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!

Why Doesn’t He?

While feeling particularly lugubrious on occasion, do you ever wonder why God doesn’t just crumple up His creation and start over?

I admit it. I do wonder. I wonder when I begin reading in Genesis 1 of the goodness of God’s creation and then everything’s gone seriously wrong by the time I read two chapters into the book.

Why didn’t God junk project Earth?

God is God. Creating is what He does. He speaks and His breath becomes matter of all shapes and sizes and distinctions. Nothing is too hard for Him. So, it doesn’t seem so unreasonable that He might just scrap the first attempt and start over ~ does it?

Well, actually the longer I work creatively with my hands, the more I realize it’s not so easy to give up on my creation. This new chapter in my life has opened my mind, heart and hands to the possibilities of turning a chunk of wood into art. My eyes and hands have been learning the beauty of removing old worn out fabric from beautiful strong pieces of furniture only to freshly clothe them for the future.

I’m simply amazed at the delight that fills me up as I step into the creative process of restoring something old. The stories behind the projects are just as important as the mechanics of upholstery, weaving or woodworking. Memories come from people in relationship. Homes and childhoods are represented. Love. Hard times. Joyous gatherings. Commitments made. Promises broken.

And somehow getting to participate in the repair and restoration of memory pieces – no matter the level of angst in the middle of the project – fills me with delight.

Please be comforted that I am not comparing my intellect with God’s immeasurable wisdom and unsearchable majesty.

However, in my tiny and finite experience with creating from the work of my hands, I have caught a glimpse of how difficult it would be to completely obliterate something into which I’ve poured my blood, sweat and tears.

In every project, for all the bountiful planning, a surprise situation is bound to rear its ugly head. Certainly, I get frustrated. I scratch my head. I walk outside to breathe some fresh air. I clench my fists. In fact, I’ve even cried while sewing the inside of that one arm for the third time! Yet, I have found (so far) that I just can’t ditch my work.

The desire to persevere to the re-created end and the joyful reward that awaits compels me to continue the work. In the process of upholstery and weaving, there is so much doing, undoing and re-doing, of which no one would ever be aware. With woodworking, there’s always a sharp corner that needs more sanding or an additional coat of stain to add. It’s the process, which for me, becomes the fullness of experience.

And maybe from my small perspective that’s exactly the point and the answer to the why…

NOTHING is too hard for God.

He does as He pleases. Perhaps its just that simple. God, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, loves His creation, and enjoys the process. Our Creator, God, delights in creating and repairing, smoothing our rough edges, teaching and restoring all along the journey.

Grateful am I that He sees perfectly the image of me He’s always intended from before time began. And, the good news, as I surrender under His hands, He will complete His grand design in me and deliver me safely into eternity with Him.

I have this confidence that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

(paraphrase of Philippians 1:6 NIV)

In a recent study of Noah and God in Genesis 6-8, just a few short chapters after perfect creation became terribly corrupt, I learned that God was sorrowful over all of His creation. Wickedness abounded in all the earth and God felt regret.

God wasn’t sorrowful because He made a mistake. There was nothing faulty in His planning process. Nor was there a glitch in the operation of creating. He’s not like me – at all. For it is I who was created in His image rather than the other way around.

He created perfectly. Yet what He witnessed was ugly. The spotless bride of His imagination was tainted and marred. The collective loss of His creative work broke His heart.

And so what did He do?

He began to scan the whole earth looking for something – someone – He could salvage. The Creator of all perfection and glory was determined to find a remnant from which He would begin again. He would not utterly destroy if at all possible. He would find someone faithful and devoted to Himself and then continue His restoration plan from there.

The love of His creation, especially us, who He made in His own image is so great that He will give everything – even sacrifice Himself – to save.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of understanding why God has not given up on His creation. I sincerely doubt that I will ever fully understand the why behind His love, commitment and devotion toward us.

And yet, I believe on faith and by experience that Creator God is long suffering, merciful and determined to finish the good work He once began.

Once upon a time, God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, said that creation was all good and very good. One day, yet to be revealed, He will once again declare that all corruption is finished. He will beam with satisfaction as He beholds His perfected spotless Bride – good and very good.

And it’s my personal opinion that God’s heart will be glad that He persevered in the repair and restoraton of His creation, and that He never once intended to give up on us.

What do you think?

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  Revelation 21:2-5 ESV

Eyes on Jesus and SHINE ~