Building Your Lifeboat


I’ve been marinating on this little ditty, this little nugget of truth since I saw it on pinterest a couple of weeks ago.

You see it is all very good and well to read these words and to believe them.  It is another thing to actually live them out.  And gee……there is absolutely no denying the truth of these words when you see someone living it out…..when the truth they have stored up in the silence is the only thing that gives them hope, it helps them carry on, sees them through the hard times, when the storms come.

This past week I’ve had the honour to walk alongside a friend as she has encountered one of life’s curveballs.

You know that mixture of feelings you get when you go for your big anatomical ultrasound scan, when you’re about 20 – 22 weeks pregnant?  You’re thrilled to actually see this little person for the first time, you may or may not be eager to know the baby’s gender, but you also have that slight uneasiness..hoping everything is ok with that baby.  Wanting a good report for everything.  Well Lindsay didn’t get that all clear that we all hope for, not then anyway, and she has another wait of a few more weeks before she gets definitive results from more tests done this week.  You can read this part of her story here, and she writes it beautifully, so much better than I ever could.

I said it is an honour to walk alongside her through this and I truly mean that.  I can see the fruit and the evidence of what Lindsay and her husband build up in the silence, carrying them through the uncertainty.  Giving them hope and that peace that passes understanding.  You see it is not that Lindsay and CJ are perfect – nope – they are human, just like the rest of us – it is because they serve a perfect Lord.  They are conduits of the Holy Spirit – vessels – that’s all.

I like to think of ‘the truth that we build up in the silence’ as being the things we build our lifeboats out of.  Lifeboats to keep us afloat when our ships are capsized by life and life’s curveballs.

*  The word of God = the body of the boat, the hull.  Knowing God’s word means knowing God, knowing his heart, and who wouldn’t want to know the creator of the world’s heart?  In Ephesians 6 Paul talks about the armour of God and of putting on the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.  The bible illuminates, it reveals to us the good and the bad, it gives clarity to the wise and the unwise.  The sword, the bible, is used for offensive and defensive purposes.  Jesus used the bible to counter Satan’s attacks when in the wilderness.  The word of God deep down in our souls is going to keep us afloat when storms come.  We can depend on God’s word and the promises in his word.

*  Prayer = the gps/ radio in your lifeboat.  The prayers that you pray in the silence come back to you in the storm, when you don’t have the words to say, when you can only muster up that Holy moan. An utterance. Prayer is just communication with the Lord and the *best* thing about prayer to me, is it keeps your perspective right, it keeps you looking up and out so that you’re not consumed by your here and now.

No relationship survives without communication, including our relationship with the Lord.  Prayer – communication is necessary for growth and intimacy.

*  The companionship of Godly friends = the outboard engines on our boats.  Sometimes when we walk through the trials of life we can walk that ever bit faster with a friend by our side.  Things can be so much more bearable when you have a shoulder to cry on.  Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.  Sometimes it takes a lot of guts to make good friendships great.  It involves a lot of vulnerability, on both persons part, a lot of trust and a lot of wisdom.  It is never a good thing to just spill your guts to just anyone, but when you know who can be a great friend to you, and when you make room in your life for them and them for you……friendship is one of those things that can get you through anything.  C.S Lewis said “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”
You know this past week the easy thing for Lindsay to do would have been to hide away.  To just hibernate with her husband while working through the emotions and seeking a Godly perspective in all the waiting.  But in doing that she would have been denying her friends the opportunity to reach out to her, to uphold her family in prayer and the opportunity to partake in a miracle.  The harder thing for her was to share with people where she was at – and God was glorified.  She could call on these friendships because they have been established in the silence.  When life was a little easier.  And then, when the storm came, the outboard engine of friendship helped to push her along a little….reassuring her….

Now here’s the scoop, the latest on Lindsay’s baby, Charlie.  Lindsay’s OB (who also happened to be my amazing OB, a great man of God) emailed her today with the news that the fact that the ultrasound that Lindsay had yesterday showed no abnormalities in the baby’s heart, that it was normal, was a gift from God.  The ultrasound yesterday was so different from the bizarre one from the previous week shows that the baby was healed.  This was not a technical glitch, but a healing.  Praise God.  Praise Him.

