Can I Weather the Storm With Hope? With Grace Fox [Episode 224]

Weather Storm Hope Grace Fox

It’s not a matter of if the storms of life will come, but when. Yet in our isolated culture, lots of people are cut off from genuine help when the storm hits. Their helplessness leads to hopelessness, and without hope, they lose their sense of purpose.

But here’s the good news: Christ offers hope! And today’s guest, Grace Fox, shares how to weather life’s storms with hope. Oh, and as a woman who lives on a sailboat, Grace knows a thing or two about weathering life’s storms!

You’ll learn that although you can’t prevent the storm, you can prepare for it, and you can let faith be your guide instead of fear.

Meet Grace

Grace Fox is an author, international speaker, and podcaster. Her passion is to connect the dots between faith and real life by helping others learn to love, understand, and apply God’s Word. She has written twelve books and is a member of the First 5 writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She and her husband, Gene, live on a sailboat in British Columbia.

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Weather the Storm With Hope? With Grace Fox [Episode 224]

Grace Fox: But we have to be able to give him that pain, right? If we hold it in a clenched hand and get angry about it or bitter about it, it's going to be hard for him to repurpose that pain and use it for something good. But when we open our hand and trust him with that and let him have it, then he's able to repurpose it and use it for good.

Jennifer Rothschild: In our isolated culture, lots of people cut off from genuine help, and that's where they lose hope. And without hope, we can lose our sense of purpose, which can lead to depression. Pretty bleak, right? Well, today's guest, Grace Fox, she believes that our connected world, with 24-hour media, actually perpetuates the very problems it tries to report on. They give no solutions, just create more chaos. No help, just hopelessness. But Christ offers hope. And this is the season of hope, my friend. So we're talking about weathering life storms with hope, and we're talking about it with a genuine sailor. Yep, Grace Fox lives on a sailboat, and her perspective on living with hope will really bless you. So all aboard. K.C., here we come.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you and I up to live the "I Can" life, because it's true, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hello, our dear people. We're so glad you're here. That was K.C. Wright, my seeing eye guy. It's two friends, one topic, zero stress. And so for the next 30 minutes or so, we just want you to join us because we're going to have a great conversation. And by the way, if we're new friends, I am Jennifer. My goal is to help you be and do all that God has created you and called you to be through his power in you through this 4:13 life.

And I love what you're about to hear from Grace, because I was blown away. She, like, lives on a sailboat. Like, lives there.

K.C. Wright: What?

Jennifer Rothschild: Like, that's where she lives.

K.C. Wright: Cue the seagulls. (Seagull sounds) Cue the ocean waves. (Wave sounds)

Jennifer Rothschild: Here's the thing. I love boats, but I'm only on them, like, every now and then in the summer. But I'll tell you my favorite boat story, K.C. Okay, so Phil and I -- he had already graduated from college. It was my senior year. And I just knew I was going to get engaged, right? I just knew it was coming. Like, I was taking guitar lessons, and my teacher, Mr. Scantar, he was like, "You really need to cut your nails." They were too long. I said, "I can't. I know. I'm going to get an engagement ring and I want to have long nails." Okay. Like, that's how much I knew it was coming.

Valentine's Day comes around, set up this nice dinner. I'm waiting. He hands me this box with candy in it. I was like, dang, when is this coming? Okay, so finally it's March, and he says, "Let's go" -- we were in West Palm Beach, Florida, and there was a dinner cruise. He said, "I'm going to take you on a dinner cruise." Well, at this point I had no idea an engagement ring was coming. And so we're on the dinner cruise, it was lovely sailing up and down the intercoastal waterway in South Florida.

K.C. Wright: Whoa.

Jennifer Rothschild: Dinner is finished, we're having dessert, and we're out on the deck.

K.C. Wright: Oh, how romantical.

Jennifer Rothschild: He gets down -- romantic and nautical. He gets down on his knees and he proposes. And, of course, I said yes. And he slips the ring on my finger, and literally the band started playing (singing) "Start spreading the news."

K.C. Wright: Ooh.

Jennifer Rothschild: It was perfect. Except for the ring didn't fit. It was too big. He felt so bad. But it was still my favorite sailing memory.

K.C. Wright: Yeah, we can get the ring sized.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know, we can get the ring sized. So, yeah, that was my little proposal story there.

K.C. Wright: Oh, how romantical.

Well, okay. So a few months ago, my buddy Brian, he challenged all of us single men to bring the engagement to a next level. Next level.

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh. Okay, what'd he do?

