God is in The Rain

God is always with us — even in the rain.

Safety in the Rain

There are so many things we do without thinking about them.  Many of these things our parents drummed into our minds that they become second nature and that’s good.  We grab an umbrella or jacket as we go out the door because we can hear mom saying,“You will get sick if you go out in the rain.”

No, just because you get wet does not mean you will get sick, but wearing wet clothing in warm weather may make you uncomfortable until you dry out.  However, if you get soaked, cannot change into dry clothes and are out in the cold, sleet or snow for any length of time, there are consequences and none are pleasant.  Colds, flu, hypothermia and frostbite are all possible outcomes.  Yet, all of these can be prevented when proper precautions are taken either before or after being exposed to the elements.

First off, dress appropriately – raincoat, rain hat, boots or waterproof shoes.  Keeping an umbrella handy will assure that you stay dry even if you don’t have a raincoat or rain gear on.  (I keep an umbrella by each house door and one in each car door.)  However, there had been times when I’d gone to work and left my umbrella in the car because the sun was shining.  At the end of the day, a storm had come up and I had to run to the car in the rain.  I learned to keep an umbrella in my desk as well.  If you do get soaked, get into dry clothing as soon as possible.

Children, though, tend to run out the door without anything so buying a colorful raincoat or slicker with a hood entices kids to wear their rain apparel.  Boys usually think umbrellas are for “sissies”, but as adults both sexes will use them.  For many it depends upon their occupation.  Business people will wear raincoats and carry an umbrella while the outdoor workers will be in a slicker and some form of hat.  Children learn by example.  So, when they see their parents, older siblings and others dressing for the weather, they are more apt to grab their rain gear.

Another important thing about clothing, is to make sure that it is light or bright enough to be seen at night, or on dark rainy days. I do not like to drive in the rain or in the dark, and definitely not in the rain at night. Many times we hear about people getting hit by a car or truck because the driver couldn’t see them.

Last week in Asheville there was a homeless man walking at night, in the rain, wearing dark clothing. He was hit by a vehicle because the driver didn’t see him. Before someone could respond to the accident, a second vehicle hit him. They are not sure whether he was hit a third or a fourth time, but when the last driver went over him, he got lodged under their vehicle and was dragged five or six miles before they stopped because their car was “riding” strangely.

My husband and I walk in the evenings when it is cooler. We wear light colored clothing. We also wear shoes and wristbands with reflective tape and a blinking light on our belt. We live in a subdivision with streetlights as well.

One last precaution. Whenever you are in a swimming pool and it begins to rain, get out of the pool and go indoors. Whenever you hear thunder, whether you see dark clouds or not, find safety. Lightning has been known to strike as much as ten miles away without rain or clouds (it is known as “dry lightning.”)

Is there such a thing as being too cautious? I don’t think so. I want to live a long healthy life and that is my desire for you as well.

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Thunderstorms From the Eyes of an Adult

For the most part, I think most of us think of storms as an inconvenience.  Now that I’m over my fear of storms, It depends on what I have planned as to whether the storm bothers me or not.  I’m not a golfer so a storm is not going to ruin a game with my friends.  I don’t play tennis so it’s not going to ruin my chance to go out and beat anyone.  We don’t have a boat so it’s not going to affect a boat ride or fishing in the lake.  If I’m going for a walk I’ll just make sure the weather looks as if it will hold off long enough for me to walk and get back home.  If I need to go to the grocery store, I’ll either do it before the called for rain arrives or hold off going altogether.

For those who work outside, storms are a big inconvenience.  A little light rain and I’ll still see people planting bushes and trees and finishing their outdoor work.  But, a storm can wreck havoc on a yard when you are planting flowers and it leaves gullies behind and newly planted flowers uprooted and seeds washed into areas you didn’t intend to plant anything.

The same delivery people such as FedEx, UPS, and the US mail who enjoy the nice weather while  doing their job outside, wish they had an indoor job when

Credit: Google Image Search.

Credit: Google Image Search.

it comes to doing it in a storm.  (I don’t think they enjoy the intense cold of winter or blistering heat of summer either.)   I don’t like to drive in pouring rain, let alone a storm.

In the spring and summer gardeners and farmers look forward to rain and even short thunderstorms because not only are the plants getting the water they need, but lightning is putting nitrogen, another needed nutrient, into the ground as well.

