The past five years have been achingly difficult. The entire landscape of my family has changed. A divorce, plenty of confusion, substance abuse, and structured boundaries have altered the way we communicate and simply exist. In the midst of the change and the struggles, there have been great times and great things that the Lord has done in my life. He shows up every day, even when I’m not fully able to recognize Him. Entwined with the grace and mercy has been pain and loss, anger and exposed lies, trauma, and destruction.
Last year, my husband and I took a trip to Honduras to visit his family. We had the chance to spend a weekend in an oceanfront city called Tela. The salty ocean air, tropical vibes, and the sunshine were everything I needed before heading home to January in Tennessee. One morning, we woke as the sun started its journey above the horizon and headed for the beach.
The Atlantic Ocean was truly beautiful, breathtakingly so. Faced with such grandeur, I was genuinely awed and humbled by the majesty of God. I love to swim in the ocean. I love to turn out towards the sea, no visible shore in sight, and just drift on the waves. I love to feel the water pull me back and forth, my body at the mercy of the current. After soaking in the saltwater, I love to turn around and swim right back to shore. I love to feel my toes dig into the dry sand and watch it stick to my skin. I love to stand in the sunshine and feel the saltwater gradually dry up.
Working my way through the emotion of the past five years is like swimming in the ocean. Except I’m far from the shore and all I can see are the waves coming straight for me. Sure, sometimes the water is calm. There are brief respites, but that never lasts. When the waves hit, they are disorienting. I lose sight of purpose momentarily as the waves drag me deeper into the ocean.
Even in the midst of the waves and disorientation, the knowledge of there ashore never leaving me. Of course, there’s a shore – many of them in fact. There are places to plant my feet, catch my breath, and regain strength. But when I’m out there long enough, with no end in sight, the ocean starts to convince me that nothing else exists. It pulls me in and washes away the memory of solid ground, of stability. I honestly start to believe that I began and will end in the midst of the watery depths.
I’ve not always understood spiritual warfare. Honestly, when I was younger and heard the term for the first time it sounded like something out of a young adult novel. As I grow older and deeper into my faith, I’m starting to get a better grasp of the concept. A loose, tenuous grasp. But a grasp nonetheless.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
While many beautiful things have been forged from the pain of the past five years, the one that stands out amongst them all is my relationship with the Lord. He waits for me in the calm water, in the disorienting waves, and at the shoreline. He catches me when I’m thrown astray and orients me when I lose sight of what’s important. As I run from the demons I’m facing, I run straight into His arms.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The Bible tells us that by carrying the Holy Spirit with us, we will attract the attention of the enemy. That our lives will be marked by pain, persecution, and struggle. The Bible also tells us that He is worth every second of pain and that the Lord will never leave nor forsake us. [easy-tweet tweet=”I believe that with everything I have in me and because I do, I will keep swimming. ” user=”@JaymeHull” hashtags=”#oceans”]I will face the waves with the belief that I will once again stand upon the shore.