The Hurricane Matthews of Parenting


storm9-resizedIn parenting we sometimes encounter storms. Some come upon us suddenly without warning. Others give advance notice, like hurricanes. They bring fear and destruction. I live in Orlando, Florida. We’re waiting for hurricane Matthew to descend upon us and dreading his arrival. It could be the worst to hit the east coast in over a hundred years.

There’s nothing I can do to keep this hurricane away, or lessen its damage. Strong winds, heavy rain, thunder, lightning and sometimes tornadoes. Whew!

I must admit I’m a bit anxious not knowing what to expect. When I listen to the weather channel I feel even more uneasy. The sky is dark and foreboding. Palm trees are bending under the force of the wind. They’ll leave debris everywhere to pick up later.

Our son has an adorable little dog; a Yorkshire Terrier. Pebbles is her name. But there’s one thing: she’s petrified of storms. She pants heavily and shakes uncontrollably while running around in a state of panic. Eventually, this little fur ball  finds a throw rug to pee on and hides in a corner until the weather calms down.

Poor Pebbles. She can’t understand the storm will pass. In time, everything will be okay again. Dogs are clueless that their loving owners are right there with them to keep them safe.

Hey, wait a minute. In the hurricane Matthews of my life – the ones my child brought – I’ve reacted the same way as Pebbles. Have you?

Drug and alcohol addiction, rehabs, relapses, mental illness, self-injury (cutting), hospitalizations, psych wards, suicide attempts and incidences of rape. Terrifying. And there was no guarantee she would be okay – ever.

I hid from others by withdrawing and sleeping. Thank goodness I never lost control of my bladder, though, but I did lose control of my emotions. What a mess. Emotionally bent over from the stress and strain, I felt like those palm trees. Some days I was sure I’d break from the weight of it all. A nervous wreck, I paced the floor on the verge of panic. Somebody help me!

Since the early years of my struggle I’ve come to understand some things that have helped me weather the storms. Life is full of them. We can’t escape them or make them go away. I suggest we learn how to cope, so we won’t be emotional basket cases like my son’s dog.

The Bible, the Word of God, showed me how to cope. I discovered this verse several years ago. It soothed my soul. I’ll turn to it again tonight and tomorrow as we go through hurricane Matthew. It’s my prayer for you today.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are the-cross1mine”  (If we belong to God, He will help us; we will be taken care of.)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;  (God will be with us, no matter what kind of storm we may face, even a CAT 5 hurricane.)

And when you pass through the rivers (at flood stage; life threatening), they will not sweep over you.  (You will not be overcome.)

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (You will survive.)

For I Am the Lord, your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . .  (Remember Who is helping you; the God of the universe, creator and sustainer of all life.)

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you . . .  (Because you are deeply, perfectly loved, you can rest in His arms.)

Don’t be afraid, for I Am With You.”  (There’s no need to fear life’s storms. You are never, ever alone. God Almighty is with you.)

(Isaiah 43:1-5)  NIV

Amen. And if you’re in the path of #HurricaneMatthew, may this verse comfort and #encourage you.


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