And the Thunder Rolls…

“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you”
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Thunderstorms

I love a good thunderstorm. I truly do. My husband and I have been known to sit on our front porch just to see and hear a good storm. My youngest was afraid of thunderstorms for the longest time. As soon as she would hear a rumble she would come running, in fact, when we would hear a rumble of thunder far off we would go looking for her to scoop her up as we knew she would be afraid. One day while sitting on the porch and watching a big thunder storm , we invited her to come out and sit with us. We talked about what causes the thunder and how it reminds us of the bigness of God–that He is not angry in the thunder but it’s His power and strength to care for us. After awhile she sat up and began to listen to the thunder—she is no longer afraid and now loves a good thunderstorm,too.

We have been talking about storm’s this month. I shared one of my own with you (March post-Hope Like A Champion) and then we talked about life’s storms and being/getting prepared because storms happen to all of us (Learning to Sail My Ship).

Let’s wrap up our stormy month of March with a look at Thunderstorms and what that means to those of us who on the journey towards a more HOPE-full life.

Hope is an attitude, belief and a life skill that is required in a life that is often marked by the storms we are going through, have gone through, the ones we can see on the horizon, and even by the ones we don’t see coming.

In order to understand how hope can help, let’s briefly look at what exactly is a thunderstorm and then we can relate it to our own lives.

Thunderstorms are defined by their size and duration–how big they are and how long they will last. They typically run in a 3-stage life cycle:

  1. developing– the right ingredients come together; warning signs of coming storm are present.
  2. mature-it’s on and won’t stop until its finished.
  3. dissipating-factors that caused the storm begin to disappear; things begin to settle down as it runs its course.

Isn’t this how they happen in life. Sometimes we can see the ingredients coming together and do what we can to interrupt their formation. Sometimes we stand helplessly by as the clouds form and are unable to stop them. They are often beyond our control…BUT we have hope.

Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33, NLT.

It’s important to talk about what/who we have hope in. I am a person of faith. Faith in a Creator and faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and faith the the Spirit is leading, guiding and comforting me. I don’t expect my faith to prevent storms–just help me through them.

If you have faith, you have hope. If you have hope you have everything.

Hope is a powerful force that compels us to survive and even thrive in the midst of great upheaval. Hope IS an anchor. How? you ask. Let’s take a look at the different types of thunderstorms and then we’ll talk about how hope can help.

Thunderstorms are categorized by size and duration:

A single cell storm is a small, brief, weak storm that will grow and die within an hour driven by heat–basically a flare-up. A frequent occurrence at my house some days. Busy-ness, lack of sleep, diverse needs and daily plans are always a few clouds away from a shower. We can learn to intercept these before they develop if we keep our eyes and ears open. These small storms can wear away if they blow in often enough. a deep breath, a nap, a cup of tea or a walk can relieve us of this pressure build-up. Staying engaged and connected to our family members and friends helps,too.

A multi-cell storm is, unfortunately, also a relatively common occurrence in life. It is made up of several individual storm cells lasting 30″-60″ each. The system, as a whole, can last several hours. This one can get messy as it can bring hail, strong winds, brief tornadoes, and/or flooding. Another way to think of this is the pile-on effect. This is a hard storm because it comes from many directions and lasts for quite awhile. It also causes damage. We hear of these storms from friends and family in need of relief or comfort. Many prayer requests come from these storms. An unexpected brief illness, accident or injury, financial setback, relationship troubles, abrupt change in life plans…all of these cause trouble in several areas and pain on multiple levels. It seems like they happen one right after the other. The effects of these can lasts for days weeks and even months. We hear these stories and shake our heads.

The squall-cell is a unique storm. It is a group of storms arranged in a line and accompanied by squalls of high wind and heavy rain. They tend to pass quickly but they can be hundreds of miles long.  These storms are the tough ones that swoop in and dump rain and knock trees down. They often affect a relatively large area. They come hard and fast. I kind of view these as community storms–ones that effect a group or several groups. Church split, mass lay-offs, political issues to name a few.

A super-cell is a nasty one. It is large and long-lived–over an hour on average. It feeds off itself and keeps going until it burns itself out. Things like long-term illness, death, divorce, and even career loss. Often times these take a long-time to process and require extensive life changes.

“Those born to wealth, and who have the means of gratifying every wish, know not what is the real happiness of life, just as those who have been tossed on the stormy waters of the ocean on a few frail planks can alone realize the blessings of fair weather.”
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Hope can be defined as “(noun.)  a desire of some good with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.”  Expecting some good and believing it is obtainable. That is hope’s role in a storm. Hope is like the life preserver or anchor that upholds us and steadies us.

  1. Take deep breaths…A LOT.
  2. Remember that YOU ARE LOVED.
  3. Dig deep into your faith (find a church, pray, call a friend to pray).
  4. Speak positive words over your situation (“this too shall pass”, the Serenity prayer, Bible verse, or positive affirmation). Google quotes on hope.
  5. Go back and read past post on hope @https://craftinghope.wordpress.com/
  6. Seek out what you CAN do then do it. Let go of what you can’t.
  7. Have gratitude ( find things to be grateful for).
  8. Take time to care for yourself (Read the Count of Monte Cristo).
  9. Gather your support team.
  10. Hold fast to hope as an anchor for your soul.

“Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words,-Wait and hope.
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Expect storms to be a part of life BUT know that you can become a storm-trooper, a storm-survivor and a storm-warrior.

Heidi Mull, keeping my eye on the sky, and my anchor firmly in place.

 

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