and circles and lines and x's and arrows and boxes and rain and umbrellas seem to help picture the story a client's words are saying.  And, help them see the forest on the other side of the big dead tree they've carried into the room. 

Picture an umbrella.  A hand grasping it.  Rain falling under the inside. I've seen this concept before, probably you have too.

So many of us are living under someone else's umbrella, where the rain falls inside soaking us with doubt and fear and hurt and anxiety and injustice and suspicions, faulty expectations, and ...and...and.  What we don't realize is it is our own hand that is grasping the handle of the umbrella.  We may not be able to make the umbrella go away...but we can lay it down.  No one can make us carry an umbrella. We have a choice. 

Sometimes putting the umbrella down takes a lot of effort on our part that may not seem fair.  If you, like me or like them, when an opportunity for freedom and forgiveness and new life have been offered, have found yourself saying "but she," "but he," "but they," "but why," "if they would only" or "but I should be" ...  You may be holding a reverse umbrella, that either you are grasping or someone else is holding over you.  And, it is soaking you to the bone.  It may take forgiveness.  Humility.  Letting go.  Getting sober.  Getting on a plane.  Saying I'm sorry.  Giving love unconditionally.  Committing. Taking people at their word.  Remembering that vengeance is God's, and so is justice.  Or just laying a burden down, letting the Lord fight the battle.  Not grasping the umbrella, choosing to let the rain drown you as you are striving to make them agree with you, love you, like you, take care of you, provide for you, show you the way, make you new, or give their life for you.  Christ already did, does and will. 

I have loved you with an everlasting love... Jeremiah 31:3
My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus... Philippians 4:19
Your ears will hear a word behind you, "this is the way, walk in it"... Isaiah 30:21
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come... 2 Corinthians 5:17
For Christ also died for sins once for all, for the just and the unjust, so that He might bring us to God... 1 Peter 3:18

We don't have to fix whoever gave us the umbrella, we just have to come out from under it.  God will do the rest. I have experienced that, and get to witness that, so that I may testify to that. The surprise in doing the hard work of letting go is that sometimes even though the rain may continue to fall and that umbrella may still be laying in your yard (they may not change, cancer may still be present, consequences set in motion may still happen), we begin maybe for the first time ever to take one finger at a time off of the handle; allowing us to take the hand of God, and walk out into the sun where His promises are for you and great is His faithfulness... Even when no one else's is.  God's grace for you isn't contingent on the beliefs or actions of anyone else lining up with your expectations.  We can't look to others to fulfill His promise of salvation, justice, redemption, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  All of that is just between us and Him which takes a lot of pressure off of the people around us and relationships we are in. 

Stage a rebellion against your own choices, beliefs and behaviors that have you grasping an umbrella that is drowning you.  Lay it down.  Love first, instead of waiting to love in response to.  We were created in the image of God for a it. He wants you to know.  Step out from under the umbrella where life is happening to you, and feel the sun on your face as you step into God's plans for you...plans to prosper you, not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.  "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10  Prosperity and hope that have everything to do with your heart and making it new right where you are.  And, the result is freedom. Real freedom."So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36  Freedom to lay it down and enjoy the sun that is already shining.  How do we do this?  Seek first the kingdom of God through His Word, His Church and His Spirit. Seek Him.  Stop trying to make things/others right, and let Him make you right.  He will show you the way.  He will give you Freedom. Peace. Joy. Get to know Him, instead of trying to be known, understood or have justice.  His Word says he already knows you, understands you and is your justice.  Ungrasp.  If you've never started before, maybe begin with the Book of John.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you declares the Lord... Jeremiah 29:13-14a.  You are loved way beyond your imagination.  Take His hand, and step out into the sun that will continue to shine even on rainy days.

Here are a couple of recent rainy and sunny moments captured in my own life.  I didn't realize it was raining as I walked down the flights of stairs to go for a morning walk.  My first thought was "well, I can't walk this morning."  My second thought was, "yes, I can."  Mix in a little rain, a little walking, and my favorite playlists and I about passed out from joy. Playing in the rain is much better than drowning in it.


This past Sunday afternoon I drove home to Texas after a weekend home in Oklahoma.  (I know I used the word home twice.)  I had a great weekend with people I love.  I watched a movie in 3D with some m&m's and best friends, (PS I love Iron Man), and forfeited $5 in a card game that I couldn't stay awake to finish.  I went toilet papering after midnight.  Yes, I did.  Watched a little Thunder.  Sat on a back patio with one of my favorite people in the world talking about life, and then got in the car and drove in the direction of the Red River.  I kept watching the sun lowering throughout my drive singing every word to every Mumford & Sons song because I am Still. Not. Over. Them. and thinking to myself this is going to be a pretty sunset, and was.  I took an exit, pulled off the road, got out of my car, walked to the wheat field and lived the last few minutes of it in person. (this is the way, walk in it) I'm so glad I did.


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  1. Thanks for sharing,Haley!Thankful for God's Grace and Help in unclinching my tired fingers from various umbrellas in My Life!I prefer feeling the rain as to being shielded from it but when I must use an umbrella,it is of my own choosing,bright and floral covered or polk dots!Blessings to you Girl!:)