Today I'm praying for/about:

Today, (in no particular order) I'm praying for...
- Fresh ideas, inspiration and diligence to post regularly again

- My dad fighting mesothelioma too far away for me to hug him

- Children, parents, and teachers everywhere preparing to return to school

- My single friends as they seek God for His guidance in relationships

- Broken relationships; for grace to abound where grace has been withheld

- You; I'm praying for every single person who views this blog.

Thank you for standing in agreement with me for these precious souls!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Of Life and Surf

My husband and I met in Hawaii in January of 2001.  We were in partnered work sections on the same schedule and so ended up spending our off-time with all the same people.  We worked odd shifts which was brutal on our sleeping habits but great for days off when normal people were working.  It was during that time we learned to surf.

Now, while I say we learned to surf and, I can honestly say I've surfed Hawaii's legendary North Shore, I should, by no means, be considered a surfer.  I can paddle, catch a wave, get up, ride it and repeat (on a long board).  However, I have never attempted a short board, I cannot carve, whip the lip, get my toes on the nose, and I've never been "in the barrel" (on purpose anyway).  Oh, and the waves I rode are probably what a pro would put their toddler on so, to put it plainly, I have no claims to surfing greatness.  Even my husband, who has some more experience than I do, probably would not consider himself a surfer either but both of us really enjoyed what we got to experience and, if we ever went back, would definitely do it again.  The rush of riding a wave is amazing and the power of the ocean is humbling, beautiful and awe-inspiring.

We finally saw Soul Surfer the other night and while I don't see it garnering any Oscar nods for the acting, it was still a great film.  It brought back a lot of memories for us despite being set on a different island than we lived on.  One interesting note is that Bethany Hamilton's attack occurred while we were living out there and it was all over the news.  So much so that it left me feeling some trepidation before rushing into the waves but we went anyway.  Her story circulated especially quickly through the Christian community out there because of her peace and tenacity through all of it.  If you can look up any of her interviews they're really uplifting and encouraging.

One thing God showed me out on those waves so long ago, and, reminded me of again during the film, is that there's ups and downs of varying degrees, storms, dead calm; days where you're on your A-game and days when you fall... a lot.  The worst though, is when you get caught in the roll.  When the waves begin to toss you; when you finally figure out which way is up, break through to take a breath but find that the next wave is on top of you, rolling you again.  Getting caught in the roll can be fatal if you get disoriented and can't catch a breath.  Sometimes, there's even rocks or reef waiting for you and it's those moments you realize how truly strong and unyielding mere water can be.  One of the tricks to it is to stop fighting and calm down... be still.  The more you fight the waves the more lost, the more exhausted, the more panicked you become.  Sounds a bit like life.

Railing against the waves of life is an exercise in futility.  You can't stop trials from coming any more than you could stand on the shore and keep the sea at bay.  Try to protect your child from every woe, try to plan against pitfalls, try to keep tragedy from calling on the phone, try to keep evil from breaking in.  At some point, we will all face our waves; some come in sets, regular, steady, bearable; a duck-dive and you're through it.  Maybe right now it's flat with nothing exciting or promising on the horizon.  Then there's some that come like a tsunami; larger than imaginable, devastating, wreaking havoc.  Only with Christ can we find the way up, catch our breath, and escape the undertow or the rip current.  Whatever the waters seem now, there's a couple things to remember:
1) Whatever you're facing right now is going to change.  Waves are affected by weather, tides, temperature and currents; the only thing consistent is the inconsistency... just like life there's so many factors that all you can know for sure is right here, right now and God promises to never leave or forsake.
2) We cannot allow ourselves to fear what may be or dwell on what has been, it will prevent us from fully experiencing what is right now.  Whether pleasant or painful, God has something for you in this moment so ride it out for all it's worth.

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