When I was a little girl, I loved and hated storms—especially thunderstorms. I dreaded the strong howling winds, heavy rains, pounding of water against the windows, and flashes of lightning scampering across the sky. My heart would pound, my hands would get shaky, and I would cover my ears in fear.
Even so, I also loved watching the rain, smelling its wateriness (as I used to call it), and snuggling up with my five other siblings as they scampered into the same room and, eventually, the same bed. I also loved the smell of the air after a storm. The fresh, clean, grassy, peaceful smell soothed me. Ironically, the after-storm smell had a greater impact on me than my fears of them.
A few weeks ago, a bad storm swept through our area. I once again began to feel those dreaded fears sweep over me. As the storm howled, lightning cracked like a horse whip, and thunder shook our home, I crept closer to my husband who was, of course, fast asleep. I heard my son calling for his dad from the other room. He never seemed to call for me during a storm. I guess he knew his mama was just as scared as he was. As my husband jumped up from his sleep and ran to my son’s room, I heard muffled voices and my son’s voice calmly saying, “Okay, Dad. Love you, too.”
A thought entered my mind. I smiled. Suddenly, I felt peace.
Wait! Peace?! The storm was still raging. I had not yet experienced my after-storm smells. Why was I peaceful? What was the thought that wrapped me like a warm blanket fresh from the dryer? I thought, “Wow. That’s exactly how God responds when I cry out in fear. He runs to my rescue. Talks to me calmly and reassures me that everything will be okay. He lets me know that He is right there, never far away. If I get scared again, I can just yell for Him and He will come. Then, I can smile warmly and tell Him, ‘Thanks, Dad. I love you.’”
The next day, my son and I talked about the storm. He told me how scared he was because the thunder was so loud and the lightening looked like it was going to come in his room and “shock him.” “Mom,” he said. “I thought the power was going to go out and our house was going to fall apart.” I told him that I was scared, too, but just like his father came to comfort him, God is always there for us as well. Even if his dad could not hear him or wasn’t home, he could always yell out for God and He would be like faster than the flashes of lightening. I also told him that storms were good and an important part of life.
He looked at me puzzled. Huh? A storm is good?!
I explained that as he grows up, sometimes life may feel very stormy. The problems that he may face may seem scary, loud, and destructive. However, I always wanted him to remember three (3) good things about a storm:
1.) Storms do not last forever. Yes, they may last a few hours or even a few days, but they have to end sometime. God made a promise to Noah that He would never flood the earth again. He sealed his promise by placing a rainbow in the sky.
2.) Storms make things better. Yup! They sure do! A few months ago, I did some research on the benefits of storms. I learned that storms provide water for the earth, are a natural air conditioner, provide electrical balance, remove pollutants from the air, and fertilize the earth as they allow nitrogen compounds to be absorbed into the soil. Storms are nature’s cleaners and refreshers.
3.) Storms change the way we look at life. Think about how fresh and new the air smells after a storm, the rainbow shooting across the sky, and the brightness and warmness of the sun. We appreciate these things so much more after a storm. Would you notice a rainbow on a sunny day? Perhaps, but after a storm we usually remember that a rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise to never leave us. Storms bring clarity in their wake. We feel like we have a new lease on life, a new start. We are reassured. Yes, God is still with us.
Despite the good, storms can also be destructive. They kill. They injure. They cause hundreds of dollars in property damage. Dead, weak plants and leaves get blown away during a storm. If we are not grounded, prepared, and trusting in God during our storms, we also will get blown away.
So, how do we, as Christian leaders and business owners, stay grounded during the personal and business-related storms of our lives? Here are three (3) ways I have learned to stay grounded in the storm:
1.) Studying & Living God’s Word (Psalm 1:1-3): This includes daily time spent reading God’s Word, avoiding ungodly counsel, and remaining committed to a course of life that avoids sitting, standing, or dwelling in sin or being connected to those who mock and scoff at God’s principles through their lifestyle choices. As I study God’s Word, my roots will extend deeper and deeper, allowing me to stand firm in Him.
2.) Staying Connected to OtherBelievers (Ephesians 4:14-16): Avoiding our natural human tendency to isolate ourselves during times of adversity will allow us to garner strength from our brothers and sisters in Christ. God is the life source for His body allowing His power to flow through His body from one body part to the other. We can only stay healthy, strong, and charged up if we remain connected to the body of Christ. The enemy is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Predators target weak and isolated members of a herd. Stay connected. Stay strong. Stay grounded. Weather any storm.
3.) Daily renewing our minds and girding up with courage (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, I Peter 1:13, Joshua 1:9): The storms in our lives largely manifest in our minds. We face the most adverse of our strongholds in our own minds. When we are stressed, we lose focus on our goals. We shift our focus away from staying grounded in the storm. This shift, even for a minute, leaves room for the enemy to sweep in like a flood. During our storms, we need to fasten down our hatches and hold our ground, no matter how loud, boisterous, or violent the storm may be. After the storm—after we have breathed a sigh of relief—we need to reflect on the cause and effects of the storm on our lives. What can we change? How can we be better prepared for the next storm?
Rachel J. Barrett-Dolcine, CEO of Compass Consulting and Training Solutions is an innovative strategist with extensive experience in training & development, nonprofit management and consulting for small business start-ups. Through its Community Giving Back Program, Compass facilitates free training classes and workshops for nonprofit and community organizations that are on a limited budget.
Rachel is an Adjunct Faculty member at two local community colleges, a Certified CPR/First Aid Train the Trainer Instructor, an approved Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Office of Childcare (OCC) Core of Knowledge Trainer. She also sits on two nonprofit boards and is the Founder of the Joseph & Vera Douglas Family Foundation.
Rachel lives in Randallstown, Maryland with her husband and son.