Monthly Archives: October 2016

A Summer’s Rain by Lydia Floren


[Note: I wrote this in the summer (obviously). It is the intro to a book I am writing called “Beloved Adventure.”  Hope you like it…]

It is raining outside. I am safe and dry, in our tree-house-like back porch, and it is raining. The water taps against the leaves, gurgles from the downspout.  The moist breeze brushes coolness on my face, and tickles my nose.  It rains, and I remember.

My first panic attack happened the day before I started my residency. I had struggled the first 2 years of med school, wrestling with a massive amount of material, never feeling like I mastered it very well. It finally started to make sense my last two years, and on the eve of beginning my residency, I was ready for a fresh start.  I desperately wanted to make a good impression with my new colleagues.

On that eve before my first day as a “real doctor,” I was alone, sitting on the hand-me-down couch of my new apartment.  It had started to rain, gently at first, and then with massive sheets pounding the pavement. I was fretting. Despite my prayers, my anxious thoughts multiplied. My skin broke out in a cold sweat. My heart raced. The room seemed to close in.  I felt like I was suffocating.

In my panic, I jumped up, threw open the front door, and flung myself out into the storm. And stopped. I just stood there for I don’t know how long, soaked to the skin, water dripping down my face and limbs and puddling in my shoes. At some point I remember raising my hands to the sky and declaring  “God, if You can do this – if You can make rain appear from the sky and water the earth – you can take care of me in this residency.”

As I stood there with my hands raised, God responded. He didn’t speak audibly, unless you count the drumbeat of the rain. Yet, He answered me clearly, as He settled His peace deep into my spirit, and  gently washed my fears away.

Today, many years later, I am safe and dry on my back porch.  And I am enjoying the sights and sounds of a summer shower watering the lush Wisconsin greenery.  At moments like this, when I am quiet enough to notice the rain, I smile to myself.  On that night long ago God met me at my point of need, and He has done so many times since.  Each time I reach out to Him He meets me, and answers by raining His love and mercy down on me.

In Psalm 37:25, David said “Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet, I have never seen the Godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.”  NLT

Like David, I’m older now. I have practiced medicine, married, raised a family. I’ve pulled up roots and put down new ones. I have experienced joy and pain – and yes, a few more panic attacks.

God has never left me. He has filled in the cracks of all my imperfections with His unfailing love. And I know from years of experience, that each time I step into His presence, God gently washes my fears away.



by Lydia Floren

I’ve been avoiding God again. Well, to be honest, I’ve mostly been avoiding myself – what I might find when I slow down and get still enough to pay attention. Frankly, I don’t want to see the failure. The raw need. The fear. I skirt the edges of these feelings, afraid that, if I face them head on, I will get lost in depression and discouragement.

So, I stay busy. And keep God at arm’s length. But this is not a good long term plan. God is with me, within me, gently calling my name, ready to hear my concerns. I can’t ignore Him. And I miss Him.

So here I am, in the middle of the night, jolted awake by a bad dream. I reach for His comforting presence, before I remember not to. His kindness is startling. Gently He soothes. Embraces. Lifts away my burdens. Gently, He heals past wounds, still raw, gives insight into my pain, and offers perspective – on present events, and past ones.

Gently, He shares truth where I see lies. Gently, He reminds me that He is 100% good, and that I am 100% safe: nothing and no one can touch my identity, value, belonging and calling.

God meets me where I am. And ever so gently, ever so faithfully, He leads me out of my mess, and back into His joy.

He leads me out of my mess and back into His joy.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

Choosing Joy

choosing joy

I am spending a few glorious (and warm) days at the beach visiting a dear friend. On the drive from the airport my friend told me about the island’s beach renovation project. The Corps of Engineers situated a big ship offshore a couple of miles north of us to suck sand from the ocean floor. They then push it through a pipe they progressively lay down close to the water. The Fresh sand is sifted and then deposited along the eroded shore, and then big trucks even it out. It is quite a production.

choosing joy

Unfortunately the crew set up shop right in front her place 3 days before my arrival. When they moved down the beach after a couple of days, they left a big pipe stretched across the sand in front of us, and– for a while– a plastic orange fence that kept us from approaching the ocean.

I had a decision to make.

This week I will choose:

Will I focus on the rusty pipe,

or the panorama of ocean and sky?

choosing joychoosing joy

On the orange fence, or a shore free of beach walkers?

On an occasional beeping truck, or gull cries and crashing waves?

 choosing joy

All through our lives we make decisions.

We choose.

To enjoy life’s beauty, or to be annoyed by its problems.

To appreciate what we have, or to wish for what we don’t.

To be content, or to be restless.

 choosing joy

In our walk with God on this earth we choose

To trust, or to worry.

To be thankful, or to be dissatisfied.

To embrace joy, or to wallow in self-pity.

Thank you God, for

Your presence within and around me.

The magnificence creation before me.

The beauty of me – your ultimate design.

You – Your personality, intellect, creativity, compassion.

The incredible power you possess and restraint that you practice.

 choosing joy

Thank you God,

For renovating my heart, just like this beach – restoring fresh sand, minus the debris.

For Your incomprehensible love, vast as the sea.

Thank you, that you have made it possible for me to choose You,

For me to choose Joy.