A thunderstorm bringing high winds and pouring rain is not liked by anyone, especially if it continues for days.  However, this is a time we can bond a closer relationship to our children.  You can talk about weather, how clouds form and what causes rain.  This is an excellent time to use my book GOD IS IN THE RAIN as a guide to talk to them.  The definitions in the book (and repeated in the glossary/ vocabulary in the back of the book) are simplified so that younger children will understand them.  If your children are younger , read to them and discuss the story.  Children identify with others as well as storybook characters.  They will look to the adults around them for their reactions and seek comfort and strength from them.  (That’s why comic book characters are so popular.)

Ask God to help you overcome your fears and to help you dispel any fears that the children might have.  Praying with children and encouraging them to pray will help each of you to have a sense of peace knowing that God loves everyone and that He is in control.  Knowing God is everywhere, every day, every night – even in the rain, is very calming and reassuring.

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Thunderstorms from the Eyes (Or Ears) of a Child

Why are children so afraid of thunderstorms?  We have to remember that a baby is born with a brain that has nothing stored in it.  Every day that baby learns something new and it is stored in the brain.  That means everything gets stored whether it is good or bad, whether it is funny or sad, happy or scary.  This learning process does not stop at a certain age, but continues as we get older.Thunderstorms-icon

Fear is a learned response.  We tell a small child, “don’t touch the stove, it will burn you.”  But the child doesn’t know the word burn.  “Burn?  What is that? “  So, the child touches the stove and gets burned.  “Be careful, you could fall.”  Most people do not intentionally do something to hurt themselves.  We have learned over the years what we can or cannot do.

When my son Brian was learning to walk, he learned to hold onto things so he wouldn’t fall – the same as all children.  We were visiting my sister-in-law who was preparing dinner for us and had chicken in the oven.  Her oven had a glass door so you could watch the progress of whatever you were baking without opening the oven door.  However, back then the glass was not tempered, so when he toddled by the stove, he reached out and touched the glass door.  He immediately started screaming because he burned his hand severely.  I didn’t know the glass oven door would be hot enough to give him third degree burns or I wouldn’t have let him in the kitchen much less toddle by the stove.

Brian had to have the bandage on his hand changed every day for six weeks.  He knew he hurt and associated doctors with part of that hurt when they changed the bandage.  It took a while to teach him the doctors were trying to help him, not hurt him.  But, he learned on his own that when he fell on that hand, it would hurt.  He learned to walk carrying that hand in the air so when he fell it would not hurt.  That he learned on his own.

Babies have good hearing and any loud noise can start them crying.  In fact, they can hear when they are still in the womb.  When I was about seven months pregnant, we went to a motocross.  The roar of the motorcycles was deafening to me as they whizzed by jumping the hills.  Until then I had heard that unborn babies could hear, but really had no proof.  However, that day proved to me without a doubt that unborn babies can hear because every time the motorcycles came by, Brian began kicking me- he was letting me know that he did not like the noise. PCH13235

When a baby goes to sleep, we say shush, be quiet.  We don’t want to wake the baby.  However, if we go on with our normal activities, the baby will continue to sleep because it is used to the sounds around it.  (My mother made me a light sleeper due to the “be quiet the baby is sleeping thing.”  I went on with normal activities when Brian was born, vacuuming his room, etc. and sounds don’t wake him.)  So, we can understand how sound affects a baby.

When a child is exposed to the effects of a storm, our reaction will influence whether they are afraid or accept the lightning and thunder as part of the storm.  If our reaction is one of fear, it will be instilled in our children as well.  We need to face our own fears and explain what to do, where to go or not go, for safety during a storm.  We should teach children that sometimes rain is inconvenient, (like going on picnic, or hike) but that we need the rain for plants, etc. to grow.  Always tell the truth.  We may not like storms, but the weather conditions are what causes thunder and lightning; and God is with us whether the sun is shining, whether it is dark, or whether it is raining.


At The End Of The Storm Is A Rainbow

There are times when I write something that I have to spend time thinking of the appropriate title for that particular project.  However, years ago there was a lady in our church who wrote a little book called GOD IS IN THE NIGHT to help children over their fear of the dark.  I told her that I was writing a story to help my son and others not to fear storms and that I thought the appropriate name for it would be similar to hers, mine being GOD IS IN THE RAIN.  She agreed that such a story should be written and encouraged me to continue writing.

