Uncharted Waters

Warning! Under stress, you may appear dependent, hesitant, passive, and wishy washy. You are concerned about unstable or changing conditions; you like change to be limited and brought about slowly. You are typically motivated by stability, steadiness, and a calm atmosphere.

I recently participated in a behavioral assessment for work with the key objectives of understanding my own style and understanding and identifying the style of my co­workers, so that I can engage with empathy for those whom my life touches on a professional level.

Although only one setting could be selected for this assessment (work) I am fairly certain that this could be applied both in my home life and in social settings. Of the four styles–Director, Thinker, Relator, and Socializer–my primary style was identified as Relator. Five of the 27 pages described what it means for me to be a relator and as I read through each of the pages, I had a growing awareness that they were indeed describing me through behaviors, motivators, and beliefs. The timing of this assessment has felt particularly affirming as I am again walking through a season of life that is filled with change, overstress, questions, and uncertainty.

My husband’s interim position on staff at our church will be ending on June 1st. The next phase is yet to be determined and each day I have to choose to remain present despite the unknowns that plague my mind in this period of transition. As I have wrestled with this reality, the story of Noah has been recalled on numerous occasions. Noah, however, is not the who I have been curious about as I have read and studied. His wife, an unnamed woman, has been the one who’s story I have longed to know. Have you ever wondered what it must have been like for her to be married to Noah? Noah heard from God, and he acted. His actions were costly, especially in terms of the effect that they had on his wife.

As a woman, I can imagine all of the questions she must have had that were her own, as well as the questions that she had to answer from others. Questions from those who loved her, knew her and wanted to understand exactly what was going on for her in the midst of this life­altering move. In the days that her husband was building the ark, where was she and what was she doing? Did she spend time with those she held dear, knowing that if her husband was right, she would be saying goodbye to relationship and life with the very people she loved? I wonder if she grew frustrated and confused with the questions from friends asking why. Did she hold a belief in her heart that God’s words were indeed true even though nothing like this had ever happened before? How could God be asking her to believe and choose to be a part of the very thing that would forever change her life?

What did grieving look like for her? Did she choose to stay present in the moments that she was experiencing or did she seek some form of escape from the feelings that ripped her apart, leaving her emotional, worn, and tender? Did she feel hope for what was to come, trusting that her God was good and that he would care for her in days ahead? As she sat in what her heart eventually seemed to hold as truth, what did her moments look like with her friends? Did she choose to share what was in her heart despite the difficult conversations? What about her friends? How did they engage with her? Did they bite their tongues, shut down, and keep their feelings to themselves believing that it was easier to stuff it all away rather than truly feel any of what they were facing? Or, did they gently lift her head, gaze at her with compassion in their eyes, and a breaking in their hearts, and tell her to get on the boat because it was what she needed to do?

Through the account recorded in Genesis 6­-9, we know that Noah’s wife joined her family in the ark. The rain came and every living thing that was not in the ark, was destroyed. The rain continued for months and months, and eventually stopped, but the waiting did not. Eventually, we read that as the land became dry, Noah, his family, and the animals stepped out of the ark into a new land and a covenant promise was made between God and Noah.

Where does that leave me? I continue to sit in this place before the flood, knowing that the day will come and I will join my husband in the boat. I know that the separation from what I have known and loved will not likely include physical death, and it will include a death in my heart for what was and what could be. I know that the flood waters will rise within me and they may continue for quite some time. I also know that I have within me the one who is calling me out into the deep water. I know that I am His and He is mine.

Bethany Cabell is a Texas transplant, residing in Michigan with her husband and their two young boys.  A lover of beauty, she lives life chasing after wide-open spaces: sharing her heart with others, in relationship with Jesus, and through music and photography. She tells her story here.