Weathering the Storms of Uncertainty and Change

Facing the unexpected (and unwelcome) winds of change prompt an opportunity to find grace in intense times.


Dark storm clouds in the field.
When the storm clouds of change gather, what better choice do we have then to turn to grace?

Summer brings thunderstorm season in the North. Last night, as the wind and rain rattled the windows of my house and lightning lit up the night sky, my little daughter ran into my room. With fear in her voice, she looked at me, her lip trembling, and cried, "Mama, I'm scared."


When the Storm Season Approaches

We gathered our blankets and an armful of my daughter's special "stuffies," and as we hunkered down in the basement, we couldn't do much but wait out the storm.The lightning in this storm was like none I had seen, at least not in recent memory. Flash after flash came, relentless and without ceasing. My mind quickly raced, calculating that the odds of a lightning strike must be magnified with each quick bolt's succession. The last storm here in our community prompted three house fires, each struck by lightning. I snuggled my daughter. "Mama, are you scared? she asked.


I looked at her little, scared eyes, glimmering in the faint glow of the lightning-filled sky.

I could only nod and say,"Yes, I am. But we're okay."


My husband checked the weather radar. "Fifteen more minutes of this round, but then there's another round coming."


I was struck how lucky we are to know this forecast, actually seeing radar projections in color and movement, giving shape to what otherwise would be fear of the unknown forces at play, well beyond human control. I thought of how fearful our pioneer ancestors must have been. How helpless they must have felt, stranded in their covered wagons, just a two day's ride away from their home, or if they were lucky, they may have been home already, tucked away in small prairie cabins praying the thin widow panes held and the logs were study enough to withstand the storm.


Yes, the unexpected and unknown. How scary this can be.

Yes, the unexpected and unknown. How scary this can be.

All these thoughts hit me differently, I guess, last night. You see, we have been weathering our own family's storm. Two months ago, my husband, who works in corporate America, was hit with unexpected and unwelcome news that his office of 200 people will be closing in the fall. In an effort to cut costs and consolidate, only the larger office half-way across the country would remain. We began to face the winds of what first was a relocation, but then turned into the reality of a future job loss, and now a current job search. Our recent weeks have been filled with a whirlwind of emotions and activities: research, phone calls, travel for interviews for other job leads, carrying on current work load demands, saying goodbye to colleagues and friends from a nearly two-decades-long career, and a whole lot of conversation and reimagining what our lives and careers might look like.


Author Bill Hybels reminds us that "Storms draw something out of us that calm seas don't."

Wishing for Life's Weather Forecast


I look back at my husband, still consulting the radar map. How I wish I had a weather radar screen for life that I could simply check. "Oh, it looks this will be done in a half-hour." As we hunker down for the storms of change in life, we don't know the forecast. We can't see the big picture from the satellite view. We simply and painfully have to trust. For we are doing what we can, and the unknowns, while scary at times, are unknowns we can handle. In fact, these tests come to strengthen our leadership and our character. Author Bill Hybels reminds us that "Storms draw something out of us that calm seas don't." After all, rain is necessary for growth.


How I wish I had a weather radar screen for life that I could simply check. "Oh, it looks this will be done in a half-hour."


Finding Grace and Beauty in the Storm


As the night continued, and I knew the storm was weakening, I looked out the window again. My daughter slept soundly in my arms, my husband by my side. Quiet and even breaths gave a calm rhythm to the moment. The lightning still flashed, but this time it felt different. Like John Geddes once wrote, "I don't just wish you rain, Beloved-- I wish you the beauty of storms." I don't know yet when or how this storm will end, not exactly at least. But I know that we have worked hard to build a strong foundation, and we have weathered far worse storms with much less, in every sense.


“John Geddes once wrote, "I don't just wish you rain, Beloved-- I wish you the beauty of storms."


So for now, I won't waste strength and energy fearing or cursing forces that are beyond our control. I sit quietly, in grace, enjoying the beauty of the flashes of light in the storm. Soon it will be morning, and more work must be done.


Resources: Lead with Grace Podcast, Season 1, episode 5, series "Finding Grace Under Pressure"