A few weeks ago Krista asked me to describe what I was like as a little girl. As I described my memory, it stirred up lots of emotions. . . Some really great memories, so full of life and innocence and joy. Also stirred up sadness for lost dreams; and at the same time hopeful and inspiring to remember, because I know that little girl is still part of me.
View Sara’s home video from childhood
When I look back over my 29 years, what first comes to mind is the hard and painful times. The disappointments and failures that I have experienced the last 5 years or so, that have changed me in ways that I never could have imagined. They have also strengthened me and taught me more about who God is and how much I am loved, despite what life throws at me and how I handle it.
I’ve learned to be still in those difficult circumstances, and how to listen for God’s guidance. I’ve learned that peace only comes through giving and receiving grace. . .so simple to say, but very difficult to do. Its a process, and it is hard every time. . .but in the end is far less painful.
Someone once told me that, “only dead fish swim with the stream”. And for a long time thats what I did. I didn’t want to cause any waves, so I would just go with the flow. I had no idea that by shutting down and keeping things smooth, that my heart was dying inside. That by keeping the peace, I was depriving my soul.
Most of the time I didn’t even know what I was feeling. So when it feels safer to close off my heart and float with the current, I now fight that and allow myself to be vulnerable in those times. I’m learning that I have a voice and that what I have to offer is valuable. It doesn’t always feel good or turn out how I hope, and it isn’t natural or expected. . .but it matters. The more I risk, the stronger I become and the more I believe the truth – that I am valued beyond measure by my creator. My heart was uniquely created by Him and was meant to be shared.
When Krista first asked me to be a part of her blog, I was excited and thought it was a great idea. Then I put it off til the last minute and had a really tough time getting anything down on paper. I am really glad that I agreed to do it, for one to again force myself to be vulnerable and share, but also because I needed the reminder myself.
Some things I’ve found helpful in navigating my own heart, is music and writing. I want to share a couple things I’ve written during these really hard times that I’ve talked about. One of the many blessings in my life is my children, and I find that God often teaches me volumes through them. The first is a poem and the second is a story about my son. Both are a reminder that God is there, even when all I can see is my fear and all I can feel is my pain.
written November 2009-
Enduring the bitter waves of sorrow
Beaten and tossed about
From shores of doubt
Loss of control
Spiraling winds take over
alone, forgotten, hopeless, empty
Deeper, deeper. . . .darkness..
Whispers through the noise
Cant see, cant feel, cant smell, cant touch…
I can almost hear. . .
Be still. . .
So much noise
Waves choking, can’t breathe
I am here
Let me hold you.
written July 2008-
A couple weeks ago my husband and I took our two kids to the pool. My daughter, age 7, jumps right in and is loving it! My son age 5, on the other hand, has his life jacket on, painfully tight, floaties on his arms, goggles on his eyes. . . he was ready! He says to me, “watch this Mom!”, and goes to jump in…and then changes his mind. Not quite ready. Instead he gets in the water with Dad and this kid is so buoyant it’s ridiculous! He’s practically floating on top of the water and he is SO excited. . .but at the same time, I can see in his eyes and hear in his laugh that he is also scared to death.
Michael is holding onto him, but Covy is reaching away from Dad with a white knuckled grip onto the edge of the pool. I can’t even help but laugh at the sight of it. I hear Michael telling him, “Just let go, daddy’s got you” and as he tries to pry his little fingers from the edge, Covy lets out a scream that gets the attention of everyone in the pool. So….daddy backs off. Covy has to do it on his own.
After about two hours, we were getting ready to leave. As I watched Covy during those two hours, I was actually impressed with how much fun he appeared to be having, just holding onto the edge. It made me sad though, because I knew how much fun he could be having if he would just trust us.
Michael decides to give it another shot. He turns Covy toward him and he wraps his arms and legs just as tight as he could around Daddy. Whimpering the whole time, just loud enough that he probably couldn’t hear what his Dad was saying. . . .”It’s okay bud, I’ve got you…You’re okay, you have to trust me…” I could see Covy starting to panic a little as Michael tried to get him to loosen up and I saw what was coming. So I got closer and Michael and I together told him, “You have to TRUST Dad, you are NOT going to drown, You have to TRUST us, you have to TRUST us”, over and over.
I’m not sure what it was that finally gave him the ability to let go. Maybe he had no energy left to fight it. But when he finally let go, the joy on that little boys face was indescribable. He was floating all over the place, saying “I’m swimming, I’m swimming, oh yeah, I’m swimming!!!” And for the last fifteen minutes, he had a blast!
I hope I never forget this story. When I start to feel overwhelmed and want to give up, thats when I remember I can. I can let go of my fears. I can stop trying to figure everything out. And I can trust God and focus on Him, instead of all the confusion and “what if’s” around me. He is my life jacket in a sea of uncertainty.
Sara Garcia grew up in Homer, Alaska. She lives in Warrensburg, MO with her husband Michael and children, Caitlyn and Covy. She owns her own photography business, OpenYourShutter. Sara blesses her friends with her creativity and open heart.