Tides and Waves


I just spent a few days at the beach with my family for Spring Break. It was wonderful! My parents recently moved into a condo that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and I really enjoyed standing out on their balcony and listening to the waves come in and out constantly.

Sometimes they were gentle and other times they were quite rough, but one thing was certain, they were never still.  The waves kept coming and the tide rose and fell.

On our second day we set up the tent, chairs, towels, and toys and spent a couple of hours on the beach.  Then we decided to head up to the condo pool for a little while.  So we left our belongings and went up.  About an hour later we came down to find the ocean, which was at least 30 yards from our camp when we left, inches from our stuff.  We rushed to move everything before the water washed it all away.  If we hadn’t come down at just that minute we would have come back to nothing.

It really didn’t take long for the tide to rise. One minute we were very far from worry and danger and the next minute we were rushing as fast as we could to protect our things.

As I consider the daily life of a family that is dealing with a life-threatening illness I see a very similar pattern.  The waves are constantly rolling.  Sometimes they are gentle and other times they are quite rough.  There are days when the illness can be pushed out of the mind and life can seem almost normal but it is still always there.  The tides will rise and fall again. Just when they feel far from worry there is a moment of danger and the reality of the situation demands action.

I watch these sweet families rally around each other to adjust their home base.  To protect what is important to them and to hold fast to the items of great importance so the tide does not sweep them away.

That is what a legacy is all about.  Considering everything and recognizing the most important.  Choosing to make those things top priority and holding them high when the tides rise.

My sweet friends have a boy with special needs.  One of his special needs is his inability to breathe without a tracheotomy. Therefore he has a small button on his neck. This button cannot get under the water because he would choke, yet this boy desperately wants to be in the water.  So his dad, taking very special care, carries his precious son into the water and when the waves come he lifts the boy above the water so his neck would not be submerged. He pays special attention to the button on his son’s neck and keeps it above the water at all times.


Sometimes life is so hard. Sometimes it feels like the waves are crashing all around and threatening to wash away everything we hold dear. But just as surely as the tide rises it also recedes. We must hold high those things that are most important and ensure they do not wash away during the rising tide.

In addition, we must remember that our Heavenly Father will not let the water overtake us.  Just like my friend and his son, God will make sure that even in the roughest waves we will not drown. I pray you know that trust.

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  1. Michelle

    You hit the nail on the head Jill! http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michellelanham/journal/39

    “…I thought about our vacation in Duck and how everyone waded out into the rough surf. Sometimes a wave would so overwhelm you that all you could do was tumble on the rough sand and ride it out. Other times you could see it coming and brace yourself for it. Although a wave may knock you down, the tide was coming in and you would, eventually end up back on the beach. Friends and family were all around to sympathize with you if you got roughed up, cheer you on or offer a hand to get you back on your feet. Sometimes you would offer a hand and get drug along for the ride and sometimes it was you doing the dragging, we were all in it together…. we had a blast!

    That’s what Michelle’s cancer was like. Sometimes a wave of grief and despair would blindside you but the Grace of God would always spit you out on the beach. Sometimes you would grab a hand and regain your footing and other times that hand would not let go and everyone went for a ride. In the midst of all the tribulation and terror, there were moments of pure joy that could never have been experienced from dry land. “

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