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The Joy and Sadness of Writing

I’ve been a writer since I was in 3rd grade and wrote my first book Irene and the Big Balloon. I even illustrated it myself. It was a single copy meant to engage an exclusive audience of two…my parents!

They fostered the creativity by buying me a red gold leaf edged diary with a lock and key. I would wander off to my secret place on the side of the wooded hill in the back of our house and write. I dreamed of writing a book someday that would go beyond the confines of my little world to impact others.

I am incredibly grateful that this dream has been realized more than once Anchored: Leading Through the Storms is being released today. It is an exciting time planned with a book launch at my local bookstore and other events over the next weeks and months.

And yet the excitement is mingled with a sense of sadness.

My Mom is moments away from entering into heaven and today is possibly the day.

God isn’t surprised and he knew the contents of this book and the converging of these events.

A few months back when we first learned of my Mom’s cancer, I was rereading the first few chapters of the book before I went to sleep. The tears rolled down my cheeks as God encouraged me through the story of the disciples on the lake with Jesus in Mark 4. I might add, IN MY OWN BOOK!

That’s what happens sometimes, as an author. You write a book not just for an audience of readers, but write it for yourself because it is a part of the big picture story that God is writing in you and me.

I said goodbye to my Mom a little over 10 days ago. I had the chance to read her a few chapters and she encouraged me just as she did in the 3rd grade.

“This is really good, and I can tell it comes from the heart.”

Her words meant everything to me in that moment. I read to her the story of Job and the anchors he placed in his life before his catastrophic storm hit when he lost everything. The anchors held him steadfast as he walked through a valley of immense suffering.

My Mom, like Job has cultivated her strong anchors to face the storm of this insidious illness. She confessed in her suffering that she knows God is present and holding her close. She sang with us her favorites in her weak condition holding onto her assurance of hope that she will soon be pain-free and with her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

I am grateful for the legacy of faith my Mom taught me, that even now as we let her go, I find myself anchored in Jesus in this difficult storm of loss.

One anchor I am holding onto is…

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. 2 Peter 1:3  (click to tweet)

This is what I hope the reader will find between the pages of my new book. Hope and encouragement from God’s Word and anchors to help  stand strong in the midst of a storm.

Find out more about being anchored in the storm.

www.cynthiacavanaugh.com/anchored

Special Purchase on PUB DAY WEEK

https://www.newhopepublishers.com/shop/anchored/

 

 

 

Thinking Clearly in a Storm

I am an overachiever, overworker, overperfectionist, and overthinker. These dysfunctions in my life have come as a result of analyzing too much and not taking my thoughts and filtering them through God’s Word and direction.

I’ve had to work hard to retrain my brain so when I am in a storm, I can make a choice to confess my faith in a way that leverages my ability to see God and rise above my circumstances.

It has been a long, arduous journey, but to date, my faith is rooted deeper.

I live in Psalm 1:2–3:

“His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

My prayer is that I will be planted deep in Jesus by the river so when the floodwaters rise I will not only survive, but I will flourish and thrive.

The more I practice detoxing my thinking and focusing on God’s Word the more I can rise above the obstacles. (click to tweet)

I move from being paralyzed, stuck on the riverbank watching the hopelessness of a rushing river, to a place of confident faith.

I have come to understand a few things about my thoughts.

First, my thoughts are real, and they are a result of what I observe, feel, and experience.

I can’t dismiss them and simply wish them away.

I must deal with recurring negative thoughts or they will deal with me.(click to tweet)

I need to, as Dr. Leaf says, “replace it with the correct information.”

Taking the random thought and vetting it through Philippians 4:8 is a good place to start.

 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

And we can’t forget verse nine, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Want peace from toxic thoughts? The only way to achieve the God kind of peace in a storm, is to filter our thoughts through his Word.

Excerpt from Anchored: Leading Through the Storms

All rights reserved. Copyright 2018

Find out more about being anchored in the storm.

www.cynthiacavanaugh.com/anchored

How to Sleep in a Storm Under Stress

I have always been a good sleeper. When all my friends talk about their tossing and turning and taking melatonin, I tune out. I can fall asleep nearly anywhere. And naps? I relish my Sunday afternoon naps.

Tomorrow is National Public Sleeping Day.

I wonder if that’s the day Jesus fell asleep in the boat during a storm on National Public Sleeping Day. Okay, NOT! Just kidding!

Seriously speaking, here is the scene, the account of Matthew in chapter eight which says, “There arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves, but he was asleep.” (Matthew 8:24)

How can that be? Jesus asleep in a fierce storm? The disciples were probably dumbfounded that Jesus was asleep in the storm, They panicked and woke Jesus up.

He must have been sleeping pretty hard with all the wind and waves pounding against the boat. Never-the-less, Jesus, replied “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”

And we know the rest of the story. He commanded the wind and the waves to cease and all was well.

To get the full context of the story you have to read the few chapters before and after. Jesus was just plain tuckered out. He had preached the Sermon on the Mount and went straight to healing the masses that followed him.

After the episode on the sea, it was more of the same. He needed to restore and renew. The storm didn’t seem to bother him and the exhaustion coupled with the noise of the waves lulled him to sleep, at least we could picture it that way.

