The Anchor of our Souls

At the end of each year, as the days darken early and everything seems to slow down to reflect, celebrate, honor, and gear up for a new year, I find myself nearly begging God for a word to carry as my banner as I march forward. 

Some years I fight the word, some years I plead for it… and then there was this year. In October, months before it was even on my mind to need a new one, He dropped it on me. Over and over. 

“But Lord,” I wanted to say, “I’m still working on Peace. Remember that word I didn’t want that You gave me anyway? Yeah, still working on staying in it.” 

Even so, He continued to whisper this new theme. A theme that, really, has been there all along. 

It’s been there sure and steady, foundational to every word before it: Peace, FearlessNew Song, Hope, Comfort, Rest, Abide, and Light. None of these life compasses would have meant a thing without it. 

In fact, Hebrews 6:18b-19 says:

Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

I know, I’ve already done hope (and for any of you who know me well, it’s become a life theme, not just for 2016) clearly God knew it would be the anchor of every word written of my life story.

See what I did there? 

Yes, the anchor’s name is Hope. And Hope’s name is Jesus. The One who tore the curtain so that I could be daughter.

In Him and through faith in Him we may enter God’s presence with boldness and confidence (Ephesians 3:12).

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10: 19-23).

The Anchor of my soul

THIS is my anchor. He is my anchor.

Yes, Him dropping the word anchor on me makes me think, What storms are You preparing me for, Lord? Yet, even as I start the question, I know that He’s been my anchor in every calm and every storm before today. And He’ll ground me, guard me, protect me in every storm and every calm hereafter. 

The word simply reveals what has been and what will continue to be.

Here’s the cool thing about anchors:

  • Ships sometimes need to idle and remain out at sea, so they anchor. The anchor holds the ship to keep it from drifting off course during the waiting period.
  • Sometimes ships anchor temporarily so those onboard can swim, explore, fish, play.
  • Ships might anchor to keep sturdy in uncomfortable circumstances.
  • Ships anchor to hold out through a storm, especially if getting to shore is out of the question. Sailors hunker down and wait out the rough weather, trusting their boat will still be on course and they will survive.

One sailor said, “Nothing is worse than being stuck on a boat in high winds for 48 hours or 60 hours [and] not having anchor faith. To reduce fear and be able to sleep at night, you want to know that you have an anchor that will keep you safe” (Sailing Britican).

Well friends, I’m here to tell you that my anchor is the safest one out there. He is trustworthy. I have Anchor Faith. Oh Lord, help me to have Anchor Faith!

Heading into 2020

As we head into 2020, I’m prepared to carry on in the abiding Shalom of last year, armed with the strong and trustworthy anchor of my soul. 

A prophetic word was prayed over me this last year. The prayer warrior said, as she prayed, “I see a rope around you… and God is holding the rope. No matter where you go or what you do, you are secure in His grip. You can let go and trust Him. You can hold to His promises, that even as obstacles come, He has hold of you.”

This was in July… months before God would begin speaking the actual word anchor in my spirit. As the word has begun to grip me, this prayer has returned to me. He was already sowing the truth that I am held, secure, safe, and covered.

Ironically, I was asked to join our worship team for Church for the Sunday before Christmas. There was a new-to-me song on the list: Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor. Naturally, I chuckled. God, you’re good.

As I reflect on 2019 and peace, I see that He really did give us peace in multiple forms. Peace, at last, within the walls of our home. Peace in our marriage. Peace from various obstacles that are now resolved. But He also gave us this peace-which-transcends-understanding in circumstances unresolved. Wayward loved ones whose lives we sadly watch derail. The failing health of friends and family, even the passing into Glory of one sweet former foster child, Mayra. Storms around us which we can’t control. Lying lips, slandering tongues, sparks which light forests afire… peace. Insecurities, doubts, questions… peace. Fear, temptation, selfishness… peace. Peace which doesn’t make sense. Supernatural peace. Always available.

Peace that He, as our anchor, will keep us on course, regardless of the calm or the storm. 

A New Song for 2017

Abide. Rest. Comfort. Hope.

Another year gone, another word- but so much more -joins the list.

It was truly a year of practiced hope.

We’ve been raising a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder for about nine years… from foster care to adoption. It has been incredibly difficult and at times, I’ve felt helpless and hopeless.

