Building Your Lifeboat

storms

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?

 

 

 

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Going Fearless

In my last post I referred to the fact that I now have more people in my life to be my ‘iron’.  One of these amazing people is Lindsay, from The Fearless Experiment.  This is a new blog that Lindsay has started to show her journey and the journey of some others as they look at what holds them back from living a life of relentless faith….looking at being obedient to God in every area of their lives.

I’m with them.  I’m in.  I’m committed.  I am stepping out of the boat.

I do not want to look back at some years of my life and think I wasted them.  I missed opportunities.  I wasn’t all I could be.

There is soooo much more of God that I know I need in my life. SO much more I want to be used of Him.  And I know He will answer this cry of my heart.

For a few weeks I haven’t really known what more exactly I need in my journey.  What does being ‘fearless’ mean to me, in my walk?  What area of my life isn’t totally surrendered to God?  I mean if you ask me to sell up everything I own and pack my bags and move to a place I’ve never been to before, then I’m your girl.  If you want me to suffer from undiagnosed pain for years and years and not lose my Pollyanna disposition, then I’m your girl.  If you want me to deal with weird family situations and for my husband and I to be the peace-keepers then, cool, I can do that.  But what more do I need to be fully fearless?  How is this gonna look in my life? Not that I think I have it all together – I do not  – I am fully aware of many faults and many areas where I need more grace, more love and more of Him…But I just didn’t know what it meant for me to take this next step to be fearless.  In every area of my life.

And now I do.

For me – being fearless is to take every thought captive and to not dwell on the possibilities and probabilities, that are not part of God’s picture for my life.

Being fearless is to say ‘God has my future and all the details already aligned’.  And to mean it.  Not for those to be easy words to say and not believe, but to fully believe those words.

Being fearless is to look back at all the ways in which God has provided for us – financially, practically, emotionally and to know He will not let us down, no matter what the future holds.

Do you see that the future for me is an area I’ve been holding back on God with?  We know where we are until January 2014, and from then on, we don’t know what will happen job-wise, travel-wise……the thought of setting ourselves up in another country again and starting from scratch gives me heart palpitations from time to time.  I’m being honest.  The school I feel would be right for my kids back in NZ is a private school.  BUT – if it is part of God’s plan – He will provide.  And for me, right here, right now, I need to face the future fearlessly.

I need to face my present reality with being fearless too.  Being fearless in the now is to say ‘Speak to me Lord Jesus everyday, use me in new and incredible ways to keep on what I am doing but to be more effective’.  Love more people.  Encourage more people.  Spread joy into every avenue, into every corner of my life.  To not dwell on me, but to focus on others.

Sometimes we hold onto these fears because as crazy at it sounds, holding them is like holding a comfort blanket.  These fears keep us grounded and to be grounded is to know where we stand, to have things within our control.  But I don’t want to miss out on more.  On more peace and more comfort, that comes from the craziness of living a life totally surrendered to God, so I’m going fearless. I’m swapping my fears and my what ifs, for the kind of reassurance that can only come from the Lord.  That comes from truly believing that when God calls He enables.  For ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ – Philippians 4:13.

Want to get out of the boat with me?