Stormy Waters: Who is in your boat?

For those of you who follow my personal Facebook page, you know that my recent trip to counsel global workers started with a bang. I was sitting on a plane, minding my own business, watching a movie, when I experienced the most painful back spasms ever. If you have flown internationally, you know there is that time, in the middle of the flight, where the cabin is super dark and everyone is supposed to be asleep. I was trying to comply! I am a girl who flies a ton but in all those travels, I have never had the need to push the call button. I was humbled when I had to not only push the button, I had to engage numerous flight attendants to help me. (Shout out to Lufthansa Airlines…I am forever grateful for the care they gave to me! Carol, Caroline and Lauren literally held my hand, encouraged me, and did everything they could to help me through a crazy time.)

The rest of that day was equally humbling as the back spasms continued and I had to be transferred through airports in a wheelchair, transported with special equipment and given special assistance at every turn. If it weren’t for Lorrie Lingren, the CEO of Thrive Ministry, I would probably still be sitting in a concourse somewhere in Germany. Of course, the larger concern looming through it all was, how effective would I be once I got to the conference!?

Fortunately, once I got to the hotel and was able to take some muscle relaxants, the healing could begin. I also had Mary Ellen, our Physical Therapist on the volunteer team, who worked on me and our precious doctor, Cheryl, who walked me through the pain management. I felt close-to-fine once the retreat commenced and I was able to use the experience to relate to some women in tough life situations.

Our speaker was ironically talking about navigating stormy seas in life. Talking to a room full of women, engaged in serious work around the world, who live cross culturally…you might have expected the message to be one that gave them license to take a break. Instead she crafted her message with words like; keep going, don’t quit, trust the journey.

Our speaker referred to the familiar Biblical account, in Mark 4, where the disciples of Christ are in a boat with Him when they encounter a storm. While they fret, He is sleeping, giving them the impression that He doesn’t even care. But if you look a few verses back, He actually took them into that storm so He knew all along about the trial they would face and that He would calm the waves at the right time.

Life is full of storms. Everyone faces struggles that, in the moment, seem overwhelming. When I called my sweet husband from Germany, he was ready to hop on the next plane to come and save me, but I knew in my heart I needed to trust that God knew my struggle. I am grateful that I did not turn back. I would have missed out on connections with women who needed encouragement to stay put, keep focused, fight for good things in the world. My calling can’t be minimized because of a bump in the road!

Are you in a life trial where you feel alone and unseen? Are you unsure if the God of the universe cares for you? I am positive that He does. Who else is in your boat? When I look back on it, I had a whole team of people caring for me so that I could, in turn, care for others. Do you need someone to remind you not to quit, to keep going, to trust in the journey?

As always, let me know if I can help.

With love,

Sonia

Risk Big to Win Big

I went to Wheaton College, a small Christian college in the midwest where they take their academics seriously and their faith even more seriously. Students in those days were required to attend chapel 4 times a week. (I hear it is only 3 times a week now and that just seems lackadaisical to me, since I had to walk in the snow, uphill both ways….) I have some fantastic memories of my roommates and myself running up those chapel steps, especially late in the semester, so our attendance would count…yes, they took attendance. By senior year, it was common for students to feel a bit “put out” by this requirement. When you are busy planning for adulthood, things that feel authoritarian need to be put in their place.

I distinctly remember one chapel, my senior year, where the lecture was given by a favorite professor in the communications department, Dr. Em Griffin. He wasn’t my favorite as he had once been completely unsympathetic when I had the flu and had to miss a test, but everyone else thought he was amazing. My guess is, he was amazing and I had a bad attitude. His talk that morning had a repeating phrase as he imparted his wisdom to an auditorium full of students, “You have to risk big to win big!” He gave many examples about how life offers choices that require risks. If you always choose what appears safe, you might miss out on the big victories. The truly successful people in life are not afraid of risk. In the weeks that followed, my snarky-ready-to-graduate-and-get-in-the-real-world friends and I had some fun with Dr. Griffin’s phrase…yes, we had some fun with that phrase.

Now, a quarter of a century later, I remember very few chapel speakers, which is a shame. Wheaton invites amazing leaders and speakers from around the country, and the world, to their chapels. However, the words of Dr. Griffin have come to me at some important moments in my life and I have followed his advice and been blessed. Choices that were not logical to other people but were right for me, required me to risk and wait. Sometimes doubt creeps in during the waiting period. The fear that the risk might not have been worthwhile can scare the pants off any rational person. However, I have yet to regret the big risks as they often reaped rewards that went beyond expectation.

Part of my job as a counselor is to encourage clients to live life abundantly. We often get stuck in what we think is safe, only to find that safe can be limiting and can lead to dissatisfaction. Safe can sometimes be dangerous to relationships, careers and family life. It is an ongoing challenge in life, to run toward the potential in each of us individually, the potential in our marriages and families, and the potential in our life course.

What is it that you need to risk to get what you desire?

Moriah Ventures, LLC