Today I have the privilege of sharing this blog’s first guest post. My amazingly beautiful and talented friend, who just happens to also be my cousin, was recently sharing some things with me that the Lord has been showing her. When our children are threatened, our true selves emerge through the fear. I’m not sure any of us know what we’re made of until faced with the inexplicable. Her words moved me and I immediately wanted to share her thoughts with you. Without further ado…
“She’s comin’ on, boys!” yelled captain Billy Tyne. “She’s comin’ on strong now!”
It was October 28, 1991 when the commercial fishing vessel, the Andrea Gale, found itself in a desperate situation. Honestly it would take someone much smarter than I to correctly or eloquently explain the catastrophic events that unfolded. Basically, a Nor’easter swallowed a Hurricane, which then collided with a low pressure system before swirling into a southward swooping Canadian cold front. Bad weather dominoed into worse weather, and smack dab in the center of the chaos was the Andrea Gale.
Fingers of extreme weather encompassed the 72 foot vessel in a tightly clenched, white knuckled fist grip. During the storm, buoys off the shore of Nova Scotia recorded 100 foot waves and sustained winds of 75 miles per hour. No other message was heard from the Andrea Gale, and all heroic attempts to lend her aid ended badly. She was officially reported overdue on October 30, and the U.S. Coast Guard began a painstaking search of the Atlantic Ocean that covered over 186,000 square nautical miles.
The search turned up some fuel drums, a fuel tank, and an empty life raft, but neither the Andrea Gale nor her mates were recovered. On November 9, 1991 the search for the Andrea Gale was officially called off. The Andrea Gale along with her six crewmen were forever lost to the sea.
Sound like a movie plot?
This true tragedy blended with speculation and creative license in 2000 as George Clooney and Mark Walberg honored the crew of the Andrea Gale in the movie “A Perfect Storm.”
Although I have never been on a doomed sailing vessel in the middle of hellish waters, I have suffered one or two perfect storms. I think most of us have a personal perfect storm testimony. My list of personal perfect storm testimonies is so long, quite frankly, it’s an embarrassment. Circumstances, happenstances, relational issues, personal appetites for sin, and those good ol’ fashioned snares and fiery darts of the enemy (among other things) combine and ferment into deadly weather patterns on the waters of life that do their darndest to sink our boats, steal our faith, and take our lives just like the Andrea Gale.
I have learned a few truths about the perfect storms:
*First and foremost, God allows them. He uses these uncomfortable times to shape and mold my character.
*Second, I have learned that something needs to be tossed overboard. Perhaps I’m hiding pride in my heart, or some iniquity needs to be confessed. Undoubtedly, in order to properly weather the storm, something of myself has to die.
*Third, I have come to understand that everyone goes through stormy seas. Right now, in this moment on planet earth, there is not one person wearing flesh that has this “life thing” figured out. There is none perfect, no not one. And it is our imperfections that make storms inevitable, and in some cases necessary to get our attention. Remember Jonah?
*Fourth, and most importantly, I’m not alone in my little life boat. My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is my shipmate. He is my constant companion. He is with me, and He is in me. He will never leave me or forsake me, no matter the storm or it’s cause. He promises to make all things work together for my best. Amen?
Honestly, where perfect storms are concerned, I thought I had it all figured out when I was hit with a sideways wave that crippled me. My daughter was gripped by her very own personal perfect storm. I was powerless to rescue her.
Now, You’d think that after all the turbulent core shaking storms that I just boasted about weathering, that watching my daughter ride out a few gut churning nasty waves would be no big deal, right? Not exactly. Lets just say, the stark raving lunatic monster inside me kicked into full gear. Every perfect storm lesson I ever learned was quickly tossed overboard as dead weight. Armed with my telephone, cell phone, laptop and my “perfected” mothering skills (ha ha), I frantically scrambled to pull her to safety. For days I scratched, scoured, called and Googled to find answers only to be unrelentingly pounded by wave after wave of more questions. Helplessly I watch her suffer, and over and over I asked God, “what are you doing to my daughter?”
Would this faithless question be the my famous last words as this chapter of life came to a close?
Finally, exhausted with fruitless searching, I shut down my computer, hung up the telephone, connected my dead cell to it’s charger, and sat quietly for a while. Then His soft voice floated into my heart. It was like a gentle breeze.
“Whose daughter is she?”
His question resounded and rattled my brain. My flesh wanted to argue, “She’s mine! Mine, mine, mine!” But there was no argument. I know who she belongs too. She belongs to Him. I am blessed with the privilege of calling her MY daughter, but this beautiful, funny, smart young lady is His. She is in a life boat with Him, and for her, this lifeboat is the safest place in the world. How dare I try to remove her from it?
I have had to fall on the sufficient grace of my King, and trust that this storm was lovingly allowed to engulf His child. I have had to lay down the possessiveness that so easily entangles me as a parent, and repent for arrogantly thinking that Google and I could rescue her. Once again I have had to grapple with reoccurring faith-killing fear that I seem to continually invite to rain down on my head. Simply stated, I have had to forcefully pry each cramped and bleeding finger of my hands off, so that I could lift them up in worship. In the middle of her perfect storm, and mine, I found myself singing praises to the Lord.
Then something amazing happened.
Over the sound of the roaring waves and wind I could clearly hear her angelic voice joining together with mine as we worshiped our King together.
I have learned a new truth about perfect storms. Little eyes are watching, little feet are following, and little hearts are learning how to survive the wind and the waves of life. I may not be able to rescue her, but thankfully I have the privilege of demonstrating to her how to weather a storm.
Lord, May the famous last words to every closed chapter of our lives be “yes” and “amen.”