K.C. Wright: Now, Phil paved the way. That is one amazing engagement story.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: But I got to tell you what my boy Brian did just a couple months ago. He rented out the St. Louis Arch.

Jennifer Rothschild: The whole arch?

K.C. Wright: Which I didn't even know you could rent out the arch. And I guess you can, but it's not really a rental. What you have to do is you have to purchase the amount of tickets they sell in one hour.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, so you can have it private?

K.C. Wright: So you can have it privately. So he did that. Okay?

So he takes his beautiful, beautiful, answered prayer fian-- well, not -- soon to be fiance --

Jennifer Rothschild: Girlfriend, yeah.

K.C. Wright: -- girlfriend to the top of the arch, and that's when a plane flies by. Yes, a plane --

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my gosh.

K.C. Wright: -- with a banner that says, "Chelsea, I love you. Will you marry me?"

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my gosh.

K.C. Wright: Uh-huh. Oh, yeah. He pops the question. About ten minutes later, a plane flies by again that says, "She said yes."

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that gives me chills.

K.C. Wright: And then her family and friends and all of us, we were waiting at the bottom of the arch --

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, K.C.

K.C. Wright: -- to surprise her when they came down, and we all went out to a fancy foo-foo place in St. Louis to celebrate this engagement.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that is probably the best engagement story I've ever heard.

K.C. Wright: I mean --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: -- I don't even -- I don't know how this didn't make national news.

Jennifer Rothschild: It should have. It should have.

K.C. Wright: I know. I need to work the PR on this a little bit more.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, so, K.C. -- yeah, the pressure's on, though. For the single men out there, the pressure is on.

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right. Now, here's the thing, though. We have no way to transition into just getting into this conversation, so we're just not even going to bother. We're just going to hit this conversation because there's no way to follow that story.

K.C. Wright: No.

Jennifer Rothschild: There's just no way to follow it. So let's introduce Grace Fox.

K.C. Wright: Grace Fox is an author, international speaker, and podcaster herself. Her passion is simply to connect the dots between faith and real life by helping others learn to love, understand, and apply God's Word. She has written twelve books and is a member of First 5 writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She and her husband Gene live on a sailboat -- true story -- in British Columbia.

Now, pull up a chair. There's room at the table just for you. Here's Jennifer and Grace.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Grace. You and I have known each other for years, and I have loved observing what I call just your longevity, your faithfulness in ministry. And I'm very thankful -- and I want our listeners to know that right up front, that that's an honor for me to speak to someone who has had what I call a long obedience in the same direction.

But there is something else I must start with, my friend -- okay? -- because when I read this, I couldn't believe it. Is it true that you and your husband live on a sailboat? You have got to start with that and tell us about that. Is that true?

Grace Fox: It is true. It is. And, Jennifer, you need to know, I grew up on the prairies of Southern Alberta, so I am a land lover girl. But I married a guy from Washington State who drove a boat for the first time when he was six years old. So we came from very opposite backgrounds. But over the years when our paths crossed -- you know, Gene and I were married. We met at a summer camp where he had towed his handmade sailboat up to use there. And then later we worked at that camp for eleven years, and we had a 27-foot sailboat by that time. So he developed a whole program of sailing, which is still in existence today. But now we live on a 48-foot sailboat full time. And some people say, "You're living the dream," but it's not exactly a dream for a land lover girl. But I know that God put us here, and I'm good with that, so it's all good.

Jennifer Rothschild: And where is your sailboat docked? Where do you sail? Because you're from Canada; is that correct?

Grace Fox: I am from Canada. And so we currently are docked at a marina very close to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. And so even during the wintertime, summer, winter, the whole season, all seasons, you are in a sailboat?

Grace Fox: We are in a sailboat year-round. And it's been since 2018.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow, that's impressive.

Grace Fox: So it's been a few years. But, Jennifer, the thing is when -- and God clearly put us on here. He clearly did. And I know why. I discovered why after we got here. At first it was just, "You want us to do what? Purge everything and move onto a boat? Well, okay." So we said yes and did that. And after we got into this neighborhood, we discovered a whole people group who just really need to know that Jesus loves them. And so that's why we're here.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love it.

Grace Fox: And there is such joy in obedience. Even when you don't understand why at first, there's just joy.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Well, you all did step out. Not quite walking on water, but very close, if you ask me.

Well, and as a sailor, or as a prairie girl turned sailor, you know now firsthand the impact of storms. I mean, they're inevitable. They come. Because in your book you say that it's not a matter of if, but when storms will come. So how can we be prepared for life's storms, when they happen?

