When I was running the other day beside a small creek, I noticed this duck swimming against the stream. It stopped me in my tracks and saw that it was swimming against the current trying not to go over this ledge (it was small, no waterfall for the visual people). He would get ahead of the current and then you could see him start to drift towards the ledge while fighting again to break away from it.
That’s when it hit me. How many times does this happen in our life?
We keep trying to swim against the currents in life but feel ourselves slipping closer to the edge. Whether it’s with work, family, friendships, storms we’re trying to overcome etc. I constantly felt like this everyday after Rachel passed away. The few days it didn’t feel so foggy, I felt like I would make some headway but the next day be right back to where I was two days ago.
I’ve recently been going over emails that were sent to me around Rachel’s death and this one always sticks out to me because of the simple fact I didn’t even really know them. Let me give you a little background…
I was suppose to interview Sierra Anderson. She and her family had a show on TLC called Hook, Line & Sisters. I reached out to her one day over Twitter and we started to exchange a few emails. We set up a time to do an interview which happened to be that Tuesday after Rachel passed away. Somehow I was able to go through emails at that time and reschedule things with people so I didn’t leave them hanging (which at the time didn’t matter but I think your mind looks for any way to focus on something else). I wrote Sierra and explained I needed to reschedule the interview and told her what had happened. She wrote me back and was genuinely sorry about the situation and she couldn’t even imagine what I was going through since she had two sisters as well. Here is something she included in the email:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. I recently read Isaiah 43 ” Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name you are mine. When you are in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you are in rough waters, you will not go down. When you are between a rock and a hard place it wont be a dead end- Because I am God, your personal God…”
As I sat there reading this I could not believe that a total stranger had taken the time to write me this where we have only shared a few emails and were on two opposite sides – Florida and Alaska. The words she sent me were something that I needed to hear in that exact moment, stranger or not. And to think this was no coincidence when I reached out to her via Twitter…
We never had that interview but when she mentioned that I should come out to Colorado over New Years I knew in my gut I needed to go. Rachel and I taught ourselves to snowboard and we started taking trips together to the mountains. It was our thing and suppose to be a long time thing we did together. I jumped on the chance to go and went out there for a few days to Breckenridge. I cried the week before I went as I packed my gear and even packed some of Rachel’s gear that I got of hers. It was as if my mind thought she was packing too but I knew in my heart she was gone.
I remember boarding the flight and all I could do is sit there thinking, “She’s going to meet me and we will fly out together.” But then your heart reminds you, she’s not here but you’re closer than ever to her in the clouds. As soon as I got there I remembered why we loved the mountains so much – God is one heck of an artist. The second day that we went up the mountain I took a seat after getting off the lift to put snap my gear on and looked out at the mountains like we always would do before we went down each run. I took my phone out to snap a pic and as soon as I did I felt this warmth come over me in the midst of the cold air and looked to my right to see a small imprint as if someone had been sitting right beside me.
We use to take photos like this all the time together. At that moment, it’s exactly what my heart needed. God knows exactly what you need at the exact time you need it. He’s watching and listening every second and even ten steps ahead of you. Even though I don’t understand the reason doesn’t mean He won’t carry me through and show me what He’s got planned for me through all of this.
I don’t know if Sierra felt she needed to email me what she did but I will say this – Never hesitate to send someone something whether it’s a quick note or some encouraging words when you can feel it in your gut. It may be exactly what they needed to hear in that exact moment. The Lord lays people on your heart sometimes for a reason so listen to Him. It could be someone you barely know or someone you know very well but what matters is that you took the time. I’m living proof of that through what I’ve been through and can’t thank those enough who continue to reach out to the family.
“When you are in rough waters, You will not go down.”
P.S. Sierra, I am forever grateful my friend.