I turn 38 tomorrow. I am absolutely to the point that I lose track of what age I am. I know it sounds ridiculous, but sometimes J and I have to do the math to figure out our ages. Then when we determine what age we are we gasp wondering where the time went.
I had a friend recently share what her 4oth year was like. It was her 41st birthday and she talked about some milestones and big changes she made for the better in the past year. I was inspired and started thinking about what I accomplished in the past year. This practice seemed promising but upon arrival of the memory I immediately found myself desending into a dark emotional pit. I don’t want to say it was the worst year of my life! Hello! 2012 called, they want their title back. For the record, 2012 was also not the worst year (my amazing and precious Ezie was born!), but some years are more challenging than others. It’s like waves at the sea, the ebbs and flows of life. Hold onto that analogy for a minute because I am going to come back to it.
We were in Texas last year for my 37th birthday. We had medicaid at the time, but it didn’t apply out of state so when strep throat hit the kids like dominoes, the out-of-pocket medical costs started to rack up real quick! It wasn’t the best trip ever, but everyone felt better toward the end. So the day after my birthday we decided to do one final excursion before heading back to Ohio. This is when I was driving the kids back from seeing Toy Story 4 and had an 18 wheeler cross into my lane on the highway and crushed my van up next to a concrete barricade.
I still have PTSD from that experience. For probably 10 seconds I didn’t know if my children buckled in their seats behind me were alive. I have little flashbacks of the horror, but the experience as a whole is very fuzzy because my brain has blacked out a lot of it.
It took us a couple of extra days to make it back to Ohio since my van was totaled. When we arrived back home we learned that our church, where my husband was employed full time as the worship leader, was going through a crisis of its own. I won’t go into details of all of that online because it’s so personal for many people that would be reading this, but the fact is my husband and everyone else on staff had their pay cut dramatically or entirely. We had to live on less than half our income and start looking for a new job. Not only did it take a physical toll on us, but it was all wrapped up in our spiritual sanctuary and some of our closest relationships too. While I don’t want to ellaborate anymore about this matter, I will say that God was and is always faithful. We had people bless us and care for us in extrodinary ways to ensure that our needs were met.
All that and then to wrap up the last 4 months of 37th year with a pandemic!?
Let’s just say I don’t look back on the past year with the fondest of memories or any sign of growth and accomplishments. It’s a time that I can look back and say, HEY I SURVIVED! And actually, I am quite proud of that. Sometimes situations can throw you into a disorienting abyss that can feel like drowning. This is where the waves analogy comes in.
The Bible talks a lot about storms and seas. It also mentions anchors. We read about them in a physical standpoint
Acts 27:29 “and fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.”
and we read about them in a spiritual sense
Hebrews 6:19 “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.”
There have been times in my life, specifically in the past year, where I feel completely lost at sea. I have experienced panic attacks, depression, hopelessness and felt the absolute depths of despair. I thought for sure that I was about to get swept away with the storm until I realized there is something keeping me grounded, something I can’t deny no matter how lost I feel. It’s His presence that holds me. When I accepted Christ as my savior He became the anchor in my soul. He is the reason I can stay strong and have hope. It’s like the song “Cornerstone” by Hillsong-
“When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil”
If I could scuba dive through this past year’s events and feel the turbulence and see the ship wreck I would swim all the way down to the depths and find the anchor. That’s my 37th year takeaway and for that, I am grateful.