By Sabrina Schlesinger
I used to LOVE storms as a child. The kind that knocked out the power and my family would cuddle in the living room next to the good-for-nothing fireplace that barely put out any heat. I loved when we would break out the candles and pull out the flashlights. The atmosphere of our home would literally change. I loved the sound of the thunder and the way it made the windows shake. It felt so majestic and so much bigger than me. And then my dad would come home and turn on the generator and all would be back to normal. We were known for asking our dad to just give us one night without power so we could “rough it” like the rest of our neighborhood.
As an adult, weather storms still thrill me. But as any human who has lived 10 seconds knows, there are other kinds of storms that blow into our lives that aren’t as fun, exciting, and romantic. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the end of a marriage, when you find out your spouse has been cheating, when you discover your child has been lying, when the consequences of sin catch up to you or someone in your family, and the list can go on and on and on….
These storms I don’t love.
They are unexpected and can come out of nowhere, blindsiding you, taking your breath away, and can cause you to feel like you are on a ship that is sinking in the middle of the sea. It can feel so very hopeless.
But my friends…my sisters…fellow moms…this simply isn’t true.
The storm will tell us we are drowning.
The storm will tell us we are losing the battle.
The storm will tell us to give up all hope.
The storm will tell us the destruction from it cannot be redeemed.
If I learned anything about growing up in Seattle, WA, where storms blew in furiously, knocking down tall evergreens that toppled houses, cars and powerlines, I learned how to be prepared for WHEN the storm comes. And dog gone it…they always do!
Just as my family had flashlights, candles, extra canned food and water, and the almighty generator to turn on when the winds blew, so we must also have an arsenal of tools and tactics ready for us when the hurricanes of life hit us.
Here are some things you should have in your STORM SURVIVAL KIT:
1. CREATE YOUR 911 CALL LIST.
You have to know ahead of time and have built intentional relationship with some individuals you can call to let into the wreck that is now your life. And these aren’t people who will just sympathize with you. No, these are people who will go to battle for you and with you in prayer and words of encouragement. They are the ones who show up on your doorstep…uninvited…with chai lattes and food in hand to give you the break and help you didn’t know you needed.
And side note, people….this can’t be your pastor!!! They have hundreds…if not thousands of people they are caring for. They cannot be this to every single person in their congregation. So be realistic about your expectations on what they can actually do.
This is why we need mentors and friendships that go beyond the surface. And that just aint happening without you deliberately developing this. It won’t happen overnight, but if you stay CONSISTENT in pursuing and spending time with these folks, and if you start getting VULNERABLE with them, and they with you, over time, you will find the well runs deep with a few. And a few good men and women are all you need in a storm. :)
2. PRAY, READ, WORSHIP…REPEAT.
Nope, I am not joking. This spiritual discipline needs to be built into you now because when the waves hit the side of your boat and all the shakable things start flying around you, threatening to hit you up upside your head to knock you out, you MUST have something that is unshakable already in your life.
The Navy Seals say this, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
If you aren’t in your word daily, good news, you can start TODAY! Don’t waste another minute. Start a daily reading plan that gets God’s word in you daily. You and I NEED it Every. Single. Day. Even if it’s just one verse you keep meditating on, that is sooooo good for you.
And pray. Meaning, talk to God, and more importantly, listen to what He has to say. Some people find going on a walk helps them connect with God, or writing in a journal your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Ultimately, when the storms come, we cannot forget that Jesus is IN THE BOAT with us! He’s got us. He isn’t freaking out at all. And He CAN calm the storm…but if He doesn’t, we can find peace in knowing He is with us all the way and will not leave us.
If you don’t talk to Him now, it is likely you won’t talk to Him when the storm hits. And if you don’t talk to Him with the storm hits, you will miss the priceless treasures He wants to teach you IN THE MIDST of the storm. He isn’t in the business of wasting anything. So, make sure you don’t either.
And worship. Nothing lifts our heads and heart out of the pit more than when we choose to set our eyes on our King, Good Father, Promise Keeper, Lover of our soul, and Strong Fortress. What we magnify will only get bigger, so in the midst of the storm, magnify WHO God is rather than the issues you are facing. It truly makes all the difference. And if you need some songs because you don’t know where to start, here is my Spotify playlist for when I am in a storm. Click here and enjoy it with me!
3. KEEP ON MOVING.
There will be a part of you, a HUGE part, that will want to hunker down, hide, sulk, feel sorry for yourself, and isolate. But that does you no good. As SOON as the worst is over, as SOON as the storm has passed, get up and start moving.
I was recently with one of my spiritual mentors who fell and broke her hip. And as horrible as the break was and receiving surgery, the worst part of the entire process for her is the physical therapy…when they make you move while you are still in pain. Her husband said this statement, “The enemy to recovery is not moving because of the pain.” Ummmmm…hello! That will preach!
So, when the storm passes and you are left with aftermath of the flooding, the caved in roof, the broken foundation, the fences that need repaired (are you getting the parallels here?), you have got to get up and start moving. And I know…I know it is hard. But do it anyway. Get back to work. Definitely do not avoid church. Call up your friends. Go for that walk. Go out to eat. Because although there may be much work to be done as a result of the storm blowing through, you and I still need to see that life goes on and there is so much to still live for and be thankful for.
And your kids need this so desperately. They need to see you modeling this kind of resilience. Even if at night you fall onto your bed and have a good snot fest, you get up the next day, breath in the grace of God and HIS strength, and you move forward, one day at a time, one step at a time.
I have no formula to give you to let you know how long your recovery from the storm will take. For some it is short, for others it is long. But I know this for sure…if you do nothing…if you isolate yourself, which will turn into self-pity, you will remain in brokenness. And that would be such a waste for you and your family.
And because I should probably add some scriptures to back all of this up, here are a few of my favorites for stormy seasons:
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NLT) 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Psalm 77:16-19 (NLT) 16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. 17 The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed. 18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. 19 Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there!
Psalm 91:2 (NLT) This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
James 1:2-4 (MSG) 2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So, don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work, so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Sabrina is a mother to three biological girls and one adopted boy. She is a pastor’s wife, graphic designer, and founder of Mom Mentor. Along with her husband, Matthew, they pastor Grace Church in Oceanside, CA and host Parenting on the Go and Marriage on the Go Podcasts! She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines every day. She prefers chai lattes over coffee, mac-n-cheese over vegetables, and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!