Skillful Mariner // Thankfulness in Suffering
I’ve always been a sucker for proverbs, quotes, inspirational sayings, and the like. I’d regularly have the fortunes from cookies, Dove chocolate wrappers, or magazine cutouts taped to my computer screen edges, walls, doors, notebooks, etc.
The days of displaying or even just storing away every scrap of paper are over for the most part, but for some reason there is one little fortune that is still stuck to my cupboard door. It is not necessarily because the saying is so much more significant than others, but more so that the mood hit me just right the day we ordered Chinese and the piece of tape I used to attach it to my cupboard happens to be particularly ambitious.
“A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner”
I do love the reminder. No one’s life journey is smooth sailing start to finish. Some face seas far rougher than others. Some skillful mariners have fought battles most or all of us will never know. Some people can barely tell the story of the storm they faced because of the very real pain that is imbedded in its memory. Some have never faced waters quite so rough.
Between history books and mass media, you may feel like you have never really suffered, at least not comparatively. We joke about our #firstworldproblems and preface our venting sessions with the acknowledgments of how our concerns are so small in the big picture, and how we know that we really are blessed.
I don’t have big storms in my life like some do to point to, but I’ve got little ones just like everybody. I certainly wasn’t grateful at the time for the storms I faced, but I am extremely grateful now for the skills I’ve gained as a mariner!
Without the hurt I felt, the arguments I had, and the regrets from previous relationships, I would not be the wife I am today (which is still far from perfect). There are more things I appreciate about my husband, and less I take for granted. I am less inclined to need the last word, and more inclined to avoid the regret and apology later. I am sorry for the hurt I felt and caused in past relationships, but so very grateful that I learned so many lessons before I committed to my husband as long as we both shall live.
Each sickness, tantrum, argument, and various other less-than-smooth sailing with my children grows me as a parent.
I am grateful that my child has made a scene in public, so that I can look with empathy and understanding instead of judgement when it’s someone else’s.
There are many skills I have gained through life’s difficulties, and many lessons that I’ve had to learn more than a few times. I also know full well, that there are so many more to come.
More significant than any skill I have gained for each different role in my life is the fact that I am so grateful that I don’t have a life of only smooth sailing. How tragic would it be to fall so in love with the sea that we forget our goal and destination? It is in our moments of weakness, despair, regret, and hurt that we most clearly see our need for a Savior and look forward to heaven!
2 Corinthians 12:10
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
You don’t have to enjoy rough seas in your life, but you can try to put focus on allowing those rough seas to equip you for your future sailing endeavors! And always let them serve as a reminder that you have a Savior who loves you, who has a wonderful plan for your life, and a room in paradise waiting just for you!
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
I'm never going to be a perfect wife, a perfect mother, sister, friend, Christian or person. I'm going to fail over and over, but if each struggle will grow my faith and bring me closer to my Savior, I will give thanks for every storm.
1 Peter 1:6-8
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.