When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, (Ugh. Did I really just admit my illness, one with so many myths, judgements, and misconceptions surrounding it, online???) I felt ready to break—physically and emotionally. I thought the intense pain shooting through every ounce of my body would last forever.
I’ve since learned those waves, or flares, as the medical community calls them, won’t last forever, and knowing that brings incredible peace. Knowing there is an eventual end to the pain makes it bearable. And knowing God has a purpose in my pain, which He does, makes it glorious.
Life is like that, isn’t it? Stuck in the muck, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and defeated, to focus on the tumult rather than our Savior. But today my sweet friend and highly-valued critique partner, Majie Lane, shares some encouraging thoughts on these “waves of life” we all go through and what each one can do for us.
The Waves of Life by Marji Lane
My latest release, The Love Boat Bachelor is set on a cruise. It had me thinking all things oceans. Looking back on the last few years which comprise my writing life, I can see how waves of circumstances can change the way I think. Even the way I live. I could get fancy like the Starbucks down the corner and call the different waves Tall, Venti, and Grande, but I think I’ll just call my waves small, medium, and large.
The small waves are circumstances that mold us. The way God teaches us through daily life. They tend to take on the appearance of seasons – football, holiday, busy, vacation. Even more seasons if you still have kids in your home – prom, musical, contest, performance, the list goes on. All seasons that enrich, but also complicate our lives.
These small waves can give us a beating when attitudes are sour or other waves are overwhelming.
Medium waves are those that are more of the way we define ourselves. Our jobs, locations, and relationships make up the medium waves. I’m a wife and an author. I’m also a mom and a teacher. I’m a
Texan. I’d find it very hard to change that, but we’ve come close a time or two.
The medium waves aren’t usually the overwhelming ones, but they can throw in turbulence when they have a change. Even then, they only change our title and sometimes a perspective. They don’t actually change who we are.
The deep-water waves, those are the ones that can have the largest effect on us. They comprise the broader seasons of our lives: years with babies in the house or school children, supporting aging family members, retirement, having teenagers, being the aging family member that needs support.
In deep water, the waves seem to move slowly, almost imperceptive from the height of a cruise ship. In the same way, these particular waves of our lives change over periods of years, decades even.
It’s when any of the waves, especially the large or medium ones, are jarred that the Lord works in our lives. When the water shifts unexpectedly, He’s there supporting and strengthening us through huge directional adjustments.
But Jesus said He’d never leave us comfortless. (John 14:18)
When we are at our most vulnerable, we tend to listen to Him better. Pay attention more willingly. And we’re the most malleable. So that He can perfect us, His creations.
He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
When we are broken and humble before God, He can use us to do the work He needs us to do. And true contentment comes when we’re able to look at the waves we’ve been through and know that none of them conquered us. We can throw back our heads and smile at God, knowing full well He holds us close and will give us whatever we need to accomplish His work.
Your turn: What waves are you dealing with right now, and how is God using them to strengthen you?
Marji Laine, a homeschooling mom, lives with her husband, their four grown and almost-grown kids, and a spoiled black Lab in the Dallas area. When she’s not fighting for quiet time and a space of her own to visit with her characters, she’s indulging in photography, watching NASCAR, and lately helping her oldest with wedding plans.
She works part time as the children’s music director at her church, leads a college-aged Bible Study, and teaches high school writing. She loves acting in stage plays, sings in small groups and a large choir, and has a passion for sharing about the relationship that the Lord wants to have with His children.
She has so loved being involved with Write Integrity Press and their last four collaborative novellas. “What an amazing group of creative and talented people!:” Contact her at MarjiLaine.com or find her on Suspense Sisters Reviews, Facebook, Twiiter,Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+.
Romance is a joke.
After the love of Brent Teague’s life came back into his world only to marry someone else, Brent is through with women. He might be through with being a pastor, too.
Brent was so sure that God brought Mara Adkins home to him so they could marry and live happily ever after. Six months after her wedding to another man, that theory is obviously a dud. If Brent could be so wrong about that, who’s to say he’s not mistaken about God calling him to pastoral ministry?
Tired of watching Brent flounder for direction, Brent’s feisty older sister boots him out of Spartanburg and onto a cruise ship. Brent’s old college buddy manages the ship’s staff, and he’s thrilled to finagle Brent into the role of chaplain for the two-week cruise.
As the ship sets sail, Brent starts to relax. Maybe a cruise wasn’t such a bad idea after all. But there’s just one little thing no one told him. He’s not on any ordinary cruise. He’s on The Love Boat.
What’s a sworn bachelor to do on a Caribbean cruise full of romance and love? He’ll either have to jump ship or embrace the unforgettable romantic comedy headed his way.
Let’s talk about this. I know many of you are going through some very painful times. First, to those of you who have shared your struggles with me, know I’m praying for you. For all of us, may we draw ever-nearer to Christ when we feel ready to ship-wreck, for He is our strength, our comfort, and our closest friend.
To repeat Marji’s question, posed above:
What waves are you dealing with right now, and how is God using them to strengthen you?
I encourage you to prayerfully consider the latter part of that question, because that’s the glory-phrase. Share your thoughts here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.
I’ll share mine. Living with chronic pain has a way of centering one’s heart in eternity, which in turn gives passion and focus to my ministry. Each day I’m reminded that this sin-and-pain-ravished world is not my home, and that’s a reminder I need.