Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region
This past month, I’ve had the hardest time writing a single word because we’ve been in the limbo of packing and waiting for a move. Boxes stack to the ceiling and our closing date keeps moving, and we aren’t sure what’s happening. It’s disorienting, and the only way I know how to describe it is that it feels a lot like willingly stepping into flood waters. Everything is swirling. I’m not sure which way is up. I tried to orient by organizing and throwing things away.
I tried to orient with a yard sale, by making room. There a woman tried to get a better deal on a pretty pillow, but I clung to it, trying to keep my head above water. Finally I let it all go. None of it kept me straight. In this flood, the yard sale whirled by.
We’re getting another living area in our new house, and so to keep afloat, I’ve loaded cart after cart with beautiful rugs. I’m going to pick my favorite. I think it’ll be so grand. I close my eyes at night and see patterned kilim and cotton dhurrie. I cling to one. It’s going to be okay. Everything will so pretty, but then the rug sells out. Silly me. The flood has grown into a raging river, and I don’t know how I’m breathing in it. The shoreline’s a blur. The rug is gone.
It’s my children, too. I reach for them to keep me up. On the last day of preschool, my third-born sang, and my heart raced. I wanted to stand and say “No, no, no. Slow this down.” I’m reaching my hands out to grab on, but it’s too fast. The kindergartener only a few days later sang, “I am a promise. I am a possibility.” A great big yellow construction-paper sun beamed behind him and the rest of the class. I took photos of him and his best friend, all the promise in the world. I wanted to rip the sun down and fold it in my pocket, put it in a file. Before my oldest ran his first 5k, I held his face. He was just a baby. Now he runs toward a finish line.
There’s no time or space for friends. I hardly get it together for my family. Surely it’s a phase. I’m alone in the waters.
And then at church, we are singing, and I think I’ve inhaled the waters. I think I’ve gone under, and it’s getting pitch black, but then my feet hit hard, and I’m lifted up. It’s a root, a great big root, and I’m at the base of a tree, and I’m lifted. We’re singing praises. We’re thanking Jesus, and I see that I’m grafted. I can see it two ways. One way is temporary, and the other is eternal.
I see the whole rushing chaotic thing below me, how there is no other real way to keep above the slipping world than to open the eyes of my heart, not when a woman has four sons like me. Not when she has a past that threatens to swallow or a future that she can’t control. I don’t understand much right now. But I know this.
The only way to keep afloat is to cling to Jesus. He’s not moving anywhere. He’s established. The world will change in the blink of an eye, but Jesus Christ is the same. He was with me just yesterday. He’s holding me up today, and tomorrow He’s going to make sure I’m where I’m supposed to be.
Have you ever felt yourself overwhelmed by the flood when everything changes? How do your orient yourself?
By Amber at The RunamuckLeave a Comment
It has been a long time since I’ve been there. But it is coming soon. At the end of the summer we’ll welcome our second child (a girl who is due in late August) and then approximately a week later our oldest will start preschool 5 days a week. I know it will be sink or swim time. And I’ll swim with the one who walks on water. It’s the only way not to drown.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
When everything is swirling and changing around me (and I have recently come through a season of perpetual change), I have to seek my “true North”. And of course my true North is none other than Jesus. Like you, I cling to Him and when I don’t feel like I can’t hold on any longer, I know that He is holding on to me. In the vine and the branches passage, I am reminded that apart from Christ I can do NOTHING. These times of swirling change have deepened my dependence on the Lord and have drawn me even closer to Him…therein lies the blessing. Praying for you in your time of change!
Your description of flood waters gives words to something I have been feeling in recent weeks. My husband and I just started new jobs; my ministry position ended it’s summer break and started meetings again; several of my friends are experiencing tragedies and heartaches; I’m going through a deep healing process with Jesus. Keeping my head above water seems to be a perfect description of what I have been doing.
The way I resurface when the flood waters seem to engulf me, is coming here to this community and surrounding myself with truth- in His Word, through friendships and by reading this community’s posts. His truth grounds me. I can feel the grainy bottom and stand up amidst the waves. Then I know I can stand firm and not be overcome by the flood waters.
