Women are like whales.
I read that on a blog recently and rolled my eyes.
But, it’s true, we (as women), are a bit like whales.
Have you ever seen a whale breach out of the water? It’s an incredible thing to witness. The power and grace they embody as they almost effortlessly float out of the water into the air, spin and then crash back into the sea. It sparks awe and wonder.
It’s not uncommon for whales to breach out of the water in a storm or high seas. Some scientists say it’s their way of sending communication signals to other whales to remind each other where they are at. It’s kind of their way of saying, “Hey, I’m still out here!” It helps the pod stay the course and not get lost amidst all the noise and storm that surrounds them.
Storms can easily get loud, distracting and far too often we lose our way from the community that might actually help us navigate the storm.
Fascinating, right? These are reminders to ourselves and others that, “I’m STILL HERE!” It will help us stay connected as a sisterhood.
It’s easy to lose our way in the storm. But when we see other women, like the whales who breach out of the water, standing up and being honest and vulnerable about how God is seeing them through the storm, it sends signals to those behind us that there is hope on the other side of the storm.
When we feel lost at sea, swallowed up in our own brokenness, it’s reassuring to know that other women have faced the same storm. We all face the same obstacles, the same heartbreaks, the same addictions, the same struggles.
And we are healing.
We are still moving forward, still believing, still pressing in, still grabbing a hold of hope, still sticking to our stories.
Courageous women like this are like whales breaching out of the water saying, “I’ve been here before and I’ll help you find the path toward healing.” It’s a breath of fresh air, the flickering of a lighthouse that encourages hope in the storm.
Reaching out of the water is not just about helping us find purpose in our journeys of healing and imperfections, but it is also a brave act of faith.
In chapter 27 of Acts, Paul gets on a boat with a group of other prisoners. With a pending storm on the horizon, Paul warns the captain and suggests that it would be better to harbor for the night than continue forward. The captain doesn’t listen, keeps sailing and leads the boat right into the storm.
From there, it’s total chaos. On one side of the boat, you have passengers doing whatever they can think of to control the boat, and then over on the other side you have some people tossing whatever they can find overboard.
It’s not uncommon for women to find themselves in this place in the storm—freaking out and doubting there is hope on the other side.
Hope was lost until Paul, in faith, stands up and reminds everyone on board to take heart. In verse 22 he says, “But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.” Paul in the middle of the storm is breaching out the water, making a statement that even though the storm has been destructive and we’re gonna lose the boat, we’re going to make it.
That’s what it looks like to keep a firm grip on hope.
In the midst of high seas and raging waters, someone standing up and saying, “I’m still here and God is doing a work in my life, and we’re not going to be lost at sea,” can be both empowering and motivating.
Keep swimming; keep putting one foot in front of the other and following the course. Sometimes it takes one person to stand up and remind everyone else that there is hope on the other side. That one person could be you.
If I am being honest, sometimes it feels safer to stay under the water in the storm, to not make a splash, to not make a scene about what my story of healing really looks like. The braver thing to do, is to come out of the water and send up a signal to let other women know that it’s okay to talk about their imperfections and struggles.
For me, that means that I had to breach out and start talking about the anxiety in my life. It meant sharing the ways I’ve found healing. The hardest part is admitting that it came back, to talk about the fact that I had to go to counseling to deal with it, to admit that I’m not always okay. That isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.
I breach out of the water to remind other women they are not alone in the highs and lows. I share that I am in counseling, so that another woman might get the courage to make the call or might feel less alone when she walks into that counseling office for the first time. When we find healing and restoration in the wounded areas of our life and decide to share our story—those broken pieces transformed into a masterpiece—we become signals of hope.
We are not alone in the storm.