Tidal Waves| By Stephanie Cain

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Over the last year, almost every area of my life has been stretched, prodded, or flat out attacked – especially my faith. A few days ago I was watching my son play in his walker corner when I had a flashback. A few years ago my husband’s family decided to go to the beach together. On that day, the water was rough – not enough for red flags but enough that children did not leave the shallows. However, as adults, we ventured out to chest height and jumped into the tidal waves as they rolled in.

One time I did not jump soon enough, and the wave swept over me. Suddenly, I was tumbling under the water with no clue what was up or down. My feet found the ocean bottom, and I pushed up, gasping for air as soon as the next wave rolled in. I was immediately toppling under the water again desperately trying to find the surface for air. This happened two more times until finally my husband caught me and helped me stand. It was such a scary experience that I stayed in the shallows after that.

Where I am now in life feels a lot like that beach. As soon as I find my footing and catch my breath, a new wave is rolling in on top of me sending me spinning again. However, Jesus reminded me of something He did while here on earth.

Mark 4:35-41 chronicles the time when Jesus and His disciples were in rough waters because of a storm. Jesus spoke to the storm and said “Peace! Be still!” The winds and waves obeyed him and stopped. Jesus reminded me that He does not just calm physical storms, but He can calm the waves in our lives. If we listen to Him as He speaks through the Holy Spirit to us, “Peace! Be still!”, we will see the waves that were engulfing are now a soothing ripple. This is not to say that we will not have storms. Of course we will! There may be times in our lives that the winds and waves are so loud and big that you can’t hear the Lord’s still, small whisper of peace.

Another time in Jesus’ ministry (Mark 6:45-52), His disciples were in a boat rowing against the wind. This time, rather than calm the wind with His words, the Lord walked on top of the water. He invited Peter onto the water with Him, and as long as Peter kept His eyes on the Lord, He walked over the waves too. This is HUGE! In those times when we cannot hear Jesus speaking peace in our situation, we look to Him and trust Him for every step onto the waves.

In my life, that looks like this:

A problem arises. I see no possible solution. Anxiety swells. Rather than allowing it to topple over me I say, “I can’t see a way, but I trust you Lord. I know you have a plan, a purpose, and it is for my good.” Take a deep breath. Move forward with my life one step at a time.

My hope is that these words encourage you today. Whether you are in the storm of life or not, I pray that you keep your eyes focused on Him because walking on the water is a much bigger adventure than hiding in the shallows.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

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Bring Your Brokenness| By Rachel Lukinovich

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Do you remember back in your childhood days, when you were just learning how to color?

Wasn’t it fun to scribble all over that white paper and make whatever your little heart so desired?

But then, all of sudden, you accidentally pushed down on that crayon a little too hard and maybe a little too fast. Then pop, your crayon breaks, and man are you bummed. You’re a smart kid so you ask for some tape and voila, the crayon is back to its former “whole” self. Or, maybe you don’t have any tape, so you just throw those crayon pieces right where they belong – in the trash.

Does this bring back any memories?

A few weeks ago, my 2-year-old daughter Ava, and I were making creative little pictures. Just as she goes to finish the round edge of her circle, snap — you guessed it, her crayon broke in two. She, like most small children, feels very similar about her crayons, and within minutes, this was our dialogue-

Ava: “I can’t use these crayons, mommy, they are broken.”

Me: (not wanting to waste and throw away anymore crayons) “You can still use them, even though they are broken.”

If the Holy Spirit didn’t slap me in the face, I don’t know what did! Instantly, it was brought to my attention that too often we treat ourselves and sometimes others like this crayon. Our minds have somehow come to believe that once broken, we need to quickly slap a piece of tape on our brokenness, and if that is not doable, we are no longer usable for God’s kingdom.

For years, mainly after giving my life to Christ, I believed the lie that I had to seem perfect or altogether, but over time, the Lord freed me of this and spoke truth into my heart. It is okay to be and appear broken, as long as our brokenness is being handled in the hands of our Father. Others might see our broken crayons like pieces of uselessness, but Jesus sees a perfectly capable art tool that He’s thrilled to create a beautiful story with.

Have you ever thought that maybe our broken crayons are what will make our story so beautiful? When we are broken, it is guaranteed that God gets the glory because our own strength simply could not hold us together.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Too often, we believe we need to quickly fix ourselves and tightly wrap some type of reinforcement to hide the brokenness – Why? Because a whole taped crayon looks so much better than a obviously broken one. Yet, reinforcing the crayon will only hold its strength for so long, and despite what its appearance may show, it’s still completely broken on the inside. The outer splint will only last for so long.

Our past hurts and mistakes do not define us, but that doesn’t mean we should slap a bandaid over a festering wound and call it a day. Wounds, mistakes, failures, shortcoming, hurts, – they all cause us to break one way or another. Brokenness takes time to be mended, a healing that can truly only be completely made whole and well by the grace, forgiveness, and love of our Father, Jesus Christ.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

We may want our whole story to be written with a perfectly whole crayon, but at the end of the day, if we keep our eyes on Jesus and let Him write our story, it will be so beautifully written, regardless if the crayon was whole or broken.

Instead of seeking quick fixes to tape us back together, let us keep our eyes fixed on our Savior and King, and let Him do the mending back into shape, even if it means we have to go through the fire to be melted down and reshaped. After all, we are His work in progress and we are His masterpiece.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6