When I think of God being in the rain, I think of His tremendous power.   I know that God is all-knowing and all-seeing.  God is everywhere, all the time – whether it is night or day.  God created the first rains to wash away the sins of mankind.  Once God created the rains, they were here to stay just as He created the thorns, thistles and weeds for Adam to deal with when he and Eve were cast from the Garden of Eden.  He told Adam he would have to work by the sweat of his brow to tend the ground to grow vegetables and fruit because they were being punished for not obeying God.

This is not to say that every rain or thunderstorm is brought on by our current sin, but because of prior sin that set the wheels in motion for the world we now live in.  God does not want us to suffer and is always a prayer away.  Many times we hear about a storm that has caused devastation, washed houses away, flattened fields of produce and often left people with nothing; sometimes even taking lives.  Why?  Where was God during this?

God is there in the rain and in the storms.  He is holding out His hand for us to take hold.  He can pull us to shore or lift us up.  He is there touching hearts to help those in need.  We hear of people hanging on a branch over a rushing river while others brave a storm to get to them.  God is there giving strength to the person holding on; more times than we know God is holding them in the palm of His hand waiting until a rescuer comes along.

There is a story about a man who believes in God and believes that God answers prayer.  One day there came a torrential rain and it appeared that a dam upstream was going to give way.  A jeep arrived with a person giving a warning to the old man and saying he was there to take the man to safety.  The man replied that he believed in God and knew that God would save him so he stayed there.  The stream turned into a river which was now up to the man’s porch.  A boat arrived to take him to safety and again he refused saying he believed God would save him.  Several hours later he was on his roof when a helicopter arrived to take him to safety.  Again he refused replying he was waiting for God to save him.

The man drowns and goes to heaven.  When he got there he said to God, “I kept waiting on you.  Why didn’t you save me?”  God replied, “I sent a jeep, then a boat and a helicopter.  I came three times and you refused all three times.  What else did you expect?”

Because we can’t see God doesn’t mean that He isn’t there or that He isn’t working in that situation.  At the end of the storm is a rainbow and that is proof that God is still here and still keeping His promises.

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Weather Should Not Be Feared

What is weather and how important is it?  A weatherman will give a scientific definition of barometric pressure, percentage of moisture, temperature and wind speeds.   Older children will begin to learn in science class about weather.  But weather is here long before children are in school and it is important because it affects all of our lives.

So, how do we tell a small child what weather is?  The simplest explanation to a young child is, “What is it like outside?  Is the sun shining?  Is the air hot, cold, or warm?  Is it raining?  Is it windy?”  If the temperature is higher than normal, we say it is hot.  If the temperature is lower than normal, we say it is cool or cold, depending upon the level of coolness.  If the temperature is comfortable, then we say it is simply “nice.“  A little wind is called a breeze while lots of wind is called windy.

The weather forecast, and our reaction to it, quite often determines whether or not we are afraid.   A thunderstorm is loud and sounds scary, but if it is limited to the sound of thunder, then there is nothing to fear because the sound of thunder can’t hurt you.  Likening the sound of thunder to bowling seems to be a common explanation.  My mother said to think of it as angels bowling and others have told me God and his angels are bowling.  When bowling pins are knocked over they make a big sound, but the sound alone cannot hurt anyone.

A teacher told us, when I was quite young, that it was simply warm and cold clouds bumping together that made the sound of thunder.  And, yes, it is the collision of the hot and cold air that makes the sound of thunder.  But, God supplied the sound of thunder as a warning that a storm is on its way and that we need to seek shelter.  We can hear thunder as much as ten miles away from the actual storm and that should give us ample time to find a safe place before the storm arrives.

What about lightning?  Lightning can be dangerous, that’s true.  But if we take the necessary action to be safe, like getting inside or staying inside, then the likelihood of something happening to us is very slim.  I had an uncle, who was hit by lightning and was not hurt physically, but that is rare.  My aunt, whose brother was hit by lightning, became terrified of thunderstorms.  It was her fear that was transmitted to me by her actions when I was four and a half years old.  I was terrified of thunderstorms myself for the next fifteen years and that is the reason I wrote the book.

As I studied about weather, thunderstorms and lightning, I discovered that lightning serves a good purpose.  Plants need nitrogen to thrive and lightning actually puts nitrogen into the ground.