My family has experienced trauma on a few fronts, all of which affected my marriage, bringing my husband and I to a year of counseling (which greatly helped). We also see individual counselors / mentors to help us navigate the emotional waters of raising a child of trauma (who re-injures in a home with other children.)

We live cross-culturally in a place we love, but in a place, all the same, that differs in language, culture, expectation, money, and norms. We weave in and out of Alemanish Germany, Alsatian France, and Northern Switzerland and a Christian conglomerate of individuals working together from every different denomination, from different countries, and from different cultures with a common purpose and many different ways of getting there. It would be enough to live within one of these cultures, but we daily navigate them all.

And to do that, we have to raise our own salary… which adds another layer of stress (I mean, opportunity to trust and hope and believe).

This is just a sampling.

Needless to say, the words abide, rest, comfort, and hope have been crucial to my last four years. Their deep meaning has carried me and comforted me and challenged me in ways I could never have expected. And as I said last year, each word continues on long beyond December 31st. They weave together into a more beautiful hug.

This year, for awhile, I thought my new word was going to be expectation. It’s close to hope… and I’m fine with a thread of hope continuing to weave through my life story. However, as I was recently on a walk and pouring out my heart to God, I heard myself asking Him for a new song.

Okay, that’s not a word. But I’m going with it.

My last few years have been heartache nestled among great beauty. I have so much to be thankful for, in spite of those things which have challenged me to the core. And, looking back at the me who arrived in Germany nearly five years ago… I’m a different person. Hopefully a better person. Certainly a person, though, that has been to the ends of herself multiple times. Who is clear that she is weak and only He is strong. Who lives in the constant reality of her inability to affect change in the circumstances around her and the incredible ability of God to be the Change-Maker. A person with deeper compassion for godly, loving parents who are struggling, suffering marriages, individuals with depression, the lonely, the lost, and the broken.

And I’m ready for a new song.

There are sweet glimpses of healing and growth and joy in my family’s future. This is where I thought expectation would be my anthem… but instead, I know the Singer and Dancer of my soul delights in this coming season with a new song.

A song of deliverance.

A song of joy.

A song of peace in storms.

A song of love.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

 

It’s My Book’s Birthday!

img_0189 It’s my book’s birthday!

A year ago, “Reclaiming Hope: Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting Foster and Adopted Children” hit the shelves. What dream-come-true that moment was!

I had spent much of a lifetime preparing for that book. Then I lived much of it for about ten years. I never planned on penning that story… but when the time came, this is the book that came out.

The story of the many ways we haven’t figured out how to do this adopting/fostering thing in a mess-free, pain-free, beautiful way… but we keep pursuing hope anyway.

I’ll be honest… while I knew that I wanted each chapter to end with hope, there were many chapters where I just plain didn’t have any. I had to dig deep. Go back to our original “why” for entering this parent-child relationship that has both exhilarated us and, at times, devastated us.

rhHundreds of people have purchased the book, either in print or kindle format. Okay, that’s not a NY Times Best Selling number, but it’s that many hundreds of people who’ve found and recovered and been encouraged by the message of hope in the book.

I’ve also been asked to speak on a number of occasions related to the topics of the book. In fact, on November 19 at 11:30 PST, I will be part of a radio talk show. You can listen in on the Independent Talk 1100 KFNX Radio station, the God and Country Show. I’ll be sharing the air with my editor and his wife (the talk show hosts), an author who recently published a fictional book on these themes, and a woman who works with Foster children in Arizona. What a gift!

God has opened many wonderful doors of opportunity, and in return, has filled my own cup with such encouragement.

Finally, since the publishing of “Reclaiming Hope,” I’ve begun five other projects. My debut picture book is due the end of THIS month (November seems to be a GREAT publishing month for me). A second picture book will be on the tail of the first. In the next week or two, my first journal, “Castle Quest Adventure Journal” will be available. Meanwhile, I’m finishing another non fiction novel while revising a young adult novel. Whew!!! The Lord has filled my heart and time with excitement for these projects.

I suppose I should mention that I’ve also been hired by a handful of people to edit and help publish their own books. Yes, more on that to come! I’m just finishing up a fantastic book by a local missionary, and about to begin editing a work that I know will be a loud voice in an industry that needs some strong voices.

If you want in on helping me choose titles, book covers, and other insider tips for my upcoming books, make sure to sign up for my newsletter and follow me on Facebook.

Happy Birthday, Reclaiming Hope!!!