The Anger Storm


So, why was I so angry?


Over the course of 6 months unusual events happened which shook me to my core. If you know me, I have a high tolerance level for stress. Things happen daily which would anger or stress most people but I take them in stride. But when several events rock you to your core, it’s a deeper level of anger. And when you are at a deep level of anger, life events that only brought on an appropriate level of anger, become huge.


The years leading up to 2018 were pretty life changing. After two years of talking with Mr. Small Town about moving to South Florida and me telling God and Mr. Small Town, emphatically “NO!”, it was clear God wanted us in South Florida in 2015. When I finally said yes the move, it was fast, quick, and immediate.


Now, just because God asks and you obey does NOT mean everything will be all smooth and wonderful. God knew what He was doing when our Illinois home quickly sold & we found and purchased our home in South Florida. He knows each one of us in the Small Town Family very, very well. And, He knew how each one of us would react – even though we didn’t know. Change is NOT something the Small Town Family does well. We lived in the same house for 22 years. It was the house where we started our marriage and the only house our son ever knew. And, if we had rented it or it was still on the market, we would have moved back in a heartbeat during the first year! But, we knew South Florida was where God wanted us to be for this next chapter of life and in the difficult moments, we clung to that truth. Did I mention how much God knows each member of the Small Town Family?


According to one list selling or buying a house or moving is a top stressor in life.* Add in moving across the country to an eye opening culture change, reacting to the move and new surroundings, parenting a pre-pubescent son full of ever changing hormones can add a lot of stress. Oh, and then there’s writing a vulnerable memoir as a first time author and publishing it. But, we were managing together as a family. It was not pretty and according to some outsiders, we weren’t doing it well. Over time those outside relationships became broken and strained. Our little family was in the middle of God writing this chapter and we really didn’t know how it would turn out. We sought help. We sought God. And we pulled in together as a family.


The book, Faithful: An Unexpected Journey to Motherhood was finally published and released in May 2017. I had no idea what a book launch entailed. I was just excited and shocked about seeing my words in print! About one year after I released the book, I watched other authors launch books and wondered why my publisher never suggested anything strategically to me about launching my book. The ‘would have, could have, should have’ enveloped me and held a tight grip on me. Neither did I expect the old shame that came from telling my story. I heard, “Oh, your book is about infertility. That’s not for me but I’ll give it to my infertile friend because she needs it. She’s in such a state of despair. I’m sure it will help her.” Or, “It’s all about infertility and adoption. That’s the market and brand for you.” Before I knew it, I was right back to being “the fragile, heartbroken, desperate infertile girl where people whispered about and tiptoed around”. I’m sure people did not realize how those words would affect me. I sure didn’t. I was a completely different person at the time of the writing and publishing the book. Infertility was part of my story, not the whole story. It was the beginning of the story, not the end. The real story was in the middle of how faithful I was to the process God was writing for my story and how faithful God was to me. But, that did not fit in the marketing of the book. Because of these words and my reactions to them, I wanted to run and hide under the covers of my bed. I had just poured out my story in a vulnerable point of view and I had not anticipated how I would reaction to the public, my publisher, or myself. (A huge thank you to my readers who understood the heart of my story and supported me and my book!!!)


Moving into 2018, our son made it through middle school and was now in a high school of 3,300 kids from all different backgrounds, cultures, languages, and religions. To put it into perspective, the high school is bigger than either town where Mr. Small Town or I had grown up. The campus was not just one big building but a compound of buildings where kids walk back and forth between buildings for classes. There are no lockers to put books or lunch in. Everything you need is in your backpack. Textbooks are left in the classroom and accessible online. It feels more like a small college campus. Our son was having difficulties but he was managing it as a 14 year old.


For me, I had small relationship conflict in January. Instead of letting the other individual manipulate me into thinking the conflict was my entire fault, I stood up for myself and put boundaries in place. They didn’t like my response and the relationship ended.


