Weathering the Storm - Mel Pavis
Mel writes an honest and practical piece, sharing some wisdom on how she overcomes the storms in her life. A great piece of encouragement and hope in these times we find ourselves in!
I love thunderstorms. Always have… well, almost always. I remember as a young girl running into my parent’s bedroom one night after a thunderstorm shattered my sleep. My dad, instead of taking me back to bed, took me into the lounge and we sat by the large window; waiting, watching, listening as the thunder and lightning raged. I have no idea what he said to me but I do remember the feeling of being safe, being held and knowing that the storm couldn’t hurt me.
There are other kinds of storms I really don’t like. Storms of illness, storms of financial uncertainty, storms involving loss. Lately I’ve encountered the storm of anxiety that seems to come with no warning and settle in for a while; without welcome.
You will have your own particular storm, I’m sure, especially in these interesting times. It may be financial or physical, maybe a frustration or a foreboding? A feeling of being trapped? Depression or anger? These storms can vary from small and annoying through to huge and debilitating. No matter what it is or how fierce it rages; what do we do in the midst of it?
How to combat the storm
Through trial and error, I’ve discovered a few things that help me and share them in the hope that maybe one or two might help you too.
I have a love/hate/love relationship with exercise. I love the thought of it, hate getting started and then somehow, somewhere along the way I love it again. A really long hard walk in the morning really sets me up well for the day; especially if the sun’s out. If it’s raining hard, I get on the treadmill and find a good podcast to listen to. Whatever your choice of exercise is, I encourage you to make it regular even in lockdown.
I’ve come to realise that it’s very important what I put in my mind. If I don’t watch out, my thoughts can carry me away and do some pretty terrifying twists, turns and loops. I’m very intentional about what I read, watch and hear. There are some great books and podcasts out there! A couple of recommendations: Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. Commoners Communion podcasts by Strahan Coleman. Message me if you’d like more!
I’ve taken to hunting down verses that speak to my particular storm. I read them over and over and over.
Whatever way you worship – Do it! LOTS! I always find that in worshipping Jesus somehow the storm has less power over me. But don’t just take my word for it…
I highlight them, underline them, write them out, speak them and pray them. Scripture is alive and active and I’ve found I need to use it. A couple of the verses I’ve done this with recently are:
Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.” (I will often say out loud or in my head, “Jesus you are with me, Jesus you are with me.”)
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” Then I think about Jesus, all He’s done and is doing for me and in me. This always seems to lead to worshipping him.
There is something so powerful about worship. I’m sure you’ve all experienced it but I’m keen to note it here. As I think about Jesus, I can’t help but be grateful and my gratitude turns to worship. Sometimes I sing, sometimes I write, sometimes I simply sit in silence and thank him. Whatever way you worship – Do it! LOTS! I always find that in worshipping Jesus somehow the storm has less power over me. But don’t just take my word for it…
The other thing I’m learning to do, and it’s not that easy for me, is to be vulnerable with those closest to me. To let them know when I’m in the midst of a storm; with no expectation that they can ‘do’ anything about it. Just verbalizing what’s going on for me and having someone listen and ask caring questions helps. But this takes courage!
Brene Brown in “The Gifts of Imperfection” (read it, it’s so good!) says this: “Courage originally meant to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” I like that. It is courageous to share, even with people we trust, what’s going on in our heart. Again, Brown says, “Courage has a ripple effect. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.”
We all value connection, defined by Brown as: “The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” That’s what I’m finding with a select few whom I trust.
One final thing to share. When the storm is at its fiercest, sometimes all I can do is cry out to Jesus. The best prayer I’ve ever prayed is “Jesus have mercy.” If you feel paralyzed in the storm; if nothing else is helping, simply cry out these three words and you know what? He will. Just like my dad was with me all those years ago, Jesus is always with each of us. He doesn’t judge us, he simply says, “I’m here.” And that makes all the difference.
Mel Pavis has worked at Windsor Park Baptist church for many years and is passionate about helping people deepen their relationship with Jesus. In her spare time she loves reading, writing and walking the streets of Torbay. // Photo: Caleb Van Essen
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