Six years ago today, I walked through something both terrifying and comforting that once again proved the power of God’s word in my life. This little excerpt from my brand new contemplative coloring book, Fear Fighting Scriptures tells the story. . .
The Tuscaloosa Tornado
“I’ll never forget the sudden fear that signaled me to turn to Scripture on the afternoon of April 27, 2011.
Shadows danced on the grass beneath the tree branches outside the window of my home office. It was a beautiful, balmy spring afternoon in west Texas. I paused my typing mid-sentence when the phone rang. When I answered, it was my Mama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Breathlessly, she said, “I’m at your sister’s house. We’re watching TV and can see a tornado headed this way. We’re going to shelter in the pantry. Pray for us!” Click.
Over the next hours, I sat glued to my computer screen, watching news coverage of the devastating tornadoes that ripped their way across my beloved hometown and state.
A weather camera perched on top of a building in downtown Tuscaloosa recorded the monstrous storm plowing it’s way across the end of town where my family was hunkered down in the pantry. My heart raced as I prayed for them.
What the LORD did for me in that time of intense stress was flood my heart and mind with truth from His Word.
Six months earlier, I’d spoken at a women’t ministry dinner where my text was Psalm 121. It begins like this:
I will lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I hadn’t thought of that verse for months, but when the anxiety hit, it was immediately brought to the forefront of my mind and spilled out of my mouth. I repeated it over and over, aloud, for hours, calling out for help to the One who created heaven and earth- the One in charge of the weather!
Reciting that Scripture calmed my spirit and gave me strength in the midst of a physical and emotional storm.”
Scripture Can Calm Our Fears
When we ingest the words of the Bible, letting it “dwell in us richly” (Colossians 3:16), those words can rise up in us like a ferocious animal ready to pounce on our fears and anxieties!
The nursing home my dad was in was hit by the tornado that day. He survived, but was never the same after that and died about six weeks later, counted as a victim of the Tuscaloosa tornado. He was a wonderful daddy who had spent his career as a newspaper photographer in Tuscaloosa county.
In previous days, he would have been out shooting pictures to report the story. On 04.27.11, he became a part of the story.
As dark as those days and weeks were for me, God continued to use His word to minister peace and comfort deep down in my soul. Those experiences were a part of the prompting I had in the intervening years to create contemplative coloring books to encourage people to meditate on Scripture.
A message from a reader of my first contemplative coloring book, Soul Soothing Scriptures, said:
“I struggle with anxiety. Your coloring book has helped calm my anxious mind with Scripture as I color. Thank you!”
Her words- plus my own experiences in watching Scripture calm my fears- prompted me to create a second book: Fear Fighting Scriptures. When I started working on this coloring book project last year, I had no idea it would be published on April 27th, a date that holds so much meaning for me.
My hope is that people who use this around the world will experience a little oasis of hope and help as they meditate on Scripture while coloring in these books.
If you’d like to get a copy for yourself or as a gift for a friend (or just want to share the news) here’s the scoop:
When we’re feeling fearful Scripture is a beautiful, powerful offensive weapon against our fears and anxieties. For me, April 27th will always be a reminder of this fact. Blessings. . .