Hold Fast

Queen Esther was said to have been adorned with a “thread of grace”–an inward strength. This God-given grace gave her favor in her husband’s eyes and became a blessing to all her people. Proverbs 31:25 comes to mind:

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.

Queen Esther followed Mordecai’s wise counsel instead of falling apart when her people were threatened. She was certainly distressed to hear of her people’s plight, but she did not become ineffective with a complete meltdown. How can we be like Queen Esther? How can we have favor in our husbands’ eyes and hold fast when those big waves come?

Strength has been my prayer for months now.

Teenagers and Alcatraz

Fortified above the waves

The kids and I toured Alcatraz Island this month and it felt like a “full circle” occasion–a bonus occasion that would have never occurred if not for this latest season in our lives.

You can go back and find my updates from this fall on Instagram. I am thankful for McKenna’s beautiful post filling in the gap, as I haven’t focused on a post until now.

I recently revisited the events of this fall when the ladies at church asked me to speak at a ladies’ brunch. There simply is no end to God’s teachings through circumstances, through interruptions, but I will try to share one angle of our experience.

Alcatraz

Expect earthly decay

Our oldest son graduated high school in the spring and then, just as summer began, our church experienced a big interruption. We lost our church’s head pastor of 32 years due to upsetting circumstances.

“Decay” is to be expected in our fallen world, John 16:33:

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

We were encouraged as a church body to stand firm as the enemy sought to continue with his destruction. Hebrews 3:12-14:

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today”, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.

Alcatraz

Stay rooted

Our church body prayed corporately and thrived with more frequent fellowship, but we were still in a dark storm. We prayed through each crashing wave that threatened families and individuals.

Take heart! Hold fast!

The enemy was bent on destruction (John 10:10) and more than ever I felt compelled to pray for our family. I knew the enemy would love to thwart any victory–God’s victory found in biblical marriage, biblical parenting and in living for Him. Revelation 3:11:

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.

Then our son moved out, bringing another crashing wave, and I grieved deeply.

Raising Teenagers

Our kids have to find the way

We have a choice with each wave and hardship–go adrift with worry, what-ifs, speculation or turn to God with them? Will we be like Queen Esther with her “thread of grace”?

Or like Mary after her world was forever changed? Luke 1:38:

I am the Lord’s servant.

In their story, I notice how Joseph led Mary with the Lord’s guidance. Mary kept her peace while Joseph took action. He thrived in being able to protect and care for his wife.

I believe husbands, as heads-of-household, are made to take the brunt of all those crashing waves. As they stand firm and anchored through all the battering, we can bless them with peace, strength, trust and sensibility–it can be beautiful!

Flowers on Alcatraz

Beauty magnified

The peace, strength, trust and sensibility are all God-given, and we have to prayerfully practice abiding in those gifts. If, instead, we practice worry or entertain lies, we will soon be awash in them.

Entertaining a gentle, steady current of worry will lead us to the same destruction as a strong current of lies. Focus on truth and the crashing waves will make no difference to your bearing.

Those “waves” of summer were preparing me for a much bigger one headed in our direction, and the practice of trust would soon come in handy.

Weathering

Summer had just ended and hunting season was picking up. My husband had gone camping overnight and I fell asleep quickly as usual in the middle of my prayers.

I woke early to take our second son to help at an airshow. Just when my coffee was ready, I got the call that our oldest son had been in a vehicle accident. Our local hospital could not handle his injuries and he was being transferred to another. They were having a hard time keeping him stable. My husband was out of cell service somewhere in the mountains, but my God was right there with me. Hebrews 13:5:

I will never leave you nor forsake you.

On our predawn drive to the hospital, we were shocked to see the flattened truck. At the hospital we were met with the somber look of the ambulance driver and silence, no words of hope. Our only choice was to turn to the One who is Hope, Life, Love…the One who is Good, no matter what. We waited for an hour with no word until the only information was, once again, “we can’t keep him stable”.

The words of this song ran over and over in my mind, “Forever Reign” by Hillsong. Without even trying, practiced peace, practiced trust and practiced strength were keeping me stable. It was all God.

My husband arrived and, soon after, life support arrived for our son.

Mothering trials scripturally

Anchor Hebrews 6:19

My husband took the waves and I abided in safety. Hebrews 6:19:

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Jesus is our Hope and nothing can move us with our eyes on Him.

That day the sky was full of the air show, the helicopter with our son and then later a friend flying us down to be with him. God’s power was displayed innumerable times over almost a month of Stanford ICU.

Much of this is our son’s story to tell. My story includes a beautiful time of trusting God and seeing miracles. Family, friends, new friends and hospital staff all became the hands of God–carrying us through and saving our son’s life.

homeschool trip to Alcatraz

God is our Stronghold and He holds all life in His hands

Hold fast in those hands.

Many asked how I functioned with so much peace during that time–the only explanation is that it was God’s grace and God’s work. I abided in His promises and in the safety of my husband’s side.

Heavenly Father, help us practice abiding in prayer, in peace and trust during life’s interruptions. May we all have a “thread of grace”, letting our husbands bear the brunt of this life as we smile at the future. Show us what feminine strength looks like and may we walk in your truth.

2 thoughts on “Hold Fast

  1. I whole-heartedly agree that we bless our husbands when we keep our emotions from crippling us. But I find that although I may cry more and thus seem more emotional, my decision-making is often less emotional than my husband’s. I’ve been pondering why that is and I think it ultimately comes down to the fact that I have learned to embrace and control emotions rather than avoid them. My husband can look at a car engine or a dishwasher and instantly see the whole situation in 3-D while I just see a mess of wires and tubes and don’t know where to start. But I can look at a crying child’s face and instantly tell whether they are tired or hungry or about to whack a sibling while my husband just wants the noise to stop. We are differently gifted and need each other. Although in general we women are more emotional, it’s a gift to embrace. Kind of like a superpower. But every superhero movie starts with the hero learning to control their powers and until they do, they can really make a mess. Getting our minds in tune with God’s truth gives us the way to rightly order how we use our gifts for the benefit of our families and the kingdom as a whole.

    1. You describe our male/female differences so well! I love the “superpower” analogy and the hope that we can use the way He made us for His glory. Your husband is blessed beyond measure to have you as his helpmeet.

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