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Uncharted Territory for my Tugboat

Updated on November 13, 2022
The Stages Of ME profile image

Kathy was a rehabilitation therapist. After receiving a life-changing diagnosis, she felt a spiritual call to share life's journey in Hubs.

The little tugboat takes the lead
The little tugboat takes the lead | Source

Uncharted Territory:

The little tugboat was ready for the charter, this was to be a less-traveled course by the main vessel and its tug as they set out to embark on what would bring them to new territories of exploration, an abyss of infinite realities, and days ahead full of surprising possibilities.

I am her mother, and she is my little tug, like me in so many ways; in her moments, I see the course I traveled so long ago. The look in her beautiful green eyes has a mix of excitement and timid concerns, yet full of newfound confidence. She is ready!

My sweet little tug has listened with intent and battled, yet earnest in her desire to be who she is, in her own right. There will be many new ripples for her to balance in the wake of her journey.

She was so young and beautiful on voyage day. As I watched her grow, she would often say, “Oh, mom, I didn’t tell you because I knew what you would say, and I got this!”

She is my daughter embarking on a new charter all her own. Every day during that last year of high school, I saw her taking leaps, which placed her further on her course. I kept watch on the horizon, trying to witness her approach, but she would duck behind the clouds gliding along her way.

How many hear from our children? “I knew what you would say.”

Here’s the thing, how can they know? When we don’t from one moment to the next? How does one react to seeing their baby reflecting the youth they once had back at them? They take on the world with fierce confidence, believing in everything. Some of this confidence may chip away as we parent, only to renew when our offspring embrace their tomorrow. Do we, in some small way, relive those days vicariously? Well, I call that grace!

I am in awe of her and still trying to balance excitement and concern while praising the journey her captain has charted for her. I am the cheerleader for her journeying ahead while wanting to go backward, holding her close simultaneously.

My heart knows she was always God’s girl on loan for us for a season. God had planted every step of her tomorrow, and it was time to let her begin her charter.

Still, my heart would break and smile with every inch as she set out on that course. My sweet little tugboat was tugging at my heartstrings, and it would be a bittersweet joy as I watched her move further away.

I believe this is the ebb and flow of our beautiful life, watching them go, wanting them to, and aching for their hopeful and imminent return.

Dream Big and know that God is with you always and their is peace in the possibilities.
Dream Big and know that God is with you always and their is peace in the possibilities.

In the Moment:

It’s funny when kids are in their moments; they believe they understand our plight as parents before they experience the parental wave. There are, of course, misconceptions. I had those as a young adult. Let’s assume they have preconceived ideas of how we’ll react, responding to life’s little happenings. What would happen if we were to ask this question?

“Well, if this was your child, how would you react? What might you say?”

I guess they would give that junior high stare, the deer in headlights look! The one they would get when delving into uncharted territory.

The wheels are turning, despite that, they hesitate, as they have found their voice, and when they use it, it’s incredible.

As the questioner, you quiet yourself in anxious anticipation about the pearls they will soon give in response to the inquiry. Then one waits for it and remains for it, and there it is. That, I don’t understand what you’re asking. Is this a trick question? I’m sure I don’t have the correct answer, and confusion engulfs their face.

The same bewilderment we often reflect in similar situations, yet because of our “maturity,” we put on the assimilation of confidence. I suppose in this later stage of life, and I am perplexed as the why we’re so careful not to show our confusion. This human quality and honesty allow for better communication.

I find admitting my weaknesses opens me to the strength of those around me, encouraging younger people to share their needs.

Turmoil was not there on this day. She was not the child, not the deer in headlights; she had confidence as conveyed by her emotion in the most mature way she knew how in this new young adulthood.

In these moments of navigating life’s new experiences with parenting or growth as an individual, I regress to that kid in the circle, a circle of young children in a group discussion, grasping for words, poignant words that seem lost where I was the deer in headlights.

Often I sit fumbling for the correct answer, but there are no right or wrong answers. We are on a charter where we’re not the captain. Shouldn’t we sit back and enjoy the ride, watching them grow into the beautiful young adults of God’s design? Yes! However weak in our flesh, the ebb and flow of control ensue. Wrong, perhaps, but human and regretful. I didn’t always trust God’s perfection and let go!

Like her Mama, I must let her know that the one I hide, the one who trusts her walk and knows her journey is not my own. I want her to understand how proud I am of her, hoping she realizes I will always pray for circles of love and God’s grace around her as she goes on her way.

To let go will forever be the conflict of my heart, wanting to pull my tugboat back into my sight, all the while knowing she was never mine to keep. She was and will always be my baby, but she is His shipmate on a boat ride all her own with her Captain, Jesus Christ, her Lord, and Savior.

