It was a lovely Saturday morning, and my husband agreed emphatically that my mom and I should visit the farmer’s market where our friend’s BBQ trailer was set up.
When Texans have had pork in the smoker all night, you get out your wallet.
So after I executed a magnificent parallel parking job in the congested farmer’s market entry, mom and I got out and meandered our way toward the food trucks, but first we had to pass the craft booths.
Before I tell you what God did there, you need to know that my mom’s visit landed between mother’s day and her birthday coming up, so I wanted to take her shopping for a combo gift while she was here. I had been struggling with the gift idea, though. Since dad went to be with the Lord only a few months ago, buying stuff seems trivial. I wondered what I could possibly buy that would have any meaning for my grieving mom.
The first craft booth we came to had this large, cheerful lemonade sign. I said, Oooooh, cute, and we stopped to look at it. Maybe this would be a fun birthday present, mom?
That is when our eyes moved slightly to the left and landed on a smaller sign that made me catch my breath and made mom’s eyes teary.
This speaks to me, my mom said.
It became church for a minute on the parking lot, with the Spirit of God coming up underneath my momma’s soul –her being encouraged and me swooning at the love of the One who tailors encouragement to fit the desperate needs of his own children.
It has an anchor, I said, Just like that man of mine is going to preach about from Hebrews in a few weeks.
I like blue, my momma said. It doesn’t really go with the colors in my house, but I like it.
Soon I was paying for that sign.
We brought it home and set it on the chair in the guest room. We kept talking about those words and how much they mean to us right now.
Then, only two days later, I came home from teaching school, and my momma opened up her Beth Moore Bible study that she had been plugging away at every afternoon while I was at work.
Do you know what the study was today? she asked me. It was about Paul in the ship, caught in the middle of a perilous storm, and how we sometimes find ourselves in a storm and might need to throw some cargo overboard but not pull up anchor. Never pull up anchor.
Just like that sign you bought me, she said. Keep the faith. Trust in Jesus. Refuse to sink.
And then… (Did you think that was all God had planned?)
And then a few days later we were in a store together, and we stopped to look at journals. (This is what a librarian and a librarian’s daughter do. We stop for paper.)
And flipping through the pretty covers, there was this blue journal covered in anchors.
Don’t you take sermon notes, momma? I asked.
Yes I do, she said.
Don’t you need this journal for your sermon notes? So every time you go to church you remember your Anchor?
Yes, I do, she said. And she bought it.
One time I heard John Piper speak about anchors. He said the thing about anchors is that they have to sink down deep into the bottom of the ocean, but they also have to be held onto on board ship.
Do you see? My momma’s sad heart determined to open up her Bible every day, plugging away at a Bible study. Faith keeps going even through the pain. Keeps believing. Keeps looking to God for answers and hope and strength. Holds onto the rope that is attached to the anchor.
And meanwhile God is at work –planning encouragement. Nice ‘n solid. And don’t you know he won’t let his precious children sink? Don’t you know he lets the storm rage, but we’re not going anywhere?
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…” (Hebrews 6:19 NASB)
And if he cares about my quiet little momma from Wyoming, I know he cares about you. He’s got you.
He won’t let you sink, so just hang on.