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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Tuesday 20th September 2016

what we all need to know when the storms come – #tellhisstory

Hi. This is the version of me who ran through a literal storm last week.

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In this picture, I am clearly and completely soaked, as if I had jumped into the lake that I was walking around.

But I didn’t jump in the lake. The skies opened, and out poured a storm. When it hit, I was exactly halfway around the lake. If I turned back, I’d have been no better off than if I kept going forward.

For a little while, I crouched down under a pine tree and tried to wait it out, shivering as the rain soaked through my clothes. But it was clear that the storm wouldn’t be lifting any time soon. So I got up, took a deep breath … and I started running. 

I ran as fast as could for as long as I could. I ran and ran, jumping over puddles as rain pummeled the earth. The only way OUT of the storm was to go THROUGH it.

At last, I got back to my car. I was drenched but grateful to have made it back to a warm, dry place. Sitting in my car, I snapped a selfie. And I thought of you. 

Some of you are in a place like that right now.

You’re halfway to somewhere good in your life, and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a storm. You have nowhere to hide, and you can’t turn back. Sometimes, the only way out of a storm … is to go through it.

When I was running, all I could do was focus on the next step and then the next one after that. Whenever I looked too far ahead, I would lose hope. If I looked back, I would bemoan my seemingly slow progress.

I learned, in that moment, that the only step I could really focus on? Was the one I was taking. 

Above us and around us – and sometimes even inside of us – thunderheads are building. Out of nowhere, it seems, storms spill from the torn fabric of an iron-gray sky. Or maybe from behind the closed doors of the doctor’s office, or on the other end of the phone line, or right at your own front door.

I spent many years as a news reporter. I covered some of the most horrific events imaginable, proving true the Bible verse that begins like this: “In this world you will have trouble …”

Will. Not might. Will.

Reading those words, you might be inclined to keep your doors locked, your phone off the hook. You might avoid getting too close to someone who wants to love you because you never know when the storm will come, sweeping away your happiness in a torrent.

Except that there’s more to that Bible verse. That verse doesn’t end in trouble. It ends in power.

Jesus said this: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

You are an overcomer. You may be storm-stained, weary from the battle. But you know what? You are not knocked down. You are not destroyed. You are brave, and our God is an irrepressible force within you.

Whatever storm you are in this week, may you have the courage to take the next step, and then the next step after that.

The way out of the storm is THROUGH. One step at a time.

How Can I Pray For You?

I’ll be here today, in the comments, praying for you. If you have a need, I am here to help you carry it to Jesus.

Yes, I love to talk about happiness, and here’s an important truth about REAL happiness:

Happiness doesn’t deny our pain. It holds it gently. Happiness doesn’t ignore the hurt in your life; it makes a space to sit quietly inside of the ache.

Love,
Jennifer

theache

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Dr. Michelle Bengtson, author of the new book Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression.  Michelle is also writing about storms! If you’re going through a storm, her words are sure to be both a comfort and an encouragement to you today! Find Michelle here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer


  • Robbin Griffith

    My mom, Donna, has recently been diagnosed with colon cancer. She had surgery last month. We leave for MD Anderson in Houston, Texas tonight for a consultation about further treatment. We believe that Jesus still heals and we are praying for complete healing. Please agree in prayer with us for safe travels, for great test results, and for God to give the oncologist divine wisdom to know exactly what to do. Blessings to you my friend!

    • I lift Robbin and her mom, Donna, up to her. We pray for complete healing and safe travels and great test results! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • Kat

    We found out Monday that both of our boys are autistic. They are 11 and 12. I had suspected the older one but the younger one comes as a surprise. We began homeschooling the older one last year because of the anxiety he was having at school. The younger one asked if he could be homeschooled this year too. They are high functioning, most of their issues are social. Learning this, I suspect that my husband is autistic as well. But their all different. I end up in the middle of everybody’s chaos trying to make it ok for all of them. With the boys at the brink of puberty this is becoming quite the storm.

    • Lord, I lift Kat and her son and entire family up to you as they deal with this diagnosis. Surround them with good doctors, community who understands, and others who can stand with them as they take each step!

  • Lyn

    I have been having relationship issues lately. I am a relater with no one to relate with, an extrovert with no one to extrovert with. Family relationships continue to be a challenge, friendships have either completely blown up or have cooled down. Changes at work mean that even colleagues that were once close are not any more. I feel very isolated & unwanted on every front.
    But to be honest, I feel a little stupid for mentioning how I am grappling with deep lonliness while others are grappling with cancer & other diagnoses.

