“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” Psalm 46:1-3 (NLT)
Over the past two years I have felt many times like my ship was sinking. Sometimes, I thought there was a hole in the sail, or water seeping through the floorboards. At times the winds were so hard that I felt like I had to swim for my life. It has been extreme chaos…
It started in 2011 when I broke my neck, then my dad injured his rotator cuff, my mom broke her ankle, my husband hurt his knee, my dog slipped a disk, my father in law had 7 bypass surgery, my friends went through some of the hardest times in their lives, my mom had her large intestine removed, my father in law got an infection in his replaced hips that has led to months in the hospital and is still slowly going through removal of the hips and waiting for the infection to leave his body, and now to my mom finding out she has breast cancer.
But although all of this has happened, for some reason, I am in a state of calm reflection. I am in disbelief at times, but these moments have defined me. They have been those moments that are bitter sweet.
I know is sounds very strange, and don’t get me wrong – there are moments when I am scared and cry. But I have come to realize that I am not in control what happens in life to me or the ones I love. It is hard to relinquish control when you are used to being a person that just likes things “organized” or “predictable”. But this is life, we are not in control in what happens to us. We are simply called to respond in a way that allows us to soften, to be there for the people that we love, and to support one another. There is always going to be the rush of waves. We can not do it alone, and that is what God wants from us too. He wants us to ask Him for help and to trust that He will carry us through.
Yes my sails have gotten damaged, my boat may have pieces of paint missing, and at times I am drenched, but I know I will be carried through. The one thing that I know I can control is my reaction/response, and that I do not have to come unglued through this.
There have been times while sailing, that the ocean was as calm as can be, and the sun reached out beyond the clouds to touch and warm my face. Like this past weekend for instance, my mom and I were “material girls” in Vancouver. One of the best moments of my life. The touring with this beautiful woman I have always looked up to. She has always been my mom of strength, a woman who I adore and absolutely love the way she gives of herself and loves others. As we enjoyed the experience together, both beaming eye to eye of the new things we had experienced together for the first time. I thought to myself, “I love this”. I am so very thankful for this amazing mom of mine, and I look forward to more moments like this. I do think this was the first time I appreciated my mom in this way – while I looked at her I reflected on the choices she made, the impact she had on me as a woman. And I was in awe. In complete and utter awe. I made my mind up that I would have more experiences like this with her. I would also spend more time concentrating on the moments like this that take my breath away.
When the news came this week of this new journey we will go on together as a family; I was in disbelief. But not angry, not mad at God. My first thought was “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry”. But as I came to process what was happening, I realized, it was God that has carried me through thus far. I relied on Him when I broke my neck, and asked for strength and He showed up. I relied on Him when I needed to be supportive for my family members, and pray for them – and He showed up. I relied on Him when my mother almost lost her life this summer as she went through a major surgery – He gave me clarity of mind to navigate through the medical system and gave me an amazing experience with my father. An experience I will treasure for ever…A new found respect and appreciation. He has brought my brother and I closer. He has given me amazing friends that have come together and rely on one another. He gave me a deeper relationship with my father in law and mother in law. He gave me the most amazing relationship with my husband and children. He gave me the power to forgive hurt in a matter of seconds…
You see, these experiences, the waves and the storms have opened my eyes and washed away the anxious heart. They have built me stronger, and I believe this too will draw us even closer to each other and Him again. We all have to sail the storm, but it is how we sail that makes all the difference.
We can not control the waves or the storms, but we can definitely bring an umbrella, and hold hands in the rain.