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Last week, my husband and I loaded up our motor coach and headed to Florida, never suspecting Hurricane Irma’s threatening impact. I was ready to get refreshed, renewed, and refocused, beachside.
Well, that turned into a hurricane nightmare.
The previous week, I had a telephone conversation about thriving and refocusing with my blogging friend, Marva, who lives in the British Virgin Islands.
Irma severely impacted her home. (See how you can help here)
I asked prayer from friends, family, and readers for clear direction on how to refocus and scale down on my rat race.
Hurricanes bring great perspective.
Clearly, five days of anticipating total annihilation readjusts one’s perspective on life.
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Traveling into Hurricane Irma’s threatening Impact
We didn’t mean to head into a monstrous storm. I jokingly snapped a photo, saying, “Category 5, here we come!”, never expecting it to hit the gulf of Florida.
When the weather channel first predicted the storm, it was projected to hit the tip of Florida and head east.
Reality: It ripped straight up the west coast and into the gulf, right in our path.
Obviously, we lived. I can’t wait to sit down and chronicle the events of that mind rattling time.
(Including my diary musings on, “What’s it like to die in a hurricane?”)
The night the Eye of Irma came to town, sucking up half the water in the bay, I pictured myself and 22 others climbing atop our roof while the streets below became one giant, flowing, Central Avenue Pasadena River. Along with the rest of the world, I’d soaked in and grieved over Houston footage during Hurricane Harvey.
How I prepared my soul for the chaos
When I planned to study Crystal Paines new course on the beach, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, I never DREAMED it might be by death.
But as reports became more dismal, I most certainly thought I was going to die.
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode became the opposite of itself, if you know what I mean.
More like, “Hello, Survival Mode!”
During the days leading up to Hurricane Irma, I dug into my Bible, clinging to passages like Psalm 139 and Proverbs 3:5, 6. I meditated on the Word during dark, night hours (upon awakening in a state of panic and sweat). In quiet moments throughout the day, I hit my knees in prayer as never before.
And I didn’t care about Facebook growth, or algorithms, or Instagram followers, or email, or the hundred and one ways to snag blog readers.
I just prayed. And waited. And helped cook, prepare, and stock our shelter for 23 people, 7 dogs, and a cat.
I said goodbye to survival mode, alright. I discovered what was important, but it wasn’t by “digging my toes into the Florida sugar sand”.
It was by living life on the edge and by realizing all this stuff?
Is just stuff.
Before the storm hit, I had one day early in the week to actually sit for a few minutes on the beach. I finished Crystal Paine’s Say Goodbye to Survival Mode course. I made some choices. It was WELL worth the investment of the course to get some grounding.
But God didn’t want my vacation to go the way I did. He had other ideas in store for my “survival mode life”.
When it came right down to it, my relationship with God was the only thing I truly cared about. If I was going to die, I wanted to die right with God – but even more than that, I wanted to die experiencing His peace that passes all understanding. I snuggled up in the shelter of His wings time and time again.
Unexpected opportunity in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s threatening impact
As I headed into Florida, full of hope and dreams of flourishing on the beach, I received an email that changed my focus just a smidgen.
I was asked to be a contributing speaker for an online conference for women who desire to passionately pursue God and His Word. They sought out remarkable women from all over the country who have encountered many of life’s challenges. These tenacious ladies have pressed into God’s Word and His promises rather than give into defeat.
Their interest stemmed from my book on mom anger, Count to Nine, 9 Liberating Steps for Mom Frustration and Anger.
Mama life is FULL of chaos. Mostly GOOD chaos and not life threatening chaos. And yet, we flounder to flourish in our faith in these ongoing, chaotic days.
As I struggled to draw near to God in my near-panic attacks, I thought about all the times I lost my temper when my kids were young. I knew right then, had I put the tools in place that I did during this storm, I would have come out with more wins than losses. Here’s a little snippet of my interview for The Flourish Conference with Mindy Koker:
My book holds the tools to flourish in times of adversity (like kid’s back talking, toddler’s food throwing, and baby’s constant crying). I know this because I researched them myself, putting them to use in the now Gigi days of toddler tantrums.
Because I have learned to draw near. To grow my roots down deep and thick in the Word. To listen to the Spirit.
And to flourish.
How to flourish in mommy chaos
Ya’ll, I am so happy to be alive. I’m happy to say I’m writing this while admiring the view overlooking the crystal waters of the bay area.
My soul is refreshed, renewed, and refocused, but the transformation came in the eye of a storm.
Your mama soul can receive that too. Here’s a post on 10 ways to meditate on Scripture even in your busy season!
As I write this, I wonder – did you weather Irma or Harvey during the past two weeks? I’d love to know your story. And if you didn’t, yet are facing a rough, chaotic storm? Reach out and share that too so I can pray with you. God is your refuge, mama. A very PRESENT help in the time of trouble. Don’t forget that.