Standing Strong in Your Calling When Life's Storms Come Your Way

By Kristen Strong

God's Brave Women - Kristen's Story


I grew up in Osage County, Oklahoma, and many of my memories involve summer rainstorms and winter ice storms. One winter ice storm knocked the power out for several days, and we were all thankful for the wood stove that kept the house warm. During the long, cold nights, Dad routinely added firewood to the stove while my sisters and I slumbered on. We spent our days curled up with books in the living room, feeling a little like Laura Ingalls as we read by the light of day in our cocoon of blankets.


In springtime when the sky grew dark and ominous, we religiously watched Mike Morgan on the channel 4 news out of Oklahoma City. Our spot of earth boasted a high percentage of tornados, and while we didn’t live in fear of them, we certainly were prepared for them.


The night of my junior prom, the “Great Plains Storm” produced 55 tornados from Texas to Iowa. An F4 tornado thankfully skirted our town, but it flattened part of our prom festivities. The sky dumped buckets of hail and rain on us gussied up gals and guys, and we all arrived to the venue looking like we’d camped out in a car wash. In the year of our Lord 1991, we dyed our shoes to match our fancy dresses, so miles of jewel-toned pigment ran down the pavement, just like our makeup ran down our faces.


Generally speaking, I’ve been inconvenienced by storms rather than completely devastated by them. However, I’ve endured figurative storms that threw me to the ground thanks to unanticipated change. I’ve lived through difficult transitions that made a direct hit on my heart like an F5 tornado.


 

"Generally speaking, I’ve been inconvenienced by storms rather than completely devastated by them. However, I’ve endured figurative storms that threw me to the ground thanks to unanticipated change."

 

Several years ago, one of those changes came by way of amped-up voices that had been supportive yet turned vicious and hurtful. Those voices said things like,


You call yourself a writer!? You’re such a hypocrite! The people who really know you believe you’re a fraud.”


Those voices knew how to hit me where it hurts. I almost gave up on writing altogether, telling a friend, “I regret ever writing in the first place.” Because when a plethora of condemnation comes at you—from outside voices and in turn, from your inside voice—it can be easy to listen to them. They’re so loud and demanding that you find your go-to reaction is to let them direct your next move altogether. For me, a calling that looked quite clear started to look terribly crooked.


That is, until I intentionally pivoted from all those voices to the Voice.


 

"When a plethora of condemnation comes at you—from outside voices and in turn, from your inside voice—it can be easy to listen to them... For me, a calling that looked quite clear started to look terribly crooked. That is, until I intentionally pivoted from all those voices to the Voice."

 

In doing so, I stopped asking, “If what they say is true, shouldn’t I stop writing?”


And I started listening to God’s direction, “You are accepted and beloved right where you are, so write where you are.”


After several talks with my husband in which we both gave an honest look at the situation, we both believed He would tell us when—if ever—it was time to stop writing. We knew this storm was meant to distract me, not to derail my work altogether.


 

"We knew this storm was meant to distract me, not to derail my work altogether."

 

Toward the end of her book Water My Soul, author Luci Shaw tells a story of traveling through Iowa’s farm country and wondering why a farmer or planter often leaves a lone tree in the middle of a field. During a roadside stop, Luci asked one particular farmer that very thing. He responded, “So that when they’re plowing, they have something to rest the eye on. It helps them keep the furrows straight.”


Luci then writes,


“Can I be for someone else an interruption in the horizon, a landmark, a directional focus, a simplicity on which they can rest the eye and know they’re going straight?”


When I boil down my own motives in life, in both my writing life and my just-being-with-people life, I find that what I want to do is be a place where others can rest their eye–or rather their heart–and know it’s safe. I want to be a person who helps others keep on keepin’ on. Of course, I sometimes mess that up, but it’s what I aim to do.


The thing about a tree in the middle of the field, however, is it will face storms head on. Without much protection, it’s going to meet strong winds. And I can’t help but make the comparison that for those of us who want to be a place that helps others trek along, we will face our own winds and storms that try to knock us over.


It’s a scary thing, but we must persevere through it by folding ourselves into the gospel rather than unraveling into fear.


 

"I can’t help but make the comparison that for those of us who want to be a place that helps others trek along, we will face our own winds and storms that try to knock us over. It’s a scary thing, but we must persevere through it by folding ourselves into the gospel rather than unraveling into fear."

 

And when fears try to persuade us to give up our assignment, may we boldly focus on the Tree of Life. Not because we have no fear, but because in the smallest of ways we are brave enough to live from how the Creator made us and out of Jesus’s love for us.


 

"When fears try to persuade us to give up our assignment, may we boldly focus on the Tree of Life. Not because we have no fear, but because in the smallest of ways we are brave enough to live from how the Creator made us and out of Jesus’s love for us."

 

He will set our paths straight.


Yeah, you and I can bravely do the good work in our field. Because storms may batter and bend us, but we are deeply rooted.

And we will stand.


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story.

And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


AS A BONUS… Subscribers will also be the first to receive news regarding the BRAVE WOMEN BIBLE STUDY! SIGN UP for more info on the study’s release and availability.


 

About Kristen


Kristen Strong, author of When Change Finds You, Back Roads to Belonging, and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend helping you discover a more hopeful view of the difficult change in your life. She and her USAF veteran husband, David, have three beloved older kiddos. Together, this military family zigzagged across the country (and one ocean) several times before settling in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


Kristen’s writing can also be found at kristenstrong.com, DaySpring’s (in)courage and on Instagram @kristenstrong.