Life comes hard and fast many times. It rushes over you like a massive, overwhelming wave and it drags you along, tossing you around so you forget who you were before and where you were going.
I’ve found myself in very similar conversations with a few dear friends recently about this dizzying wave we are being swept up in. Brave, remarkable women who I cherish and cheer for daily – women who are trying to figure out how to ride the wave after being suddenly thrown into parenthood (whether it be step, foster, or new parenthood), or moving their life across the country to a lonely place, or dealing with intense illness, or going through a difficult divorce. The wave is strong and it disorients, and we’re left feeling like we don’t even know ourselves.
I know this feeling. The largest wave life has thrown me came three years ago when my world exploded and my heart found home in three precious crazies. It doesn’t matter that I marched into the ocean looking for a wave, ready to embrace it. That wave still took me down and sent me careening.
I would go against that wave again in a heartbeat, and I will face others like it in the future. The next time though, I will be a little better prepared. I will take little anchors with me so I remember who I am and where I’m going in the midst of the undertow.
I’d love to impress you with how spiritual I am and tell you that I’m talking about reading your Bible everyday or memorizing Scripture. But that would be a lie. Yes, spiritual anchors are vitally important. I don’t have that figured out; and sometimes my spiritual anchors look a lot more like desperate prayers for survival and one single verse I cling to instead of daily devotions. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that’s all right for now. Not only that, but most of the time I find that my other, “non-spiritual” anchors actually point me to Jesus because I remember who I am in Him or the gifts He blessed me with, which might be hard to see now.
Sometimes my anchors are silly, like a song that reminds me of an important or exciting time from my past. Sometimes it’s a thing or activity, like a painting I love or making time for a small craft. Other times it’s something intellectual, like reading a book or taking an online class. Often it’s a person who has walked through life with me and seen me in many seasons. They remind me of that time I was adventurous and wild, or thoughtful and logical, even if the wave beats some of those things out of me temporarily. These things remind me that the wave does not define me. It will be part of who I am, but it is not everything I am or have been. These anchors don’t stop the waves from hitting, but they keep me from getting fully swept away.
The first six months of life with my crazies were especially difficult. It was a shock and a struggle; I was lost to the wave. It was a lonely and discouraging time. I didn’t know what I needed. Now I understand that I needed anchors, and I understand that I can be that for others.
Many people are getting hit by a wave right now or trying to find footing in the undertow. Let’s help them find anchors.