    • Dear Lord, You are the Ultimate Relater and you desire us to be in community with others. I ask that you give Lyn relationships that are steady and reliable, a picture of what you offer to us with the Trinity. Relieve her of any guilt she may have in asking for prayer today. Relationships are important to You! Together is what makes us brave when life makes us scared! In Jesus’ name, amen.

  • Jennifer

    I really enjoyed your story today, we all go through those times don’t we? There is no choice but to keep going. And so we must. Jennifer, you offered to pray for me, and it spoke right to my heart. If you would please join me in my prayers for my daughter who is struggling with infertility. She has reached the point of depression and deep sadness. My heart breaks for her. I know God hears my prayers, but as time goes by it becomes so hard not to feel defeated, angry, forgotten. I know that is wrong, but I am human. The last years have held many trials for our family. It has almost begun to be a matter of just holding on. Family troubles, returning cancer, deep losses and hurts. We are so ready to reach the other side of the lake, the “warm, dry car”! Thank you for your prayers, I will be adding you to mine as well!

    • Father, I lift up to you Jennifer and her daughter who is struggling with infertility. You know the desires of their hearts Lord, and you ask us to share those desires with you. So that is what we do now. I pray in agreement with Jennifer, and also ask that you protect her daughter’s heart during these trying times. Help them take each step through this storm! And when they can’t take a step, Lord, carry them to safety! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • Angela Howard

    Wonderful encouragement today Jennifer. I always appreciate the fact that you highlight an important truth:struggles are real but they are not devoid of hope. Thank you for faithful holding out hope to your readers through story. Can you pray for me as I am speaking for a leadership retreat this weekend? I appreciate you!

    • Lord, I lift Angela up to you as she delivers the Good News this weekend! “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:12). In Jesus’ name, Amen.

      • Angela Howard

        Thank you Jennifer – I agree!

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  • Debi C

    Hello Jennifer… Your post couldn’t be more timely in my own personal life. I would love prayers for encouragement. My husband and I have been in ministry for almost 25 years now, and we have been through two of the hardest years we have ever walked. There are moments when I am grateful because Jesus has only become sweeter to my heart. But then I also have my moments of confusion because so many believers have turned their backs on us. Friends that I have done so much life and ministry with. People that just don’t understand and refuse an explanation. It’s funny that you made that little comment “you are brave”. The song brave by Mariah Peters keeps going through my mind today. This has been a day when I have just wanted to give up. Now with health issues that I’m dealing with, I am trying so hard to keep my eyes fixed on the author and perfector of my faith. Your words have been a good reminder and no doubt from the Holy Spirit. May you be incredibly blessed as the Lord uses your life to encourage others in Him.

    • Dear Lord,

      I lift Debi and her husband up to you. Enfold them with your love and your presence. Give them your strength in these times where they feel on the outside. Also grant them rest and a safe place to land, right in your arms, Lord Jesus. Amen.

  • Mary

    Well you look cute as can be even soaked by the rain! Your words are timely but often I stop by here and am filled with just what I need. Your words about happiness at the end of the post are words for me. This is my truth right now… “Happiness doesn’t deny our pain. It holds it gently. Happiness doesn’t ignore the hurt in your life; it makes a space to sit quietly inside of the ache.” It also is exactly what I wrote about today. Thank you for words that speak and send healing to people like me. Love and hugs!

  • There’s nothing better than a good soaking and a storm to run through–I need to remember that the exhiliration I feel when facing the elements is how Jesus wants me to feel when the lifestorms hit–exhilirated and confident that he will carry me through!

    • I will admit — jumping in the puddles was kinda fun. 🙂

  • “The way out of the storm is THROUGH. One step at a time.” Amen, and Jesus is with us each step of the way. Blessings to you, Jennifer!

  • Thank you, Jennifer – prayers for my heart/mind as I speak in October – a MOPS and two retreats. Always wonder why me, Lord and then He always pulls through. I want to sit with them at His feet, not lord it over as some kind of expert. Lots of driving involved as well.

    • Praying for you, Sue, as you prepare to speak three times in October! “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:12 <—- verse I cling to when speaking

  • I have a total aversion to running, so I stand in awe for that alone. But thank you for the reminder that we are overcomers; that storms will come, but so will safety. xo

    • Tiffany, I used to run a lot, but not so much lately. Believe me: I COULD FEEL IT. OUCH!