And here’s the thing – because Lindsay chose to include others in her journey, both in her real life and through her writing, others have been blessed.  My own faith has been boosted.  What my husband and I prayed for, in the quiet of our time with the Lord, has been heard.  Countless others have likewise stood in faith with her about this too and prayed for healing – they have been touched and who is glorified?  Not Lindsay, not CJ, even though they are strong leaders and amazing people in their own right.  No, the Lord is glorified in this healing of baby Charlie, because the Lord is the reason for their peace and their very purpose.

Lindsay and CJ still have a few question marks hovering over their little Charlie’s life – but nothing can take away from the fact that this life is God-ordained, this life has a purpose, this life already has an amazing testimony of God’s healing power and this life is loved.  Loved by the people around him already, but even more so by the one who created him.

Whatever the next weeks or indeed the years to come bring my dear friends, they will be riding out the storms just fine.  They have a lifeboat.  They are building their lifeboat……prayer by prayer, bible verse by bible verse, friend by friend, they are building their boat.

All of us will encounter storms in our lives, it is not a matter of if, but of when……when will you need your lifeboat to hold you afloat until your seas become smoother?  And will that lifeboat be ready for when you need it?




What it takes to sail

When we lived in New Zealand we had our choice of beaches to visit.  Depending on the weather and which way the breeze was blowing, we could pick and choose and end up at a favourite beach, with the most favorable conditions.

Often, from our beach location we could see the big yachts out sailing, and these were often the entrants to the America’s Cup out practicing.  How easily these boats seem to slip and slide through the water, moving at powerful speeds all the while looking so graceful and effortless.

There are however, a lot of people on board these boats and each has a very set job and list of tasks to focus on and complete.

People with such labels as sewer, bowman, pitman, trimmer, runner, traveller, navigator, tactician and strategist all have specific responsibilities – all under the direction of the helmsman/ skipper. The skipper is responsible for the final tactical decisions.  The team, comes under the leadership of the skipper.  Now I imagine that when the boats are out there, in the deep blue sea, in the heat of a race, there isn’t a lot of time to question the decisions that are made by the skipper.  There isn’t time to reflect on the various options.  There are no ‘I have a better idea’ opportunities.  In the midst of a race – what the skipper commands the crew to do – the tactical steps and manoeveres – are carried out by the team.  The skipper carries a lot of responsibility – but he/she is relying on the rest of the crew for their information to be correct and their tasks to be carried out correctly.

There is unity in the team.  There is a cohesiveness to the unit.

Why is this neccessary?  To harness the full power of the wind they have available to them.  The race is a chance to display what skills they have in the areas of both boat speed and tactical skill.  Basically – if they can pull out the right moves at the right time, they will take the most advantage of the wind they have available and win the race.

In much the same way as a big yacht relies on the crew working together and developing strategies together and practicing together – so I think the same is of us as we do life together.

We need unity.  We need to approach life as a team.  We can use the skills that God has given us – and where one is lacking – there is no lack if we are a team as someone else takes up the slack in that area – with their abundance of skill.

As a boat tries to maximise on the wind available to them – so should we be trying to maximise on what God gives us to achieve the Great Commision.  Together.  Maximize on God’s goodness, God’s gifts to us, the Gifts of the Spirit, maximise on each other’s Godly insights and strengths.

The same wind is out there available to all the competitors in a yacht race.

How they use this wind determines if they win or lose.

The same gifts are available to all us of.  The same lost souls are out there needing to be reached.  The same hurting people, needing a word of encouragement or hands to provide practical help, are very much out there.  Are we going to work together, as a united team, because together we can do more?

Or are we going to focus on our differences and not our similarities – and let that wind die down.  Are we going to waste time focussing on the small pciture – while the bigger picture starts fading away.

One person cannot sail a big boat by oneself.

We, under our skipper the Lord himself, can work together as an amazing crew – listening together, loving together and encouraging together, and winning our races, together.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one  another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on  love, which binds them all together in perfect unity – Collosians 3: 13 – 14.

Are we going to sail together and maximise what we have?

The choice is ours.