What are you dealing with today? Anything causing you to lose sleep or be anxious? Of course there is! It’s been one of the most eventful years in history. I’m writing this in a hotel room in Charleston, SC, because we have no power, no water, no cable and no Wi-Fi, thanks to Hurricane Irma. I have to say my anxiety meter has been running nonstop for about two months now. As many of you know, our distribution warehouse is located in Galveston, TX, which was right in the path of Hurricane Harvey. The warehouse remained high and dry and we are so thankful. It could have been nerve-wracking texting with Lisa Lewis through the storm, but so many of you were praying for our materials; it saved us both from a nervous breakdown. But what about Houston? Our beautiful FP4H heritage started in Houston! On top of the Galveston issue, we were concerned for Carole Lewis, Lisa Cramer, Karen Porter and hundreds of other members of our FP4H family. Then the terrible fires all through Montana. The smoke has been seen as far away as Canada. Much of our beautiful, natural forest land is totally destroyed. Some of you have sons and daughters on the front lines risking their lives fighting these fires. And then the latest storm, Hurricane Irma—yikes!
No one has been left out. We all got something, because storms come in many forms. My dear friend just found out her husband has esophageal cancer. Some of you may be dealing with the stress of a wayward child. Thousands are seeking help with addictions. My heart breaks as I see a grandmother post on Facebook the anniversary of the death of two of her grandchildren in a horrible car accident. How in the world do we cope? Life is a lot with which to deal.
You might be feeling anxious and stressed because issues from disasters are yet to be resolved. The constant stress of going from one emergency to another will certainly take a toll on the body as well as the spirit. Somehow, we have to manage and rise above the stress and problems that come from living in a fallen world. That somehow is only by the power, peace and presence of Jesus Christ.
There are some simple faith things you can practice, and I am speaking from personal experience on this one, to help you cope. Restoring emotional wellbeing and a sense of control is essential to coming out healthy on the other side of a hurricane or other traumatic experiences. How about these:
- Practice acceptance. My friend Dixie says engaging in worry is practicing atheism. Worry will not do a thing to calm your anxious heart and will not chase away the storm. Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount that all of this worry would not add a single thing to your life. Psalm 55:22 says “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
- Trust. We do not always understand the mind or will of God. His ways are not our ways. We trust in His Sovereignty. He promises to take all of the details of our life, blend them together and use them for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
- Remember. You have managed other hardships in your life through the faithfulness of our God and He will get you through this too. I love this verse: Psalm 91:4. “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” I look back through the years and see God’s mighty hand over me: hiding me, protecting me and taking the brute of the pain for me. I am grateful for those memories.
- Mourn. It is okay to mourn the loss of your stuff. Mourning does not mean you are a materialistic person. It means you are a caring person and you appreciate the things God has given you. Last year, Hurricane Matthew took from us my favorite water oak. It was so huge its canopy shaded my entire back porch. I still feel the intensity of that emotion when I sit on my back porch. I miss that tree.
- Take a break from the news and the Internet. Though I appreciate the news stations trying to prepare us for catastrophe, watching replays of worse-case scenarios can be depressing or it can have the opposite effect and spike our adrenals. And the Internet is not always helpful. When I was diagnosed with RA, I quickly searched the internet to see if my doctor was right. He quickly reminded me that my Internet search was not the same as his medical degree. Reading all that stuff was actually confusing and robbing me of my peace.
These are simple things, not really anything brilliant. I pray you are making your way back from whatever your something has been. To quote my favorite book, John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Thank you, Jesus, for saying that.
Safe In the Storm,