Just the way you are doing. He suffered for all, even our feelings of being overwhelmed. He can understand everything…give it to Him while you cling.
Lisa, your reminder is exactly what I needed to hear, “He suffered for all, even our feelings of being (fill-in-the-blank with “loneliness,” for me).” I forget that His suffering was for all wounds, not just the obvious “sin” wounds. Thanks.
Sarah Mae says
I can feel this, the way you right it out. That’s some flood, my friend. And I’m praying for you right now.
“A great big yellow construction-paper sun beamed behind him and the rest of the class. I took photos of him and his best friend, all the promise in the world. I wanted to rip the sun down and fold it in my pocket, put it in a file.” This brings tears to my eyes this morning and I know that sun and this flood and when you describe the root? Oh Amber, this is my favorite. This is my favorite you have written. Just thank you for finding these words in the midst of the storm for so many of us to hold onto.
Diana Trautwein says
Just last year, we went through an old filing cabinet in the back shed and divvied up all of the ‘suns’ and other art work I collected oh-so-many years ago and gave them back to my now adult children. They were entranced, at least momentarily, and I looked at and handled every single piece with gratitude for a.) surviving their childhood with a semblance of sanity remaining, and b.) the strong feeling that this was only YESTERDAY and not 35+ years ago. Sigh. I love this Amber. A lot. Thank you.
Heidi Roseman says
Amber!!! I have 4 boys too 🙂 And I could relate to every single word….every. single. feeling. That might have something to do with the reason why I named my website “tryingnot2blink” 😉 I think we have plenty in common – thank you for this beautiful post!!
Keep clinging…and I will too 🙂
Christy Fitzwater says
This is perfect truth and beautifully said.
Wow..so.right.there.right now! Moving and job changes and schooling…
praying for your family as you navigate the waters with the One who created them. Praise God that we have Him as our anchor through it all!
I have always believed, but loss of job and family has weakened my faith. I never thought
anything could keep me from walking with Jesus, but my faith has faltered. I know I
have no place else to go. He has always been there..but today, it seems so black and cold.
I’ll pray for you today, Paula. I know the feeling of utter darkness…and looking back from the other side, it is wonderful to realize that Jesus is still there even when we cannot see Him or feel Him. May His arms wrap you today in a peace that passes understanding.
Shelly Miller says
I’ve missed your words and see the swirl, feel the cold flood rising above your knees and understand. I do what you do in this season, hang on to Jesus fiercely, close my eyes and let him pull me through it, praying and clinging all the way.
I so understand every bit of what you wrote! We are also in transition & I keep clinging onto my Life Saver, Jesus Christ! Thanks for sharing this! Blessings!
beth willis miller says
Love, love, love the flood analogy…and especially this…”I think I’ve gone under, and it’s getting pitch black, but then my feet hit hard, and I’m lifted up. It’s a root, a great big root, and I’m at the base of a tree, and I’m lifted. We’re singing praises. We’re thanking Jesus, and I see that I’m grafted. I can see it two ways. One way is temporary, and the other is eternal.”… beautiful picture… I wrote a blog post called “Comfort Measures Only” about a time I was overwhelmed by change and how I oriented myself…here…http://tinyurl.com/nqd7rhv
Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag says
I can relate somehow. I have two small boys – a 4 year old and a one and a half. We moved out of our first home around 3 weeks ago. We moved temporarily to a house near the new house that we bought. Our new house’s completion was a bit delayed so we had to rent for a while. Then, we will move to our new house most probably next weekend.
On top of this, I have a Management and HR consulting business and it’s peak season for teambuilding workshops since May. I’ve been conducting workshops for clients weekly last May and every other week this June until second week of July as of today.
As for my writing ministry, I’m finishing 2 books and 3 children’s stories.
