However, through it all, the Lord has blessed me. Tonight as sleep was evading me, my mind wandered to the story in Matthew chapter 14 where Peter tries to walk on the water. Jesus had just finished feeding the 5000 and had gone up into the mountain to pray. He had sent His disciples ahead in a ship. It was late evening and the winds began to increase and toss the ship in the waves. When Jesus came down from the mountain, He walked to the disciples on the water. At first, when the disciples saw Him, they were afraid, but Jesus spoke to them and calmed their fears. Peter asked the Lord if He would ask him to come to Him on the water. Jesus told Peter to come and he began to walk on the water towards Christ. As Peter walked, he saw the wind and the waves, he became afraid and started sinking. He cried out for Jesus to save him. Jesus immediately took Peter's hand and pulled him up out of the water and brought him safely to the ship. As soon as Jesus got in the ship, the wind stopped and it became calm.
Peter was doing it! He had faith to step out on the stormy sea and walk to the Savior. However, he lost his focus. He stopped looking towards Christ and began worrying about the winds and the waves. Once he lost his focus, his faith wavered and he began to doubt. That doubt caused him to start sinking. Christ was there though. Despite his lacking faith, as soon as Peter called out, Christ was there with His hand outstretched to lift Peter up back to Him and safety.
We all have battles in our lives, waters to cross with wind swirling and waves crashing around us. We will have storms to pass through. Maybe we start out with that same faith of Peter. Maybe the storm hits with such force that our faith is shaken right away and we immediately feel as if we are sinking. Maybe we bring on the winds ourselves or maybe it is the winds of others that cause our waves. Sometimes those waves are so high that we feel buried in the depths of the sea. The thing is, if we call out to the Lord, no matter the cause of the storm or the intensity of it's power, He will be there with His hand outstretched. His light will shine through the darkness and His strength will pull us through. He will not leave us. As we cry out to Him, he will be there to lift us back up, give us strength to withstand the storm and lead us back to Him.
Sometimes, a lot of times, we feel His love and strength through the kindness and love of those around us. Those here, doing His work and being His disciples. During this last year, and more especially these last four months, I have been so blessed with friends and family who have reached out and lifted me from the depths of the sea. Their prayers, kind words, listening ears, wise counsel, hugs, smiles and patience have allowed me to endure the days and feel God's love for me when I was struggling to feel it on my own. Covering for me at work when I had to be gone, switching schedules so I could be gone, leaving diet Cokes on my desk ☺, eating lunch with me and talking about nothing so I didn't have to think about things, sitting with me and listening when I DID need to talk, sending emails to let me know I was being thought about and prayed for, doing extra chores at home, flowers, undisturbed bubble baths, listening to me on the phone as I tried to convey my emotions, holding me while I sobbed, loving me despite my current craziness - those were all things that allowed me to feel the outstretched hand of my Savior lifting me up. Simple things, meaningful things, gifts of love, gifts of yourselves, gifts of your time.
Things are still hard. My heart is still filled with pain, anger, hurt, and all those other things I mentioned. I still go to bed wishing to wake with life back to how it was. I still wake up wishing to go back to bed and sleep it away. However, with all those emotions, I now have hope and love too. For that I am grateful. This Thanksgiving was harder than any other I have had. My heart was heavy and my body exhausted, but my heart was also thankful for the amazing people that God has put in my life right now. Despite the life events I am dealing with, I am very blessed.