“It rains on all of us. Some of us just carry an umbrella.”

My chin dropped at the soft-spoken wisdom of my friend Genie. This woman is walking through a cancer diagnosis, she recently lost her husband and then she lost her job. But my friend is quick to say she couldn’t survive the storms of life without her “umbrella” — her faith.

If each of us were to measure our pain and sadness, our losses and disappointments, our challenges and fears in raindrops, on some days we’d find ourselves knee-deep in a pool of despair. In fact, we may drown if not for the shelter of our faith. No less rain falls on those walking under an umbrella. We are not spared the soggy shoes or the looming dark clouds.

But, if we walk through life in the shelter of faith in the God who measures our days, who knows the sum of them, we carry with us the assurance that he also knows the outcome of every trial we encounter. And he who ordered the stars also put the sun in place. He promises we’ll feel its warmth again.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

I wrote for five quick minutes on the one word MEASURE and linked up with other bloggers at Five Minute Friday. You can read more essays here.

At the end of my five minutes of writing, I was left with another thought, and it’s this:

Carrying an umbrella through a storm isn’t always easy. Sometimes a sudden downpour has the power to turn your faith inside out. If you’ve ever been blown away by winds that threaten your grip on that umbrella of faith, you know what I mean. It can feel as if the flimsy shelter of your faith isn’t enough. You may even get soaked in the trials that just keep coming. But stay the course. Hang onto what you know is true. Your umbrella isn’t the only one protecting you. Others will come alongside, if you let them, to offer shelter from the storm. Because that’s part of God’s plan, too. He created us to live in community, caring for one another in sunshine and through the storms.

I recently conducted a drawing among faithful followers of this blog and gave away two books — Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace and Grit & Grace: A Women Writing Anthology. Congratulations, Margaret and Kathy! (If you’d like to be included in future drawings, and if you’re up for a monthly dose of my Slice of Life Notes, please drop your email address in one of the handy opt-in forms on this page. Your details are safe with me!)

I introduced you to Grit & Grace earlier. Christie Purifoy’s new book Placemaker is a beautiful follow-up to her first book, Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons. Both books are centered on making a home, no matter where we find ourselves. Roots & Sky is Purifoy’s “diary” of the year she and her family settled into Maplehurst, an historic brick house in Pennsylvania. Purifoy’s sentiments about her new home resonated with me because I was in her shoes 25 years ago, settling with my young family into our 140-year-old brick home in an Indiana valley. Reading Roots & Sky stirred in me all the warm feelings of discovery and ownership that I felt during our place-making.

Placemaker has had a similar effect, but in this volume, Purifoy offers an important bonus: trees. The many trees the author has loved at the various sites she’s called home speak to the power of nature and nurture to shape us. Purifoy’s lovely, lyrical prose makes this journal of place-making a joy to read. I’ve been savoring it slowly, basking in words that bring the warmth of spring to this winter-weary placemaker’s heart. Because, as Purifoy so eloquently points out, we are all placemakers.

“No matter our vocation, we spend much of our lives tending, keeping, and caring. In each act of creation, we reflect the image of God. In each moment of making beauty, we realize that beauty is a mystery to receive.” ~ Christie Purifoy