We celebrated our son’s birthday with our first family beach trip since Covid. He asked if we could go to Sanibel Island, a place we’ve been to several times over the years. It’s a lovely place to visit, yet the moment he asked to go there I felt a wave of anxiety wash over me unlike anything I’ve felt in several months. As beautiful as Sanibel is, this was where we were heading 15 months ago when I received the news my daughter died.
We were visiting friends in Naples the day Melanie ran ahead to heaven and hadn’t yet made it to Sanibel. Our son asked if we would take him back one day and we promised we would. When he announced this was the place he wanted to go for his special birthday I knew in my heart I’d have to keep the promise we made. I always knew this would be one of the giants I’d have to face, sooner or later.
As the days drew closer to our departure I began to experience so many emotions. Just the thought of flying back into that airport had me reliving all the details of the last time I was there. I knew the exact gate house we sat in waiting for the return flight home. I could clearly see in my minds eye the corner of the restaurant I squeezed myself into, with my back facing the crowds as I made those dreaded phone calls to family members. I’ll never forget the sound of my son’s voice on the other end of the phone as I listened to his heart shatter as I shared this devastating news.
I’m sure some of you may be wondering why I didn’t tell my son we couldn’t go there and choose another destination. Yes, I could have done that, but I didn’t because I refuse to allow the enemy to steal anything else from me.! “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10 TLB)
That’s what I long for – life in all it’s fullness and to live the way my Heavenly Father intended for me to live.
We must refuse to allow the enemy to keep us hostage!
I also love what my pastor, Louie Giglio says, “Do not give the enemy a seat at your table!“
Facing the giants within you can set you free, and allow God to move you through the difficult situation you find yourself in. But first, you need to be willing to trust him, be obedient to him, and above all, have the courage to take the step out of the boat.
We ended up having a wonderful few days just being together enjoying the warm sun and sand. Yes, there were a few bittersweet moments but thankfully more sweet, than bitter.
On the last night as I looked out from our balcony I began talking to Melanie. I was thanking her for the gift of our beautiful Cameron. As I told her we were doing our best to raise him I looked up and there I saw it – up in the sky. A heart!
Oh, what a beautiful sign! I believe she was there with us, sending her love to our boy, and to us as well.
Thank you Jesus, for giving us the courage to face our giants. Thank you for giving us the courage to step out of the boat, and not allow the enemy to take us hostage. We are so thankful you have not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. With your constant love and never-ending support we will not give the enemy a seat at our table but look to you for restoration and healing. In Jesus might name, Amen.