February 14 - The shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. Initially we were all in shock, until the facts of what happened that day was published. The shooting could have been prevented, thwarted, and taken down had the authorities done their jobs properly.


Seventeen victims would have lived and they would be living their lives with their family. Seventeen other victims who have physical and life altering injuries would be living life to its fullest. The students who witnessed their classmates and teachers brutally shot and killed while seated or standing next to them would not have to carry the traumatizing event playing over and over in their minds. The majority of the 14 year old students and high school students on campus that day who thought they were safe at school now do not feel safe in the majority of places. They assumed they were safe when they went to school that day but they don’t make that assumption any more.

Seventeen victims would have lived and they would be living their lives with their family. Seventeen other victims who have physical and life altering injuries would be living life to its fullest. The students who witnessed their classmates and teachers brutally shot and killed while seated or standing next to them would not have to carry the traumatizing event playing over and over in their minds. The majority of the 14 year old students and high school students on campus that day who thought they were safe at school now do not feel safe in the majority of places. They assumed they were safe when they went to school that day but they don’t make that assumption any more.

Finding out the shooter had been targeted as a threat, reported to the FBI months before, seen on campus by security personnel and nothing done – angered everyone in my community. I’m not talking light anger. This was full on ANGER with capital letters. Knowing that the only law enforcement on campus that day, who had a gun, did NOT run towards the gun fire or the building to intercept the shooter but stood OUTSIDE the building setting up a perimeter while unarmed teachers ran into the building to protect and help students and intercept the shooter – ANGER! Or hearing that the sheriff changed the wording from ‘must’ run into the building to ‘shall’ run into the building during an active shooting – ANGER! Finding out that the video feed from inside the building was on a 20 minute delay which meant the shooting was over and the shooter was off campus by the time they saw the video, the 911 emergency system that students inside the building called was inadequate in alerting law enforcement, and cell phone coverage and communications between commanding officers and emergency personnel did not work – ANGER!!! Much of the parents’ anger was directed to the sheriff’s department and its deputies. Parkland does not have its own police department. Parkland pays the Broward Sheriff’s department to provide protection for our community and schools. And they failed.

Every time I saw a sheriff deputy or a vehicle of the Broward County sheriff’s department, I was filled with rage. I had no respect for them. They had become the bumbling ‘Barney Fife’ of sheriffs to me.


In May I traveled to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to join my publisher for a book promo event at the “Women of Joy” conferences. It was extremely difficult to leave Parkland. The rest of the world had moved on and the shooting was now part of a bigger movement. As parents, we still had to send our kids back to school. Each time I passed the building all I could hear were the screams of the victims, the chaos of fire alarms going off and students scrambling to get inside of a classroom as teachers and students tried to assist the wounded and dying. My heart sank as I heard SWAT officers telling 14 year olds not to look down and step over bloodied torn apart victims. I was broken and wrung out emotionally and physically as I read and heard stories of the shooting. I didn’t want to leave my family. But God surrounded me with women and strangers getting me ready for the trip, greeting me with warmth and love, and giving me the energy to get through the weekend. All the expectations I had for the weekend flew out the window because God knew what I needed and He met those needs.


A few months later in July, the ‘Me Too’ movement gained momentum. I worked in the business world for years so I was familiar with what happens in offices. Early in my work experience, other secretaries would warn me about certain bosses. But when I found out about a ‘Me Too’ cover up within many Christian writer conferences, I got angry. Male agents and speakers had been targeting female writers at conferences to meet one on one with them to give mentoring opportunities and agent contacts while preying on them. Several female writers had alerted conference organizers to their experiences but the conference organizers, many who were females themselves, overlooked the actions and invited the male speakers back year after year because they brought in big attendance numbers. The accusations and denials were so damaging. My head was spinning when I found out details. As I read and watched the actions and reactions of some of the best writers who had influenced me to write, my disillusionment of the writing and publishing world grew and everything in my soul I knew about writing vanished.