Grace Fox: Right. Yeah. Well, I believe that we just need to be faithfully, in the moment now, working on that relationship with Jesus. And so it's about developing those disciplines. And "discipline" sounds like a harsh word, but it's not. It's actually the pathway to peace and freedom. And so developing the habit of spending time with Jesus in his Word. Not because it's a checkoff, you know, good Christian girls read the Bible, tick. It's not like that. It's because we want to get to know God's heart better and we want to hear from his voice. And he speaks through the Word. So reading the Word and journaling what we're learning and practicing his presence in the moment, whatever we're doing, even in the mundane, just being aware of his presence, and talking with him as to a friend, all of that, that's how we prepare for the storms.

Jennifer Rothschild: Because we can't prevent them. But if we prepare before they occur, then we're already, I guess, anchored, grounded by that relationship. But even so, storms are painful. And I know in your book you talk about how God repurposes our pain. I believe that's the word you use. So how does God repurpose our pain?

Grace Fox: God doesn't waste anything. And I remember sitting in Seattle Children's Hospital, I was sitting at the bedside of our oldest daughter, who had been through a significant brain surgery. She was born with hydrocephalus when we lived in Nepal way back in the eighties. And that's a whole story in itself. But in her first couple of years of life, she went through about a dozen surgeries. And she had a heart defect as well, she had meningitis. It was a really rough go. But sitting in that room beside my one-year-old daughter's bedside, there was another mom in the room who was sitting beside her son who was about the same age. And I was able to, from the pain of my own heart of everything we'd gone through already in those months proceeding with our daughter, just to be able to comfort that other mother. She was there without any support because she'd flown down from Alaska with her child to be in that hospital for a significant surgery. And so I was able to be with her in that room, two moms sitting side by side with our babies, and just comfort her and be her friend and listen to her, and even pray with her. And that's just one example of how God repurposes our pain.

But we have to be able to give him that pain, right? If we hold it in a clenched hand and get angry about it or bitter about it, it's going to be hard for him to repurpose that pain and use it for something good. But when we open our hand and trust him with that and let him have it, then he's able to repurpose it and use it for good.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Because like you said, he doesn't waste anything. But I think of times in my life, and even some people that I've known, there's times that we will linger in that place of pain. And I'm curious why we do this. In your opinion, why do you think we do this? Because you just explained, you know, for God to repurpose it, you've got to be willing to surrender it. But why is it that sometimes we just hold on to it and we linger in that place?

Grace Fox: I think, Jennifer, our human bent always goes toward the negative or to the worst-case scenario. And so sometimes when we're in that hard place, we linger there because our thoughts are stuck in the negative or the what-if or the fear. And unless we can get ahold of those thoughts and bring them into captivity and turn them around, we will continue to linger in that hard place.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's so true. Because we listen to everything we say to ourselves.

Grace Fox: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: So if we're constantly convincing ourselves that this is hopeless, this is futile, this will never change, or God doesn't like me, or whatever it is, the messaging, you're right, we convince ourselves. We live in the echo chamber and the pain doesn't serve us, it, like, becomes our slave master.

Grace Fox: Exactly.

Jennifer Rothschild: And that's not God's intention for anything he allows in our life.

Grace Fox: Jennifer, let me tell you a little story from the sailing part of me. It goes along with what we're talking about. One time -- one of our first times out on the water -- see, we have to go about 90 minutes down the river to get to the mouth of the river where we can get out to the water at the Straits of Georgia between the coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and that's where we can sail. And so that mouth of the river has a very treacherous area, it's called Sand Head. And you have to time it just right or -- it's shallow there and you can get into big trouble if the waves are big, because tide and wind are quieting and so on and so forth.

And so we didn't know all that when we went out the first time, and so we -- our hatch was open at the front, the bow of the boat, and the hatch was right over a bed. So we had another couple with us on board, and I had opened up that hatch just to get some fresh air flowing. But as the boat started rocking front to back -- almost like a bucking bronco. Think of that.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Grace Fox: We got into that for about 45 minutes. I had gone up there when we first started getting into that because I thought, oh, no, you know, the hatch is open, so I went and tried to pull it shut. And I thought I had it shut all the way, but I didn't. And after 45 minutes, water had come through that little crack that I inadvertently left open, and the bedding was soaked, just soaked. We had to go find a little cove to pull into, and then it was sunny and warm. But we had to pull all the bedding out and hang it over every railing on the boat, every wire, every railing, just to dry it out so these people could sleep that night.