It can be overwhelming sometimes and I hold to God for stability in my fast paced life right now.
anita roth says
Your post today hit hard . I feel to things are changing in my life. To many things for me mention but
what caught me was to keep a float I must cling to jesus, he is same he never changes. I so easily forget that!!!!!
Jessica Suggs says
Amber, Your post today was exactly what I needed. I am drowning, and have been for some time. We recently sold our house and moved to a rental which was not our original plan. My husband works 80+ hours a week and I’m working 40 hours plus caring for our 20 month old son. I miss my husband. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed at work. And by the end of the workday I have no energy to run after my son and allow him to climb me like a jungle gym. It’s summertime and I see all the stay at home moms having play groups and outings to the park. My son loves daycare and is thriving there, but I don’t get to do any of those summer things with him. I’m beaten and bruised … and now all my emotions are spitting out in this post. I’m sorry! I just wanted to thank you so much for your raw honesty. And the reminder to cling to Christ when everything around us is changing.
patricia mccurry says
thanks I needed this article today. theres been a lot of changes going on at our church,with friends,family prayer groups etc.I know Jesus is holding me above the flood waters but my vision gets clouded at times and I need to be remminded.bless you please pray for me and my family and church and all. I will be praying for you.
I’m so overwhelmed right now by the flood waters in my life. I know I’m standing on a solid root, a foundation of love, but the waters are still so far over my head, my hands can’t even break free to be pulled out of it.
Let go. Let the tears flow. Jesus is with you, and this storm will pass. Sometimes we just need to hunker down and wait. I’m praying for you right now!
Oh my, life is just a swift current, isn’t it? what a wonderful analogy! Things are always changing…except Jesus. wow. I needed to hear that today! thank you!
My flood came in the form of a Tsunami 2 years ago with a cancer diagnosis. Not only was Jesus with me, but he sent life boat after life boat with angels to carry me through (in the form of humans!). I was always held, and sometimes by many. I learned that “…when I am weak, then HE is strong.” 2Cor 12:10 and He is teaching me to let go of the stuff that I have been clinging to in this world, and cling to Him, and eternity. Hard lessons, but blessed as a student.
Ro elliott says
It must be flood season everywhere….Ann V said ” floods for ever change the landscape of our lives”…they don’t destroy them… But forever change them…. I am learning continually to fix my eyes on Jesus … Clinging to His deep abiding love…and His love provides buoyancy in the troubled waters….and like a buoy…I let His love steady me….I may tilt from side to side….but I will never sink or be flipped upside down …His Love holds us when we can’t hold ourselves….so very thankful for this…. Blessing as grace as His love holds you sure.
I needed to read this today, as I’ve found myself in a sea of change, a tumultuous storm. I know God is with me, even in the odd quietness of the storm. I can feel His presence and I witness it through others posting, such as you have done. He spoke through you today, letting myself and others know, we are not alone. Thank you for allowing Him to speak through you. I know I needed to hear it! God Bless~
Susan G says
The same way you are! By clinging to Jesus – the author and finisher of our faith. Keep your eyes ‘fixed’ on Him. It is definitely the ONLY way through – through the hard times, through the valleys, through the crooked paths, that onle He can make straight. And we always feel alone, but we are never alone – He’s right there with us, waiting for us to reach out and take His hand, waiting for us to trust Him with our future as well as our past, waiting for us to climb up into His lap, waiting for us to just put our whole faith in Him…and when we do…we find His peace…true peace.
Thanks for sharing with us all.
Praying for you where you are.
Only precious baby (18 :)) leaves for college in 6 weeks. That’s all I can say.
