“I Am Your Captain”
by Jenny Wilson
My husband and I recently attended the Love Like You Mean It® cruise leaving out of Florida for a fantastic five-day getaway to the Grand Turk Islands which included renewing, relaxing, eating lots of yummy food, and time to work on restoring our marriage. While it would seem like an easy thing to board a ship full of wonderful indulgences and unlimited rest and relaxation time, it took a leap of faith for me to get on, and stay on, that ship.
I am a mother of two beautiful boys: Noah, who is almost 4, and Justin, who is a year and a half. Nine months ago we received a diagnosis for Noah that he has autism. In a nutshell, the past few years since we first began to notice some changes occurring with our son can best be described as being strapped onto a rollercoaster where all you want to do is jump off and pretend that everything is okay, but you can’t.
As a mom, the ups and downs have been beyond difficult as I watch my son struggle daily with a deep desire to have some control over his life. It has been excruciating at times, and my temptation has been to escape somehow and pray that everything will turn out okay.
Flash forward to my husband and me boarding this amazing cruise, which we had booked earlier last year. The stage was set for us to leave. All of the arrangements had been made and we are ready to embark on an incredible adventure, which would include sleep, lots of food—did I mention sleep?—and special time together without the kids.
Sounds wonderful, right? You would think I would have leapt onto this cruise with no turning back. Well, prior to this cruise, as I mentioned earlier, we had been living amidst an ocean of struggles and I have been doing all that I can to try to keep our boat not only afloat, but also stable. As a mom, I have felt that it’s my duty to keep everything under control, so I’ve been expending all of my resources, including aspects of my marriage, to try and help my son. In short, I have been extremely exhausted.
Once I boarded the ship, I instantly felt my heart begin to pound as I wondered if I had taken care of everything for the kids before we left. Thoughts began to plague my mind that maybe this was a bad idea, that I was being selfish to take such a long break. My son needed me; how could I leave him for so many days without his mommy? I began to feel anxious and guilty for leaving. My mind was a battlefield and my guilt was starting to take control.
I took a few deep breaths and decided to try to relax and enjoy. We attended a few seminars and I began to enjoy the food and relax a little bit. I even slept in until 9 a.m. the first morning. Woohoo! But as the days went on, I began to feel more and more anxious and even had thoughts of getting into one of the rescue boats and paddling back home. I couldn’t let go of my worry for my son and I felt uneasy being out at sea so far away from home.
On about the third day of our trip, my husband and I were sitting on one of the decks eating our fifth meal of the day and were discussing some of the things that we were learning. As we were looking at the ocean, I brought up a quote from one of my favorite authors, Corrie Ten Boom from her book, The Hiding Place.
She has been an inspiration to my husband and me through her stories of immense forgiveness and trust in the Lord as a survivor of the Holocaust. I mentioned her quote about how when the Lord forgives us of our sins, He casts them deep into the sea and puts up a “no fishing” sign. We laughed and then randomly brought up a Scripture from the Book of Matthew and then finished up our meal.
Later that evening, we attended the night session where there was going to be a skit before the speaker came to share his message. The couple who got up to do the skit explained that they would be talking about the power of forgiveness and love. Just then, the actress, dressed as an elderly woman, began to speak in an accent and introduced herself as Corrie Ten Boom. She then began to recite the words of Corrie right from her book, The Hiding Place. She talked about how when the Lord forgives our sins, He casts them deep into the sea.
At that moment, our jaws dropped and my husband and I looked at each other, stunned. The Lord was speaking to us. He was with us and telling us something. Shortly after the skit ended, the speaker gave an incredible message and a follow-up question was asked and mentioned the exact same passage from the Book of Matthew that I had quoted earlier that day. Our mouths fell open again.
Right there in that room we realized that the God of the universe was talking to us. He was in the details of our lives and the details of my heart. I began to see that I was exactly where the Lord wanted me to be, on that ship out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The Lord knew my deep concerns for my children, He has known the agony I have been feeling over wanting to get my son the help that he desperately needs, He has known my sorrows and sadness and has been with me through it all.
Not only that, but He had taken me all the way out to the middle of the ocean to show me that He has always been and will always be the author and controller of my life. All the days written for me and for my children are in His book. He knows the outcome and He wanted me to let go of my fears and ever-present anxieties. God was speaking to me.
On our last night on the ship, a storm was brewing. The waves began to rage and the winds picked up as the boat rocked back and forth in the sea. Everyone on board felt the uneasiness that accompanies being on a cruise ship in a storm; yet all the while, I couldn’t help but see that this was yet another illustration from my Lord, reassuring me of His mighty presence and capabilities to steer our ship, to steer my ship, to take care of my family.
I began to reflect and see how the Lord had been whispering to me to trust my son with Him, to surrender all of my life to Him and to believe that He is the most capable of taking care of my family. The Lord wanted me to make Him the captain of my ship and I was beginning to hear Him loud and clear. The seas were rolling, risk was ever-present and yet, just like Peter who kept his eyes on Jesus, my heavenly Father was asking me to trust in Him.
It all came together in my mind and I began to pray. I began to surrender all of my fears and anxieties to the Lord. I asked for forgiveness for my lack of faith and trust in the Lord and asked God to remind me of His unending love and faithfulness. I recommitted my life and my family to the Lord.
I have been a believer for almost 18 years, and for the first time in my spiritual walk I have begun to completely trust the Lord. From here on, I know that things aren’t going to be easy. I know that the Lord wasn’t promising me a life free of trials and difficulties. Rather, the Lord was showing me that there are storms looming in the distance and troubles on the horizon, but that He is the capable captain and He has been the one steering my ship. “I Am” your captain, echoed in my head. I am the mighty God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the great I Am. The Lord is the able one, not me. I can’t do it, but He can and all I have to do is let go and trust Him with it all.
This cruise has been a marking point in our lives, an opportunity to hand the reigns of our family over to God. It was a freeing time to cast our cares deep into the ocean right next to our sins, as Corrie Ten Boom so eloquently put it. We are now free to sail amidst the storms and to truly trust our Captain.