“God has a reason for your pain, a purpose for your struggle, and a reward for your faithfulness. Trust Him and don’t give up.”
Lately, TJ and I have been feeling overwhelmed. We are overwhelmed by decisions we need to make and where we are in life, in general. However, the one constant with our mind and heart struggles is that God has us exactly where He wants us.
I’m going to be completely honest…I am not in love with being a liveaboard. This has been the most stressful year of my life and it has caused a lot of anxiety for me. So much so that I, having never suffered from panic attacks in my life, have now had three in the last few months alone. Those of you who know me well, know that I do not like clutter, a messy home, or feeling largely out of control. While we have been on a boat, I have lost all those things. The boat always feels cluttered, messy, we are on top of each other 24-7, and I am definitely not in control. When people are living life on the hook–out sailing and cruising–the weather rules their lives. It isn’t much different being in a marina. The weather determines if we get to stay tied to the dock or if we have to run and anchor out because of an incoming hurricane. I also think I have a little bit of trauma from our bow line snapping in the middle of a lightning storm back in March because, now, whenever a storm comes (be it day or night) I get incredibly anxious and afraid it will happen again. Trust me, there is nothing like standing out in the storm, holding onto a giant lightning rod with your hands while trying to get a new line tied to secure your home to the dock. After being threatened by a man in our marina last fall over my parenting, I’m afraid to let Vivienne get too far away from me. I never wanted to be a helicopter parent. In fact, moving aboard was to help continue to be more of a “free range” parent and instead has turned me into a helicopter mom. Needless to say, I’ve grown disenchanted with this life. Little by little my excitement has been chipped away and led to stress, frustration, and anxiety.
God has us on a boat because that is where He wants us. That was how we (read: I) was seduced away from a home on land in Ohio. Well, that and I didn’t like the cold and snow, so sailing to tropical locales sounded awesome. The thought of being able to live in a smaller space with the ability to pick up and travel whenever we wanted was exciting. The truth was that God needed us to be on the coast because of how our life was about to play out. Had we been in the middle of Ohio when TJ lost his job, we would’ve been up a creek without a paddle. We wouldn’t have been able to start Cruiser Movers and try to find our footing after Noble Drilling sent our world reeling. Since we are on the coast, it has been the perfect place to start a water-based business and try to make a “go” of being entrepreneurs. However, with the course our lives have taken in the last eight months, it does not appear as though we will be going cruising any time soon; therefore, we are considering becoming more “settled” again somewhere in the South.
Being a liveaboard has taught me many lessons. First and foremost, I can live with less. I don’t need a closet full of clothes, handbags, shoes, and other random things. For a year I’ve lived out of two rubbermaid containers. We don’t need modern conveniences, though the word itself explains that they sure are nice! We haven’t had a microwave, coffee maker, dishwasher, freezer, ice maker, in-home laundry, or shower (other than a handle that pulls out of the sink)…and the list goes on. I’ve learned that is is okay to ask for help from other people. My stubborn pride has been put aside because there have been times when TJ isn’t home and I need help on the boat so it takes asking someone else to get it done. We’ve made new friends and been introduced to this subculture I knew nothing about coming from a landlocked background. People actually do live on boats…with families! I also must admit, waking up before dawn this morning and watching the sunrise over the water in complete stillness was breathtaking. In fact, the image used with this post was from this morning on the bow of our boat.
We aren’t moving off the boat any time soon, as we still have some big decisions to make, but everything I’ve written plays into those decisions. When the door to Noble Drilling closed we never imaged so many others would open. We have been praying for discernment regarding what to do and, if you feel like it, please say a prayer for us that we figure out where God wants us. He has given us many options–all of them good–and we need to choose a direction. God already knows how it will go, but for us living in this moment, it feels a bit overwhelming. Which door do we take? Where will it lead? How do we know which is the right one? This feels like a big mountain, and I hope by this time next year we can look back and realize it was a molehill because we had God to guide us all along.
~~All things are possible for those who believe. -Mark 9:23~~