my anchor holds within the veil

Anna’s Story: The Anchor

By Lisa Schnyders (re-posted from Family Ministries blog)

In the past 4 weeks, we’ve spent some time talking in general about some of the images I’d like you to hang on to for family ministry: gumballs and cheeseballs to remind us of the importance of a parent’s influence on the life of a child; umbrellas to remind us that New Life is a place where families can find shelter and give shelter; and the web to remind us that we are all intertwined and important. The last image I’d like to leave you with is the one that has had special significance in my life in the past months, an anchor.  Our stories are different, but New Life is a place where those stories can come together. God has planned for us to be a part of each other’s lives here as a family at New Life, and in all the thinking, planning, and dreaming about Family Ministry for New Life, I have come to realize I want for your children what I want for my own: a hope built on Jesus Christ the cornerstone, an anchor that holds firm in the storms, and a faith that declares that He is Lord of all.

Perhaps you recognize those words as song lyrics. It’s a song that has had special significance in my life in the last few months as we’ve had a bit of a medical challenge in our household. This is just a small part of my story that I’m still trying to make sense of, but it is part of bigger story that my daughter has given me permission to share, because it’s her story too.

One week before we found ourselves in the emergency room of the Milwaukee Children’s Hospital, Anna made her public profession of faith. One week before we were whirling through CT scans and MRIs and conversations about spinals cords under attack and partial paralysis, we sang the song, “Cornerstone” at that profession of faith service. As part of our time in Follow, our youth profession of faith class, I had asked the kids to share their favorite Bible verses and songs. I turned all the songs over to the worship leaders and they did a wonderful job picking songs and verses to share through the service. No one knew whose songs belonged to whom, but I did. I knew Cornerstone was Anna’s song, and I remember hearing it in those early hours in the emergency room, and in the weeks that have followed, the song hasn’t left my mind:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus name

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Savior’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

When Darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless stand before the throne.

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Savior’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

At that profession faith one week before, I had told the kids that the journey of a disciple wasn’t easy, but they had a church family around them to go along on the journey. And a week after that, I was thinking how hard it was to rest and trust in God with a daughter who couldn’t move her arms and legs.

As a mom, our story has turned out well. Although not over, the storm is no longer raging as in those early hours and days, and although we’re still not experiencing glass-like water, we are so grateful for the way God has provided healing. For a 13 year old though, this still is challenging. There are side effects, questions remaining, missed social activities because of therapies, and things that she still can’t do and may not ever be able to do again or do in the way she did before. It’s not a fun condition for a 13 year old, and although there have been and will be challenges, I’ve been reminded of how her anchor has held. We’ve watched how the weak have been made strong, and it’s been more than just her body strength. We have all been strengthened and supported by so many, including this New Life family. It hasn’t always been easy; it won’t be easy always, but there’s a confidence that she has that God is in control. Anna’s anchor held. The boat she was on was flying all over the place, and the rain was coming down, but her anchor held, secured within in the veil, the holy of holies. I’m proud of her for so many reasons, but I am also so thankful to the people who helped secure that anchor.

In my mind, I often pictured an anchor actually tied to her as she was and is tossed about. If you follow the chain (very similar looking to those I first pictured in my early version of the spider web! — check out the 4th blog if you missed it), it was securely lodged in a giant boulder of concrete, and I kept seeing people who added layers to that: her family, her first babysitters, her kindergarten teacher and every single teacher after that, her GEMS leaders, Kingdom Kids teachers, friends, friends’ families, small group counterparts, pastors old and new, profession of faith mentor, mission trip leaders, our first church family, and so many more. Christ, the anchor held her, but so many people helped her stay connected to him.  Layer after layer added through conversation, prayer, and kindness. After we came back to church, Anna was blown away by the number of people who came and asked and encouraged. Layer upon layer.   What gifts for my child to have:  a savior who holds her and an extended family to help her become connected to Him.

The last months have once again reminded me what a privilege it is to be a part of this New Life family.  I wish my kids didn’t have to go through storms.  I wish your kids didn’t have to go through storms, and it breaks my heart some of the storms raging in the lives of families, but I am also reminded what a privilege it is to pray for others and be prayed for by others. I am both excited and a bit apprehensive about this “new direction” (that isn’t really so new, is it?) for family ministry, but I am so thankful that we go forward together, each of us helping to provide an anchor during storms whatever the size. We are better and stronger together, and I can’t wait to see how God will bind us together in the months and years ahead to serve each other and serve beyond as we learn and grow in Jesus Christ, the Lord of all.

The song:  Cornerstone 

A little blog I loved when doing some research on “holds within the veil”