If a person is afraid of the weather, he/she may be afraid to go out of their house because it might rain, there might be a thunderstorm, they might get sunburned if they go out in the sun.  It is true that any of these could happen or might be happening somewhere.  But, you don’t want the negative aspects affect your life to the extent you are afraid to go anywhere.

Weather happens.  It is a necessary part of life.  Yes, there are times that there are serious storms, both rain and snow.  There are floods (too much rain) and blizzards (too much snow).  But, in most cases if we have taken the necessary precautions, we will be alright.  The Bible tells us a story about two men building a house.  One built his house on sand which washed away.  The other built his house on a rock and it was a safe haven.  The moral of that story was faith-based, but Jesus knew to teach people he had to speak in terms people understood.  People understood His analogy of building where it is safe.  We, too, need to learn.  Put our faith in God and practice the lessons He sends our way.

I learned to depend on God and know that He is our Shelter from the storms.  He doesn’t send storms to frighten us.  We need the rain for plants to grow, water for us and for animals to drink.  Thunder is a warning to seek shelter and lightning puts needed nitrogen into the ground.

As long as we follow the rules of safety, there is nothing to fear.

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Learning from the Weather

I imagine all children have a fear of thunder or lightning to some degree and it is dependent upon the reactions of those around us.  We are like blank pages from the time we are born and are constantly absorbing information on a daily basis.  Everything is new to us.  Everything we see, hear or experience.  There is so much that we are taking in that we have to relate to those around us to decide whether this is something interesting, funny or fearful.  The older we get, the more information we absorb and the more we can interact as opposed to just watching.

Credit: Google Image Search.

Credit: Google Image Search.

The first people we are around (usually) are our parents, siblings, and close friends and it is those interactions that are the basis of who we are and what we believe.  I don’t remember much before the age of four and a half, but then psychology teaches that none of us retain much before then.  It is only when we have had a traumatic experience of some kind that something will linger with us for years.

In my case, my mother left my younger brother Frank and me with her older sister Geneva, while she went to the hospital for the birth of our brother Ron.  After she came home, we continued to stay at Aunt Geneva’s for another two weeks until my mother felt well enough to take on all three of us (a far cry from today, where a woman delivers her baby one day and goes home the next).

We were there for the month of June – when most of our thunderstorms begin.  Mom and Aunt Geneva’s brother Harold got hit by lightning (and lived to tell about it), but it left a raging fear of thunder and lightning in Geneva.  So, whenever a storm arose, Aunt Geneva would unplug everything, pull down the dark green shades and put Frank and me to bed.  She pulled the covers over our heads and told us to stay there until the storm was over.  Then…… she got in a tiny closet and remained there until the storm was gone.

The minute the covers were over Frank’s head, he went immediately to sleep and, therefore, never remembered there was a storm, let alone become afraid of it. I, however, never went to sleep.  I could hear the rain beating on the tin roof, the thunder rumbling and getting louder and louder, and the lightning lighting up the outdoors despite the pulled shades.  I guess, in my young mind, I figured if Aunt Geneva who was an adult was afraid of storms, I should be too.  And I was.  The older I got, the more my fear grew.

I was terrified to be away from home when a storm came up, particularly if I were driving.  I would clutch the steering wheel until my knuckles turned white.  The thunder was bad, but add the lightning and I was a basketcase.  I used to pray my way home, “Dear Lord, get me home safely, don’t let me have an accident, please be with me.”

The more I read the Bible and studied, the more I learned that God loved us.  My mother used to tell us to think of thunder as angels in heaven bowling and that helped.  I used this same illustration with my son Brian and I have used it in my book GOD IS IN THE RAIN.

Credit: Google Image Search.

Credit: Google Image Search.

When I was studying Moses, I remember him telling God that he would like to see him face to face.  God told him that would not be possible, but for him to stand in the cleft of a rock and Moses could watch Him as He went past.  God’s glory was so great that when Moses came down off the mountain his face shown with God’s glory.  I was on my way home one evening when a storm came up.  In this case, I saw lightning in the distance and it came to me – that is only a glimpse of God’s glory.  When I began to think about lightning that way, my fear gave way to admiration.

I hope that as children learn about weather, they learn to respect the power of storms and lightning.  They learn what to do and what not to do and how to stay safe.

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