Change is overwhelming. I went from a family of 5 to 2 in a 2 month period. My oldest son was engaged and moved back home for the 4 months prior to his wedding, when he would leave home for good. My middle son had just graduated college and was home for the summer before he moved to the Bay Area to start his new career. My baby girl was about to go away to college in another state. She was the last to leave. I remember dropping her off at college and driving away. I think I cried for the first two hours straight. Now it was just my husband and me. I was a mom first and foremost for so long. How do you turn that off? I read once how you are so good at documenting the first times your children do anything. You know, the first tooth, their their first step, their first day at preschool, are all documented, photographed, etc. But that last time sneaks up on you. The last time you drive them to school or take them to get their hair cut. The last time you make them lunch. The last time you say good night to them as they climb up the stairs to their room…Change is hard. You adjust eventually to life as a couple again. You learn to fill the time with different things. Your house is a lot cleaner. But the one thing that did not change for me…Prayer. I prayed daily for my kids since I found out I was pregnant with each of them. To this day I still circle them in Prayer. The greatest comfort I got was knowing that although I could not hover over them any longer…God certainly could and would.
Natalie Alday says
Wow, Amber! I have been feeling the same way! Amazing how God will show you how “your feelings” can be “validated” through other’s feelings. I just got finished posting this to FB: “Sometimes leaving the past in the past is what needs to be done. There’s nothing I can do to change the past…so why dwell on it?
Yesterday is gone.
Today I will live it to its fullest
and tomorrow is to be dreamt about.”
And then I read your blog today. Wow, God is amazing. I was in a great job for the past 5 years. My boss changed and the new boss for the past 4 of the 5 years started showing his true colors. This is the first time I have had a boss that did not support his staff. He supported everyone else but his staff. I just couldn’t do it anymore. More work was expected of me, but no help was given. I found a temporary job to get me through, so I gave my 2 week’s notice in the beginning of March of this year and began my new job 2 weeks later. It was okay but it was not what it appeared to be. I was working from home, 15 hours a day, 7 days a week. After being there for 2 months, I gave my notice and for the last 2 weeks they started working me 18 hour days, 7 days a week. Unbearable… no time for anything. Now, unemployed and I have never not known what I was doing next. Financially we will be okay for 2 months, tight but okay. God has given me a job that will start in August…Change, change, change…not what I had bargained for…my daughter with her kids had moved out about the same time I started the new, nonstop job…my son just turned 16 and doesn’t like talking …. Holding on to HIM and taking it day by day.
I’ll keep you in my prayers. Finances & change all rolled up together are really scary … but as you said, and as Amber said … CLING TO HIM!! that’s all we can do!!
God bless you!!
Thank you for this!! I truly needed to read that at this very moment. I’m in a whirling flood and I’m trying to wait on the Lord but it’s truly scary as I wait. I’ve had my own in home daycare for 9 years and it’s been fairly stable all these years (every time I’d lose a child God would deliver another one within the month) but the past few months have been really bad … I had to let 3 children go last month for the safety and well-being of my family and it has been down hill ever since. It’s like revolving door of kids but more are going out than coming in. My husband and I are praying that God gives me direction … I believe in my heart that He wants me to be home raising my children (ages 7,10, & 16) but we can’t financially do that without me supplementing our income. My husband already works 48 hours at one job and another 20 or so for our church. Anyway, sorry for the rambling. I’ll be praying for your flood to subside and for you to cling to that root … as I try (with God strength) to cling to the root of the Lord, too. God bless you!!!
Natalie Alday says
Thanks for the kind words. I will be praying for your family daycare. I did that twice when my children were younger…so I could stay home with them. Then I put my girls in a local Christian school, while I babysat some of the Christian school teacher’s children. Maybe there is a local Christian school that you could put a flyer up about your openings. Who knows?
I couldn’t hurt.
My prayers go up now for you and your family as you go through this financial roadblock.
I am at the top of a clif feeling like the changes in my life are so overwhelming I might just fall forward. But, Isaiah 58: 8-9 says,” Then the light of my blessings will shine on you like the rising sun. I will heal you quickly.,I will march out ahead of you. And my glory will follow behind you and guard you. That is because I always do what is right. You will call out to me for help And, I will answer you. You will cry out. And, I will say, Here
I Am.” I don’t understand my life right now, but He does.
