Anchor Chains

A few years back Debbi and I vacationed with my brother and sister-in-law near Cancun. While we were jumping off a boat into the crystal-clear waters for a snorkeling adventure, my brother’s wedding ring slipped off his finger. Suntan lotion was the culprit, and the ring fell to the ocean floor below. He and I looked for it as long as we could, but did not succeed in finding it.

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About an hour later, as we returned to the boat, we decided to scope out the 12-foot deep water again. It wasn’t hard to know where to look because in our earlier search I noticed we were near the boat’s anchor chain. After a few desperate minutes, miraculously, we saw a gold glint of light off the sand below. Who’d have thunk it? Lose a piece of jewelry in the Caribbean and find it? Much less, an hour later?

I have often remembered that event, and it dawned on me that we were able to succeed because of a landmark – the anchor chain. It served as a stark reminder of where something was lost, but knowing the anchor was there served as a beacon that gave us the confidence to confine our search to a small area, rather than wandering aimlessly.

People – as ironic as it may sound, are the best landmarks we can find. Most of the time God works in us and speaks to us through other people. In those times when we have been in fellowship with Father, we have also been influenced in a positive and strengthening way by other believers. They become our friends – our teachers – our mentors. They are the anchor chain from the boat! When we know we have lost our way, we remember not just what what’s, but the who’s too!

How often have you found yourself in that dry, barren place, knowing where you can be centered and grounded, but choosing otherwise instead? And when you have found yourself there, become sick of it, and struck out on a journey to end the misery, do you not usually seek out those you know have an intimate fellowship with God? Most of us don’t come to these conclusions and recover on our own. We seek out someone who we know will not judge us, who loves us enough to put up with us, and who will lovingly remind us of the place we got off track, while firmly working with us to restore proper fellowship.

Always remember that relationship growth comes because of struggles. Just because you’re struggling now doesn’t mean God has forsaken you! He’s waiting for you to return, and you need to know that your relationship with Him will be even better than before when you learn the lesson of this struggle! Better yet, you’ll receive blessings untold when you can thank Him for the struggle!

We were not meant to navigate this life alone. Parents, teachers, pastors, and mentors of all types have lined the way for us. All of us haven’t been fortunate to have the best where all those categories are concerned, but the fact that we know the saving grace of Jesus points to the fact that somewhere, sometime, someone cared enough about us to show us The Way. Who are those people for you? Are they still alive? If so, how long has it been since you called them? Dropped by for a visit? Dropped a letter or an email? Did SOMETHING to say thanks? Or maybe it’s time to contact your anchor chains because you need to find your way back to the boat.

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There is real strength in relationships.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (NLT)

What if . . . today . . . you thought of at least one person – an anchor chain of your life, that you could contact and at the very least, let them know how important they have been in your life, and how you feel about them? What if you were to actually do that? Today?

I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

And, as always . . .

FINISH WELL!

