Are You Going Through a Storm Cloud Experience?

Yesterday, Gail and I began a 30-day sabbatical. We spent the day traveling to a remote retreat, 8,700 feet up in the mountains. We have no real plans other than to pray, read, and dream. The last time I did this was 1994.

A Cumulonimbus Cloud - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/BanksPhotos, Image #10324019

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/BanksPhotos

On the plane, I intended to write a blog post. While this may seem like work for some, for me it is like oil painting—except with words. My heart comes alive as I give expression to my thoughts.

But instead of blogging, I decided to finish reading Ian Cron’s new book, Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me: A Memoir of Sorts. Honestly, I was blown away. I couldn’t put it down. I connected emotionally and aesthetically with so much of it.

If you enjoyed Don Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, you will love Ian’s book. I was captivated not only by his personal journey (much of which paralleled my own), but by the way he expressed it. Ian is an enormously gifted writer.

Let me share with you a snippet from the opening of chapter 15. This deeply resonated with me:

In 1959, Lieutenant Colonel William Rankin was flying his supersonic jet at forty-eight thousand feet when it suffered a catastrophic engine failure. He was forced to eject from his aircraft over a cumulonimbus—a gigantic storm cloud that gives even seasoned pilots the intestinal cramps.

“You’ve seen one. When fully mature, the cumulonimbus is a cauliflower-shaped cloud with billowy towers and turrets that can reach altitudes of seventy-five thousand feet. On its peak sits its distinct anvil-shaped top. When a group of cumulonimbus clouds get together, they form menacing supercells. You don’t want to attend the party unless you are one of those supernaturally stupid people on the TV show Storm Chasers.

“Colonel Rankin is the only man to fall through the ‘king of clouds’ and live to tell the tale. In the center of the cloud Rankin was met by rising air blasts that shot him heavenward, then hurled toward earth by brutal downdrafts. Large hailstones at the mercy of the same forces pummeled the helpless pilot. Bolts of lightning passed frighteningly close, followed by thunder so fierce than Rankin claims he felt it more in his body than his ears.

“‘This was nature’s bedlam,’ he said, ‘an ugly black cage of screaming, violent, lunatics … beating me with big flat sticks, roaring at me, screeching, trying to crush me or rip me with their hands.’

“That is what 1986 felt like to me.”

I don’t don’t about you, but for me, 2005 was a giant storm cloud experience. Some day I’ll blog about it. Frankly, I am still amazed that I survived. But God is good. I did survive and I am better because of it.

Unfortunately, you don’t usually know the outcome in the midst of a storm. Life seems to hang in the balance. Usually, you are just holding on, praying that you aren’t destroyed in the process. If this describes you, you are not alone. It happens to all of us—usually more than once.

Question: What about you? Are you going through a storm cloud experience? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://twitter.com/KimSkidmore Kimberly Skidmore

     Michael

    1998 was my stormiest year. By Dec of 97 Things
    were looking
    so good.
    I had gotten
    remarried and my husband
    and I had told my Dad that we (along
    with my just turned
    three
    year old) would
    be moving
    to NH and moving
    in with him.  I was about
    to have a fresh
    start
    after
    a marriage of verbal
    abuse
    and a long divorce. What I didn’t
    know was just a month
    later
    my dad would
    die alone
    in his home from an enlarged heart. My Dad and I didn’t
    always
    have the best of relationships, but the previous six years
    had been about
    healing.  I was totally
    devastated. My husband
    and I decided
    to go forward
    with our plans.
    It was my Dads wish that I would
    get the house
    we were moving
    to and when my step mother
    passed
    away my step sister
    would
    get the house
    she lived
    in an hour away.(yes they lived
    in separate houses) This added
    to the storm
    cloud
    building and things
    did not go according to plan.
    We ended
    up moving
    into a trailer. Our dog bit our neighbor who was found
    to be in blame
    by the court
    after
    she sued us, but we had already
    put the dog down.
    We then had to put my Dad’s
    cat put to sleep
    because
    she was never
    right
    after
    being
    in the house
    when my Dad died.
    Our own cat got out and hit by a car, and this was only July!  In August
    things
    started
    to turn for the better.
    We learned
    we were expecting a baby.
    Then on Thanksgiving morning we lost the baby.
    I was feeling
    pretty
    defeated at that point.
    God, however, never left me alone.
    It just took me needing
    to turn around
    and see him waiting
    there
    for me to grab hold,
    and now I would
    make it through
    the storm.  I prayed
    a prayer
    and my resolve
    started
    to return.  I begged
    my husband
    for a puppy
    to give to my son for Christmas. I needed
    something alive and adorable so much by then.  God put it on his heart,
    and he conceded to the puppy.
    God blessed
    us with a sweet
    black
    lab mix that will be 13 this Oct on the same day as my son turns
    17. Even though
    it was the hardest
    year of my life to date it is also the year God started
    to make it clear
    to me that he is in control, and he will never
    leave
    me to make it though
    on my own.  We have had some showers since
    then, but I truly believe
    I won’t
    have a storm
    quite
    like that one ever again.
    You see I went into that storm thinking I was alone
    but didn’t
    come out that way. I know now that if another
    storm
    like that comes
    it won’t be quite
    as devastating because I won’t
    go through
    any of it alone. Since then god has blessed us with a wonderful church family,
    a home of our own and five delightful children to fill it. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/ctpotts Chris Potts

