Of all my most cherished photographs there is one that stands out.
There are pictures illustrating wedding day jitters, and another portraying a perfectly wrinkled newborn smirking in her sleep. There is one that captures the rare occurrence of me and my siblings embracing, and another of my daughter warily taking her first steps.
And then there is the picture I hold closest to my heart…
a picture of when I had nearly given up.
The summer sun illuminating the smile I had purposefully painted on my face doesn’t fool me. At the exact time this picture was taken my husband had been sleeping on the couch for weeks, and the broken promises within our marriage easily outnumbered the wedding gifts we had received just two years earlier! We had run out of things to say and even worse, reasons to keep trying to make it work!
…And it was going to get worse!
At the time this picture was taken, I could have never known that there were more lies bubbling to the surface, more fits of tears in store (that were oftentimes so intense, I questioned whether my heart would physically give out) And even more difficult for me to admit, a bout of depression that would have me questioning whether I could endure any longer.
The picture that holds the most significance to me is one taken amidst a raging storm in my life. A storm that pains me to remember, but I am hard-pressed to never forget!
A storm much like what was described in the Bible…
“The waters of the flood came and covered the Earth…
All the underground waters erupted from the Earth and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky…
The rain continued to fall…
The floodwaters grew deeper…
As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface.”
Genesis 7:10-12, 17-18
This violent storm that the Bible is referring to is the flood, and from the sound of its enormity it sounds much like the ’emotional storms’ I have found myself in!
…When bad luck seemed to fall ‘ in mighty torrents from the sky’…when my seemingly happy existence ‘erupted’ into something barely recognizable …When my trials got deeper… and deeper… and each new wave of trouble threatened to overtake me….
Yet, the Lord kept me safe.
After all I am here to tell you about it, aren’t I?
God tells us that our lives will be full of many seasons, “planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night…” but in Genesis 9:11 He clearly says, “… never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood.”
God made a promise to the world (via a rainbow) that He would never again destroy all life, and that picture of me smack-dab in the middle of my heartache proves He never did!
Even so, my heart will always break for the girl in that picture. When I look into her eyes I will always feel pressed to tell her there’s no need to disguise her pain because I know she cries every night in a heap in the closet. Oh, how I wish I could remind her that when she screams out in frustration like a raging lunatic, it’s not a direct reflection of how ‘awful she is’ but how hurt she has been!’
… And that no matter how unfair a hand life has dealt her if she can withstand the storm just a little longer, the storm will settle ‘and she will not be destroyed!‘
Our God promises a life of varied seasons, so we can be certain that at times it is going to rain! Likely even that it will POUR!
But even when life seems most bleak… we will not be destroyed!
Even when we feel most weary… we will not succumb!
Because In God’s hands we will ‘float safely on the surface’ of every storm that comes our way!
Oftentimes it takes staring deep into the heartache of our past, to speak directly to the fear that is overwhelming us in the present. So this week: find a picture of yourself in the midst of the most turbulent storm in your life, and remind yourself that our God will overcome!
He did it before, He will do it again! ( and again!)