Nearly a dozen years ago, David and I took our young family of six daughters and one son to idyllic Eleuthera for a family vacation. David had heard of the famed pink sandy beaches and we desperately needed a quiet family get-away (translation— no cell service) so we booked a beachfront home in secluded Windermere for what will be forever etched in my memory as a slice of perfection in life.
The memories are indelible. The moments still take my breath away and simultaneously make me weep for the simplistic beauty and precious youth now given way to adulthood in my older girls. When someone tells you time flies, believe them. You simply can not fathom how quickly your children grow up.
One memory more than many has always stood out to me as we played for endless hours on the beach, chased crabs, swam tirelessly in the cove and watched the girls dig holes and build castles for hours at a time. We’d walk the beach each evening before dinner and talk…holding hands and chasing beach birds.
Eleuthera had been struck a few years earlier by a hurricane and several of the damaged homes were left untouched by owners who lived out of the country and never bothered with the mess or cost to clean up or rebuild. One such home had been built perilously close the sea and as a result, lay beaten and battered, strewn across the dune and beachhead. Pieces of truss and timber still blockaded a portion of the beach and the home’s contents were destroyed after nearly two years of constant exposure. My husband marveled every day we came to that end of the beach for the home’s lack of sound engineering. Who on earth thought to place such a lovely structure so near the tideline? Why were there no pilings? Why was it build of wood frame and not concrete block? Who could be so foolhardy when the islands are known to be the target of so many hurricanes each decade? I think the wastefulness of resources and the remaining tragedy just baffled him. As a general contractor and a real estate broker— he just couldn’t wrap his head around who could be so dumb with such an expensive investment!
By contrast, the home we stayed in was on cement pilings that went deep into the island’s surface, the home was cement block with a cement foundation and a poured cement roof. As far as homes on the island go— it wasn’t the prettiest but no doubt it was the sturdiest. As the winds would howl, our little beach house must have laughed at their empty threats. For more than 30 years our rented home had withstood every hurricane and storm the Atlantic could throw at her— meanwhile the neighboring home down the way had met it’s fate within just a few years of completion.
This daily dusky walk we would take as a family became an opportunity for us to remind our children nightly of the importance of building their lives on the solid foundation of Christ. We personified that broken down beach house each evening and implored our young children to commit that imagery to their hearts and minds. We promised them— the storms of life will come. Heartbreak. Confusion. Faith-testing challenges and life-altering traumas are a guarantee…but the time-tested truth of faith in Jesus Christ ALONE will be the pillars that your life can be built on, remain intact, and withstand even the fiercest of hurricanes.
Years have passed. More than a dozen. Life has been beautiful and messy…Filled with blessings and at times heartbreaking and difficult. I could have never known then how many blessings David and I would enjoy together nor how many private and painful overwhelming odds we would face since those simple walks on the beach with our seven small blessings. Oh how I long to hold those wee ones again and kiss their salty hair and enjoy their little girl giggles!
As I sang tonight at a church gathering, praising and worshipping, crying tears of joy and thanksgiving, heartbreak and hope, I remembered that parable— that living personification that the Lord gave our family so many years ago on the pink sandy beaches of Eleuthera. I’m grateful to have had the rock of Jesus as a firm foundation in my life. I’m so thankful that with every storm, no matter how the winds howled, David and I dug deeper into the foundations of our faith and clung tightly to what we KNOW to be true rather than carried away with every whim and emotion we’ve experienced. We are blessed with a body of imperfect believers who encourage us, pray for us, and believe with us in God’s perfect plan, design, and sovereignty.
My prayer for you as a parent is that your eyes would be opened to the way the Lord reveals His Word to you and your understanding would be deepened as you experience His grace and truth this week. May you know His unwavering LOVE and STRENGTH as you face every trial that comes your way – and may you have, find, or seek the type of community in Christ that can help you bear the burdens of life.