Not All Storms In Life Are Hurricanes

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Tired of hearing about hurricanes?

I’m sure folks in the path of the storms sure are. I know I am. Those of us who live in hurricane prone areas know hurricane season runs from June through November, with September starting peak season. We know that. And each year we keep our eyes on anything that forms off the west coast of Africa and in the Gulf of Mexico.

We just do.

But as I thought about how destructive hurricanes can be, my thoughts turned to how destructive the hurricanes in each of our individual lives can be. You know; the things we struggle with on a regular basis just as sure as we struggle with weather events.

Relationship problems. Financial worries. Family issues. Addictions that flood our lives and leave our homes wreaked. We all don’t face the same storms, but we all face storms, do we not?

Maybe our storms crop up in certain situations or seasons, much like the storms off the coast of Africa.

Family gatherings. Work get togethers. Unexpected expenses. These are what I call unpredictable predictables. We may not know when the storm will hit or how devastating it will be, but we know the storm clouds are forming.

So just as preparations need to be made long before a hurricane makes landfall, preparations need to be made long before we encounter the events we know are destructive to the extent we are able.

Maybe the best way to deal with the inevitable hurricanes of life is to do a little prep work.

Stock up on the essentials. Faithful friends, sound Biblical knowledge, teachable spirit to learn the lessons God wants us to learn from the storm, humility to admit when we’re wrong. Add your own essentials here. _____________

Gather information from reliable sources, assess whether we need to evacuate, then make the correct decision.

Leave those toxic situations that flood our very being with unhealthy habits and thoughts. Work through those that don’t.

Monitor the situation. Keep in close contact with God. Stay vigilant. Have accountability partners and prayer warriors nearby at all times.

We shouldn’t wait until the rain pours into our home to prepare for the storms of life. The time to prepare is before they become an issue. Pray up. Stay connected to God and his people. Be willing to ask for help, and be willing to help when asked.

So how do you prep for the storms of life?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject.

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When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The lyrics aren’t completely accurate in the video around 1:40 … here’s how it should read:

they say if the storm keeps coming
and if the water keeps rising
and if the levee starts caving
then we’re sure to quit
Oh but I know that you won’t let me go
Lord I know you’ll keep me from this storm

An Ever-Present Help in Times of Trouble

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

After Hurricane Irma passed over the hotel where Sissy and Chief evacuated, they found God to be their ever-present help in times of trouble. Again. For you see, when they found Sissy’s car, they discovered a huge oak tree sitting on top of it.

BUT GOD …

While they stood there trying to figure out who to call to get the tree off the car, a National Guard Humvee pulled up to the hotel. Coincidence? Hardly.

Sissy, Chief, and the Guardsmen had a conversation, and then Sissy headed back to the hotel.

When I spoke with her on the phone as she stood outside the hotel she said, “Here comes my car!” It wasn’t being towed. Chief was driving Sissy’s dent-free, barely-scratched car toward her.

Amazingly, the three Guardsmen lifted the tree off the car while Chief slid in from the passenger side, over the console, and into the driver’s seat where he proceeded to drive the car out from under the tree.

Seems when the hurricane uprooted the tree, it landed over the car, but not directly on the car.

Apparently, a branch large enough to support the tree hit the parking lot and kept the tree from crashing down on the car and crushing it. And that, my friends, is a major yay, God. Is it not?

God is our hope. An ever-present help in times of trouble. It doesn’t matter what our trouble is, God is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever dream, hope, or imagine.

He is our Jehovah-nissi who covers us in the shelter of his hands and fights our battles for us. Now. And forever.

When have you witnessed God’s help in your times of trouble?

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God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

 

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Suicide Awareness Month

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

September is suicide prevention month. Did you know that?

In hopes of raising awareness of this staggering problem that affects so many, I’m re-posting this from 2014 .

This morning I listened to a CD I haven’t listened to for some time … James Taylor’s Greatest Hits. The songs brought back t-o-o-o-ns of memories. Some good. Some not so good.

Hearing “Fire and Rain” again took me back to the Valentine’s Day after my 19th birthday, when I attended the funeral of a friend while another friend played Taylor’s song on his guitar. I still remember the navy blue dress I wore.

What do you say to the parents of a teen who drove too fast, too drunk, on black ice that was too slick?

Thinking of Vaughn’s funeral reminded me of the beginning of my senior year in high school when a friend told me Karen died in a car accident on the way home from the Homecoming dance. Her boyfriend drove too fast, too drunk, and left Karen decapitated after she flew through the car’s windshield.

My mind wandered further and stopped for a moment on Bruce.

On the way to English the week before high school graduation, I learned my friend drowned in the Potomac River while skipping school. I’d skipped during Senior Week and gone to Great Falls, too. But not with Bruce.

Before leaving these very sad memories, I thought of Greg. Greg called a couple weeks after his 30th birthday to chat. During the conversation he told me something I considered strange. He wanted me to write a story he thought of. At the offer of the story, my Spidey-sense went off and the hair on my arm prickled.

To this day, that story remains in my mind alone, but I should have paid closer attention to what Greg was really saying when he told it to me. He was giving away something that belonged to him. That’s what folks contemplating suicide do, you know.

Still, I didn’t ask the questions I should have asked. I didn’t take the conversation in the direction I should have taken it. Maybe if I had, Greg’s wife wouldn’t have become a young widow two days later when Greg placed a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

And that, my friends, is the reason for this post.

