Storms of Life

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by CJ Peterson

When the storms of life hit, are you ready? These will undoubtedly hit, but are you prepared? Who is your Captain? Is He experienced? How much experience does your crew have? How many newbie sailors are on board with you (or is it you)? When you are sailing, there is a pre-sail checklist to do, which will also include knowing where all your safety equipment is on board the ship.

So, in your mind, allow us to take a trip…

It’s a beautiful, sunny day for your first trip out. Your Captain is a strong sailor, who has sailed these seven seas all His life. He designed and built this ship, so He’s aware of every nook and cranny, and has hand-picked His crew, knowing their strengths and weaknesses. He pairs you with a weathered sailor for your rookie trip out. This is a person with whom you connect immediately. You both have similar stories in your background, but he has the sailing experience you don’t. As a matter of fact, he’s the one who introduced you to the Captain, knowing the Captain would be good for you and would take care of you. You see, you’ve had a rough background, and you couldn’t give a fleeting thought about anyone else in the world. Trust was a luxury you couldn’t afford, but you have to eat, so you allow yourself to have maybe a ‘mustard seed’ size of trust in this Captain. At the very least, you can have food in your belly each day.

As the boat is cast off, there is a slight breeze, allowing the boat to sail calmly out into the ocean. The first few days are smooth, which allow your trainer to show you many different aspects of the boat, as well as the ‘what to do when…’ list.

On day four, the Captain calls you to Him. The way He maneuvers the boat, allows Him to also speak with you and get to know you. The Captain has a lot of insight in the world, how it works, and He shares many stories from the past in His sailing around the world. You drink up His words and enjoy your time with Him. He allows you to soak in His stories and experiences for several days before it happens.

You are woken up early in the morning by your trainer. There is a storm on the horizon, and the crew has to get ready and brace for it. With your heart racing, you run up on deck with the rest of the crew. You listen carefully to your trainer as he shows you how to use the radio, how to put on your lifejacket, and how to use the windward jackline. Afterward, you work with the crew to clear the deck and secure everything that could potentially move.

As you work, you suddenly realize just how dark it is around you. Even though it is only two in the afternoon, it looks as if it is ten o’clock at night. The clouds churn above you, threatening to open up any minute. You work as fast as you can as your heart races out of control. The pounding of your heartbeat almost deafens you, while many dangerous and deadly scenarios play out in your mind.

Feeling the Captain’s rough and weathered hand thump on your shoulder, you turn to look into His eyes. They are tender and calm as He gently asks, “Do you you not remember all those stories I shared with you? Do you not know Who created this vessel and Who its Captain is?”

“Yes-yes, sir,” you stammer.

“Then know that I will not let anyone out of My sight until we are clear of this storm. Things will happen that will terrify you. You will see things that will freeze you in its wake. When you get scared, I only ask you to do one thing.”

Remembering the stories He shared, you stand confidently, and say, “Anything You ask, sir.”

He crouches down, eye level with you. “When you feel like you can’t go on, when you lose sight of the security beneath you, when the storm rages so badly that you can’t even see your crew mates, I ask only for you to look to Me. I will take care of you. I need you to trust in Me that I will get us through this. Without the trust of the crew for the Captain, the boat will sink. If you have to come all the way up to Me, and sit with Me at the helm, then so be it. This is your first storm. After this, your trust will multiply with each storm you go through. You will become more confident in Me as we go through each one. I have hand picked this crew, knowing their strengths and weaknesses. They will help you in areas where you are weak, and you will help them in the areas where you are strong. That’s how it works. Trust them. Trust Me.”

With renewed vigor, you salute Him, and say with more boldness, “I do trust you, Sir. I trust the crew you have given me as well.”

Resting both His hands on your shoulders, He reminds you, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you. You are one of Mine now. You are part of My family. Trust Me.”

“I will, sir, but I may make mistakes.”

“You may, but  that’s life and you will survive. Keep in mind that at the end of this storm, you will live again.”

With that, He leaves for the helm to continue preparations. As soon as the Captain disappears, your trainer is instantly at your side, guiding and directing your steps, reminding you of what to do when situations happen, when suddenly the clouds break open.

Tossing the ship to and fro, you hold on for dear life! As the waves drop the ship below, into their cavernous depths, and propel the ship toward its peaks at mind-boggling rates of speed, terrifying would have been a calm word! It was during one of those plummets into the depths that you feel the boat tilt to the side where you are secured. With the water inches from your face, you look toward the helm and see the Captain through the window. Tears fill your eyes as you see the room glow. Pulling and tugging your way, you slip several times before you reach the helm.

Your lifeline snaps just as a hand appears before you, reaching down toward you. Before you fall into the churning seas below, you grasp His hand, holding on for dear life.

Dangling in the air, the only thing holding you onto the ship was the hand of the Captain. “I’ve got you! I will never let you go!” He shouts, and pulls you to the helm with Him. “Hold onto something! We’re almost through!”

You look around, panic-stricken. “How can you tell?”

With a look of peace, He gently explains, “I’ve been through many a storm. I have guided many through safely, and I will not give up until we are through this. I am your Captain. Trust Me.”

About the Author:

C. J. PetersonI was raised in a Christian military home, but it was far from tranquil. Like many young people, I left home as soon as possible, and went my own way, thinking I knew better. To me anything was better than where I was. Unfortunately, some of the choices I made led me away from the Lord, and sometimes that path was a dangerous one.
God is faithful, even when His children are lost and wandering. When I needed Him most, the Lord was there for me. He led me out of that danger and into a new life…a life where I am loved and appreciated. He taught me what ‘real love’ is, and what it’s supposed to look like through my family and wonderful husband.
Who knew that “Prince Charming” actually existed? I hoped and prayed he was out there, and I found him! He is a 24 year Navy veteran and the love of my life! With his encouragement, I rediscovered the creativity I thought I had lost a long time ago, and have begun to publish the books I have written through the years. The words in these books helped me through my struggles, and my prayer is they will help others.
The way in which I write my Christian Books, is unique to say the least. I am a realistic Christian. People are people, they stumble, they fall, they trip, but God continues to dust us off, and set us back on the path again, if we just learn to trust in Him.
The challenges faced in my past give me a perspective on the realities of living the Christian life that some people may never see. There are times we wander away from God…there are times when we draw closer to Him. In our arrogance we think we can make it on our own. However, the One who made this world, and who made you, has the answers, and thankfully, He forgives our impudence and petulance and loves us through it all. God is a God of love, mercy, grace, and guidance. He loves us and only wants the best for us.
Those who have read my books, describe them as encouraging, frustrating, and a wonderful read all at the same time. The same character that could have you crying one minute, will have you cheering the next! One of my editors, stated that ‘she was so into the story, that she forgot to edit, and had to go back to do the editing’.
I pray you will enjoy my books as well!

While the stories are fiction, the journey is real.

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