     Book sounds great, I’ll have to add it to my “to-read” list.  Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

     We recently transitioned from one church to another, about 2 years ago.  However, we were supposed to have joined a creation ministry.  But, because of the fear of their office manager, we weren’t able to go.  We raised over 80% of our support, and did it exceptionally fast.  

    However, his fear was that the ministry couldn’t afford the extra overhead, even though my salary was almost fully taken care of.  They rescinded the position six weeks before we were to go.  My church had already hired someone to fill my position, so we were looking at no job.

    God came through though.  He provided another ministry for us to slide into. And just in time.

    However, our frustration and bitterness took a long time to eliminate.

    I feel like the past two years have been one ginormous storm, that is just now starting to dissipate.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m glad the weather is clearing for you.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

         Me too!  Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/plantedinchrist Brandon Weldy

     I have been working at a small, rural church for almost 3 years, part time. I started there while still in college. Last May I finished my courses, so my wife and I moved to the area knowing that I was going to start up full time. That lasted 4 months. We were running out of funds fast and I was then informed through a letter that I would be going back to part-time and I was in desperate need to find another job to help.
    I now work a full time job that I have no interest in doing, and try to do a “part time” youth ministry. It is so frustrating. On top of that my wife and I (who now have an 8 month old son) feel very secluded and alone and are unsure of what God’s plan for us. I go through days praying and trying to keep a joyful attitude, but it is difficult. 

  • Anonymous

    Currently I am not going through a storm. But I believe all people are heading into, in the midst of or coming out of a storm. My best advice I learned from my storm is to have someone intercede for you and help awaken your warrior spirit. At times we want to have a pity party but a prayer warrior helps to encourage and inspire us through life’s storms.

  • Gail Conner

    My husband of 17 years left in 2008 to be with a former friend of mine.  I spent the next year in Christian counseling, trying to put my life and that of my then 15 yr. old daughter back together.  I did not date anyone that first year, knowing that I needed to process and heal.  In Jan. 2010 I met a “great” guy–we had it all, seemingly.  In June, he ended our relationship with little explanation.  I have been alone since.  While I know that God is working in my life and loves me beyond my comprehension, it seems that the storm will never end.  I am a believer with great Christian friends, but most of them really don’t “get” how incredibly lonely I am.  I know God will bring me through this eventually, but to be honest, I just feel abandoned and alone.  From my perspective, it looks as though my ex-husband and my ex-boyfriend have just gone on with their lives and are happy, while I am the one paying the price, hurting and lonely.  It truly feels as though I will be in the storm forever–is this just my “lot” in life?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am so sorry, Gail. I have no words to share that will make it “all better.” I will simply pray. Hang onto what you know is true. My pastor often says, “Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts.”

      By the way, this is one reason I am so intent on preserving our marriages. The human toll of adultery is incalculable.

  • Sandy

    As well as growing our faith, surviving our storm clouds (and we will all have them if we live long enough!) develops empathy that enable us to help others survive a similar storm.

    Love your blog; I’m glad I stumbled upon it. :)