Here is Part 2 from reader Bethany Theulen, shared with permission:
Anyone that knows me knows how much I love Disney. I love all of it. The songs, the stories, the romance, but most of all, I love how often I am able to identify with the characters. When Moana came out, I never saw it in theaters. At the time it was released I was knee-deep in a high-risk pregnancy, had just been released from the hospital after having an emergency surgery, and was at the beginning my college journey….at 40 years old.
Eventually it was released onto Netflix, and I often found myself hearing the story from another room when the kids were watching it, over and over and over.
Originally, I was simply drawn to the music, but over time, and as that little girl that I had been carrying at the time it was released got older, it became a favorite to watch with her. This was an excruciatingly hard time of my life; a time when I spent a lot of energy being angry at God for allowing me to experience the challenges that I faced day in and day out. Ironically, I also often experienced miracles during this time that would bring perspective to the reasons for the challenges.
One would think I would stop wasting so much energy on being angry when life got hard again and remember the past miracles, but too often that wasn’t the case. I vividly remember an afternoon that Rylee and I were spending a rare moment snuggled up and watching Moana together without me doing something else like homework, housework, or work emails at the same time. We were just watching the movie. Moana was sailing on the ocean and she clearly felt discouraged. She knew what her purpose was, and she knew that the ocean had called to her to sail across it. She had to do this in order to save her family and her people, and while she knew her purpose, she did not know how to accomplish it.
She was tired and found herself drifting off course. In her own effort to correct the course, she overturned her raft, and was left clinging to her upended makeshift sailboat. Desperately, she turned to the ocean and asked for some help. She needed guidance on how to find Maui, and help to right herself again on her raft, her only mode of accomplishing the mission she KNEW she was supposed to be on.
The ocean answered, but not in the way Moana wanted. Just as she asked for help, a storm came, pushing her under the water, forcing her to struggle to remain afloat, and clinging to a piece of the broken raft. Eventually, Moana pulled herself up to safety on the sand of a small island – an island in the middle of seemingly nowhere.
Moana was safe, she had survived that horrific storm with her life and body still intact, but she was furious. She stood and walked her wet, dirty, exhausted and battered body to the edge of the ocean and proceeded to kick the water and vent all of her anger and frustration on that same body of water which she had desperately called to for help; only to find herself subjected to a storm in which she barely survived.
She kicked and screamed and was furious about what she had been put through, but as she calmed, she turned around……finding evidence that the small, in the middle of nowhere island, was the same island that Maui had been lost on for centuries.
Moana called for help and was given a storm that took her completely off the path she had been headed on, but it was that same storm and different path had actually placed her into exactly the place she was supposed to be. Her call to the ocean had been answered exactly as requested, but not exactly as expected.
This! This is why so often I feel so much like Moana. I usually know what the Lord wants me to do and I move forward trying to accomplish those goals, but like Moana and the ocean, I am often thrown into storms that anger me. I feel exhausted, battered, and confused as to why I was given a storm when I asked for help, yet without fail, the storms clear, the clouds lift, and I look around to find I am exactly where I needed to be.
The storm didn’t actually knock me off course–it actually reset my course to where the Lord needed it to be in the first place.
I pride myself on my ability to plan. I have goals, make lists, and think I know exactly how I’m going to accomplish those goals. What I fail to do is be humble enough to allow God to re-write my plans when He can see things that I can’t. Instead of riding through the storms with intention, I dig my heels in. I get angry. I become depressed. I consistently assume that I know more than my Heavenly Father does and I spiral downward into a darkness that is often hard to pull myself out from.
Each time, I kick and scream at my own ocean, only to turn around and find evidence that I was driven to exactly where I needed to be to accomplish the same goals I had set in the first place. I’m currently in a place where I don’t know if I am still in the midst of a storm pushing me to where I need to be, or if I have landed on my own deserted island, battered and tired, but exactly where the Lord wants me to be. Today I don’t care which it is.
Whether I am still riding my storm, or I have landed on my island, I will consciously move forward with intention; to let the ocean (my Father in Heaven) lead me to comfort and the peace I have been seeking.
(By Bethany Theulen, shared with permission.)
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