A journey starts with one single story. Here’s one of my earliest…
[Prelude: I know I came into this world being wanted. I was the first girl, after two boys, in what would become a brood of sorts, with six boys and three girls on the final score card. My mother was only in her mid-twenties when I came along – still trying to figure out the whole mother/housewife/wife thing, but with three preschoolers with immediate needs at her heels. From all accounts, she felt ill-prepared for any of those roles. I would not come to fully understand that until I too was a young, overwhelmed mother and wife. You could rightly sum up our (Ron’s and my) teenage marriage and parenthood onset as: kids having kids.]
…I don’t remember this happening. I was about 2 years old. it was during my dad’s stint as a successful businessman in Southern California. But I’ve been told the story many times over the years, so I think my brain has internalized it as my memory.
My mom took me and my two older brothers to the beach with her girlfriend (I’ll call her Judy), who was also a neighbor. As everyone was enjoying the lapping waves and their feet in the sand, no one noticed the tide was rising. I was on the blanket napping. All of a sudden, me and the blanket were being carried into the ocean. There was a frantic realization by the women that the baby girl was going out to sea!
Judy was the one who gathered her wits and came running into the water to fetch me out before the current of the undertow could have its way. I was rescued from danger - even possible death that day. In those scary moments of watching me be overwhelmed by the waves, my mom felt paralyzed to save me because she was afraid of the water. She did not know how to swim. Nonetheless, my story didn’t end there. I was carried back to safety.
Although she became a strong woman of faith over the decades to come, my mother admitted in her last years of full cognition she had lived her whole life in fear.
Hmm…Does it seem like a contradiction to proclaim faith in a limitless God and yet have hidden, unnamed fears holding power over you for a lifetime?
Well, now, having walked this world for six decades, being married for forty-six years, and having raised two children as a very young Christian mother, I can attest to how it is both possible and likely all of us will experience both of those states of mind and heart – repeatedly, over the course of our jagged-edged journeys. My thought: Feeling ill-equipped is part of the job description of a new mother, regardless of her age!
But what about this idea of unnamed fear having power over someone who has sure faith? For me, it has been about learning to acknowledge the trauma as well as the trust. You might have heard it said:
You cannot heal what you don’t feel. You must name it to tame it.
These rhymes for remembering are pointing to the reality of our human design: God gave us emotions and reasoning, the capacity for holding memories and culpability. He didn’t intend for us to deny or hide parts of our human experience. And I don’t believe it’s a spiritual badge of honor to do so. He wants us to bring all of it – feeling the feelings, acknowledging the pain, naming the fears – to Him. That He might walk back with us to the sources of those feelings and pain, and reassure us that He was there during every scary moment. Our trust is demonstrated in taking His offered hand to journey back.
It took me over 5 decades to put together and digest what that early account foretold about my forming and my future. Only God could know that so many years later, in my layered journey of healing, He would bring me to this scripture and accompany me back to perilous episodes such as this, reassuring me that it was Him Who Parts Seas, who carried me, instead of the waves.
The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection and with him I am safe. He protects me like a shield; he defends me and keeps me safe.
He is my savior; he protects me and saves me from violence. I call to the Lord, and he saves me from my enemies. Praise the Lord!
The waves of death were all around me; the waves of destruction rolled over
The danger of death was around me, and the grave set its trap for me. In my trouble I called to the Lord; I called to my God for help.
In his temple he heard my voice; he listened to my cry for help. (2 Samuel 22:2-7)
Sometimes when our rescue doesn’t happen how we expect - or by whom we expect - we default to not believing the promises God gives in scriptures such as this passage in 2 Samuel - He is your protector, your fortress, your shield, your defender. And in Deuteronomy 31:8, and repeated in Hebrews 13:5, He promises He will never leave you nor forsake you.
My heart for you as you reenter the day you stepped away from for a minute to read this, is to know that your story – of traumas, trials, and trust - is important to Him. And that you might be bolstered by what I too am convinced of:
I'm convinced: You, [Lord] can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset Your plans. (Job 42:2)
He has a plan for you. It was in place before you were conceived. Every day of your life has already been recorded- known to Him. (Psalm 139) Even the pain & heartache was foreknown. But He is right there with you- always has been.
And He has jewels such as pearls for you and me to gather all along our priceless, and sometimes perilous, paths.
Could you consider?...
Even though you will not always know the how, when or by whom, could you see yourself trusting Him to rescue you; to rescue your heart, and your story? Why or why not?
*Feel free to write me with your thoughts and questions on that.
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Blessed to play a part ~