As we age, life tosses us about with increasing force. We find ourselves drowning in big problems: parents with dementia, rebellious children, divorce after long marriages, cancer, financial reversals.
The waves of life knock us all down now and then. One day we’re bobbing along as if in an inner tube on a calm lake. The next thing we know, we’re being churned up by a wave of disappointment or sorrow that threatens to drown us. How do we cope? Where do we go for encouragement? How can we get through it?
I lived an idyllic childhood in a fancy Chicago suburb without any life-storms. My brother, sister and I had a father of integrity who worked hard and brought stability to his family. We also had the best mom in the neighborhood; all my friends wished they belonged to her. Neither of my parents had an easy life growing up, but they had persevered, always giving the credit to God. Without our realizing it, they taught us how to get through the times of stress and crisis that were sure to come.
When I was a child, I envisioned myself one day writing stories for a living. But after marrying in 1969, my husband Nate and I eventually had seven children, changing my storyline significantly. Those kids, nearly all grown now, have been our greatest source of joy, as well as the cause of ocean-sized waves of parenting challenges.
My husband’s storyline veered from his original plan, too. A lawyer, he found his greatest job satisfaction in the real estate world of limited partnerships. But in 1986, when the government reneged on its promise to let investors make money in this way (by changing the tax code), his thriving business and our income went over a financial cliff, taking his family and 70 employees down to zero. We had six children at the time. That was a wave we never completely came up from under.
But the ocean-size wave that yanked our family into a white-water swirl nine months ago was my husband’s fatal cancer. We had only 42 days from diagnosis to death, and as I write this, we are still in the process of finding firm footing. But God always provides ways to cope and reasons for hope.
Should you need encouragement to get through your own waves of difficulty and the storms of change, just check back with this web site where the story continues.
As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”
So they took Jesus in the boat and started out. Soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and Jesus was sleeping. The disciples woke him shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
(Excerpts from Mark 4:35-41)