grief · love

Peace Seeker: Unpredictable Life

“Storms were expected, but they were incredibly unpredictable.” He paused here. “Storms ARE expected, but they are very unpredictable. Like in life.”

Gut. Punch.

My pastor preached on Jesus caring from Mark 4: 35- 41.

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Mark 4:35‭-‬41 ESV

I have always wondered how it must have felt to be the disciples. Can you imagine, literally sitting at the feet of Jesus, seeing Him heal and hearing Him teach. Seeing Him interact with the “unclean”, just KNOWING Him in that way. What a privilege!

But on that boat, their awe probably would match mine should I ever be on a small boat in a big storm. All of that was gone. All they could think was: “WE ARE GOING TO DIE!!!”

I remember going boating on Blue Marsh with my brothers and a family friend. It was finally my turn to ride the tube. And I loved it. And then I got bounced off. No big deal, right?

WRONG.

Apparently according to Mike and some others, Blue Marsh was home to all manner of monsters that nibble and bite. And while they were joking, when you see bobbing around in the water while the boat continues on without you…

It’s safe to say, I freaked out.

I mean, screaming, yelling, and in the midst positive that this would be it, I was going to die.

DIE.

I mean, it was not long until Mike circled back and picked me up. But still, my mind freaked out.

Imagine being in a small boat in a big storm.

Imagine.

And the Jesus you love, who performs miracles and delivers people from demon possession, who taught and loved, He lies there, on a cushion. Asleep.

I remember when Callan was young. He would refuse to sleep. And I would be exhausted. So tired I could barely function. Feeling alllllll the emotions and what do I hear? Lamar snoring.

SNORING. Completely oblivious to my emotional and mental freakouts because I was so tired.

I’m not saying Jesus was oblivious. I am saying He was so tired from teaching and being around all those crowds of people. He was fully God, but also fully man.

I remember the phone call, informing us a dear family friend had died.

I keenly remember that day the doctor said my baby would not live.

I remember the day the midwife looked at me, sadness in her eyes, and stated: “There is no heartbeat.”

I remember the phone call saying there was something wrong with my dad.

Storms are a part of life.

It is easy though, to watch someone else suffer. To bring them meals, clean, buy them a gift.. It is expected that storms will come, but we never expect what does come our way.

I feel often, when a storm comes, “God, I didn’t do anything to deserve this!”

When He chose to not heal my son, leaving us struggling to keep our faith.

Yes, struggling.

My husband grieves differently than I do. And sometimes I can accept that. Sometimes I feel alone, like he doesn’t “get” my pain.

My pain. My storm.

Just like I don’t get YOUR storm, your trial.

And while many of you don’t get my storm, so many of you have shown love and kindness. So many gifts and books, hand made or sent from Amazon. Gifts for my boys. Money. Meals. You often didn’t know what to say, but you loved.

THANK YOU.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
Psalms 56:8 ESV
(I encourage you to go read that entire Psalm 56.)

In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:4

“in God, I trust; I shall not be afraid.”

Is that hard to read? It is for me. I have fears. Yes, present ones. And yes, I know that fear is not from my Lord and Savior.

This verse convicts me. Brings me to a place of knowing “not by my own strength, but God’s.”

There is a word for that place.

Humble. I need to humble myself.

Compared to God, who am I? What have I accomplished on my own strength?

Chaos. The answer is chaos.

What has God accomplished on His strength?

For starters, He created the world. He created you. He created me. The list can go on and on…

There is a popular verse we say in times of trouble and storms.

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 ESV

I happened to notice verse 6 this past Sunday when Pastor J referenced the verses.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 ESV

Humble yourselves.

It’s a command.

hum·ble
ˈhəmbəl/
adjective
having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.

I am a lover of words and their definitions, so I quickly googled the definition of humble on Sunday when I noticed it.
And again, God asks us to choose. To choose between our accomplishments and our strength or His.

Storms. It’s a part of life. Sometimes those storms are small, no big deal. Sometimes it’s faith shaking, heart breaking storms.
And whether or not we feel adequately prepared or like we are “too good a person” for the storm we face, we face them.
It does not need to be on our strength. Our fear can be that of the disciples at the end of Mark 4.

AWE.

They went from “WE ARE GOING TO DIE!!!” to “WOW! THE WIND, THE SEA OBEYED HIM!”

They went from “Lord, do You even care?” to “wow!! He made the storm stop.”

Whatever storm you currently face, whatever storm you are loving your friends / family through, know this:

He may not stop the storm. But it doesn’t need to consume and overwhelm your heart and mind.

He cares. He stands there, nail scarred hands outstretched, ready to catch all you need to cast onto Him. You just simply trust him. Lower your level of importance and put your storm and yourself in His beautiful hands.

As always,
with love… Rachelle

P.S. email me if you need a safe place to ask questions. peaceseekerblog@gmail.com
I would be honored to hear from you.

infant loss · love · Uncategorized

Peace Seeker: Sharing is Caring

There is a lot about my life that has not been pleasant or easy. And on the other hand, a lot has been amazing and fantastic. There are a few “I regret” moments, but mostly I have learned in life to take the mountains and valleys in stride.

