This month marks the 9th anniversary of The Anchor being launched in my hometown of Gig Harbor, Washington. My quaint, little town was recently ranked by Coastal Living Magazine as one of the top ten coastal towns in which to live.
Gig Harbor, my beautiful small town
Gig Harbor is nestled in the harbor amidst a beautiful backdrop of sparkling water with the beauty and majesty of Mount Rainier in the background, dominating the view when the skies are clear. I look forward to my weekly walk along the harbor on Monday afternoons. All of my senses are stimulated as I walk along the water and take in all the beauty this place has to offer.
As I meander down Harborview Boulevard, I walk right past the net shed where the Anchor all began years ago. Memories come flooding back as I consider the thousands of women who have heard the hope of Jesus through The Anchor. I am so thankful and excited for our future. My dream and prayer of encouraging and touching women with Jesus everywhere is being realized more fully with each passing day.
The walk along the waterfront is full of reminders of The Anchor with each step along the way. Gig Harbor is a nautical town and the anchor is front and center, on buildings, at the waterfront, and elsewhere. It is remarkable the number of anchors that flank the path that winds around the harbor.
A few of the anchors along Harborview Boulevard:
Just when I think I have seen them all, I will be pleasantly surprised by a new anchor finding. The anchors have appeared along the walkway tied to piers, hanging on buildings, tucked in garden pathways and marking the entrance to businesses. The most impressive one is a huge anchor artifact in front of the Harbor museum.
I have always been intrigued with the variety of anchors I see so I did a little research and I found out some interesting facts:
The history of the anchor dates back millennia. The origin of the word “anchor” is an old Greek word meaning “hook” or “crooked”.
The most ancient anchors consisted of rocks. It was common to have a net of rocks to lower into the water and hold a boat in place.
As ships became larger, they required a more effective device to hold them, and wooden hooks that dug into the sea bottom came into use as anchors.
Iron replaced wood and flukes were added to help the hooks dig into the bottom.
Another major improvement was the addition of a horizontal piece called the stock. The stock on the anchor makes sure it stays upright on the bottom of the sea. This is now the most common type of anchor and the one that forms a cross shape, making it the perfect Anchor logo.
The most interesting fact I discovered was that the first century symbol for a follower of Jesus wasn’t a cross; it was an anchor. Followers of Jesus adopted the anchor as a symbol of hope because it was regarded in ancient times as a symbol of safety. The anchor was chosen as it holds a ship in place, representing strength and security.
The anchor symbolizes hope and steadfastness, what The Anchor is founded on and what is so needed in this stormy world.
I pondered the findings about anchors and the deep meaning behind them and reflected on the Anchor starting in my town. Nine years ago this month, I met with some friends in my living room to dream and pray about starting a gathering for women to hear about the hope we have in Jesus. It amazes me how it all fit together that day as we discussed names for what to call this gathering.
After noticing an anchor image on a pillow nearby, I jokingly said, “How about we call it The Anchor?!” We laughed for a minute but then my eyes zeroed in on the symbol of a cross within the anchor and I commented on how that image represents strength. As we got excited about this for the name of our new group, I wondered if there was a verse about anchors in the Bible and I was amazed to find this verse:
“We have this hope [Jesus] as an anchor for the soul firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)
It was while preparing for our first “official” Anchor gathering that March 2012 that I was confirmed with the ultimate anchor story that still continues to inspire me today. One morning while running, head down and lost in thought, I asked the Lord for some kind of confirmation of the anchor as the theme for this new ministry opportunity. I wasn’t assuming He would give me an answer right away; rather I was just hoping for some eventual confirmation. But when I looked up, right smack in front of me there was a sight so odd, yet amazing, it nearly took my breath away. It was a huge fir tree with a massive anchor chained around it! I had run this course countless times over fifteen years, so to only now notice what had surely been right in front of me all along was stunning. I will never forget that moment. Prayer answered, I moved forward, confident that the Lord had great plans for The Anchor.
I am thankful for the random trail of anchors I encounter on my weekly walk. Each anchor I see along the way reminds me of God’s faithfulness on the journey of life. I am encouraged and confident that the Lord is at work in and through The Anchor today and am excited for its future.
I would love for you to visit our town and enjoy the harbor walk that I have renamed the “Anchor Way” and I pray that you too would be encouraged and reminded of the greatest anchor that holds — Jesus!
I would love to see your pictures of anchor sightings where you live! Let’s share the anchor everywhere!
Many of you loved our Spiritual Work Out Calendar for January & February, so we’re bringing it to you for March too! I have learned that to train most efficiently you need to devote yourself to diligent time with the Lord. We all have different life courses but when properly trained and equipped with God’s word and ways we will be ready to meet whatever comes our way!
Did you hear about our first ever Giving Campaign? We are asking if you would prayerfully consider giving a special gift to our “RAISE THE ANCHOR” campaign to help us continue to bring hope to women everywhere.