You know what I compare that to in our spiritual lives is sometimes we leave the door or the hatch open to the enemy. And when we get into those storms, if we've left that hatch open -- and let's just say that's our mind, it's our thoughts -- he will come in. He will come in. And it's what you were saying earlier, we entertain those thoughts of this is never going to get any better, it's never going to change, I can't survive this ride, you know, and on and on, he's going to capitalize on that. And so we have to be really careful to shut the hatch and don't give that enemy any ground, because he's going to take whatever ground he can get to try to take us out when we're in the middle of those storms.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. That is such a good word, Grace. And he does. He's very effective. And why we fall for it, I don't know. So I'm grateful for another reminder.

And, you know, as you described that tumultuous water and how, you know, you're being tossed and turned, it reminds me just of storms. So let's talk about something just as real as a real storm in our life, or pain in our life, and it's what goes along with those things: fear. Because fear is real when it comes to storms in our life or when the waters get choppy. So I know in your book you deal with this, and so I'd love for you to give us some real, you know, just practical advice here. What is a practical way that faith can be our guide instead of fear being our guide when life gets rough?

Grace Fox: Yeah. So when I've been out on the boat -- and again, land lover girl -- I don't understand all the engineering parts of a boat either. But my husband trained as an engineer, like, he really gets that. And so when we're out in rough water -- and I don't want to give any impression that my husband is a risk taker on a boat, because he's not. It's our home and he knows it. It kind of scares me out there on those rough waters, so he's careful and cautious. But when the water is rough, my tendency is to like, "Aah," and I hang on and scream for dear life. But then I remember who is at the helm. And I look at my husband's face and he's calm. So if he's calm and not afraid, why should I be?

And it's like Jesus in the boat with his disciples when he's saying, "Why are you afraid?" Right? And when we think about Jesus and who he is, we think about the scars in his hands. I just think of how the scars in his hands show the depth of his love for us. And when we're afraid, like, just don't focus on the waves and the storm around us, but focus on Jesus and on his face, the beauty of his face, and on the scars in his hands that prove his love for us. And if we can remember that and carry that visual with us, that helps to calm our fears. Because he will never do anything intentionally to hurt us. It doesn't mean we'll never go through pain. We do. Scripture says that suffering is going to happen. Don't be surprised at it because of the world we live in. But he is there and he loves us and he holds us in those scarred hands.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's beautiful. And it does, it's picturesque of the Sea of Galilee. And the disciples were kind of like you, Grace, like holding on for dear life, "We're going to die in this storm." And I think it's interesting that that is what they said to Jesus, you know, "Don't you care that we are going to die?" and -- they feared the worst, in other words. And I don't think that's uncommon, right? At least it's not for me. I can quickly go to fearing the worst. And I think it's a bad habit. So I don't know if you deal with this, but I would be curious, given your sailing lifestyle, how do you break the tendency to fear the worst when a storm hits?

Grace Fox: I have to constantly remind myself of what is the truth. Okay, what's the truth? Am I believing the truth or am I believing a lie? Even in Scripture -- here's another one of my favorite, favorite stories. It would be where Mary is at the entrance to Jesus' tomb, and she looks in, she realizes his body's gone, but there's angels sitting there. And she says -- she starts to cry. And they're saying, "Why are you crying?" They preface it with, "Dear woman," so it's not like, "What is wrong with you? Why are you crying?"

Jennifer Rothschild: Right.

Grace Fox: But it's like, "Dear woman, why are you crying?" And then she says, "Because they took Jesus' body away and I don't know where they put it." And then Jesus says -- he's behind her and he goes, "Why are you crying?" And he asks her the same question. And I think sometimes when we get into those hard places, we need to ask ourselves the same question, "Why am I crying? Why am I feeling this despair? Why am I going into this dark place and expecting the worst mentality? Is it because I'm believing a lie? Am I basing everything on a wrong assumption about what's going on here?" It's really good for us to take a step back and say, "Why am I headed this direction? What am I believing? Am I believing a lie, am I believing the truth?

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow. Yeah, it's good, because often we just will talk to ourselves and convince ourselves of the worst. But I love what you're suggesting in ask a question, probe a little deeper. Because you're right, it's very easy to fall into the habit of believing the lie. And sometimes just asking ourselves the question can be what we need to kind of pull us from it.

I want to go to your book here for a second. Because in your book, you write that walking through a storm hand in hand deepens relationships between those who share the pain. I love that statement. So explain why that happens and how it helps us.

