1. Waiting for the Wind

Welcome to Our Boat

My husband & I have been in the mightiest struggle of our 30 + years of marriage. Our struggle is not with each other, although we’ve been at odds a time or two. This struggle is one of coming to terms with and accepting the extreme detour we never saw coming.

His Parkinson’s diagnosis combined with a sudden up-ending of his career have landed us on a path we never would have chosen. Yet, we have been taking baby steps forward to gain our footing on the slippery deck of our new normal. And as we have slowly re-gained some balance and confidence, we’re realizing there are a number of amazingly good experiences we would have missed had we not been forced in this direction.

Along this quite lengthy adjustment period, the Holy Spirit has kindly gifted us with a helpful prophetic picture of hope to steady us. The picture has become a sturdy anchor when life feels like a storm tossed sea.  What do we see in our picture, but a sailboat adrift on the sea. Perhaps Jesus will help me to use words to paint the scene.

Holy Spirit, I ask You now for help. I want to take every reader on a tour of our sailboat. Please open the imagination of each reader so that they will have the eyes of their hearts enlightened to see what You have shown us. You are so GOOD, Father. Thank You for the peace and comfort You provide each of Your children as we dream and imagine right alongside You. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayers. In Jesus’ most precious name I ask, Amen!

Aboard this boat you will find my dear man & myself. I’m seated in the back on a bench while my man with the sun-tanned feet is at the front. And next to my man stands another man looking very comfortable and in-charge. 

Who is that man?

At first glimpse, the sailboat delights me. Can you see it bright and shining as it bobs upon the glassy water? It makes me smile as feelings of peace and joy wash over me like the warmth of sunshine.

I mean who wouldn’t want to be enjoying a sailboat adventure? Wouldn’t you? I see no dark storm clouds or turbulent waves in my picture. Do you?Of course not, it’s a perfect season for a sailing upon the open sea!

As I look up to watch my dear man at the front, I wonder {out loud} why we aren’t going anywhere. Immediately, the confident boatman turns toward me and speaks simple words, “I’m teaching him how to sail.”

I recognize Him. This instructor is… Jesus! 

The picture has given us words to create our personal couple language, which helps us to process our individual thoughts and feelings. We need to sort, sift and work it all through because we’ve never lived here before. Our emotions have an outlet as we imagine what it feels like to learn to sail in real time as we also recognize the feelings of being all alone adrift on the open water. Our boat is a place of hope because we see Jesus is with us. We grasp this truth; we are not alone. We are an intimate crew of three. As we watch and wait together, we realize that we are going to do this together. Jesus is our teacher, and we can see His confidence.

Thus, the sailboat becomes a shared imagery & common language by which we share honestly before the Lord and with each other. Our sailboat inspires us to hold onto hope like an anchor, which often keeps us from drifting too far into dangerous waters of doubt.

Before you begin to feel discouraged about your own detour, let me just add that we are slow learners. Our detour onto the sailboat was more than five years ago. Along the way, we’ve each had our roller coaster moments. I think my dear man would agree we’ve each experienced the full spectrum of emotions. Gratefully, one of us is usually on the upside when the other is sliding down. We’re definitely riding the crazy learning curve.

Interestingly, when we first found ourselves detoured from the life path we had chosen, we had no idea what lay ahead in 2020. However, as we take a look back we recognize God already knew. WE feel even more sure now that He was teaching us to sail while the waters were calm knowing that 2020 would bring storms.

We see the goodness of our Teacher to take us ahead for training so that we would be prepared for such a time as this. Jesus knew that many friends and family members would find themselves detoured, feeling unstable, fearful and insecure in the unfamiliar landscape. He knew that my dear man and I would be able to call out, “Hey, sailor, we’re here! You’re not alone. It’s going to be okay.”

Some of you experienced detours way before us. You were ahead of us on the learning curve and completely understand the difficulty of gaining balance and learning to wait well. We know we’re certainly not the first or last people to pass this way. Perhaps you know from experience or you have recently realized that both waiting and learning are required for a faith journey into intimacy with Jesus.

I wonder if you’ll join me for a season of pondering the detour, the boat, the training, and the waiting. Will you look with me at Jesus and some of His friends as we seek to learn from them as they trained and became useful for service in a new normal under Jesus’ confident tutelage.

