The Way of the Bison

We are bombarded with bad news, natural disasters, fires, the pandemic, and uncertainties. We have lost our personal freedoms, connection with others, personal space, and normal. We are tired. We are tired of not knowing what information we can trust and how to respond. The mental and emotional load this pandemic has brought cannot be underestimated.

I saw this picture of a bison on a calendar, and it was pushing against the storm and it said “face the storm”. Bison charge toward the storm, face it, and push through. At the time, I had just lost my husband and was tired and weary from the weight of grief. This picture reminded me simply to press on no matter the cost. Philippians 3:12-14 says, “ I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover”. Such a powerful verse. I knew during that time, that I needed to turn and go through the storm, face it, and push through. He would give me the strength. The picture of the bison is a picture of pressing in adversity with the confidence that we have in a God that will never leave us or forsake us. He isn’t absent during this time, He is involved in all of it, the times we are in the wilderness, failures, disappointments, times we written off and locked in a closet, and He is present in our grief. His eye is upon us….always. Do not fear, there is a plan. Do you have confidence in God? Are you trusting in the God that will lead?

As a believer in Christ, I know that nowhere in the bible does it say God promises us an easy life. He does, however promise He will be with you always. The greatness of a man comes through the storm of suffering. Just as fire purifies gold.

So, what do you do when adversity hits? When you are standing at the edge of the Red Sea and you hear the chariots coming? What do you do when the storms come? Whether it be a death of a loved one, the collective grief our world is experiencing, or any adverse life circumstance, here are some things that I have learned:

Do the next thing. Whether it be telling yourself to get up, brush your teeth, just talk yourself through the day to make it through another day. Change, uncertainty, or trauma will fog your brain and make your brain feel like it’s walking through muck. When all you want to do is stare at a wall, just start with one thing.

It’s normal to ask “why” but instead try asking “why not”. My husband would say, “Lori, even though having cancer isn’t a lofty ministry, but, if it is what God has allowed, then I will do it well”. So, do it well.

Be still. All too often we will fill our lives with movement. Find your breath and be still. Keep the ship tied to the dock, don’t wiggle in Christ’s arms and remember that the most powerful growth is in the middle of the trial.

Look for the blessings, because they are everywhere. The small blessings. Go for a blessing walk and try to see beauty. Nature is a great place to get a fill of God’s sweetness.

Ignore the noise. You know what I mean. The expectations, assumptions, and people’s attempts to pigeon hole you. In adversity and suffering, it’s sacred ground. I mean, hear only what is wise and will edify you, and ignore the rest.

Find your tribe. You really only need a few people that stay in the fox hole with you. The ones that are the first to come and the last to leave. Going through cancer, being a caregiver, and now being a widow, it helped me to know who those individuals are in my life.

Dream new dreams and laugh. My husband taught me to laugh and he was always full of great ideas and plans. We kept dreaming even though most of the time, he was too sick to carry out the plans. Even the day before he died, I remember watching Office with him. I remember us talking about retiring one day and moving to Twaine Hart. Keep on with the journey!

Have faith DESPITE your circumstances. Continue to praise God and know that He is still on the throne, and ultimately with Him, there is always victory. Instead of saying, “God let up” I now say, “God, fill me up”.

God can use you right where you are, in whatever condition, in whatever circumstance you are in. He can turn ashes into beauty. Nothing is wasted in the hands of God.

Every day is a choice for me and it’s important for me that I am a victor not victim to circumstance.

I will end with four questions: What can you change during this time? What can you learn from this time? Who or What can you influence? This too shall pass, and when it does, how do you want to have glorified Christ?