Our last day. What word comes to mind is “advocate”. In my book, Gentle and Lowly, by Ortlund, he discussed the difference between intercession and advocate. He is always interceding on our behalf and knows how to lift us up to the Father when we do not have the words to speak. He is our advocate when we need Him. Advocacy comes when we are struggling in life and need someone to stand up or champion us to victory.

“An advocate doesn’t simply stand in between the two parties but steps over and joins the one party as he approaches the other. ” (Ortlund)

I know the word “sin” has a negative context for some. I want to create a post that emphasizes His love in our lives. God wanting the very best for us. We look outward and away from our failings to an advocate who can lift us to fresh starts over and over again. We know from His Word that He goes before us and as an advocate He comes after. Why do I need someone to come after? Think about it.

“Consider your own life. How do you think about Jesus’s attitude toward that dark pocket of your life that only you know? The overdependence on alcohol. The lost temper, time and again. The shady business about your finances. The inveterate people-pleasing that looks to others like niceness but which you know to be fear of man. The entrenched resentment that bursts out in behind-the-back accusations. The habitual use of pornography. Who is Jesus, in those moments of spiritual blankness? Who is he in the midst of it?” (Ortlund)

As I read on, I was processing the text personally. I began to talk to God about my people-pleasing, fear of man’s opinions, and resentment in which I advocate for myself and spend a lot of head time self loathing or defending. I talked to my husband about it to gain his perspective. He emphasized the importance of grasping Jesus as fully man when he experienced Earth and walked among us, and Jesus as fully God, without sin. Who best to be our advocate than One who has perfect empathy. Empathy with the knowledge of what it means to be victorious!

I’m not sure what’s going on these days. I’ve logically looked at the last 5 years and noted that life has been significantly different for our family. Life has shaped us into something different. It’s neither good, nor bad, but we are different. I will not judge the growth or change. However, I am ever aware of my inability to bounce back after a perceived offense or situation in which I feel I’ve caused someone trouble or pain. At the risk of sounding over dramatic, I do want to share an example, so maybe if you are in this same space, my honesty can help you feel loved and valued.

My husband and I took a canoe out into the sound during sunset. He was particular about fixing the seat to fit and feel comfortable, and I was more interested in getting in the water, who cares about comfort. The two personalities coming together helped us both. We worked together to get the canoe into the water and had a blast. On the way back to the shore, I lost my shoe, and I asked him to pick it up, because he was carrying the canoe behind me. I was in the lead. He bent down and picked it up. He said to me, “My shoe is filled with mud because I stopped to pick up your shoe.” He then went to the waters edge to clean out his shoe. He wasn’t angry, upset, or mad. He is an extrovert that processes out loud. He can notice a detail and expand upon it in meaningful conversation. I process more on the inside and talk later.

I shared with him that the comment was interpreted as I messed up and I was a bother and caused his shoe to get muddy. You might ask, “Why did he say that?” He has his own work, too. I’ll leave it at that. He wasn’t angry and it was just a statement, a notice. My gentle reminder to him sometimes is this question, “Did that comment invite me into conversation with you?”

This overwhelming feeling rushes over me. I tear up, and say hurtful things in my head about my worth, and sometimes the other person. EXHAUSTING! The other extreme would to not be aware of the space you are filling up and disregard your impact. I don’t want to be that extreme-unaware of the wake I leave behind. There is a balance.

In my book by Morgan Harper Nichols, How Far You Have Come, she shares the story of failing her first year of college that cancelled her scholarship and the guilt she felt. Her parents had worked hard to provide for her college experience. She shared that one of the classes she failed was directly related to her career of writing. She sunk deep into the water with all the thoughts rushing through her mind, left it at the bottom of the lake, and arose a new person. She faced her future.

“But I can tell you

faithfulness matters

even when progress feels small.

Your attention to this moment

is a seed being sown,

and will lead to a garden of growth.

It may take years

to see how all your hard work blooms,

but don’t let the waiting

interrupt your gratitude.

You will not miss out on what is meant for you.” (Nichols)

Kim, the friend who gave me this week, encouraged me to leave something in the ocean before I go. Let go. I thought about this on and off during the week. It was too cold to sink to the bottom and leave something there, but I do believe the attention to the moment has planted a seed. Maybe the canoe trip was my letting it go into the ocean. One symbolic act will not fix it; yet, I can be grateful and at peace that I have an advocate! I don’t have to justify, rationalize, or endlessly apologize for my existence. I am worthy, growing, and capable because of Him working on my behalf.

I’m leaving today with beautiful truths that have been planted. I will trust and believe that the days ahead will be filled with opportunities to water and grow the truths. That makes me smile and chuckle. Oh, yes, Anna, you will have opportunity to practice. Embrace it. You’ve got an advocate and an intercessor.

I love highlighting notices in my time at Summerwinds. The master bedroom upstairs is so peaceful and healing. I’ve used that word a lot this week, but that’s what it has been about. I laid down on the bed and took pictures of the “view” from the rested posture. We also saw a dear grazing in the front yard outside of this window!

Our last full day, we went to Hatteras Lighthouse AND Ocracoke! Another 20 minute ride, an hour ferry ride one way, and a FABULOUS dinner at The Flying Melon. This was a last minute decision that took a whimsical heart! We did it and had so much fun! We were the last car on the 5:00 ferry. It was a rocky boat experience due to the weather and wind. We laughed. I did this with Victoria many years ago. On my own. In my little Ford Festiva with not a care in the world. Who was that woman? We laughed again. We enjoyed watching the people on the boat. One particular person, we believe, was “sea sick”. We prayed for him. We also giggled at all the ways he was trying to alleviate his illness. He stood, walked around, raised his hands, and laid down. Please know we felt for him and prayed and we could relate.

If you ever get to the island, you must eat at The Flying Melon. Last night was the last night before they close for the season. The food and atmosphere sets you at ease and, at the same time, it is exhilarating. The varied personalities in the restaurant sitting around the tables brought great joy. A newlywed couple, a family reunion here through Thanksgiving, locals catching up, a fisherman and his wife, and children laughing. We seriously met a couple as we were walking out the door. They looked to be in their 70’s and found love again after both of their spouses passed away. They had been married for 3 months and their children had introduced them to each other. In less than 5 minutes we found out we had so much in common. We exchanged contact information for further dialogue. They invited us to dinner with them, but we had to catch the next ferry or spend the night on the Island.

This morning we are cleaning! I’m loving walking through the house and praying over the space with overwhelming gratitude. The sun was rising and pouring into the bedroom. The back deck presented a vast sky with the moon visible! Sandy, I told Parish about our scientific research on why we can see the moon during the day. I love living life with you, my friend!

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