Safe to Shore

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Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”


Today was the day it all came together. Bits and pieces of a divine puzzle were fitting together before my very eyes. I could see work that God had done months ago coming to life and it all started with a prayer.

February 15, 2014

My precious Savior,

                        Help me with my unbelief. Fill me with confidence in your divine power and love for me. Help me to be more like You. Jesus, this is a bold prayer, but in order for me to be more like You I must experience the things that You do. So, I pray for stormy waters. When you were on stormy waters you brought your father glory because of your faith in Him. I trust you, and I know that you will guide me through these waters and bring glory to the Father. You are my protection and my shield. I love you.

                Amen.

I couldn’t believe I had the guts to pray that prayer. Part of me wanted to yell and rage, “Really God? That’s the prayer you answer? Not the 1 million I sent up about having a baby?” But then I laughed. Not a “this is so funny I’m going to pee myself laughing” type of laugh, more like an “I can’t believe this is happening to me on top of everything else” type of laugh. That laugh that happens after you’ve stubbed your toe, spilled your coffee on the crotch of your pants, and then witnessed all your life plans burst into flames before your eyes…that type of laugh. But a part of me was calm. I can’t explain which part of me, it wasn’t my mind or my heart. My mind was spinning and my heart was breaking. It could only be my soul. It doesn’t have a specific place, but it’s deep. The calm came from the knowledge that God’s plan is greater than mine. His ways are truer than mine; His thoughts are higher than mine.

My doctor had just referred me to a psychiatrist for my continuing mental health issues (I have a lot to say about that, but later). The possible diagnosis scared the crap out of me. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the storm I had prayed for.

I felt like the disciples in their little fishing boat making their way across stormy waters. I have trust issues, I have had them for years. I don’t trust people. The only person I felt like I could rely on was me and now even that was being stripped of me. My anxiety and depression make me doubt my own thoughts and feelings. Not because they are necessarily wrong, but because they are misguided. I feel unsafe in my own body. I never know what type of mood I am going to get. It’s, quite frankly, terrifying at times. At those times I feel like a helpless person in a little fishing boat with waves crashing over the sides and winds howling. I feel like I have absolutely no control of the situation. The boat is rocking violently and I am just waiting for a big wave to hit me and take me into the raging sea. “Lord save me! I’m going to drown!”

As I left the parking lot of the doctor’s office I frantically searched the CDs in my car for “my song.” It wasn’t really my song, it wasn’t written for me, but I felt like it was. I found the track, rolled down the windows, blarred the speakers, and sang at the top of my lungs.

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
You’re great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence You won’t let go
In the questions Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
Shining in the darkness I will follow You

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore
Safe to shore

I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

Fire before us You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms

The memory of the first time I heard “my song” flooded my mind. I was attending a youth conference with some of the teens from my church. At this conference we saw the band, Rend Collective, in concert. For the first time ever, I heard and fell in love with the song “My Lighthouse”.

March 28, 2014  

As I stood there in a sea of people, the lyrics of the song brought me peace and comfort. And not only that, but I could dance in my truest form to this song. I grew up Irish Dancing, so the stiff backed, high energy leg flailing comes natural to me. But there is something about mixing worship with Irish dancing (nerd alert) that makes me feel completely connected with God. I know it is me in my truest form. I love to dance and sing in the presence of my King and this song had it all – A high energy reel and lyrics that speak truth.

dancing on beach

Again the lyrics brought me peace and comfort. Tears streamed down my face as I sang “you are the peace in my troubled sea” and “My lighthouse, shining in the darkness, I will follow You.”

I finally made it home from the doctor’s office. Instead of feeling destroyed I felt inspired. I set up my paints and retrieved the very first painting I ever started but never finished. I couldn’t believe I actually started painting. For years, the thought of painting intimidated me so much that I wouldn’t even allow myself to think about attempting an original piece of artwork. Earlier in the year I started working on sharpie art, but that was the extent of my skills. Who knew all it took to give me the courage was one man professing his faith in Jesus Christ through his artwork.

March 29, 2014  

It was the second day of the youth conference and I decided to go checkout the resident artist, Connell Patrick Byrne. His paintings were beautiful. (You can check out Connell Patrick Byrne’s gallery here). I loved his apocalypse paintings. But the more I looked at his paintings the more I felt intimidated. I could never paint like that. I’ll just stick to my sharpie art.

Later that day, a good friend approached me and confessed that he had talked to Connell Patrick Byrne. He showed Connell some of my artwork (I had made sneakers for one of my teens as a Christmas present and she happened to be wearing them that day).

IMG_6981 IMG_6982

After seeing my artwork the artist told my friend he wanted to meet me. I was stunned. I’m no artist; why would he want to meet me? During the 30 minutes I met with Connell, he encouraged me to try painting. I confessed to him that I knew nothing about art, canvas, brushes, mediums, etc. He encouraged me even more and told me to paint for God alone, without fear of mistakes, and as a form of worship. I left the conversation unconvinced of my ability to paint but excited to try it as a form of worship. 

That night, during the Rend Collective worship time, I sang and danced along with “My Lighthouse” and I was inspired. I knew what my first painting would be.

There it was, an unfinished lighthouse that I had started over 6 months ago. Two weeks after I met Connell I bought some canvas, some paint, and brushes. I started the painting right away, but intimidation and fear of mistakes left the canvas untouched for weeks at a time. I would pull the canvas out and stare at it in 20 minute increments and then put it back. Every couple of months I would get inspiration for one portion of the canvas and I would work on it. But today I would finish it.

I finished my painting on the day the storm roared and raged louder than ever. I finished it on the day when I frantically searched through the CDs for my song. I finished it on the day that I praised my God and King at the top of my lungs, in my car, with tears streaming down my face. I finished it on the day that I truly understood the lyrics “you are the peace in my troubled sea.” I finished my painting on the day that I decided, no matter how big the storm, that I meant every word I sang, “My lighthouse, shining in the darkness, I will follow you.”

I reflected on my painting and everything that lead up to its completion. I started to see God’s hand in it all. These things might seem like minor coincidences to you, but to me they are reminders that God has gone before me in it all. I decided to record the lyrics of the song in my journal. I didn’t have the song on my phone so I went onto youtube and watched the official music video. Then I saw it, the publish date of the music video was on my birthday.

Now more than ever it felt like my song. A song I could Irish dance to. A song I could sing. A song that inspired me to paint. A song that reminded me of the faithfulness of my God in the storms of life. A song that reminded me of the prayer I boldly prayed back in February. A song for peace and comfort, praise and worship. A song that reminded me that God is the fire before us, He is the brightest, and He will lead us through the storms. 

photo 1 (3)  
Safe to Shore by Liz Eastlake

 

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One thought on “Safe to Shore

  1. just saw the story of how we met at the conference… i was very touched by how you were inspired by our meeting, i hope you are still creating your first panting show great promise…hope you are doing well… you can find me on facebook …

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