WEATHERING THE STORMS OF LIFE

All eyes are riveted on images of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation as news feed comes in this morning. It will take weeks and months to realize the full scope of this super-storm and its impact on the East coast and our nation. There will be many stories of amazing survival, heroic rescues, as well as tragic loss of life and property.

As a nation, we have been caught up in a political storm that has raged for months. With the presidential election just days away, that storm was reaching its full fury when Sandy blew into town.  As epic disasters do, it will remind us for a little while that no matter what our political bent, we are all Americans first. I believe we will rise to the occasion, put our differences aside, and do what we can to help those in need.

The National Guard is on the scene. The Coast Guard pulled off a daring rescue at sea. Convoys of ambulances arrived from other states. In days ahead, volunteer teams will join the efforts of organizations like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Samaritan’s Purse to lend a helping hand. Many will step up to the plate with financial donations and prayers to back up the boots on the ground. Our efforts will communicate to traumatized people, “You are not alone. We’ve got your back. Everything will be all right.”

We may not all go through a monster storm like Hurricane Sandy, but we will all face the storms of life, sooner or later. When that happens, friends, family, and sometimes, even strangers, will come along side us, and with their words and other expressions of compassion, assure us, “We’re in this with you. Everything will be all right.”

I desperately needed that assurance in 1991, when my husband, Jon was hospitalized with a second round of acute lymphocytic leukemia. When I called our pastor, Steve, with the news, he said, “We’re going to stand with you through this.” I heard, “It’s going to be all right.” Jon died four months later. I was left to single-parent our two young teenage daughters.

The Body of Christ – other believers – became “God-with-skin-on” to me: The first Christmas after Jon died, Steve took my girls to find a tree, something their dad traditionally did. Friends included us in their holiday celebrations. There was always a listening ear available when I needed it. Men from church showed up at my house with tool boxes whenever repairs were needed. I received enough cards of encouragement to fill a Hallmark store.

With the help of God, friends, and family, I weathered my personal “Perfect Storm.”  Just as the recovery and rebuilding of New Orleans and Joplin, MO took time after their storms, it took time to heal the wounds of my broken heart. There have been other lesser storms in my life, but through each one, God faithfully provided the people and means needed to make it through. I have come out on the other side, stronger in many ways. Though life is not fair in many ways, I can say, “God is good – all the time.”

Life can be hard. We need to stick together. Let’s be God-with-skin-on for each other. Certainly, we can do that for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, but let’s also ask God to open our eyes and hearts to those struggling around us. We are the hands and feet of Christ. Whether it is by a simple phone call, card, kind word or thoughtful deed, let us share the hope that is ours: God loves us; He will give us what we need, when we need it. Everything is going to be all right.

NOTE: I am available for speaking at your next women’s ministry event. I would love to share my presentation, “Staying Firmly Anchored In The Storms Of Life.” Learn how to prepare for the storms of life, how to know peace in the midst of them, and how to pick up the pieces and press on after the storm has passed. Contact me at kathyptaszek@holygroundallaround.net.

1 Comment

  1. Lori Sheppard
    Nov 1, 2012

    Thank you Kathy. I think you know that you, Jon and the girls have been a blessing to Kevin and I from our beginning.

    There is a song that has been playing on our Christian radio station, called Even If, by Kutless. The line that always grabs at my heart is this, “Even if the healing doesn’t come and life falls apart, and dreams are still undone… YOU ARE GOD, You are good, forever faithful One! You’re still the Great and Mighty One. We trust you always. You’re working ALL things for our good! We’ll sing your praise!”

    The song always brings my focus from Me and puts it back to Him.

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us Kath! We love you and miss you!

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