Surviving Hurricane Florence
It's just after lunchtime as I write this blog. I am safe and dry in Chattanooga, TN, awaiting news from the authorities that they are ready for my family and I to return home to Wilmington.
I am going to dub Chattanooga, the San Francisco of the South. It has winding, curving streets. It has lots of hills and a vibrant, youthful downtown scene. The views on either side of the river that separates the town are panoramic. Maybe not to the scale of San Francisco, but since it is in the south, there's a different kind of cool factor that you just have to appreciate if the lower Mason-Dixon area speaks to your soul.
Displaced from Wilmington
My family and I left Wilmington at 3:00 AM on the 12th of September hoping to beat the Hurricane Florence traffic out of town. We've been on the road ever since staying in Columbia, Chattanooga, and Knoxville. We were lucky to have relatives to stay with almost every night. Many others were not so fortunate. Some are still in hotels waiting for the last of the flood waters to crest and then retreat.
The stress of all this impromptu travel takes its toll. You cling to the news and every glimmer to return home. You answer every relative, friend, and client with your best guess when they ask you when you are returning home.
But that's all part of living on the coast. I knew that when I moved to the coast five years ago. So, all in all we are just blessed to be safe and with those that love us back in Tennessee.
But for those returning as well as those who never left, I think the greatest strain may be yet to come.
The physical stress of repairing, and rebuilding will be intense. The emotional toll that this will take on families will be an even bigger obstacle. I believe there will be many arduous emotional hills to climb for the next several months or longer. My prayers to all.
The financial strain will be tough as well. And, tricky. Filing insurance claims, coming up with co-pays, and paying for repairs out-of-pocket will all weigh heavy not only on folks from Wilmington but all those affected beyond my new hometown.
Today's blog is rare, in that my thoughts are more spiritual than anything else. I haven't had any financial hurricane training to cope with all of these unplanned events, but I can offer some light in regards as to how I believe God can help.
When in doubt, pray. You hear it on the news, see it on church road signs, and even hear it from people who probably rarely, if ever, really pray. “We're praying for you.” I don't pretend to know who is really praying or just giving lip service. But I do believe that real prayer, true and focused prayer, is heard by God no questions asked.
So, pray. Find yourself an altar (the beach, your bedroom, wherever), and just pray. God says to draw close to Him, and that he will draw close to you. If you believe this, maybe prayer is the best place to start.
One of my favorite thought leaders is David Jeremiah (DJ). He's a pastor and author out in California. In one of his books I read, he mentioned the turmoil that David went through. He spoke of David's depression, his agony, his failures, and his roller-coaster life. Then DJ posed the question. “How do you think David got through it?”
Any guesses? I had no idea how David got through all of this stress. DJs take was simply this:
He dealt. He took one hour at a time. Then one day at a time.
And like a carpenter's coping saw that is perfect for all those tiny intricate areas of carpentry, coping got David from point A to point B quite well.
Surviving Hurricane Florence: Give God Time
Another thought leader that I have studied during the past few years is Ron Blue. Ron is an industry-leading authority on finance as well as biblically-based financial decision-making.
During one of his courses, he said that often when we are at a financial crossroads, we react too quickly.
We often force our financial decisions to be made before God is ready. Before God decides He is going to do something really miraculous—stuff that only He can do.
So, before you spend any amount of money repairing your property, stop and consider God's timing. Can it wait? Are you jumping the gun? Or, is God telling you to move forward at light speed?
Remember, just like Abraham and Sarah had to learn to wait—sometimes we do too.
I believe there is some wisdom in Ron's thoughts on waiting. Sometimes we need to pray, cope, and wait. As hard and as insanely nerve-racking as it can be, let us all not move before, or after God's time.
I wish I had more to offer those who will be struggling with many areas over the next few months. But, for now, these three thoughts (pray, cope, and wait) will be guiding me personally as my family and I get back to the new norms. Maybe they can help you as well.
Today, God only asks me to cope with-- today. I'll finish my coffee, do some more editing, and then take my nine-year-old son to the Tennessee Aquarium. Even during times of crisis, God provides respite and care. My prayers to you as you rebuild after Hurricane Florence.
About the Author
Jeff Headrick is a financial planner with Inspire Financial Planning. When Jeff was still in his teens his father died unexpectedly. While his father was a hard worker and a good provider, he did not have the best financial plan in place when he died. This personal experience, coupled with being inspired by Dave Ramsey, Warren Buffett, and the laws of compound interest, prompted Jeff to enter the financial services industry in 1999. He has been helping people ever since.
Jeff lives in Wilmington, NC with his wife and two children. He spends most of his spare time just across the Intracoastal Waterway in Wrightsville Beach, enjoying the beauty of the NC Coast.
Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. The information presented does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice and should be used for informational purposes only. Since individual circumstances vary, you should consult your legal, tax, or financial advisors for specific information.