Three little words and a Bible story re-inacted on felt boards the world over have kept my head above water over the last six weeks.
The three words? Grace. Mercy. Peace.
For his final sermon at our church early in the summer our pastor once again knocked it out of the ball park. He spoke of how God whisper-yells these words, “Grace… Mercy… Peace….” over us every day. Even on the days we can’t hear it. The days where we’re up to our neck in muck or mundanity or overwhelmedness. It never stops.
When diagnoses are handed down, when jobs are lost, when babies are born, when the bills are due and there’s not enough money….
“Grace… Mercy… Peace…”
In our lives, when parents died, when a tumor was found, when trips to hospitals on the other side of the country were needed…
“Grace… Mercy… Peace…”
So, when it came to pass that Husband was promoted to chief and started the intense, intense process of Induction, and we closed on a house and had to move into it, and my back screamed, screamed, screamed….
We listened hard and sure enough if we listened, we heard it…
“Grace… Mercy… Peace…”
Andy has whispered it to himself in ‘resting position’ (think the most uncomfortable plank you’ve ever held). He’s said them in his head while doing sit-ups and push-ups in the frigid waters of Baker Lake.
I’ve carried boxes in the door and up the steps… Looked at the empty house that was mine to unpack, watched my husband come home at 8 or 9 or 10 or 11 o’clock after leaving at 5 in the morning weary, tired, and near his breaking point, and discussed spinal surgery, and listened hard for them.
And the story?
Moses parting the red sea and walking through on dry land.
On a whim I bought The Prince of Egypt in the $5 bin at Wal-mart for a special movie night for the girls. As I watched it with them I saw the Israelites–who’d just witnessed all ten of the awe-inspiring plagues and been delivered out of Pharoah’s hand approach that body of water and wonder if God had led them that far only to be drowned or be cornered by Pharoah’s army. And just at the last second, there was Moses raising the staff and the water stacking itself on either side of them, and the people passing through on dry land.
I read it again, to see it with fresh eyes.
A friend sent a private message on Facebook reminding me of God’s power displayed in that moment.
I read a blogpost or two that just happened to be about the same story.
And today the girls’ devotion was about, you guessed it,’ the parting of the Red Sea.
I remembered over and over and over again to look back and see the things that God has brought us through and to look forward knowing that a way will be provided.
Six weeks ago all that stood in front of us looked absolutely insurmountable. It was bigger than us. It was more than I could do or handle and all power had been stripped out of Andrew’s hands. Good things had happened–amazing and exciting things. Being promoted to Chief is the proudest moment of an enlisted sailor’s career, and purchasing one’s first house is nothing to sniff out either.
But how were we going to do it all?
Oh yeah… The God who can stack the waters of the sea up like walls and allow his people to walk by on bone dry sand is with us, and within us.
He has spoken Grace, Mercy, and Peace over us in all circumstances. He has provided a wide path beneath our feet on paths full of tears, and fear. Words like, “Andrew, your Dad died,” and “Val, your Mom has terminal cancer, and “You have a very, very rare tumor.”
One of my favorite words is “Ebenezer.” A stone of remembrance: “Here by thy great help I’m come.”
Today is an Ebenezer day. A day of seeing strong just how much we are surrounded by God’s breath kissing us with the words, “Grace, Mercy, Peace.” It’s a day of seeing how he leads us through insurmountable seas of circumstances on dry land.
Husband is wrapping up induction. This last day isn’t easy. In fact, it’s a culminating challenge meant to be a proving ground, a place to test his limits.
As he goes through this next 24 hours, he’ll whisper those words. I’m praying them over him.
Tomorrow, I’ll pin an anchor on his collar, and he’ll be called Chief from now on.
He’ll come home and sleep, and then start helping me with the unpacking that still needs done, the painting that’s been waiting, the home improvement projects we wanted to get done straight out of the gate but couldn’t. And we’ll keep leaning into Grace, Mercy, and Peace.