Not checking the weather was my first mistake.
The sun was hot, the sky was bright, and by all appearances, it was a perfect beach day. We trekked toward the water with our towels, sunscreen, and a stroller full of gear.
The stroller was my second mistake. We made it up the boardwalk to find large dunes of loose, dry sand. After several minutes of trying to push through grains and burning my flip-flop clad feet, we turned back toward the house.
Trip number two brought more success, until we got to the actual beach. Then, the wind picked up. Twenty to thirty mile-per-hour gusts hit my daughter with such force, she screamed until I wrapped her up in my arms with a towel. With each gust, sand blasted any patch of exposed skin while my ten-year-old played in the surf.
After an hour, we’d had enough. I stood in the carport hosing sand off my daughter’s feet. She still wasn’t happy. Our neighbor heard her cries and walked over, his eyes both kind and inquisitive. I could tell just by looking at him, he was a local.
“It’s all about the wind here,” he said after hearing about our adventure.
Every trip outside his home meant consulting the weather channel. He looked at not only the speed of the wind, but the direction it was coming from. If it was coming from the Pamlico Sound side of the island, the bugs were out in full force. It coming from the east, the waves would be rough and fishing bleak. Life there in the Outer Banks was a constant reminder that you didn’t control the elements. In fact, they often controlled you.
Over the past month, I’d felt controlled by elements too. But it wasn’t the heat, wind or waves that made me lose my footing. It was my emotions. As a new season settled in, so did a fresh dose of discouragement. Lack of a routine made me feel like I had no compass. With the kids home all day, my quiet time suffered along with my writing, which went on the back burner. My anchor flailed, and I listened to lies of the enemy instead of clinging to truth.
Ever been there? You can see the light on the horizon, and you reach for it. But somehow, you can’t seem to reach it.
I’ve always loved lighthouses, and we visited two while on our vacation. One of them, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, was moved in 1999 due to erosion of the shoreline and shifting of the island. Even this brick structure, the tallest in the U.S., was subject to the elements.
But once moved back on solid ground, its light shined again. The foundation underneath made all the difference.
As my boys and I made our way up the 259 steps to the top of the lighthouse, I sensed God saying to me, “Come back to solid ground.”
Although the brick was painted on the outside, inside you could see much of the original red tones. These exposed bricks had a deep, rich color to them, like blood. Much to my surprise, two men in front of us broke out into a spontaneous rendition of “Washed in the Blood” as we climbed to the top. I couldn’t stop smiling.
His blood is my solid ground. My security. The truth in the midst of shaky emotions and lies.
And you know what? The same is true for you, once you are in Christ. Because of his blood, none of these core facets of our lives change:
1. Our identity
His grace covers us. The day we decided to become his, he placed his seal on us. (2 Corinthians 1:22) We are his daughters and we belong to him.
2. Our future hope
No matter what happens in the days to come, God is for us. Others may ridicule us, abandon us or misunderstand, but he will never turn his back.
3. Our access to the Helper
We weren’t created to walk through this life fighting the lies of the enemy with our own power. We were sent a Helper, who equips us with truth, leads our prayers and intercedes for us. (Romans 8:26)
Keeping our feet on solid ground is not a passive undertaking. It is daily battle. But the battle is worth it. And as we stand there on the Word that brings life, the arrows start to fall like dead weights. The elements may thunder, but they can’t overtake us. Because we’ve turned our eyes to the power Who controls them all.
If you need to shift your focus from a struggle or worry and see what God is already doing in your life, I encourage you to pick of a copy of my book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God. I talk more about the ways a simple shift can change everything. Many people have sent me messages saying it is a timely book for this season. This encourages my heart so much. I pray that God continues to use it to touch lives.
Here’s what one reader said:
“One of the most comforting books I’ve read in a long time. Author Abby McDonald writes from a place of vulnerability and truth, and she clearly writes to serve her reader. A sweet book full of honesty and wisdom.” -Brenda
You can pick up a copy of Shift by clicking the image below.