by Gail Rodgers
The story is told of three young men who had a dream. Their combined life savings bought them an old boat and they were to sail around the world!
Many months were spent repairing, replacing and refurbishing. Just as they were ready to set sail, news of an approaching hurricane reached their coastal city. They had a few precious hours in which to secure their treasure from the storm. A quick trip to the local hardware store was made and all the rope they could purchase was in their hand. They urgently began to tie their boat to anything they could. They tied it to the dock, to the trees, to anything that might secure it in the impending storm. As the sky began to darken and the trees began to sway, a weathered old sailor made his way across the docks. “Boys”, he hollered through the wind, ” everything yer tied to will go when she hits. Yer only hope is to untie yer boat, get out away from the shore, put yer anchor down deep, hang on and pray.”
I often think of this story when storm clouds appear on the horizon of our lives. We so often put our securities in things that are shallow and have no power to hold us when the hurricanes of life rip through our lives. At times of deepest trial the beautiful home, fashionable wardrobe, bank account or job title mean little in the face of what makes us toss and turn in the night.
As parents, we have a unique opportunity to help our kids find that anchor that will hold them even during the worst storms. We all know that no matter how strong we are as individuals, there are those times when we are rocked to our core and our very souls are bruised and even bleeding. It is then that we need something beyond our own efforts to hold us. For our family, it is our faith in a God who cares about us.
I recall when one of our sons went through a very hard time in about grade 4. We had rocked his world with a move, not only to a new community and a new school but also to an unusual home above the business we had purchased. He had his first male teacher that year, a sarcastic man better suited to communicate with high schoolers. This sensitive young boy could never figure out if this teacher was friend or foe. That year we had a troubled son. Mothers know that when one of their children hurt, they hurt too and it was a difficult year. It was our daughter, just a few years older than her brother, who reminded us how to anchor down. Her own faith in a caring God was already a strong fiber in her young life. She saw her brother’s anxiety and carefully printed on a small piece of paper these words, memorized from her own Bible, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” She taped it on the wall by his pillow so that when the bedtime worries of the next day troubled his thoughts he could read it. It was hope of help beyond himself. It was an anchor.
The years have come and gone since then and the young boy is now a confident young man. The little girl now a wife in her own home. Our second son is forging his path through senior high. All have found their own anchor in a God they know cares about them personally.
And I realize, faith has anchored our home. Though sometimes very strong and other times faltering, God has been faithful to us even in spite of our own mistakes and short comings. He has proven to be an anchor that holds us securely when the storms of life rage, as they always will. As parents, we have proven that anchor over and over in our own lives.
As resourceful as we are in the early morning of a new millennium, we still remain vulnerable to the stresses of our individual worlds. As deep as the well of self goes and as high as individual potential soars, we know the resources of our own souls can run dry. We know what “running on empty” can mean.
Giving our kids an anchor beyond themselves is the one true and lasting gift we can offer them in this changing world. As parents, we won’t always be there to tend to the bruises in our kids lives or shield them from the storms they will encounter. But we can be assured that if we give them an anchor beyond themselves, though the storms of life may tatter and tear, they will not be shipwrecked.