It was a cool day and the sky was filled with misty, low clouds. The sound of the ocean filled my ears as I watched the waves gently crash on the shore. My husband and I had been married for a year and we were visiting his family in Southern California. I was being quickly introduced to an entire world that I never thought I would be a part of: surfing.
My husband was eager to show me the wonders of surfing that he grew up with his family, including his grandmother. We were on a beach that his grand parents had spent many weekends at during the 50’s and 60’s, surfing and living up the iconic surfing image. This was a big deal to him. And I was excited to be a part of something that was so important to his family history. How difficult could it be? I was a varsity swimmer in high school with Olympic qualifying times. I can swim. So, how hard can it be to swim on a board?
I was standing in the cold, Pacific Ocean, in a bathing suit that was not made for surfing with a body that definitely was not prepared for it. I tried with all my might to swim on the surf board through the waves, that were embarrassingly small, but couldn’t get enough strength in my upper body to do it. When I finally got out to a place where I could actually try this thing called surfing, I was frustrated, embarrassed, tired, and just plain angry. I sat on the board and half heartedly listened to my husband explain to me how to catch a wave. I had a lot of emotions swirling around inside of me, but at that moment I couldn’t articulate them. After trying several times, my ever positive and optimistic husband kept encouraging me that I could do this. Then I asked in a shouty-screaming type of voice to just leave me alone. And I started to cry. I didn’t know what I was feeling. But I didn’t like it. And I definitely was not having fun.
In those early days of marriage, my husband hadn’t learned that when I used a shouty-screaming voice to tell him to leave me alone, that I really needed him there. We women can be so complicated! So, he left me standing in the ocean with a gigantic board, having no idea what to do next. So, I did the most logical thing. I started crying more.
After a few moments, my mother-in-law was standing there. She has been surfing since she could walk. She reassured me that surfing is difficult if you’ve never done it, and that she wanted to help me. She gave me some pointers, and then asked me to get on the board. Through out this entire conversation, I was silent. Once I was on the board, she waited for a wave and told me to get ready, and she pushed the board forward at the perfect time, and I caught my first (and only) wave. It was exhilarating to feel the rush of riding the water to the shore. When I crashed landed among the sand and approximately 2 trillion rocks on the shore, my husband was waiting for me. He wrapped his arms around me and consoled me, while I cried and poured out all the emotions that had filled my mind and stifled my tongue moments earlier.
My friend, I had and still have no idea how to surf. But, if I hadn’t been given support and a big push from my mother-in-law, I would never have experienced the joy in it, nor the comfort from my husband. She knew I was struggling, and she was there to encourage and guide me back to the shore.
In the same way, this is what the Holy Spirit does for us. Paul tells us in Romans 8 in verses 26 and 27 (NASB):
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
When you are standing in the ocean of life, with pain, confusion, the nitty-gritty-slimy threads of emotions wrapping around every thought and choice; and you don’t know what to pray and so you cry; the Holy Spirit will be there to give you the push you need to ride those waves of life back to the shore. He is the One who stands in the gap to push us to the arms of the Father, when we don’t know what to say or do. And once we arrive on the shore, we are embraced in the only love that can heal the wreckage of our soul.
Beloved sister, there are always going to be waves in this life. Some small and full of bliss and glee. Some the size of tsunamis that can crush you. That isn’t going to change this side of heaven. But, when you find yourself in the midst of them, you can rest assured that when you’re overcome and the capacity to speak has somehow left your body, the Holy Spirit is there, interceding. He is pushing you towards the loving arms of God, The Father to embrace you, give you security, peace, and rest. I encourage you to spend some time in prayer today, in the quiet of your room, and just sit and see what happens. You may find yourself finally arriving to the shore you’ve been desperately trying to get to.
Megan Sinisi 30-something year old lady who is wife to an amazing husband whose love heals the wreckage of her soul and mom to 3 precious little tyrants whom she loves more than her own breath. She absolutely adores a good cup of coffe, chocolate and peanut butter combinations, being silly and laughing with her family, and chatting with friends about embarrissing moments and deep things all at the same time. She is a nationally and state certified drug counselor who has spent the majority of her career in the criminal justice system building bridges between the legal and treatment worlds. Her goals are to be a wife whom loves her husband fiercely; a mother whom her children will rise and call her blessed; and a faithful servant who will use the gifts God has given her in the arenas of counseling, writing, and speaking. You can read more of Megan's writings at myrenderingheart.wordpress.com