As I spend more time at home and out of my normal routine during these uncertain times, I find myself feeling uplifted thinking about God’s faithfulness. I miss our Anchor Gatherings and being together with all of you and being encouraged. One of my favorite parts about the Anchor Gathering is when an Anchor Moment is shared. This happens when someone is interviewed about a time in when their faith has been grounded and they have seen God for real in their life. It is a short testimony to God’s faithfulness and it encourages me every single time.
One of the most significant Anchor Moments of my life that still encourages me today happened shortly after our daughter Karina passed away. It is an amazing story that happened the year after Karina died during the summer of 2011. During that time, I saw the Lord SO real in my life that I wanted to tell everyone about His love and faithfulness.
Malibu Club in the Princess Louisa Inlet
Our family’s favorite boating destination was the Young Life Camp, Malibu in the Princess Louisa inlet. This special place in Canada is ranked by National Geographic as one of the top 10 most beautiful places in the world. Young Life acquired the camp in 1953 after it had been abandoned for many years. The property had originally been built for movie stars and the wealthy back in the 1940s as a private resort that was only accessible by seaplane or boat. The resort is made of rustic wood buildings built on rock tucked amidst the majestic mountain peaks that resemble the fjords of Norway. It is an amazingly beautiful place where they say “the veil is thin between heaven and earth.” Whenever we are anchored in the inlet I truly feel as if I’m cupped in the palm of God’s hand surrounded by His breath-taking creation. It is always hard to pull up anchor and head for home and back to reality after spending time there.
It is an amazingly beautiful place where they say “the veil is thin between heaven and earth.”
An average week at Malibu brings up to 350 high school students to camp by boat. Malibu is run by a volunteer work crew and summer staff which consists of high school and college age young adults. After Karina died I had this great idea (so I thought) of serving together as a family at Malibu as the Summer Staff Coordinators. I had read how serving together can help with the tremendous grief of losing a child but I had no idea how much work this job would entail and how hard it would be. We were selected for the job for the third session of camp in the month of August. Our family of four looked forward to being together in our most favorite place for a month.
As Summer Staff Coordinators we were in charge of overseeing the 40 volunteer college kids that came from all over the country. We were excited about our job until I had a complete meltdown. Every college girl with brown hair resembling Karina made my heart break as I remembered our special daughter and how she had dreamed of a Summer Staff position. I cannot even begin to express the immense grief I felt and I grappled with a dark depression. I missed my daughter so much. I found myself crying out to the Lord in desperation asking could He please show me some sign that He was with me and that I would be able to live this life without my daughter, my special treasure. I was desperate. I wanted to go home. I prayed believing The Lord could help me but I was fragile since He hadn’t answered my prayers of healing for Karina. I never expected an answer right away but what happened next makes for the most remarkable part of this story.
The very next day my daughter Annika noticed a framed poster-sized picture hanging on the wall in the bathroom on the main street of camp. The picture was an enlarged photo of two girls from behind walking to the outer dock. As Annika looked at this picture closer, she recognized one of the girls as her sister Karina! She ran to find me to share her amazing find. As I looked at the picture, I was originally very skeptical, not noticing the details that Annika did. She pointed out Karina’s pink board shorts, her short ponytail, and the elbows that she knew were her sister’s. As I looked closer, I was stunned — this picture indeed was of our Karina!!!
What makes this so significant is that at Malibu there are no other framed photographs.
The camp manager had wondered who the girls were in the picture and told us more of the startling facts about how it came to be hanging at camp. The photographer was from our hometown, Gig Harbor, and had been hired by Malibu in 2008 to take photos of camp in action. In addition, the photographer was someone we actually knew — the wife of our retired oncology doctor friend who had been with us in the ICU during Karina’s last couple weeks of her life (he is mentioned in my previous blog post).
The photographer explained how she hid in the bushes waiting for the perfect shot. She told us that many kids had passed by but for some reason she chose those two girls having no idea one of them was Karina (who she did not know at the time). She took thousands of photos and the chances of this picture being chosen still blows me away considering how many kids come to camp each week. The chances are so slim that the one picture framed would be of our daughter Karina. That picture now hangs in the ice cream shop at camp where outside are two benches facing the inlet with a special plaque engraved in remembrance of her.
A family friend on one of Karina’s benches
This anchor moment is a reminder to me of how loving and faithful our God is. We can cry out to Him in our most desperate moments and be confident that He will answer in His perfect timing. The Lord had answered my prayer in a way that was more than I could ask or imagine. I was comforted and confident that He was with me and would never leave me.
I’m looking forward to sharing more Anchor Moments and truths about Jesus with you once a month starting next week. They are moments in my life that correlate with biblical truths that grounded my faith and solidified the realness of Jesus. They are truths that I have shared with my children and hold strong to today.
With love and light,
Sharing Strength & Hope
Now that our blog has officially launched (wow!) we’ll be sharing more content with you each week. Check your inbox on Tuesday mornings for content that will inspire you and grow your hope in Jesus, such as:
- Articles from founder and director Katie Robertson
- Posts featuring the Anchor Truths (with free phone backgrounds and art prints!)
- Guest articles and videos from women anchored in their faith
- Content to uplift you, encourage you, and help you anchor yourself in the hope of Jesus
We can’t wait to make the vision of The Anchor Blog a reality!