Still That Girl By Britt Nicole

On a Chartered Boat:

God is our captain, calling out to us, guiding our charter. Are we listening? When waters get turbulent, He navigates our course. Are we bringing God into our daily lives?

Do we humble ourselves before one another, or do we put on airs? Are we hiding behind our facade, acting like the lost? We must be honest with our children and others, sharing our weaknesses and telling the truth. We are all works in progress. If we remember to lead with God in every action, not to hide, and to make Him visible, people have to face Him before getting to us. Wow, that could be fabulous!

Sometimes we place God in a box, thinking, I will hide, but He’s still there. We can’t put Him away because we lose our way without Him.

As a parent, we often forget we’re not the only ones pouring into our children as they grow. The Captain places many in their paths to nurture the discovery of His will for their life.

When we witness the confidence in their eyes, we recognize the work God Himself has poured into them. These moments are when the space between past and future makes sense in the circle of life.

Once we have received our instruction, we must take a new charter and set out in a different direction to secure the lost at sea.

In The Waves:

We experience ripples in life; these prepare us for the storms. The tiny ripples often go unnoticed, the big ones shake us a bit. Sometimes we giggle through them, we freeze in place, until we correct our footing, and often we don’t see we’ve lost our balance until we fall. In the ripple’s, it’s easy to bounce back and stand up again. The slightest bump in the water plays with our balance, bopping us about as we attempt to steady ourselves.

The best way to prepare our kids for the journey is to tell them to listen to God, for He is their captain. Listen to Him, when He says where the life jackets are in the boat? He encourages you. Go with trust. Our children will learn as they go, and we are their first example after God.

Remind them that a wave can damage, or it can be an exhilarating and fascinating ride with direction, though the trip has its peaks and valleys, where emotions and reactions will vary. It remains a remarkable journey.

We can laugh through life’s journey, but it’s okay to cry and let your prayers out to the world. Your Captain is always in earshot. Let yourself feel Him wiping away the tears of concern, for your future ride is in His capable hands.

Just Cry by Mandisa

Our Shipmates:

Our shipmates, young or old, are like your experience. We’re all listening to the Captain as He navigates our charter. Let our shipmates see us as we bobble; they need to know we’re all in the same boat.

It’s a different ride altogether when we give up on our understanding, trusting in the Captain of our charter.

The waves become less intimidating when we show our little experience loving one another in every ripple. Even rough waves can exhilarate when we have listened and learned together in the tides. Listen in the ripples; we are stocking up the skills to maneuver through the waves. There is no wave so high that our captain will not navigate straight through the fog to the clearing. He knows the way; He is the light that guides the storm.

Not all ripples are wrong; sometimes, they’re new experiences. We need to trust the surrounding shipmates, knowing none are better or worse in maneuvering. They lose their balance, and sometimes they need a hand.

Everyone needs someone to listen and help them find their way. Each one is on their course, and individual instructions come through their frequency. These are not always audible to the mates around. No two rates are the same. The communication is entirely personal; this is the same for the relationship with God, our Captain. It’s unique; it’s a relationship unlike any other.

Keep the Starlight in Your Eyes...

Sometimes when everything is right it's the best time to thank God, and when everything is wrong it's the best time to thank Him. I'm so glad everything is right ~ right now!
Sometimes when everything is right it's the best time to thank God, and when everything is wrong it's the best time to thank Him. I'm so glad everything is right ~ right now!

A New Charter a Crazy Ride:

Imagine all our boats in the same port, ready to go to sea. Now, for the longest time each day, we got on the same boat and set out with our captain. We looked across the bow and saw the same shipmates.

At first, they’re fumbling with the ropes and instruments. Once they become familiar with the tasks, they find a rhythm that works. They are comfortable and understand the mission. The shipmates have slipped together and gotten back up. They know what their shipmates might do and expect the next step.

We assume things about the next ripple. It may move us this way or that. However, we don’t know until it happens. We are skilled in the things that have already occurred, but we can’t even imagine the course He will allow. Our shipmates may take a very different charter, but we will see them up ahead or tagging behind until they are ready.

But, when they are ready, they are no longer our little tugboats. They are beautiful vessels, and their captain uses them to rescue the lost.

I let her go again today; she passed me in the night; we are sometimes in the same port, but my beautiful daughter has her boat, and I’m so proud of her, and I am in awe of her Captain, our Lord, and Savior.

Hold tight, Baby. It’s a crazy ride, and our love is with you in every ripple and wave. I wish for you to keep the starlight in your eyes. We will meet from time to time at the same port and one day be together consistently at the docking station.

Crazy Ride by Michelle Branch

© 2014 Kathy Henderson


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