Sleeping in the middle of a storm seems kinda crazy doesn’t it? When we have a strong wind and rain storm at home, even though I am a great sleeper, it can keep me awake. Imagine being in a boat! The racket would be louder than ever. But here we find Jesus sound asleep.

Jesus asks his companions why they are fearful and chides them for their lack of faith. He doesn’t seem to be concerned about the circumstance they find themselves in the boat and the storm.

Why? Mostly, because he is God, the creator of the water, the waves, and the wind.

There is another lesson for us besides recognizing the power of Jesus in a storm that brings calm and peace to a raging sea.

There is something lodged in between the lines of this story that we would be wise to pay attention to.

Another part of trusting God in a storm, is realizing God sees the bigger picture. (click to tweet).

If the storm doesn’t bother him and he is orchestrating our lives, we can let down our anxiety and actually rest.

Peacefully.

We can take care of ourselves physically and emotionally. Why?

Because the stress of a storm can drain us dry. Leaning into the stress and running crazy letting anxiety and fear keep us from resting is a recipe for disaster. Sleep is important all of the time, but when we are under greater duress it is even more critical so we can cope with what is happening.

Here’s how you can know if you aren’t able to sleep in a storm. Your answer to these questions is your clue.

Do you find yourself not being able to rest because your anxiety level is over the top?

Is stress ruling your mind in the storm so you can’t even take a little nap when you know that’s what you need?

Bingo! How did you do?

Jesus gives us a simple visual we can follow. When our boat is being swamped by waves, we can rest, we can sleep, we can nap, if we believe God is in charge of the wind and waves. He is our anchor. If Jesus can sleep in a storm, we can too! (click to tweet)

Speak to your fear and anxiety this week.

Trust God.

Take care of yourself and take a nap.

You’ll be glad you did and when you wake up, things just might not look as bad. Go ahead, sleep in the storm because Jesus is handling those waves that might be trying to swamp your boat.

Happy National Public Sleeping Day!

Find out more about staying anchored in a storm, cynthiacavanaugh.com/anchored

When You Have to Wait in a Storm

The word wait has been interrupting my world lately.

In South Carolina last month, I had to wait several hours in an airport because I was one of the hundreds of others caught in a snowstorm and stranded.

I had a stack of boarding passes from being rebooked several times. I nearly sat down and cried at one point because I was weary and wanted to get home. It took two days to make it back home. Fortunately, my good friend Edie, graciously drove an hour and half  to pick me up to spend the night and wait until I could fly back home.

Since then I’ve waited for…

The news from family regarding the health of a parent,

Approval for a massive project I’ve been working on,

The weather to change at the airport last week due to another snowstorm when I was visiting my children,

And nearly 30 minutes waiting on the phone to solve a mix-up online order.

Waiting is a part of life, and yet we despise waiting in our culture.

It sabotages our plans.

It threatens to submerge our joy when we have to wait longer than 5 minutes in a drive-through for our coffee.

We are spoiled and impatient because we don’t like to wait for anything.

We need answers today and solutions immediately.

Unwillingness to wait breeds an anxious heart, especially when we are facing a storm. Uneasiness sets in and paralyzes our hope when we can’t have the answers we need to move ahead. Honestly, I hate to wait, and God brought this to my attention again this morning as I read these verses.

I pray to God-my life a prayer-and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning. Psalm 130:5,6 (Message)

I’ve noticed in the Bible that when God repeats himself, it’s like putting a stop sign in the middle of the highway for us to pay attention and wait because we are moving too fast. Waiting and watching till morning is repeated for a purpose. To slow down and not just practice waiting, but also to watch.

The two storms I encountered at the airports caused me to wait and watch. I had no control. I couldn’t make anything move faster. I was forced to wait and watch until something changed so I could get to my destination.

Snowstorms are unpredictable, and they also change radically bringing the unexpected. Storms in life are also uncertain, and they cause us to wait and watch, wait and watch.

We can’t watch for anything if we don’t stop to wait. To slow down and settle into the wait can heighten our anticipation and watch for the answer. Being still and waiting sets us up to watch for God to reveal his will in our situation.

One of my granddaughters stands on the couch and waits by the window to watch for her Nana when we’ve planned a date together. Her parents tell me when I arrive how long she’s been waiting and watching. She knows I am coming and because she is nearly three she doesn’t fully understand the concept of time. So she waits and watches, waits and watches.

When we believe that God holds the answer to our problems in a storm, we can wait and watch just like my little granddaughter because we can believe by faith that he is faithful. He won’t fail and we can trust that what he says is true because he has the best track record.

The next time you are facing a storm, wait and watch, wait and watch.

God is coming, he is never late with the solution, and he promises if we invite him he will come alongside and wait with us, as we wait and watch.

TWEETABLES:

Unwillingness to wait breeds an anxious heart, especially when we are facing a storm 

Being still and waiting sets us up to watch for God to reveal his will in our situation.

God is coming, he is never late with the solution, and he promises if we invite him he will come alongside and wait with us, as we wait and watch.