“…When he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matt 14:30-31
The waves of life have been higher and rougher this year than I ever imagined possible. In January a pillar in my life crumbled and fell. A man who has been larger than life for almost a century went from healthy and happy to gone in just 10 days. My grandfather was just short of having spent 70 years married to the love of his life when he left. January found me hauling kids on a 32 hr round trip to attend a funeral that I wasn’t ready to face. I asked God why and the waves rolled.
Just 30 days later, when news of a virus was still just a Chinese headline, an unknown person set fire to my newly remodeled production building. I wondered how we could possibly get through this. Throwing away dumpsters full of my beautiful handmade products seared through my optimism and resolve with frightening ease. I held handfuls of wreckage and asked God why.
Corona hit the states. The world went crazy overnight. Everything I (and everyone else) knew stood on it’s head. I wondered if work could continue on the building, wondered what would happen next, wondered how afraid I should really be. I watched people I care about shut down and struggle to keep their farms and businesses alive. I wondered if we could possibly survive a fire and this. I asked God why and the waves only got higher.
I applied for assistance. It was denied three times. I asked God why and the waves kept coming.
Things started to look up in May… lockdowns eased, the repairs continued, and then the world spun again. The city denied us permission to rebuild what was lost. We regrouped to try to make what was left of the building work. I applied for occupancy permits ready to get back to work–only to discover that our contractor and friend hadn’t pulled the proper permits… the city locked us out of our building. Frantic phone calls went unanswered, emails asking for the return of money that was paid in advance for work not done fell flat. Our insurance money was spent, our building wasn’t usable and the bitter winds of betrayal stung already wounded hearts. I sat on the unusable blocks meant to repair my building and asked God why.
During the summer we were told we couldn’t attend our Farmer’s Markets–even the one we’ve attended for 7 years. I watched as other soap vendors were allowed to enter and we were sent emails telling us to stay home. We were shut out of every summer and fall show as one by one Covid shut them down… most keeping the booth fees paid in advance. I asked God why and wondered which wave would be the final one.
As we headed into fall my heart took another hit when my best friend moved half way across the country. I struggled through dealing with RADS flare-ups in two of my children–likely brought on by the pandemic stress. Counselors didn’t know what to do. Friends didn’t understand. Family didn’t get it. I reached out for help and found none. They were struggling and I couldn’t help them. I couldn’t even find anyone who could. They acted out spewing venom at everyone in their path. Employees quit. Friendships were broken as people didn’t understand what was going on. I hit my knees and begged God to tell me why.
Then in October Facebook shut down our business page… the one we’d spent a small fortune promoting over the life of the company. This was the thing that carried us through the lockdowns and covid and it was gone. Nothing we did convinced them to bring it back. They didn’t even tell us why. This time I was sure it was the last wave. I couldn’t communicate with the customer base that’d been so supportive all year. I was ready to give up. I sat in the grass behind the burned out wall of my “halfabuilding” and sobbed. This time I didn’t even ask why. Instead I asked if I needed to keep going.
This time he answered–with a whispered promise that He wouldn’t leave me. “Why do you doubt?” He asked Peter. Peter walked on water when he focused on the Lord’s face. He sank when he looked at the waves.
I remembered the “angel” of a contractor that came and helped us get the permits for our building. The handyman who stepped in to finish the work. The city officials who helped me get back on track. The fedex crew who picked up orders for friends and family when they picked up packages to help keep us going. The customers who donated time, money, encouragement, a reason to keep going. These were the “face of the Lord” in the midst of the waves.
I got up and started filling orders one at a time–thanking Him for every one–I saw them as miracles. They kept coming. With no advertising. No means of reaching my customer base–they kept coming. They came so fast we couldn’t keep up. My amazing crew worked with me 15 hrs a day 6 days a week as we tried desperately to keep up. It was the miracle I needed to see.
We are a living miracle. We are still here; even though nothing in life looks the same. The family is still holding together. The building is still here despite a fire. The business is still here and growing–despite trials I never imagined a business could survive. Our customers have come through to support us in incredible ways. Even if God never tells me why the waves are so high, He reminds me that he still walks on the waves.
May my candid look at 2020 shine a light that keeps you walking… We love you friends.