Grace Fox: Yeah. You know, Jennifer, when we go through hard times, the enemy again, if we leave that hatch open with our thoughts, he's going to try to tell us that we're all alone in this and that no one cares and no one has time to hear our story and so on. But again, recognizing a lie and then realizing that that is not true. It does help to be able to talk to somebody, a trusted, mature, Godly friend, to hold hands and to just say, "This is where I'm at right now. Would you pray for me, please? Would you pray for me?" And then to be able to link hands to walk through -- take that journey together. And when we're honest with each other and stop wearing this front -- like, I don't know about you, Jennifer, but, boy, I remember days when as a young mom I was feeling so stressed with stuff just trying to get three little kids out the door for church on a Sunday morning and -- you know. And just walking into church and people would say, "Well, how are you this morning?" And I may have just been ready to pull my hair out at home, but I put on a plastic smile and I'd say, "Fine, just fine."

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Grace Fox: You know, I think we all do that sometimes. But to be able to let that facade go, to stop pretending it's all okay on the outside and to say, "Actually, I'm a mess right now and I just need your prayer." And to be able to be honest with each other, that honesty really helps in growing relationships. Because when we're honest about being a mess, it gives other people permission to be honest too. And then we can look at each other and sometimes we can just laugh, and then join hands and say, "Welcome to the club. Let's pray for each other."

Jennifer Rothschild: Right? Because we're all a mess. I mean, I think that's one of the illusions, is that we think she's got it together or she never struggles or their marriage is perfect. You know, just like your example of leaving the hatch open, I think that's one of those lies that creeps in, and it lives in isolation thinking that no one else would understand, no one else is like us. But you're right, when we're honest, it just -- it changes everything. And that's how we're supposed to be. I mean, God made us family, and we need to be safe with each other. So I love that word.

I'm going to scoot us here to the last question. This is just so interesting, Grace, and I'm so thankful that people are going to be able to get your book, because I know that the encouragement we've heard here is what we'll get on every page. One of the things that you write that really struck me is this: "Earthly dreams that we hold dear lose their luster in the light of heaven." I think that's beautiful. So as a last question, I would love to know how can we nurture this heavenly perspective when we're feeling hopeless?

Grace Fox: Yeah. I think one of the truths that we have to learn to embrace and walk in is that we don't see the whole picture right now. We're in the middle of a storm, our heart is breaking over something and we wish it was different, but we just don't see all the pieces. And so that's just because we're human. That's all we can do. But God sees it from a heavenly perspective. He sees all the pieces and how they are fitting together in the eternal point of view and what purposes he wants to accomplish through our circumstances. And so to be able to hang on to that, that what we see right now, it's not the full deal.

Jennifer Rothschild: We just don't see the whole picture. When we are in the storm, we cannot see the dawn that is about to come. But God sees all the pieces of what looks broken to us. So hang on, our friends, to an eternal perspective. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

K.C. Wright: Yeah, Jennifer, I was thinking of 2 Corinthians 4 when Grace was describing that. I just want to read it over you listening right now. It's 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Jennifer Rothschild: K.C., that's so beautiful. And those are my favorite verses. That's my favorite passage, my life verses. Thank you for reading. It was beautiful.

Okay, y'all, go to the show notes at to read a transcript of this conversation and to get Grace's book.

K.C. Wright: Yeah. And it will make a great, great New Year's resol- -- devotional resolution.

Jennifer Rothschild: Ba-dep, Ba-dep (Mimickcing difficulty speaking)

K.C. Wright: (Mimickcing difficulty speaking) I'd like to buy a vowel, an A. Yeah, it'll make a great New Year's devotional. Or you can also find a link at the show notes now. And I bet you order it today. Okay? You'll get it before Christmas if you do. It'll make a great gift. So again, the show notes and all the Grace Fox info you need will be found right here,

All right, our people. Enjoy all your Christmas gatherings and shopping and decorating and all you're doing celebrating Jesus, even though -- I'm just going to tell you -- he was born in September. All right? He has a September birthday, just like me.

Jennifer Rothschild: We can celebrate whenever, though.

K.C. Wright: That's right. We love you and can't wait to hear you on our audio Christmas card next week. So until then, remember whatever you face, however you feel, you can do all things through Christ who gives you supernatural strength. I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

K.C. Wright: I wanted to ask you this. When Christmas is over, you're not the person that takes the tree down the day afterwards. Please tell me.

Jennifer Rothschild: I used to be.

K.C. Wright: Oh, thank God you've been delivered. Okay?

Jennifer Rothschild: But now I wait a week. But this year I think we're going to have to, because we're going to be leaving town for a little bit --

K.C. Wright: Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- and I don't want to come home on January 10th to Christmas, though you'll still be celebrating.

K.C. Wright: That's right. You just flip that tree to a Valentine's Day tree.

Jennifer Rothschild: There you go.

K.C. Wright: Then at Easter. Just keep that thing up.


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