In May I traveled to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to join my publisher for a book promo event at the “Women of Joy” conferences. It was extremely difficult to leave Parkland. The rest of the world had moved on and the shooting was now part of a bigger movement. As parents, we still had to send our kids back to school. Each time I passed the building all I could hear were the screams of the victims, the chaos of fire alarms going off and students scrambling to get inside of a classroom as teachers and students tried to assist the wounded and dying. My heart sank as I heard stories that SWAT officers told 14 year olds not to look down and step over shattered and bloodied victims. I was broken and wrung out emotionally and physically as I read and heard stories of the shooting. I didn’t want to leave my family. But God surrounded me with women and strangers to help me get ready for the trip. He prepared strangers to greet me with warmth and love and giving me the energy to get through the weekend. All the expectations I had for the weekend flew out the window because God knew what I needed and He met those needs.

A few months later in July, the ‘Me Too’ movement gained momentum. I worked in the business world for years so I was familiar with what happens in offices. Early in my work experience, other secretaries would warn me about certain bosses. But when I found out about a ‘Me Too’ cover up within many Christian writer conferences, I got angry. Male agents and speakers had been targeting female writers at conferences to meet one on one with them to give mentoring opportunities and agent contacts while sexually preying on them. Several female writers had alerted conference organizers to their experiences but the conference organizers, many who were females themselves, overlooked the actions and invited those same male speakers back year after year because they brought in big attendance numbers. The accusations and denials were so damaging. My head was spinning when I found out details. As I read and watched the actions and reactions of some of the best Christian writers and conferences who had influenced me to write, my disillusionment of the writing and publishing world grew and everything I knew about writing vanished from my soul.

The final straw in my anger basket came as another result of the “MeToo” movement. Over the course of 5-6 months, the lead pastor of our former church was publicly called out for actions he did almost 30 years ago. The accusations were brought about by a group of people who believed he had not changed, had not publicly took accountability, and was carrying out the same pattern of behavior. It was a complete mess in every way possible! Dave and I knew the individual was not perfect. He and his wife had detailed how they probably should not have gotten married because they were not a great fit. In fact, they felt so strongly about helping people pick a marriage partner who was suited for them, they wrote a book about it and dedicated a whole marriage ministry to help. They were open about how difficult things were in their marriage, starting the church, going through therapy, and admitting their shortcomings as human beings. We knew the pastor was not an easy individual but a hard driving perfectionist who ran a tight ship and demanded perfection. But this revelation shook us to our core. Because this individual’s leadership of the church, the Small Town Family was not only formed but changed. We served and grew spiritually from this individual’s teaching of the Bible. Saying all of this was a mess would be an understatement.


Having all of this on my emotion plate, not to mention other events like the 2016 Presidential elections and strong views on both sides, immigration, etc., multiplied. All of that anger was churning and bubbling underneath getting ready to explode. And when it did, it was powerful.


Having all of this on my emotion plate, not to mention other events like the 2016 Presidential elections and strong views on both sides, immigration, etc., multiplied. My anger was churning and bubbling underneath getting ready to explode. And when it did, there was no stopping it.

Come back next week and I’ll tell you all about the explosion. You won’t want to miss the story of the explosion.

Friends, if you find yourself in the middle of an anger storm, check to see what life changes or experiences you’ve had in the last five years. It might give you some insight about why you are angry. For some of you reading this, change is easy for you and you haven’t found your life changing much in the last five years. For others reading this, your life has changed so much that you think my life is a piece of cake compared to yours! Either way, please know I only write because I’m a process oriented, observational writer. And God has asked me to share with you what He is teaching me.


Blessings to you my friends,



The Small Town Girl



*Check out this link to see top stressful life events stress scale.

https://paindoctor.com/top-10-stressful-life-events-holmes-rahe-stress-scale/









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