Finding Abundance by Reframing Rain
By Kellie LaFollette
This is the latest post in a series where guest bloggers share personal stories related to finding abundance. As we explore the unexpected circumstances that often arise in life, we’ll uncover how people found hope and encouragement along the way.
Before, my life abounded with adventure and unique experiences. I climbed Mt. St. Helens, finished the Portland Marathon and traveled the world driving pace cars for the Indy Car series, along with teaching full-time.
One day changed everything. November 12, 2004, started out as a normal day. Up before dawn, I made breakfast and headed to a teacher in-service training. Unbeknownst to me, those would be the last pain-free hours I would ever have. A mass radiation accident burned my eyes, face, neck, and hands creating a before and after fulcrum in my life.
After the accident, my once active life looks radically different. I live with unceasing and worsening pain, extreme light sensitivity, and decreasing vision. The burns keep my body confined within the walls of my home 95 percent of the time.
While walls may contain my body, over time, I realized walls don’t limit or contain my prayers.
I lifted one simple prayer when doctors sent me home from the job I loved and into a mountain of unknowns. “Lord, would you allow me to keep this house and somehow use it for your kingdom?” The prayer carried words of faith and hope with no preconceived idea of how God would answer.
As I wrestled to figure out how to *live* in a house without leaving, the Lord lit up my heart with an idea. I coordinated with my church to offer Bible study from my home. I studied the Scripture, carried chairs to the living room, made peppermint tea, and placed a welcome sign on the door. My heart quickened with the swirl of nervous excitement as the clock ticked closer to the time.
The time came and went. The door never opened. Week after week, I set up. Week after week, not one person came.
I shared my shattered heart with a friend. Her replied stunned me, “That is great!” Great? Are you kidding? Nothing felt great!
She continued, “Don’t you understand? God wants time alone with you before you begin your ministry.” God used her gentle encouragement to reframe my heart. She helped me realize God was with me and preparing me for His service. My hope rekindled. I exchanged crushing loneliness and disappointment for sacred time with the Lord, allowing Him to do the tender soul mending only He can do.
Months passed and the next session of Bible study rolled around. Church leaders encouraged me to try again. I replied with a shaky, “Yes.” Relief and delight flooded my heart when the door opened and women came in.
Over ten years have passed, and women continue to come. In fact, my home (before the pandemic) has a steady flow of visitors—bible studies, prayer times, mentoring relationships, and a writing group. God, in His abundant love, provided deep relationships within the walls of my home.
A second unexpected event altered my life when my husband of 27 years announced, “This marriage is over.” An unfamiliar pain seared through my body. Questions and fear attempted to take over, but again, God knew just what I needed.
Three days before this seismic shift, the Lord gave me the word “never” and pointed me to a specific passage and translation.
“I will never (under any circumstances) desert you (nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless), nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you (assuredly not)!” Hebrews 13:5b AMP
I leaned hard into God’s promise, and His words continue to sustain me.
When my husband’s moving truck pulled out of the driveway, the house seemed cavernous and more spacious than I needed. I prayed again. “Lord, you allowed me to keep this home for a second time. How can I put it further into use for your kingdom?”
The Lord lit up my heart with another idea. After lots of fixing up, I dedicated the finished basement with its outside access to Kingdom work. The basement has become a place for pastoral staff to write, meet, and have respite. A Bible translator spends time there writing God’s Word for a remote people group. From the floor above, I pray for God’s blessing and inspiration to rain upon them.
At my deepest pain point, I wondered how or even if God might use someone like me. Wondering is no longer necessary. God has kept His promise to never leave me or forsake me. Together, we navigate my unexpected paths. He leads me to peace and joy beyond my circumstances. From His overflow, I offer prayer and encouragement to others from within the walls of my home and proof God can use anyone.
About the Author
You can find Kellie at home nestled into the foothills of Mt. Hood in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. While many people view rain as dreary, for Kellie, rain falls as a reframed gift from God complete with fresh air, puddles for splashing, and rain on her cheeks that feel like kisses from angels. She’d love to hear your stories and share with you what the Lord has been teaching her. Join her in Reframing Rain—a place for prayer, encouragement, hope, and joy found in Jesus.