Saturday, July 9, 2011

Keep an eye on the storm.

I live in Sundre, Alberta.  A beautiful little haven nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.  In fact if you drive west of my house you will not find anymore towns or cities you will only find wilderness and beauty.

I love where I live.  I have only been here three years but I hope to stay a very long time.

Yesterday we had a tornado touch down.

I have a funny - or not so funny tale to tell you.

I have had a very full and busy week.  Nearly every moment has been dictated by a never-ending to-do list.  At the top of that to-do list was a priority item that unfortunately needed a huge block of time.  A commodity that was in short supply this week.  So after lunch on Thursday I told my family I am barricading myself in my room and not coming our until my priority item was complete. And that is precisely what I did.

I ventured out only a few times for a drink or snack or a washroom break.  Oh, and a few trips to end squabbles and direct traffic with my three bored children.  On a couple of those trips out of my room I found my kids on the patio watching the incredible storm we were having.  The hail pounded on our home.  The rain beat against the windows.  Of course, the thunder and lightening gave an impressive show as well.  However I
never paid it much attention aside from it was background noise as I remained fixated on my task at hand.

It lasted for several hours.

Later that night my mother in law called the house worried to see that we were alright.  At that moment my husband burst through my bedroom door announcing we had a tornado touch down west of us.

The shock was slow to arrive and left with little scarring.  Oh, a tornado.  Well it is a good thing I didn't even know about it.  I wouldn't have gotten any work done in my basement.

Then today as the news reports came in and photos and videos hit the internet airwaves I am awestruck at the wonder, the terror and the stupidity.

Ignorance is bliss, wouldn't you say?

I had my head buried in papers and never knew the dangers outside my window.  Usually the sounds of a raging storm would draw one to check it out - at least through many thick panes of glass.  I did not even do that.  I am sure I would have seen the funnel clouds.  (You tube video taken by a Calgary man chasing the storm.)  It touched down about 15 km south of our home.

According to sources, that raging tornado touched down at three other locations all within a 45 minute travel from  my home. (Photo from the weather network website.)

I was oblivious.

Isn't it interesting?  (Or embarrassing if you are me.)  How can one be so engrossed in their own pursuits to not even look up and see what is happening around them?

Perhaps you have never done what I did - placing your family in danger by your narrow-sighted view. Or maybe you know what that feels like to be so consumed by something only to have your landscape changed when you finally look up.

I have another very recent example - no trend intended ;).

Last January (2010) I started to write.  Stories.  They were stories I felt totally convinced were given to me by God and all He asked me to do was write them down.  So I did.  I started in January and never looked up until November.  In that time I finished five complete novels.  That is roughly  375,000 words.  I typed every moment I could spare and on average finished a book every two and a half months.  (That number is a little skewed because one novel was written for a contest and I finished it in three days.)

When I finally looked up from my computer at the end of November I saw dark, gloomy clouds.   On the horizon was a storm brewing that I did not want to face.  I felt the sting of a writing lifestyle.  The doubts and fears that creep in and say you have effectively written 375,000 garbage words.  The tiny voice that calls out to say 'You will never make it in this business. Quit now before you embarrass your family and friends.' 

It was a terrible storm alright - one that effectively stole my will and my desire.  Since November I have only written two-thirds of a story.  I have slowed down to a snail's pace with my feet set firmly in cemented fear.

If I hadn't looked up and surveyed my surroundings, I would have (following earlier stats) three more completed manuscripts and finishing off my fourth.  Interesting?

My husband and I went with some friends to the Casting Crowns concert held in Calgary on July 4th.  It was phenomenal.  I had seen them before but they were fantastic.   There were no opening bands - just the Crowns.  They spent the whole evening with us and it felt intimate and special.  The lead singer shared a lot of his own struggles and trials that have led to the songs he has written.  His theme song is Voice of Truth.  He told us of how He felt God laying a call on his heart but he felt inadequate and unable to drown out the negative voices in his head telling him he would never do it well.  He chose to listen to the Voice of God instead and we all can receive the dividends of that choice.

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes 
To climb out of this boat I'm in 
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown 
Where Jesus is, 
And he's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name 
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times 
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me 
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win, 
You you'll never win

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do 
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant 
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound 
of a thousand warriors 
shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out 
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times 
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me 
time and time again
"Boy you'll never win, 
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don't seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story 
The Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!" 
And the Voice of truth says "this is for my glory" 
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth.

Sometimes the storms in our lives are inevitable.  They might be big raging tornadoes or they might be a pouring rain that never seems to let up.  Either way we need to face them.  God was with his disciples when they encountered a raging storm.  He is with us in our storms as well.  Trust Him.  Cling to Him.  Stand in the eye of the storm with Him.  It is always safer in the center of God's will than standing off to the side watching it pass you by.

If you are feeling like me, lost in a storm of life, take heart with a fun song done by very good friends of mine.  Bonnie and Curtis Szakacs are a family that travel with the message of grace and love from Christ.  If you like it - buy it from them!

If only you see me doing the actions right now!  That would make you smile - even laugh - for sure!


  1. I too wrote about the storm in Sundre. Just not nearly as eloquently.

  2. Hi Jodi,
    The photography for the tornado was amazing. I live in a region that often has tornadoes, and I've had similar reactions as you: don't interfere with my work! So I sympathize with you on getting your determination to finish your project.

    What an intense work period you went through last year. Do you feel that you learned from it? Were apprenticed by it? Maybe the slowdown isn't a bad thing, but is giving you a time to reflect on your direction and work and thoughtfully pursue more writing challenges?

    Just ideas. I hope you won't let your doubts keep you from finding a steady pace for yourself. :)

    I wish I could pinch some of that exuberance for myself.