What’s Anchoring You?
I remember this picture like it was yesterday. Picture day was always one of my favorite days and my families most dreaded. I always had a location picked out far in advance and an image in my head of exactly how I anticipated they would come out. I spent time picking out outfits and prayed for everyone’s cooperation, so that we could achieve the image I excitedly envisioned. This was the fall of 2011, and after this picture life immediately changed and would never be lived the same way.
After the pictures were done, I was so relieved and excited to see the previews that would follow in the days to come. Just as I expected, the previews were rich in color and I loved the outcome of our family pictures. We alway schedule pictures for the fall in preparation for our family Christmas card that would be sent out just after Thanksgiving. However, this year was different. I am not even sure if we sent a card. It all was and still is a blur.
I remember October 26th of 2011, the day started out as a normal day of getting kids to school and preschool. My husband went to his command like usual that morning and that evening I had a Halloween bunco event to attend. This day would be one, never forgotten. As the day and evening played out, I would soon learn the heartbreaking truth and earth-shattering news, that our family was truly broken. It was the furthest from the truth of the picture above, yet I had no idea at that time. In the mundane, the enemy would get a foothold and our lives of husband and wife would be challenged and uncertain. The details don’t all really matter, because sin is sin no matter the form it takes, and storms can come in many different shapes and forms but we all go through them. Sin is destructive and storms leave us feeling unstable and shaken.
I recall Peter in the boat on the sea of Galilee, just as the storm began to pick up and fear set in, they saw an image of a man walking on the water.
Matthew 14:27 says “Jesus immediately said to them: take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid. Lord, if it is you, Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” Come, Jesus said. Then Peter got out of the boat, walked onto the water and came towards Jesus. But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink, cried out, “Lord save me.” Verse 31 goes on to say “Jesus reached out his hand and caught Him.”
Friends, I was in the midst of my biggest storm and my darkest hour. My flesh was in a drag out battle with my spirit. I was so much like Peter; my storm was getting bigger by the minute and for a split second I took my eyes off of God and made a decision that I was done. My biggest fear as an adult was colliding with my already confirmed childhood past of abandonment. I was scarred and in the midst of heart ache and sadness I was making irrational decisions based on a human heart not a spiritual one.
Just as Peter cried out to Jesus to save him, I to looked up seeking any possible answers from God. I had no doubt who my God was, and I cried out, "God, save me!" Friends, when you are in the middle of a storm, and you cry out to God, just as the Israelites cried out to God in the Old Testament over and over, He will answer you. You may not like the answer, however He will answer. It is then our choice to be obedient.
God answered me in my time of crying out, through a good friend who was obedient in the Lords calling to walk in my house that night, and in the most audible and authoritative voice told me “You are going to fight.” Looking back, I can see where God was all along the journey leading up to this point. He orchestrated friendships and created divine appointments in the lives of both my husband and I. Nothing in the couple years before this or the years after would be by coincidence, everything had a purpose for His greater purpose.
Needless to say, the next few years would be tough, they would be the act of God and not of ourselves. There were minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and even years of walking out the obedience of being grace and mercy filled. When I cried out during my storm, God caught me but also required of me. I felt in my heart that this very moment, this dark and cold moment would be used for His glory. I remember wrestling with God and saying, God I can’t. From the pain of abandonment from my childhood to now in my marriage, I just don’t have it in me to run this race. Then the whispers, of the intense bible study I had just done that summer came -
Philippians 4:13 “For I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength.”
Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything but in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Gods truth just kept coming. The entire bible study of Philippians was not in vain but again Gods gentle touch of going before me preparing me for the storm I was about to encounter.
The purpose of me within this marriage was to walk out the gospel for my husband, because it was within that obedience that he came to know the Lord in relationship. The chains of religion were broken and for the first time, he was experiencing God. He was a broken man in need of a Savior, and God amidst his sin, just as the father did in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11), met my husband that day with open arms and said welcome home my child.
I am not much different than Peter; who knew his Savior yet required saving. Within my storm; for a moment and in the panic, I took my eyes off my Savior and put them on my storm. In the moment I cried out to God, Save me. God was faithful. I prayed that night, “God I will take one step but Lord you must meet me with the other.” Friend, it’s not “if” the storms of life will come, it’s “when” the storms of life will come. Who is your anchor? If we are not anchored into the foundation of God our creator, then we are tossed from here to there, just trying to catch our footing. But if we are anchored into God, who is not moved by the ways of this world but goes before us; just as he did in this testimony, then we are able to stand on a foundation that provides clarity, provisions, and purpose. I was shaken, but my foundation was not. I was able to make decisions because of the strength of my foundation. When I was weak, my God was strong.