Susan Dominikovich says
“The only way to keep afloat is to cling to Jesus. He’s not moving anywhere. He’s established. The world will change in the blink of an eye, but Jesus Christ is the same. He was with me just yesterday. He’s holding me up today, and tomorrow He’s going to make sure I’m where I’m supposed to be.” I’ve just shared this with a friend of mine who just yesterday lost her little girl who was 8, to cancer. So sad. So glad she’s got Jesus right now. Thank you for this. Timing is everything. God’s timing.
Beth Williams says
Right now, in Upper East TN, there is change all around us. Not necessarily good change either. Just yesterday a number of my husband’s hospital co-workers in medical imaging (x-ray, CT, MRI) got “fired/laid off”. These are people he has known for over 20+ years. They taught him some of what he knows. Even though he is no longer working at the hospital–he is still working for the same company at a physician’s office doing CT. He and his co-worker are very job scared now. His co-worker can’t afford to lose his job. They always felt secure in their jobs–never once thought they’d lose it. This type of work is all he’s ever done.
He is having a hard time dealing with this. I guess you could say he feels as if he is going into deep waters with waves crashing overhead. Fortunately he is clinging to the one true and stable in his life God@!
Pray for all our medical people up here–a lot of them will get let go by both hospital systems. Times they are a changing!
How timely, how like the Father, to send this at this time, so perfectly explaining how I am feeling right now. Long story short, as with a whole lot of people, I am in an unequally-yoked birth family. I am born-again, they are not, or at least not yet. This gay marriage thing plays hugely in this scenario, and too long to get into here, but I am sure everyone gets the picture of the vast gaping hole that is opening in our family right now. The more I hold onto the Word, the farther away they get, but His words ring in my ears; “What profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?” I must keep my eyes on Him in these rocky waters, or I will surely drown.
Pam @ A Blossoming Day says
Amber you are not alone in this feeling. I too have been in this place and you’re going to survive because you know to depend on God. I remember one of the hardest days I felt like I was sinking under the water and began to panic because I felt like I would drown. I was submerged under the water to right above my nose, but I could look out. The current was very strong, but a peace came over me as I looked out and saw a huge beautiful oak tree on the side of the river. I was not drowning; in fact I could breathe. The words to a song, “This is the air I breathe, this is the air breathe your holy presence living in me. And I’m desperate for you” come to mind. God gives us life even in the lonely times. Don’t fret over not having time because of where you’re at with your family. God gives us time to raise our families. I understand because I am a mother of 5 daughters and there was a time I cried out to God telling him I don’t have time to clean all of the toilets let alone be social and visit with friends. I felt like he told me he knew where I was at in my life, relax, because he is the God of every second of the day and would work it all out for me. Do I get to visit a lot with friends? No, but we are so blessed with our 5 beautiful daughters and 2-1/2 year old grandaughter I would not trade it for anything.
Be at peace because God is sovereign and in control of everything. He wants far more for us than we can ever imagine what we desire for our children. He has the whole world in his hands. I am praying for you.
Marinalva Sickler says
I’m not saying a word about my situation. It’s so bad that I decided to let to God. Flood, drought, swamp… Sun, moon, bugs … I’m leaning on Him. It’ll pass. I got the final court results granting me the guardianship of my 8 years grandson. A phone call brought the news I thought wouldn’t happen. My foreign transcript from university courses are posted to me and soon it’ll be in my hands. The tears of many nights are dried and the singing are leaping in my heart.
Thanks for your message. What a comfort!
I feel emotions just like the ones you are experiencing. My job was cut out of the budget, thankfully I was offered another position but with a drastic salary reduction. My Dad is slipping away with a horrible disease, my Mom is depressed she is losing her soul mate of sixty-one years. Our daughter graduated from college and recently married. I realize these are all just a part of life. I would however, prefer one at a time. But through all of this and even right now as I type I KNOW God is carrying me. The tears, heart-felt sadness HE comforts me and gently whispers I am here. I often feel guilty to even have these feelings of hurt because there are so many others with worse problems. But I know I can’t help what hurts me it is what make me..me. God led me to your story this morning and for me to write these words. I know He cares and will guide me through all of the different phases of life. It is through Him that I put one foot in front of the other.
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