Friday, December 6, 2013

Life Lessons—Unexpected Storms

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D

I can imagine how it went. They were enjoying the night before Thanksgiving. Most likely they were sitting by the fire watching a favorite flick. I bet Edie was knitting as the scenes played out on the big screen TV.

Then the unexpected storm—and certainly something no parent ever wants to hear—came blowing in out of nowhere, fracturing her blissful evening and raining terror on her peaceful little world.


I lived in Florida for over four decades and have ridden out my share of hurricanes. Did you know they are not the most destructive? Not by any means. We prepared for them. We know exactly how to prepare. We have our plywood labeled and we just secure them in place before the storm hits.

In the sunshine state, the most damage is done by the summer storms that pop up out of nowhere and blow through with gale force winds. They spawn tornados, dump tons of rain on the roadways and catch thousands of people unawares.

It’s those storms like Edie experienced the night before Thanksgiving that cause us to emotionally tumble end-over-end completely out of control in life.

The same can be true for your writer’s life. Powerful storms can rain down on you with a force that seemingly won’t ever let up. When that happens, there are some things you can do to help you weather the storm. Here are a few:
  • Remember that it is temporary. As remedial as that seems, it’s usually the last thing we think of when the storm is raging.
  • Draw on past experience. Don’t worry. You don’t have to start a think tank in the middle of an emergency. The wisdom is in you and it will bubble up exactly when you need for it to.
  • Trust your instincts. Remember, God created you with creative brilliance. Even though it doesn’t seem like it during the storm, you really do have within you the ability to ride it out.
  • Evacuate when necessary. There is no shame in abandoning and running for cover when conditions deteriorate. Evacuation is usually only temporary but, just like in a hurricane, running for cover places you at a safe distance away from the storm’s fury.

Look, you won’t see those unexpected storms coming. But come they will and when they do, you’ll get through them. You’ll come out on the other side.

What was the last storm you faced in your writing? Or in life? How did you weather it? Share it here!

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @MagellanCoach.


  1. Last year I lost my sister and sister-in-law within a month of each other, just before Thanksgiving. It was hard to rejoice the birth of our Savior and mourn the death of my sisters. But, it helped to remember that they were celebrating in Heaven with our Lord. Actually, that helped a lot.

    Merry Christmas, Reba and Edie!

    1. So sorry for your losses, Angie but so glad you found God's grace to get through it. And yes, they had the ultimate celebration! Merry Christmas to you and your family as well.!

  2. Reba, what a good word! One thing that has helped me when the "storms" come is to remember that God is NOT surprised, nor in the least shock and that He already had a "help plan" in place before the event even happened. Another thing I've learned to do after "nonhappy surprises" is to ask God if there is anything I can learn from the experience. For example, one Saturday morning I backed out of our garage in a hurry to go to a church meeting and WHAMO! I sideswiped my husband's truck I hadn't noticed he had left parked in the drive. That little surprise cost us $1,000 for a repair which we paid out of pocket. Later in prayer about the whole situation, the Lord gently reminded me of the spat I'd had with hubby just before leaving. After 50 years of marriage I can tell you, I've learned never to leave the house in strife or anger! It removes our normal protection, blinds us, and leaves us fully open to whatever the enemy wants to do. And he's always looking for ways and open doors to steal, kill and destroy us according to John 10:10. Thank God we can decide to live in forgiveness and peace and escape a lot of his strategies. Sometimes the things that happen are due to no doors opened or place we've given, God does allow our faith and trust to be tested. The great thing is that in Christ, no matter what happens for whatever reason, we can take it to the Lord, trust Him and He'll work the worst things to good! The devil just has to put up with it. Thank God we have a Savior, Healer, Comforter and Warrior King on our side! Hubby and I make up fast around here.

    1. Yes, Elva you are so right. God does have a "help plan". Thank you for sharing about your truck experience. God is not a god of envy and strife.

  3. My go-to verses when storms hit are Isaiah 43:1-3 He may not keep the storms from coming, but He's there with us through them.

  4. The first thing on your list, ' remember, it is temporary,' has always been my motto - and I can't even remember when that realization came to me. I have had friends and family ask me how I cope with situations in my life at different times, and that was always my answer. Even my mother said she admired that. When you know that it will not be this way for the rest of your life, it's easier to handle a difficult time.