Surely there’s much we can glean from their stories. Please feel free to ponder with me, ask your own questions, tell your own stories and offer your learned Godly wisdom. So, if you’re in ~ welcome aboard!

Day 19: How {brave} are you, dear sojourner, seeking a better life in a foreign land.

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.  Ruth 1:1 esv

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Ruth 1:16 esv

The word today is {BRAVE}.

I’ve seen the word down there on the list and I’ve known all along where I’ve wanted to go with this word.  Daily in my workplace, I am amazed by beautiful women who have come from a foreign land to live in our melting pot of a town near Atlanta.  They come seeking an education for their children, and many times we struggle to communicate.  We use hand signals and point at things for clarification.  Many times the children help us translate my English to their language.

As we meet in the middle and the message becomes clear on both sides, the smiles crack open and out pops a broken English – “Thank you”.  Many times there are tears in mothers’ eyes – all they want to know is that their child will be safe with us.  They desire freedom, a better education and more opportunity for their children.pablo (93)

Almost every day I encounter a sojourner from another land…  and my words to them as we find a way to communicate with smiles and gestures…

You are a {brave} woman!

As I interact with precious sojourners learning their way in southern America, I am reminded of my childhood in South Miami.  My friends, from 2nd grade on, were most often 2nd generation Cuban.  Their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles fled from Cuba to find freedom in America.  I enjoy rich childhood memories of visiting in their homes, listening to their fluid Spanish with dramatic tones and gestures and I delighted in their delicious native foods.

And then a time came when we learned of a German doctor whose wife and children were still living trapped behind the iron curtain.  Our local church was involved in smuggling Bibles in suitcases and then suddenly someone had the idea to smuggle the woman and children out.  I sat gripped with the tension and the danger of the plot to free these desperate people.  Only by God’s grace… the smallest child was placed in a suitcase carried in one hand by the mother and with the other held her daughter’s hand… They became free sojourners in a foreign land and a reunited family.

This has nothing to do with politics so, please, let’s not even go there.  ‘Sojourners in a foreign land’ has everything to do with God though.  In His word, we who are followers of Christ are sojourners on this earth – a foreign land – for truly we are citizens of God’s Kingdom.  poppies and wheat 31 days

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  1 Peter 2:10-11 esv

Naomi, she was a sojourner in a foreign land.  God’s woman, she held to the truth she knew and shared her God with the foreign young women who shared her household and her sons.  {Brave} Naomi.

And Ruth, {brave} Ruth, choosing to go and live in a foreign land to learn the ways of her new people, her new land, her new culture and most importantly her God.  {Brave} Ruth sought shelter under the wing of Almighty God, and He received her as His own.  The Lord God showered favor on Ruth and she is one of our brave examples as we seek to be Ambassadors for Christ while we are sojourners and exiles in a strange and foreign land – planet earth.

Ponders:

I’m thinking this morning of my neighborhood friend, Besserat.  She is a sojourner here in America from the country of Eritrea.  Besserat is my mom’s age, in her 70’s, speaks English, Eritrean and sign language – possibly French as well.  She and her husband were teachers in a deaf school in Eritrea.  Now Besserat is a widow, living part-time with us here in Georgia and the rest of the year in Virginia.

Through Besserat, so outgoing and often inviting some of us into her daughter’s home for freshly roasted and brewed coffee and homemade cakes, bread and popcorn, we are also getting to know her daughter and son in law.  Our Eritrean neighbors are a true delight as they share with us the rich history and culture of their homeland.

Yet, for all our differences, One unites us and He is Christ.  When we recognize we are the family of One Father and all {brave} sojourners for the Gospel, everything changes about our perspective.  We are united and free and emboldened.

  • Who do you see in your neighborhood, workplace or church who obviously is a sojourner from another country?
  • Have you extended a hand of friendship?  What richness has been added to your life from the stories of the {brave} sojourner(s) you’ve encountered recently?
  • If you haven’t had this experience, would you pray and seek God’s face?  Would you ask Jesus to teach you what you look like as a sojourner of His Kingdom on this earth?  Will you ask Holy Spirit to make a way – to open a door of friendship with a {brave} sojourner from another land?

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

~Lisa