Updated: Apr 17
It's the reckoning that takes us off our feet. The pacing back and forth in our own minds that creates a suffering in darkness no man can escape. And yet - there is hope.
A hope of joy in the morning.
The ocean is my holy place.
I can only count a few times in my life when I've had the joy of seeing the sun rise over the ocean but every time I have...my breath is taken away in an instant.
This particular sunrise came over the Atlantic ocean one beautiful November morning in Pompano Beach, Florida. Feeling the heat on my cheeks grow warmer and warmer felt like a hug from heaven that I desperately needed.
Just a few days earlier, I arrived on the beaches of Florida for my 32nd birthday. An incredibly generous gift from a dear friend in a time of great exhaustion, confusion and heartbreak in my life. When I arrived at the hotel, I could hear the waves calling me before I even checked into a room.
I walked out onto the beach and met with the ocean once again. And I wept.
10 years ago...
“I am a speck of sand but I want to see the whole beach! Are my dreams too big? Are my aspirations too unrealistic and far-fetched? Don't tell me to go, don't tell me to dream, don't tell me I can do anything and then try to limit my options! I have this one life. That is all.” April 6th, 2009
At 21 years old, I was attending bible college at Southwestern Assemblies of God University striving to be a Marriage and Family therapist and finding myself absolutely miserable in the process. So I ran away...to the beach...for the very first time in my life.
"Well now I am at the beach. This speck of sand is seeing the entire beach! After writing that last night, I shut my journal, got in my car and drove to Corpus Christi, Texas. A beautiful beach. I have never been to the ocean before. This is my first time. So here I am laying on a blanket under the sun at the ocean. It is amazing. What I find so thrilling is that I managed to accomplish a dream I've had for 21 years in a matter of 24 hours. It was that easy. I just went. I love this freedom, this liberation, this power of control over my own destiny." - April 7th, 2009
I See God Here
A decade had passed since I spent the day with God at the beach in Corpus Christi . Now at 32, I was 2 months divorced and on medical leave from the anchor chair dealing with a level of depression and anxiety I could have never imagined was bearable for any human being.
I was a little girl running lost in a grown woman's body desperate for the shine of the sun.
And I saw the water...those waves crashing against the beach and the infinite horizon where beauty holds no end. Suddenly my broken heart was overwhelmed with peace, love and overwhelming gratitude.
That is how I know God is there. He is the only One who could give me peace that passed all understanding.
Weeping may endure for a night, but
joy comes in the morning.
Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved.”
Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong.
I spent the next two weeks watching the sun rise up over the Atlantic every morning from a 6th floor balcony. I was living and breathing a fairy tale. And I smiled.
I was at peace here. I felt peace. My life was still in shambles but at least I didn't feel so guilty about it anymore. I was accepting myself in all of my brokenness all at once.
A 14 day sigh of relief from the crazy I felt I had created in my own mind.
I could breathe again. I could feel joy again. I could see beauty again.
I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved.” Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled.
I cried out to You, O Lord; And to the Lord I made supplication: “What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
When I think about the sunrise, I think of a Pslam 30. It's believed the author King David knew the pains of suffering but in this moment - he is so thankful for a light at the end of the tunnel. He is praising God for all He has brought him through and acknowledging the pain and the suffering but rejoicing in a better tomorrow.
To me, that is the definition of hope. It is a reminder that even in the darkest of nights when my soul is troubled there will be joy in the morning.
Wherever I see the sunrise - no matter the scenery - I will always remember that.