SAVE Suicide Awareness Violence Education says:

  • Suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year.
  • Over half of all suicides occur in adult men, ages 25-65.
  • Over half of all suicides are completed with a firearm.
  • For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death.
  • Suicide rates among the elderly are highest for those who are divorced or widowed.
  • 1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 die by suicide each year.

Among the information The Center for Disease Control has on their website regarding the signs, risk, and prevention measures for suicide, they state suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. (homicide is 16th).

While Jesus is a friend to all of us, and is available all hours everyday to listen and to help, sometimes it’s up to those of us wandering this earth to let people know they’ve got a friend in us, as well. Someone with skin on them. For those of us needing a friend, we need to speak up, reach out, grab hold of those friends.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Awareness is the beginning. We can all be a part of throwing out a lifeline and help prevent suicide.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it. Proverbs 3:27 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Before the Throne of God

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Someday each of us will stand before the throne of God. It won’t matter if we chose to serve God, or not. Everyone is subject to God’s authority and rule. But those of us who named Jesus as our Lord and Savior have the privilege to come before the throne in confidence, boldly even, as joint heirs to the King.

One of my favorite names for God is El Elyon; the God Most High. As Yahweh, Adonai, and El Shaddai, God is LORD, Master, and the All-Sufficient One. Everyone and everything is under God. He lacks nothing. Everything we need is found in him. God sits on his throne and reigns now and forever. Always has. Always will.

I love that image. God reigns supreme. We are ALL under him. No exceptions. We are not God’s equal. We are not his best buds. We are subject to his authority. He is God and we are not.

One thing that fascinated me about the various castles I have toured is the opulence of each.

Especially the throne rooms with their raised dais that made sure the kings’ or queens’ heads were above all others in the rooms to emphasize the power of the ruler, lest anyone who entered forgot.

God and Jesus are seated in the throne room of heaven. I imagine their thrones are quite marvelous to behold, don’t you? Beyond description.

Because Jesus paid the debt of sin for those of us who claim him as our Lord and Savior, we can boldly stand before the throne of God without fear or trembling. We aren’t allowed entrance because of anything we’ve done. No. It is because of what Jesus did on the cross that makes us right with God. Christ’s sacrifice made a way for us to be adopted into the King’s family.

As spectacular as heaven’s throne room is, Jesus invites us to come. Not just to come, but to come boldly to the throne of grace. Wow.

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So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrew 4:16  (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Learn to Trust the Writer of Our Story

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

(This post was written prior to Hurricane Harvey descending on Texas this past week, yet it is so timely.)

A recent article by Lin Christianity Today got me thinking about how we need to learn to trust the writer of our story. God.

In this article, Laurie 

In a discussion of Job, the author says although Job asked God for an explanation, God gave none. Instead God showed all that he was capable of, and Job learned what God wants most from us. To trust him.

The truth is, when we give up being the center of our story, we are better able to live it. For our story now stars someone other than ourselves. As supporting players, we can play our roles with the awareness that we are part of God’s bigger story, and accept our script as the one we are meant to live.

Perhaps it’s time to shift our focus from ourselves and how we view our life, trust God; the writer of our story, and see things from his perspective.

What do you think?

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I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be ruined. You asked, ‘Who is this that made my purpose unclear by saying things that are not true?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand; I talked of things too wonderful for me to know. Job 42:2-3 (NCV)
 
 I wish you well.

Sandy

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God Is Faithful

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

As I sat outside with Baxter in the windy and rain-free morning sunshine last Wednesday after four days of constant flooding rainfall, courtesy of Hurricane Harvey, I praised God for this faithfulness and prayed for those so horridly impacted by the destruction.

Pilot and I were spared with very minimal damage. Many, many others unfortunately were not.

Isn’t it peculiar how a few short hours and a shift in the wind can shift our perspective?

Monday evening after three very long, hard days of dealing with incessant rains which caused water to leak into our living room, and maybe a grand total of six hours of sleep during those three days, I felt depleted physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Almost.

Prayer partners worked overtime on our behalf. Thank you, Jesus.

We knew the same Jesus who stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee could calm our storm. We knew the Maker of the Wind could blow the bands of rain stuck between two high pressure systems out of our area, or better yet, simple remove the storm’s power altogether. We knew this. What we didn’t know was when.

Although Monday night was bleak, Tuesday dawned with promise. The rain didn’t come down so hard. There were breaks between downpours. The water that came into our house slowed. The end looked like it might be in sight. Praise God.

So Tuesday evening, after four dreadful days, God decided it was time.

No matter what storm each of us faces in our lives when we know the Maker of the Wind and Master of the Waves, we can be confident God is faithful and he is able. Although we may wonder when he’s going to rescue us, his timing is perfect. Just because we can’t see God working, that doesn’t mean he isn’t.

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On one of those days Jesus and His followers got into a boat. Jesus said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” Then they pushed out into the water. As they were going, Jesus fell asleep. A wind storm came over the lake. The boat was filling with water and they were in danger. The followers came to awake Jesus. They said, “Teacher! Teacher! We are going to die!” Then Jesus got up and spoke sharp words to the wind and the high waves. The wind stopped blowing and there were no more waves.  He said to them, “Where is your faith?” The followers were surprised and afraid. They said to each other, “What kind of a man is He? He speaks to the wind and the waves and they obey Him.” Luke 8:22-25 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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