A year later, my mom died. Nothing gets you ready for the loss of a parent. Even if they did offer a class on preparing for the death of loved ones, it still wouldn't anesthetize the pain of hearing the dreaded news. So I went into mourning, and two months later found out my dad had stage four lung cancer. He died three weeks later. My grief had been doubled in less than three months (Bear with me, there's a light at the end of this dark tunnel).
A month after my dad's passing, my wife was diagnosed with a tumor in her head. That was in April, and May found us in San Diego facing a major brain surgery and the rest of the year was focused on her getting better. Three traumas in a five month span.
By the end of 2008, I was in a low-grade depression, but still trying to fulfill all my duties as a husband of a wife post-surgery, father of three kids 5 years old and under, and youth pastor who's calendar was just as full as before all the surprises of the preceding year.
In 2009, our house was ransacked and robbed. More loss. In 2010, our cat died suddenly (Pet owners will sympathize). I also resigned from my position at the church that I held for almost 17 years and was facing the unknown. A walk of faith ensued, but it was scary at times. Money was running out. I knew that I knew that God had revealed to me that my time at the church was done, but now what, Lord?
Even after starting our non-profit ministry, we still needed to build our income back up. Financially, things were lean. But we trusted God to guide us and provide for us. Upon leaving my church, I had begged God if there was any way to let us stay in our home in Santa Clara. We love our house, we love our neighborhood (except when robbers drop in), and we love our school the kids are in. It was a long shot because those in the ministry know once you leave a church, it usually means a move. But God saw fit that we stay put.
Through it all, we experienced God's faithfulness and provision in abundance. In all the loss, the body of Christ was right by our side. In the uncertainty of our finances, we were still able to survive in the expensive Silicon Valley, and that is miraculous. God was our anchor through it all.
I paid our bills today. We're taken care of. Financial burdens that were looming for years have been lifted because of God's great provision and in His divine timing. Our ministry is established and we're not wondering what's next for us. It was a seven year season of white-knuckling on to God. We had no choice, but there could not have been a better choice if there were options. Yet, we need Him just as much today as we did yesterday or last month, or seven years ago.
Seasons are a part of life. And your season will not imitate mine in detail or duration. But what will remain the same is the anchor that is Christ. If your season is bleak, seems unending and unbearable, don't let go. It is for a while only. And when things aren't so heavy, keep a tight grip. We never know what tomorrow may bring, but one thing that is solid, our Anchor holds.