I met Katie at Allume as our little motley crew sat down for our first meal. We shook hands and introduced ourselves and within 15 seconds she deadpanned the funniest thing I think I’d ever heard in my life and I knew I was going to force a friendship upon her whether she wanted it or not. That night as we passed the salt, our newly formed little posse staked our claim and etched our names on that table, thereby daring anyone — anyone — to sit there the rest of the weekend. God knit us together forever. We might just get matching tattoos.
TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It’s home to 25 chickens, 35 longhorn cattle, a chocolate lab (Abe), 3 barn cats, a fabulous office-man-by-day-farmer-by-night husband, and 3 ridiculously cute children (and that is no joke, I could eat up her kids just from their instapix). Katie — the mom of this zoo (and author of the journal) — has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. She believes in Sunday school and miracles and apple pie, and writes at TexasNorth.
There is not much about the ocean that is supportive of human life. We cannot breathe in water. We cannot swim like fish. Gracious, after 20 meters our bodies sink rather than float…that’s a simple law of physics. No, there is very little that invites us into the deep.
I am watching a community grieve a child of 13 who was diagnosed with cancer seven days ago and is gone today. They swim blindly, searching for any sign of light to point them out of the wreckage.
I am holding the hand of a friend whose spouse has walked away. Where is He? she wonders, but it is not her husband she is asking about.
I am desperate for the sun. Winter is creeping in, freezing emotions and motivation…taunting with short tempers and too many tears from little people. Is this all there is? Am I destined for ashes instead of green pasture?
I am beginning to think land is not safe, either.
What? What is there? When your body is in the very real wreckage of every day life in this broken world, what is there to do? The water is too deep, the ground is unstable, and we find ourselves with no soft place to land.
We must keep moving. I know you are tired. I know you want nothing more than to sit…to sink…but, rest will come when this season is over. For now, there is a battle for your heart and you must stay alert. Swim. Run. Fight. Ask. Laugh, yell, cry and fall…but keep moving. He will find you and He will literally raise you up. Love is not what He does, it’s who He is. (tweet that) He will leave the flock to come find you, every time.
Remember, Friend, that your home is neither here nor there. Keep your feet light and your heart focused on Christ. Your life, your hope, your comfort is found IN HIM and nowhere else. Surround yourself with Truth that does not falter under the pressure of our heartbreak or doubt. Truth that pierces darkness. Truth that is beauty amongst wreckage.
“I am the Lord and I do not change.” (Micah 3:6)
“We do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“Spirit lead me where my faith is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”
[*lyrics by Hillsong United, Oceans]
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Additional Resources: Looking for some tools to help? Check these out!
1. Mentally Strong People: 13 Things They Avoid. Loved this article from Forbes about how to grow mental strength, even if you’re not a naturally optimistic person.
2. Gratitude and the Hand of God by Karen Yates. Beautiful post about choosing “to take ownership of our attitude, wield our sword, and fight back.”
Watercolor hearts photo ©iStock.com/beastfromeast (modified by Elevate Ideas)