The lows can get very low sometimes. I don’t want to trigger anyone, but can I say this: Being a survivor of sexual abuse can make life incredibly hard some days!

The highs are amazing. Seeing a positive sign on a pregnancy test, that was one of my favorite moments of joy. (No, not pregnant. Don’t even ask!) Working together to accomplish a goal, and not worrying about work or social media or the Joneses … The joyful moments are worth hanging on for.

In more recent years, I have learned to appreciate just listening to people. Not for the sake of answering or bossing or fixing, but listening and investing and genuinely caring about people.

Typically when we think of sharing, we think of social media. We share photos of our lives, quotes, articles, opinions, jokes, our businesses. Some roll their eyes when politics or religion is shared. Some roll their eyes at the complaining or the sales pitch for yet another magic at-home biz.

We share things with people because we care. Opinions about all sorts of things, and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram have all made sharing even easier.

I love to share photos of my kids, my husband and I, meals I have made. I love a good political debate (respectful, of course). I love being connected that way. I have my own at home biz, Plexus. (Some of you rolled your eyes. I am sorry. I am not using this post to promote it, though given my title I really could! Haha)  I love to celebrate with you and sympathize, lend advice, or share tips. It is easy. It makes me feel connected on days where in person connecting just can’t happen for whatever reason.

There is a negative side. Online bullying has become a serious problem. Becoming a “keyboard warrior” is the new trend, and shaming/judging others is as easy as “tap tap tap” tapping on your keyboard.

In a time where Facebook has Marketplace for buying and selling, we also have a whole passel of people who do nothing but hassle, whine, and complain.

In a time where Facebook has Marketplace, and I can openly and honestly share about my struggle as a mom, a wife. Share openly about my views on things that legitimately matter, and encourage others. A place where I can post all day long about this, that, and the next thing. Except one thing.

GOD.

I really struggle to just pause and give Him credit. He has held me and sustained me, even through all this last 6 or 7 months have held. ]

He could have stopped it. Any of it. All of it. He could have put His “hedge of protection” around me and prevented any or even, ALL of this pain!!!!

That’s sometimes what I think.

And He could have.

I wish He had never allowed certain sins.

And I don’t have an answer. That’s not the point of this post.

Did you catch what I did earlier?

Up top, I mentioned about taking things in stride. I am taking credit for getting through the tough grit of life.

Do you know how when you discover a mom hack or a kitchen hack or a life hack and you’re like mind blown and never, ever return to life without it??

Yea.. that’s me. with God. 

We all have hurts we bear. We all have doubts and questions. We have loud voices disputing the Bible. There are hypocrites and sinners, disguised as followers of Christ. There are broken people, saved by grace, wondering what God’s plan is in the midst of their trial. There are broken people, seeking His face, asking for His forgiveness because they recognize they are incomplete without Him.

I am incomplete without Him. I am a sinner, saved by grace. 

You are a sinner, incomplete without Him. 

Life as a Christian is not a hot ticket, an E Z Pass to glory and wealth. You might pass Go, you might collect $200. You also might get hit by an airplane while crossing the street. Being a follower of Christ only makes me exempt from: 1) the consequences of my sin 2) despair when life goes sideways

Fear will still come knocking. Depression may still plague you. You still need to take medications and do your laundry.

but God. 

That phrase will never get old. That phrase will always make my heart skip a beat.

I am a survivor of sexual sins. I am a survivor of a car accident I should have died in. I am a survivor of burying my child. Not by my strength, HIS.

My life has held deep, dark valleys. My life has held mountain top experiences. My heart holds a desire to know why all these things happened to me. But my heart also holds the desire to bring honor and glory to Him in each stage and experience.

I am grateful for the opportunity to care for you, to share with you. I am grateful for this life I have been gifted. And while I may sometimes be tempted to smile and murmur Thank You when someone compliments my strength, I want this to be my public testimony. A public declaration of sorts.

I cannot take credit for His power in my life. He has rescued me more times than I know, He has held me up and given me strength. He has forgiven me.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV

He didn’t just give me strength and peace. He sacrificed His only Son, He allowed a way for me to come directly to Him in the thick of a life battle to ask for strength, wisdom. He asked His Son to take on the weight of every sin, in the world.

That is love.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I never want to take  a verse out of context, or misrepresent my Lord, but I believe that in this stuff. This gritty, tough, impossible stuff, He wants for us to come to Him and lean on Him. And that is hard to do, I get it. It is hard to trust someone who is not physically there, who you can see and physically lean on… IT IS HARD. He has never me down, not once. While His ways would not have been my choice sometimes, I also don’t know His plan, His will. And I don’t see the BIG picture that He does. But He is there, waiting for you to come to Him and trust Him with this life stuff you’re struggling to get through. I promise.

And now, I must close on the sharing. I do care, so much, for people. I hope this encourages you. I hope my caring and sharing touches you.

Email me if it does. You are loved, deeply.

Love, Rachelle