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  • Meghan Weyerbacher

    I love this picture because it reminds me of the campfire night we so wanted recently, but God saw fit ti dump Heaven upon our heads! Little ol me was holding an umbrella over the part of the fire that was still going, wilst the men and others were inside LOL. I was determined. I love the part about focusing on the one step you are taking. Right now. Amen!! Storms will pass by, but if we stick together it helps to warm our souls and lift our spirits. I am so glad to know you, friend. Prayers and blessings. Pray for my husband and I, that God will help us grow closer to Him and also in unity in our marriage please. Love you!!!

    • I can totally picture you, Meghan, stubbornly sitting by that fire. I’d be right there with you. With marshmallows and chocolate bars, of course! 🙂

      • Meghan Weyerbacher

        Haha yes!!! We didn’t have any chocolate bars today so the kids and I did a quick fix by doing the microwave version and squirting Hershey’s syrup on it LOL.

  • All I can say is “thank you: for sharing the Scripture from John 16:33. I needed these very words > “..our God is an irrepressible force within you.” Blessings!

    • Those verses have been a lifeline for me so often!

  • Dr. Michelle Bengtson

    Thanks for always being transparent, relatable, and vulnerable! The very same day my book “Hope Prevails” released, my husband was diagnosed with cancer…a new storm for us to weather. So grateful He meets us in the storm, but would appreciate your prayers, Jennifer! We know where our Hope comes from, and it does indeed prevail, but we still must go through the storm. #HopePrevails!

    • Dear Lord,

      I thank you for Michelle, her ministry, her wisdom, her vulnerability. I join her in praying for her husband. Bring complete healing to his body, and peace to their lives as you walk with them through this storm.

    • Meghan Weyerbacher

      Praying for Him, Michelle!

  • Julie Loos

    Jennifer- It’s so true that the only way through a storm is to go through it! Storms used to scare me as a child, but then I went through a big one as an adult. It helped to keep my focus on Jesus. If I lost that, the storm was too big and I begin to fear. We can weather anything if we stay close to Him.
    My SIL conquered breast cancer and now there are suspicious spots on her liver and kidneys. She is the rock in my husband’s family. She has 3 girls ages 9,13,16. Prayers for no more cancer would be great!
    Blessings!
    Julie

    • Dear Lord, I lift up to you Julie and her sister-in-law. I join her family in praying for NO MORE CANCER! Keep her healthy and whole!

    • Meghan Weyerbacher

      Praying for her, Julie!

  • Susan

    Corrie Ten Boom said, “He is greater still.” Bigger than any storm, our Jesus, our Hope Giver. I pray in agreement for every situation in this comment thread. Yes Lord. And, always thank you for the linkup.

    • LOVE Corrie Ten Boom. Just quoted her in my Facebook Live Chat this afternoon!

  • I so agree with you! The way to victory is to keep walking through the hard times, don’t give up, don’t quit, don’t camp or build a house in the valley of trial, just keep walking through!

    • “don’t camp or build a house in the valley of trial…” So true!

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  • Nancy Ruegg

    Your rain-soaked locks remind me of one particular school dismissal in the midst of a South Florida downpour, accompanied by great gusts of wind. In spite of raincoats (The water wicked up underneath and soaked our clothes anyway) and umbrellas (which turned inside out), we teachers were soon water-logged while loading kids into their parents’ cars. At least it was warm! I remember laughing hysterically at one point because the situation was so ridiculous. You are right, Jennifer: the only way through life’s storms is to tough our way through. If possible, though, finding humor along the way (as you did!) can help. Better yet is the assurance: “God is an irrepressible force within [us].” Hallelujah!

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  • What a hope-filled post, Jennifer! And what a kind offer to pray for us! Thank you! Those storms … painful. Truly. I’m so thankful for a God who has overcome the world and therefore will overcome any storm that comes our way! I’d treasure your prayers for continued healing for my son and myself from toxic mold we recently found in our house. We are praising God for showing us what had been causing our declining health over the last year, but between reconstruction, doctors appointments, and lots of medication – we are a bit exhausted! Thanks so much, friend!

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He just wanted to walk again. That’s been his prayer for months now. If all went as planned, he would finally get... fb.me/8UTX8dAhC