My Anchor Holds

Me standing in front on an anchor at the US Coast Guard Air Station, Traverse City, MI, June 2018

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. –Hebrews 6:19 NIV

As I turn the calendar page to the last month of the year, I mentally review the 11 previous months. Months, for the most part, I wouldn’t want to live over.

They weren’t bad. But you know how I feel about that word. I prefer “good” or “not so good” or “challenging.”

2018 was certainly challenging as I navigated the tumultuous waters of change, both wanted and unwanted, changes I initiated and changes that were foisted upon me.

From losing my kitty Rascal at the beginning of January (I still miss my little buddy) to the joy of attending my son’s wedding in June to DH’s retirement in September to dealing with eye issues to trying to decide what to do about Christmas in an empty nest.

Changes, decisions, uncertainty, joy, sorrow, disappointment, discouragement, hope, and lots of prayer dotted the days of 2018.

Hope is what got me through. And prayer.

Hope was and is the anchor for my soul. Not hope that everything will turn out the way I want, but hope in a sovereign God who has everything under control. Who has a plan and purpose for me. Who knows where I am, even when I feel lost, and knows where I’m going. Who’s all-powerful – He can make anything happen. Who’s all-knowing – He knows me better than I know myself and knows the end from the beginning. A God who loves me, faults and all.

Hope is what steadies this ship in the storms of life and keeps me from drifting away from where I’m supposed to be. Hope is the anchor I drop so it can dig into the bottom rather than hold me down by a heavy weight.

But note: I must drop the anchor. It won’t drop itself. If I leave it on deck, it won’t do me any good when the winds and waves batter me and toss me about, getting me off course and threatening to destroy me.

The anchor drops down deep and digs into the bottom, giving me security in uncertain times.

Prayer, on the other hand, goes up, ascending to the throne of my Father, who’s waiting for me to release my plans and dreams to Him, and trust Him with all my heart and not depend on my limited understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Once again, it is something I choose to do. I can try to figure it out on my own, but my perspective is limited, my understanding incomplete. I can try to do it all myself, my way, but I know where that’s gotten me before, and it wasn’t pretty.

I cried out to my Heavenly Father, and He was right there.  Indeed, as the old song goes, “He was there all the time, waiting patiently.”

I don’t have a whole lot to do to get ready for Christmas.

The house is already decorated, done in one day, thanks to my son, his new wife, and five grandchildren. The gifts are all bought, thanks to a day spent cyber-shopping. All I have to do is wait for UPS or FedEx to deliver them. Then I’ll wrap them.

The menu for our family Christmas dinner and gift exchange on the 15th and the corresponding grocery list are done. I’m not doing cards this year, except a few to hand out and a brief newsletter for a handful of friends and relatives. I do, however, have a few gifts I’m making.

So the next few weeks I’ll sit in my cozy chair by the fireplace and crochet. While my hands are busy with yarn and a crochet hook, my mind will mull over the past year, and my heart will rejoice because I know, whatever the future will bring, smooth sailing or turbulent seas, my anchor holds!

What are you needing hope for this Christmas season?

Cast your anchor in Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

There is a time to weigh anchor and sail, and a time to drop anchor and stay put. You, Lord, are that anchor that is always with me, on board my ship or holding me fast in turbulent waters. Thank you. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalms 46 and 139

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

When Life Happens

How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog—now you see it; soon it is gone. –James 4:14 TLB

 Life can turn on a dime.

A 39-year-old wife and mother is diagnosed with ALS – progressive, incurable. One minute she’s raising her kids, planning for the future, and the next all those hopes and dreams come crashing down around her. How to tell her three children?

A 97-year-old woman losing her eyesight waits in a personal care home, longing for the day God calls her home. But before that happens, she learns she has cancer.

A 57-year-old husband, father, and grandfather is sent home to hospice care, which barely lasts a week, leaving his family devastated and his young grandchildren dealing with a grief they cannot understand.

A 59-year-old doting grandmother faces months, even years, of recovery after a head-on collision, which the other driver caused. Not to mention the insurance hassles.

A young man, 24, his divorced mother’s only child, loses his fight with drug addiction.

Divorce. Unemployment. Suicide. The list goes on.

When these things happen, you realize you’d rather deal with the question marks of life than the certainty of the long, dark valley stretching ahead of you. The valley of progressive, incurable disease. The valley of waiting. The valley of grief. But you have no choice. It is what it is.

How do you cope with the certainty of life’s uncertainty?

By focusing on five things that are certain (besides death, taxes, and uncertainty):

God’s love: unlimited, unchanging, steadfast, and eternal (Psalm 36:5). It’s yours for the taking.

“For I am convinced,” wrote the apostle Paul, whose life was as uncertain as a ship tossed on stormy seas, “that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 37­–39).

God’s presence. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). (See also Hebrews 13:5.)

God’s provision. “Look at the birds of the air,” says Jesus, “they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 6:26). He not only provides food, He also gives you rest (Psalm 23, Matthew 11:28), peace (John 14:27), and wisdom (James 1:5).

God’s sustaining grace. God didn’t remove Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7–10). Instead He told the apostle His grace was all he needed. God may not remove your burden, but He will give His grace to sustain you through the valley.

Your future. No, not your future on earth, but your home in heaven. “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

The mother-in-law of the woman diagnosed with ALS told her son to stress to the children not to allow fear of the future to rob them of joy with their mother today.

“In all these things,” writes the apostle Paul, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us” (Romans 8:37).

Yes, life can change in a heartbeat. But God – His steadfast love, unchanging grace, abiding presence, abundant provision ­–­ will never change.

Of that you can be certain.

What uncertainties are you facing?

Help me, O God, to keep my eyes fixed on You, not on the long, dark valley stretching before me. Remind me You will never leave me, never abandon me, never forsake me. That You are right here with me. Help me not to let fear rob me of joy, no matter what the circumstances. Amen.

Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 4:7–5:5

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Photo by Wilbur D. Huey. © 2016 Wilbur D. Huey. All rights reserved.