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About Kyle Hargrove

There's really not much that's all that special about me . . . It was probably about a decade ago when I realized that "in all its glory." At about that time some of life's recent experiences taught me that regardless of who or what anyone ELSE is, and regardless of how much I may have built MYSELF up, I'm just one life circumstance from being just like anyone else. Although my pride took a ding in the process, it was ultimately a positive and humbling experience that gave my life a different direction altogether. I'm a pretty ordinary husband and father . . . Of course, ordinary comes in lots of shapes and colors. My wife Debbi and I have been married since 2000, and both of us had been previously married. She is a school administrator and has a work ethic that has been passed down generationally - usually leaves home in the dark, and for at least half the year, comes home in the dark too. We're praying that as our kids get through college, she can retire and fulfill some of her most intimate dreams. Debbi and I have five children (Adam, Cameron, Callye, Caleb, and Brandon), one grandson (William), one son-in-law (J.R.), somewhere around five "adopted kids," (not officially but in our hearts), and four dogs (Symon, Sombra, Sophie, and Duke). I often say that I love my kids and love my dogs, but there have been days that I liked my dogs more than my kids. That is of course, suggested in jest . . . mostly :) One of our sons has completed college, and the other four kids are still finding their way through that maze. We love Auburn University (Debbi's alma mater), and Texas A&M University (doesn't everyone?) It took a long time for me to understand my job . . . Professionally, I've had the opportunity to experience some fairly diverse "job titles." I came up as a burgeoning sports journalist, switched to church staff ministry, returned to school to earn two masters degrees, entered the world of private practice, experienced the world of corporate training, founded a Christ-centered residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, and enjoyed some more private practice. Oh, on top of that, I have enjoyed the thrill of becoming a teaching chef in my spare time. All of that took a lot of learning, understanding, and energy. But in 2003 through the benefit of Fellowship of the Sword, a ministry out of Fort Worth, Texas, God showed me what my real job was, and for the first time ever, I really, really "got it." He showed me that my real purpose in this life was to first serve Him, and in the outflow of that, to serve my wife, serve my children, and serve anyone else, anywhere else, who exhibited any need, whatsoever. For a very egocentric person, learning to serve is initially kind of hard. But as the blessings start to roll in, it becomes a joyous lifestyle. It's not always easy. I'm not always successful (I'm still kind of selfish). But it is one of the highest privileges I enjoy - the calling from God - to serve people - just like He did. If we're going to develop the character of Jesus, we had better get serving - the sooner the better. Cooking, singing, golfing, reading, speaking, teaching, and writing . . . Those are a few of my favorite pastimes outside of "work." I try to not let those things define who I am, but sometimes the golf thing gets in the way a little bit. And I'm really not that good. But I value my recreation and free time. I love being around people, and meet very few "strangers," but need "me time" too. I prefer outdoors to indoors, cool weather to hot weather, mountains to the beach, and being active to sitting still. I have traveled the world, and want to find new places, and visit the previous ones again. You could say I was born with a sense of wanderlust. I want to encourage you . . . This blog may have themes but the desire to write it, and the commitment to maintain it is about one thing more than any other. If through the blog, you can be encouraged, recharged, reminded, uplifted, motivated, or if you can just relate to something you read, I will sleep well and know that God has used something - as benign as it may seem on the surface, to help you move forward in understanding who you are, and what your purpose ultimately is. Life was intended to be dynamic - not static. One of my good friends Ricky Bobby once said, "If you ain't first, you're last." Although there may be some detractors to the actual truth (or benefit) of that statement, don't you want to live your life progressing? I don't want to sit around and wish I was getting better at what I do, or who I am. I was born to pursue - to improve - to invent - to move forward. When it's all said and done, I'd like to know that I ran after God, rather than for Him to have had to run after me. We'll all be challenged . . . Writing is sometimes as much about me as it is about you. My "bag of tricks" comes as much from my own experiences as it does anything I've learned from a textbook. I don't know about you (actually I do but certainly can't speak for you), but the things I have learned in this life have typically come from challenging circumstances, mistakes I've chosen to make, mistakes I've unintentionally made, places I shouldn't have been, and a myriad of other mostly-painful experiences. I think we're a lot alike. And I think we're about to find out. As always my friends . . . FINISH WELL!

Posted on January 2, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

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  14. Martin I Morelan

    My Friend,
    Reading this moved me in a way that I really don’t think I can describe. My Wonderful Loving Mom was my Anchor Chain. I was her baby, She was Mom. She was my North Star, my safe place, my biggest fan. We lost her Feb 14th 2006, three months before my first was born. I can go on for hours about how wonderful and Godly she (is), but will just sum up……
    Your Post and how beautifully you put it, reminded me that I really don’t think I have been the same since. Maybe I need to move the end of that chain to someone else,
    -Marty

  15. Terry, I’d be that more of us than NOT would have anchors that are no longer with us. What a legacy to carry out IN THEIR PLACE what they invested into us. Great to hear from you!

  16. You and Deb have been my anchor chains since I moved here 14 years ago but I think you know that all too well. Love you both with all my heart and can’t thank you enough for always being there no matter what. LOVE this blog and will share it with others. You rock, Kyle!

  17. I have even had people in my life that even through they are no longer here, have been such a great anchor in my life that they helped set me in the right direction and I remember how they kept remaining stable when I was not.

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