Monday, August 26, 2013

When You Resonate with a Turtle and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.  Before you leave, take some time to visit a new friend.  If you decide to link up, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
*Note: This week and next week, we're giving each other a snapshot of our summers, thinking about how God has used this season (winter, for those of you in the southern hemisphere) to bring release, renewal, and/or refreshment.  We'd love to read about your season!

Here is the honest truth: I don't particularly feel like this summer was refreshing or renewing.  This is not inherently a bad thing.  I had incredible experiences, poignant and fun moments.  God moved. I breathed.  Life happened.  Good life happened.

And I sit here in the pew of my church while my husband and the rest of the worship team practice before the service starts and I ask God, What does my summer snapshot look like?  And in a moment, an image of a baby sea turtle making his way from the nest by the sand dunes all the way to the outstretched ocean fills my mind.

Our family got to witness this journey when we were at the beach in July.  Normally, the eggs hatch in early morning and they begin their trek to the waves in the cool sand.

This one was a little late to the party.  It was afternoon when we spotted this little guy.
I noticed a small commotion by the shore as I sat under the umbrella.  A man and his daughter moved northward in the shallow waves, continually pointing and exclaiming "Look! There he is!" My children were just a few feet away and their curiosity piqued.  They quickly joined up with the family, as did my husband and I.

In the crystal clear water, we gently started following this baby sea turtle as he made his way to the deep.  The waves would come and he would paddle.  Sometimes they would come hard and he'd be temporarily set back, having to make up for lost ground.  And sometimes, he'd be positioned just right and he'd soar over the crest and keep moving forward.

Such a little creature against such a powerful force.

Right now, my life feels a bit like this. I feel little and life feels so big. I am squeezed, hard-pressed on every side.  And there are days, the wave comes, knocks me back, and it takes everything I have to decide it is worth it to keep pressing forward.  Taking that pressure and using it to propel me into the very heart of Jesus, pressing into Him instead of the ways of this world.
The ocean is this sea turtle's home.  It's where he belongs.  Even so, it is not a place of safety.  There are waves that try to push him out.  There are predators from the deep and the sky who hunt for his very being.

We face unsafe surroundings.  We are surrounded by circumstances and people who try to steal our joy.  There are days we feel robbed, tired of paddling against the current, washed up, and afraid that we will be plucked out of this life.

Mourning turns to songs of praise.  Our God saves, our God saves.

The voices fill the words of the song.  The Holy Spirit interrupts my writing and I am enraptured by living hope.

We will rise with You, lifted on Your wings.  Our God saves.

Sometimes holding onto these simple words brings refreshment, renewal, release.  Trusting in Him, we know that, eventually, we will get to wherever He wants us to be in this grand ocean of life. Sometimes, we'll soar on the crest of the wave.  Sometimes, we'll feel dragged under by the undertow, or caught up in the riptides that will us in the opposite direction of where we want to go.

But no matter what we feel, the truth is our God is in charge of it all.  And sometimes, our job is just to keep paddling.
(Right now, "paddling" equates to finishing this book.  This week, I have to edit all my footnotes, write the appendixes, re-read the whole thing, and brainstorm more titles.  I could use some prayer warriors to carry me through.  I am so thankful that I have not made this journey without you.)
Are you new here? Welcome! We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture? Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Click here.
Want to show a sister some love? Tweet her post using the Twitter handle #sdgsisters. Make sure you check the # later for some great posts to read!
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photo credit: szeke via photopin cc (words, NLT)


  1. Dear Jen,
    Joining you in letting difficulties press us closer to Jesus and His love....praying God will lift you up and give you His peace and perseverance as you write, my friend :) hugs to you :)

  2. Just keep paddling. I like that, Jen. That's enough. God will keep us afloat.

  3. My boys know I stop for turtles. One balked at my request to help move a snapping turtle - LOL. I always wonder about turtles "saved" and put back on the side of the road they started from - and I wonder about how they manage to actually cross a road by the time I drive back by:) I feel like that often - two steps forward - one step back - like your turtle inching forward and thrown back - it's the hope and the not giving up that make the difference:) What a beautiful love letter from the Father you found in that turtle:)

  4. I live in a place where sea turtles hatch and return to the sea, and I've never seen anything like this! How beautiful, and how majestic is God's creation. I'm rooting for you to continue paddling this week :)

  5. I was able to see "pawikan"s (pilipino for sea turtles) hatch and it was super exciting. A girl in a bikini said, "There's seems to be a dried banana coming out of the sand!" And then little by little several turtles came out, and started marching unerringly towards the water. More and more people came to see, and take videos. There were a couple of stragglers, lagging behind, seemingly weak. The crowd would encourage them with cheers, and encouraging words. I was imagining the saints in heaven and how they are watching us, and cheering us on. Like the turtles who could not understand what we were saying, we can't see our cheering squad, but we are definitely not alone. :^) patsy

  6. this is true and precious and right. love.

  7. Jen, we share similar summers; the best thing that can be said is, God was daily as life played out. This post, for me, is among your most poignant, probably, because it touched me where I'm living right now. This season of grief seems to be never ending and I'm reminded of Aunt Esther who grieved for Uncle Clarence for more than 50 years. While I have no desire to re-marry, I also have no desire to remain, as I see it, mired in the grief and pray God will sell this farm -at a price that will allow me to purchase another- so I can move to be close to my family.
    In my morning devotions the phrase, "plod, not plot" resonated with me. Am I guilty of plotting because I want to sell out and move? I don't know but I hope not; I need the comfort and support of family, because there are so many times since Dave died, that God just seems so far away.
    Holding you up in prayer for your tasks to be completed this week.

  8. Jen, I can so relate right now! I feel like the cross-stitch in my youngest son's room that says,"Lord, watch over me, for my boat is so small and the sea is so wide." When I read your post, tears were creeping up in my eyes and I put my hand to my heart and ached with your words. Oh, baby sea turtles are so darn sweet and I am a sucker, but I don't envy their journey entirely. I am praying for you and I have got to find a way to meet you! Okay, I have money saved up and I am tempted to spend it, but I keep waiting for God-I just know it is for something specific...hmmm, to meet you and some other SDG women? Love you, sister!

  9. Jen, yes, let's keep paddling. Praying for you right now. Keep going, keep trusting, keep moving. I love your truth in that we just must trust in Him to do these things that are too big for us to accomplish on our own. xo

  10. Jen ~ What a lovely community you have build here ... thank you for the gracious open door, the warm welcome, the sweet women that have come my way!

  11. Jen, your post inspired me to post today! May you keep paddling and me, too! I'm trying to get our homeschool off the ground for the season. I forget how hard this is! Just keep swimming. Love to you.

  12. Wonderful illustration & photos! Thanks for the great post & for hosting & God bless.

  13. Oh those sea turtles are precious. Personally, I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad summer is over. The house sure is quiet without the kiddos home, but the quiet sure is nice :)

  14. Jen, I loved this post- I must have missed it initially, but just so sweet. Keep paddling, and just so you know this post encouraged my heart. Praying yours will be encouraged as you press on.


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