How does tornado season become a healing season?
Tornado season is upon us in 2014, that time of year when we all pay extra attention to weather alerts and make what preparations we can in the event that nature throws its worst at us. For one woman, a morning show host on Family Life Radio– a national Christian radio network – every tornado season has been devastating to go through since tragedy came to her family in the form of a tornado…but now, radio personality Shannyn Caldwell has written a book sharing how tornado season became a healing season for her.
On April 9, 1999 – during the heart of tornado season – a tornado hit Montgomery, Ohio, a small town outside of Cincinnati, killing four people. While the death toll was not massive as tornadoes go, two of the four deaths were Lee and Jacque Cook – Shannyn’s mother and father. In The Healing Season, Shannyn shares her journey from the personal devastation caused by that tornado season to the healing season she has entered now.
Shannyn had her share of difficulties in publishing the book – which started as a series of journal entries and blogs prompted by the encouragement and counsel of Caldwell’s pastor. Secular publishers felt the book was overwhelmingly Christian, while Christian publishers expressed concern that the nationally syndicated morning show host’s name wasn’t a big enough draw to promote The Healing Season. Pressing forward, Shannyn chose to self-publish and promote her book and its message of finding a healing season in the aftermath of tragedy through Healing Season seminars in churches and other organizations that are open to her message of hope.
From the time I read through Caldwell’s story of how tornado season became a healing season, I knew her story needed to be shared with others. With this year’s tornado season upon us, I caught up with Shannyn to discuss The Healing Season:
What prompted you to write The Healing Season? Have you written anything else?
The Healing Season began as a 40 day dare to seek the Lord for healing of my wounded heart. Even after I became a Christian, I was still empty, sad and broken. It was affecting my husband and my family and so I accepted the challenge to journal about this brokenness daily, invite God’s healing into the emptiness through daily meditation, get prayer with a partner twice a week for this healing. I blogged it in a Healing Season blog, knowing that I couldn’t be the only one who needed this divine intervention. God healed me nine days into the 40 day challenge.
What helped you most in coping with your loss? Did you find writing your book to be therapeutic?
Before meeting Jesus, the thing that helped me the most in healing was yoga…just quiet time to practice breathing and opening my heart. After I met the Lord, the most helpful thing was (writing) The Healing Season. I found writing the book more joyful, then cathartic, by the time I wrote The Healing Season, God has already healed me, so the writing of the book was an act of thankfulness, hopefulness and worship. The blog was therapeutic…and effective.
Can you share any stories of how your experience – and your willingness to openly share about it – has impacted others?
God is so good and faithful. He gave me The Healing Season out of His mercy. I give it away. Because it works. He heals the broken hearted. He does restore, and I share how bad my life was because I don’t want anyone to think that they are too far gone for God to redeem. People are emailing me almost every day saying that they see themselves, their mess of a marriage, their broken heart in the pages of the book. People are choosing to organically begin to take on their own 40 day challenges.
Tornado season is upon us again. Does this time of year have any particular lingering effects on you?
Before The Healing Season, I used to have regular panic attacks when tornado season began. In fact, it was one of those attacks that instigated the 40 day Healing Season challenge. I don’t have them (panic attacks) anymore. The one who the Son sets free is free indeed. That said, I still wouldn’t live in a house without a basement. It’s my hope to work with the Red Cross to get The Healing Season into the hands of those affected by tornados and those who work on the disaster relief teams.
How do you react to news of tornados when you hear them now?
When I hear about tornados, I pray. I ask God to comfort those affected by the power of the Holy Spirit. I ask Him to activate His church to be His hands and feet and help in their time of need. I ask Him to give those who have lost everything 3D glasses to see His nearness and His hand of comfort and covering. I also brainstorm ways to get them my book!
What do you most want those who read The Healing Season to take away from the book?
I want people who read The Healing Season to experience hope. I want them to know that healing is possible, for their hearts, the marriages and mostly I want them to experience the Healer…the Lord Jesus. I want them to meet Him, see Him in action and give Him the chance to be their redeemer and friend.
Since you self-published, where can people find The Healing Season?
It’s on Amazon for soft cover or Kindl or they can link through my website www.shannyncaldwell.com and if people go go my website, they can also request info on Healing Season workshops.