I love the beach, the water, the waves. But recently the “waves” of my daily life have felt like tsunami-sized waves, crashing in from every side: overwhelming, destructive, leaving me sinking, drowning, fighting my way back to the surface. In these waves of torment lie questions that I find myself fighting through:
Grief, sorrow, and pain crowd in around me
They are the darkness in the wave that want to keep me under
Keep me from resurfacing
But resurface I do. I fight my way through the lies, through the heartache, through the anger, through the betrayal -- and I fill my lungs with air again. Unfortunately, I barely get my footing before another wave comes, from an unexpected place or person.
Braving the Waves
I sense I am not alone; that many of you reading this have been in such seasons, or are in one now. Over the years, I have learned a few things about dark times like these:
I learned this key to life amid tumult almost 20 years ago, when I was going through my divorce:
I remember being in a situation with a friend. She was trying to talk me ‘out of my pain’, but I wanted to be IN my pain. I wanted to stay in my anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness. I hated, and I found comfort in my rage.
She did not like to see me in this place, and a yelling match started. “I don’t want to see you get stuck in the pit,” she screamed.
Without missing a beat, I replied, “Jesus is bigger than my pit and He won’t let me get stuck but I WANT TO BE IN MY PIT FOR A WHILE.”
Of course, that was 20 years ago and I have grown. But the Holy Spirit spoke something that day to me that increased my faith in the power of what Jesus has accomplished:
God IS able. But I need to be honest with Him and others about where I am, and confess with my mouth that He is able.
So here I stand amid another ‘valley of trouble’, wondering if the Lord will again transform it to a gateway of HOPE. And I know my God is able.
My saving grace has been and continues to be the Word of God. When I read His word, it’s like peace envelops me. Peace slowly seeps under the door of my heart. My mind triesto shut off access to my heart. But in the Word, peace sneaks under the crack in my door, slowly satisfying the emptiness of my heart - filling me, surrounding me, enveloping me. I want to hide in His Word because it seems to be the only calm, quiet place.
In these moments, I often read parts of Song of Solomon again. I read Exodus, too - I remember snippets of other passages and look them up.
But for thisseason of life, I am drawn back to one verse from Isaiah 54: “Oh storm-tossed and not comforted”.
“That’s it,” I think. That’s how I feel:
Like a ship out on the water, caught in a relentless storm; like the vessel Paul describes in Acts, where the crew literally throws everything overboard. Like I’m in the storm Jonah was caught in.
I am the ship
beaten down by the waves,
fighting to stay with my head above water,
breaking, bending, bleeding.
Our tendency in the storm is to ask Jesus to CALM the storm. But as I look at Isaiah 54:11, I see two things about where the verse falls. It is sandwiched between:
Somewhere I have learned that God responds differently in different kinds of storms. There are passages that even indicate that God stirs up the storm himself… that He allows it.
But oh, what our God purposes to do in the storms is beyond what we can imagine.
And in this season of storms, I believe God wants us to remember and to believe.
Remember where our peace comes from: He IS the God of peace. And in the world we have trouble … but he has overcome the world.
Believe that HE has a purpose in the storm: He is making something beautiful and building strength.
In my remembering and my believing, I remind myself WHOSE kingdom I belong to. After all, I am a child of God. And Jesus is the Prince of Peace. I dwell in their Kingdom of Peace; peace is truly my portion and my inheritance. As I remember these things, my emotions, my thoughts, and my heart each find their rest.
God is building strongfamilies that can endure the storms of life. He is raising up our sons and daughters to weather these waves and winds that often destroy. He is using us, the mothers, to equip our children -- but to empower our children, He is inviting us to be made beautifully strong.
So, single mother, don’t lose heart. God is at work. He is building, refining, and restoring. Let’s stay the course.
How are you weathering the storms of life?