31 Aug Our Lifeboat on the Horizon
I somehow made it into my thirties without a major tragedy in my life. My adolescence was peppered with significant trials, suffering, pain, and the like, but I had no battling experience with a mighty all-consuming tragedy. Then last summer the sky opened up and it poured the kind of unrelenting, inconceivable pain from loss which can only be traversed with a lifeboat.
As I write this, I must tell you that it is not a victory speech. The tears still stream hot down my cheeks, and I still look around wondering where my Savior is taking me.
My lifelong best friend (and first friend) suddenly passed away the day after my birthday. The news was a massive blow and knocked me off my feet, reeling in grief, isolating me from my children and my husband. A wall of despair arose, sandbagging me in from the rising waters. When I could have looked up for my Strength and my Hope, I looked inward. I held to my third baby, sweetly growing inside my womb, as a sense of light in the darkness. I made it through the funeral patting my small tummy, and bent in on my own idea of hope, as the rain poured down.
Less than one month later, I miscarried my tiny little angel.
“A wall of despair arose, sandbagging me in from the rising waters. When I could have looked up for my Strength and my Hope, I looked inward.”
The waves of hot tears kept me company rather than falling on my knees in prayerful surrender. I took a little cup and worked to bail myself out of the rising flood. I told myself comforting lies about being able to get through this: “If we just …” or “So long as …” and, to my husband, “If you promise me …”
And the promises of this broken world sparkled as I feverishly worked within my own strength. I spent much of my time looking around and looking in futile cups of water splashing everywhere.
I wish I could tell you that we even tried again. Grief and fear eventually led to paralysis. A year later, and this is still my tear-flooded reality.
As the waters have raged, I have felt the Spirit urging me: drop the cup of autonomy, raise your empty hands, and look up to see your Lifeboat on the horizon. This, more than anything, has been His steadfast message to me through this incredibly painful journey. Just turn to HIM. Just let go. Let Him reign.
“As the waters have raged, I have felt the Spirit urging me: drop the cup of autonomy, raise your empty hands, and look up to see your Lifeboat on the horizon.”
I have not been great at surrender, but I will not stop trying. Each and every single time I raise my empty hands in praise, fall in prayer, or turn to the Scriptures, I am overwhelmed by His love and mercy and overcome by His unshakeable peace. Every. Time.
As we read through Exodus 2 this week, I am struck by the story of Moses’ infancy. His mother, facing the imminent death of her child, has failed to protect him by her own strength. She too must put down her cup, raise her hands, and let him go. When she does, the rest is glorious history.
This well-known passage has such a famous ending that we can miss her act of surrender for all that it might have cost her. Through the pain, she did what I keep failing to do—she traded her cup for His Sovereignty.
Rather than face our perceived destinations, our loving Father wants us face to Him. His authority reigns supreme, and yet with unfailing love, He is looking to meet our tear-filled eyes right here in the midst. May we surrender like we already know the glorious ending.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” —Romans 8:28 (NIV)