July 10, 2015

The Up Side of Being Down by Sharon Espeseth

Jesus is in the storm.

My writing buddy and I are writing at Thunder Lake's edge. A slight wind is ruffling the waters and rippling the leaves. Looking across the waters, I see the well-treed area across the lake, the nearer jut of trees that hide the boat dock, and the overhang of trees beside our picnic/writing table. Ground shrubs complete a visual frame of the lake.

Looking down I see my journal, files for my work-in-progress, my thermos mug, and the dark shadow of my borrowed hat. This straw chapeau is full of holes that dance and flit like the ideas flickering in and out of focus in my mind. The sun's rays are soaking into, and healing, my formerly aching back--a memento of a month of moving.

Life has been crazy these past few months. Okay, make that a year. . . The seas have been rough and our boat, Hank's and my boat, has been tossed around like a toy boat in a lively toddler's tub. To back up my thoughts, the breeze has momentarily become a wind and a plane is noisily flying overhead.

Contrast this roughness with the peacefulness of this particular morning. I am learning more and more that Jesus is in my boat, in our boat. We can wake him any time and he will say to the storm, "Peace be still." Peace and quiet returns, maybe not always as quickly as we would like, but it comes.

Weeping may stay for the night. 

Call it an error in judgment. Or call it a lesson learned.

Last June we sold our special, personally designed home. As much as we loved the place, we decided it was too much house, too much garden, and too much lawn for our aging bodies. Our move included downsizing, selling antiques, and getting our home ready for the new owners. At the same time, we were working at our "new place" to make it more suitable to live in.

We had agreed to a rental-caretaking situation, as our landlord would be overseas for half the year. Alas, we had taken on more work than we had before. Good circumstances or not, we felt compelled to keep our commitment for at least one year.

It was a challenging year in many ways with health problems for Hank, illness and other issues in our larger family, and a bout of depression for me after nine years of feeling well. Our living arrangements added to our stress.

I give you all the credit, God--you got (us) out of that mess. (The Message--Psalm 30:1a)

Maya Angelou says, "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." To this I would add, We may have problems that seem insurmountable at the time, but we do have a majestic and wonderful God who can help us overcome waves of any size or help us live with the episodes of life that arise.

This past year we sometimes felt, "We (were) hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8) Oh, but there were moments of despair.

But joy comes in the morning.

Thanks to Our Motley Movers!
In the spring, we started looking for a home more our style. We are now living in half a duplex that is two years old and in good shape. We did more downsizing and our adult kids, sons-in-law, and a couple of their friends moved us. Each one did what he or she was able to do. Hank was in the hospital for the last stage of this move.

Although not all our boxes are emptied, this feels like home already. We are ecstatic to find a home that is more to our liking and easier to care for. We are thankful for all the prayers, emotional support, and physical help we received during this past year. God is good. Our friends are too.

Bobbi Junior, for one, sent me the following from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. "Praise be to the God . . . of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." That may be one of my writing topics.

For the summer, I hope to write at the lake, at my new desk, or in the shade on the front step. I also have a stack of books I'd like to read and reading is also a writerly activity, so with joy I carry on.
A Joyful Jumble of Writing
Oh, and did I mention learning more about my Canon Rebel T31 and manipulating photos online?

For further joyful experience, I'd like to spend time with our kids and grandkids. To see our GKs, you will have to look on my fb page.


  1. Coming out the other end of such a season brings with it a myriad of writing topics, doesn't it Sharon? I rejoice with you in your new stability. May your summer be one of peace and rest for both you and Hank.

    1. Thanks. for your comforting thoughts and prayers, Bobbi: May your summer be one of peace and rest for both of us. I do have lots to write about, and I will try to follow Sandi Somers advice to write short, but write often.

  2. A touching piece of writing, Sharon. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story Sharon.

  4. An encouraging post, and I connected with the Maya Angelou quote: "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."
    How fitting, we do sometimes make decisions, that we think are not the best, but not to let them reduce us ... a sum up for how you took on your challenge. Enjoy the summer!

  5. Sharon,
    Thanks for sharing so honestly. I'm so glad to hear you are now experiencing a season of peace in your life. None of us enjoy the rough seas, but thankfully we don't have to ride them out alone. Jesus is always with us.

  6. So glad to read that peace and quiet has returned to your (new) home. Thank you for sharing. It encouraged me.

  7. Thanks to all of you, my writing friends, for your support and encouraging words. I do look forward to the plans God has for me for he is giving me hope and a future. I will try to stop this summer and just revel in the joys God has given me. Blessings to all of you.

  8. Sharon,
    Well, I hope you get to spend your summer writing, reading and relaxing. And may God's joy continue to be your strength.

  9. Sharon, I'm adding your experience and wisdom to my mental bank, to remind me even now that God is ABLE and faithful!

  10. Thank you. I appreciate your blogs too, Ramona. Through our individual experiences, we as writers can reach many people. Knowing this, I believe, encourages us to write more and to cast our words upon the waters. God is truly able, willing, and faithful. Amen.


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