Memorial Box Monday – An Ocean Story

When I began Memorial Box Mondays two years ago, I wanted us to remember. Remember all the things God had done, so when tough times come, we can look back and say, “Ahhh, He was faithful there, He will be faithful here.” Cause I, for one, am a forgetful lady.

Since the point is to retell the stories, I am going to retell one from two years ago. Today I just have to remind myself of this story again…and I have to remember what God said to me during it. It is truly a miracle story….

About 13 years ago I was speaking at a women’s retreat in Virginia Beach. That Friday night, after I had finished speaking my daughter Abigail, a few friends and I were sitting around talking in our oceanfront hotel. We were laughing, eating snacks and having lots of fun. It was 2:30am. All of a sudden one of the women said, “Hey, we should go for a swim – in the ocean!”

In my mind’s eye I can still see all the heads turning to see what I would say. I looked at my Abi, who was a teenager at the time, her eyes were imploring me. You know how it is as a parent? I just always want them to think that I am the craziest, funnest mom ever and that I am always up for a rowdy time. So I literally jumped up and ran towards the bedroom yelling over my shoulder, “Let’s do it!” I glanced back as several in the room said, “Is she kidding?” Nope! I was already digging in my suitcase for my swimsuit. {Mind you it was winter too!}

There were seven of us in that room that night and we all donned our suits and headed out of the huge conference hotel and down to the water. Now at 2:30am there are not many people out on the beach {like none to be exact} and we were giggling and laughing….

You have to understand, I grew up in a large city. I had never even seen the ocean until I was in my mid-twenties, so I had no idea about respecting the ocean in the middle of the night or anything else about the ocean, let alone what the middle of the night could bring.

As we approached the water I had a most splendidly brilliant idea….why not link arms and run together into the water? And for good measure, why not sing together Shania Twain’s song, “Let’s go girls?” Everyone was up for a quick adventure! Woohoo!

So we lined up on the side of the water, linking arms and ran full speed ahead, singing at the top of our lungs {and no we were not drunk nor had we been drinking}…”Dun, dun, dun, du du dun dah….Let’s go girls…..”

The water was bitterly cold, after all this was February, yet we ran in splashing, singing and laughing. We ran about 10 feet in and turned and headed back to shore. We were all hooting and hollering and laughing our heads off. But why stop there? This was just too much fun. So I said, ” Why not do it just one more time and make a sweet memory – but this time let’s go further out…”

Sure! Why not? So again, we linked arms, singing loudly and headed out to sea, a bit further than last time.

Competitive chick that I am and not wanting to be outdone by anyone I decided to take one more extra step than every one else {guess it was gonna’ be my version of “winning” – I know, I know, what a weirdo!} So I broke arms and dashed one giant step more. No one was ever going to accuse me of being a wimp!!

As my feet hit the ocean floor, I turned to head back to shore and in an instant I was hit in the side of my left knee by the most powerful force I have ever felt {yes, even more power than the horse kick two summers ago}. **On a side note, if I had died at that instant and upon my arrival in heaven and someone had said, “how did you end up in heaven?” I would have told them the story of my friends and I at 2:30 am, but then said, “I have no idea what hit me, I think a semi truck came out of nowhere at the ocean’s edge that night….”** It hit that hard. Not.Even.Kidding.

When I was hit, by whatever it was, there was a loud popping sound of my left knee area and it was heard by my friends and Abigail over the ocean roar. The pain was unbelievably intense and I instantly fell backward. The tide was heading out and in a split second I was literally heading out to sea. I was screaming because my friends had no idea that I had been hit by something and I could not stand up and so in a sitting position the current was sweeping me rapidly out into the ocean…..

One of the woman at the retreat was a woman named Bessie and she is a sweet friend. She was in her hotel room, hundreds of feet from the shore of the ocean on the opposite side of the building. Her roomies and her were lying in bed chatting and with the windows fully closed they heard my screaming. They had no idea it was me, but they wondered what was happening and who was in trouble and they started to pray.

I joke around a lot and those who are very closest to me know that I love to say and do random and bizarre things, but the ladies turned and saw the look on my face {they told me later} and knew that I was in serious trouble and truly, the tide was so powerful that night that in a matter of seconds I was no longer within reach.

I have heard people who are facing death saying that they saw their lives flash before their eyes. At that moment my life was indeed flashing past my eyes and I wondered how Abigail would do to watch her mom being washed out to sea and drown.

One of the young woman with us that night was a girl named Monica. She had been next to me as we linked arms. When she saw the look in my eyes, she told me later, she knew in a second that I was about to drown and risking her own life she plunged into the sea to get me. Monica is just a teeny, tiny little gal, but obviously the Lord gave her supernatural power and she came out to where I was now even further from the shore and grabbed me and drug me back to the shore. It is a miracle – God’s obvious provision and protection.

I could not stand or walk. {As it turns out when I was hit – the power of the blow, I later found, tore my meniscus.} We sat on the shore and all the seriousness of the situation flooded over us. We wondered what could have hit me? It was the most powerful hit and out of nowhere.

My friends had to carry me back to my room and I didn’t sleep all night….the pain was killing me and I was overcome by the seriousness of what had happened. I was also stumped – what in the world had hit me? I begged the Lord to show me what it had been.

In the morning I mustered all my strength and called Dw to tell him. I figured he would be kind of frustrated with me. He is much more ‘practical’ than me when it comes to middle of the night stupidity. =) Daddy was very sweet, all things considered, and handed Tyler the phone. I told Tyler the story. He said, “Mom, I bet it was a shark that hit you.” He then gave me all the reasons why he thought so. Hmmmm. Tyler had spent years studying sharks because he was fascinated by them. His idea was interesting, to say the least.

Before long friends came running to our room. They had to show me what was lying on the beach right where they had pulled me out. And there lying on the beach was a dead shark. It was probably about three feet long. I knew instantly that Almighty God had brought that shark to shore as if to say, ” I am the God of land and sea, the ocean creatures are subject to my authority and this is what messed with you last night, but I had the final word. Your life is in my hands and until the day I call you home, nothing can take your life from you.”

A friend who grew up on the ocean in Ft. Lauderdale told me later that never, ever in all her years of childhood, teens, or adult had she ever seen a shark wash up on shore. Her home was on the water, and never once did they find a shark on the shore!? Hmmmmm….imagine that!! Only God.

I was humbled and in awe of God’s obvious protection. Little did I know: {1} sharks are attracted to splashing, which we had done plenty with running in the first time and then the second; {2}sharks come very close to shore to eat in the middle of the night; {3}that sharks bang into their prey to ‘taste’ them before circling around and coming back for a bite. Little did this very naive city girl know just how dangerous the ocean really is – especially in the middle of the night!

And so we have a little shark in our box causes us to remember God’s divine protection over our lives. He is above all kingdoms {land and sea}, He is powerful and He loves us that much!!

What about you? What story of God’s faithfulness do you have in your Memorial Box or do you need to put in your Memorial Box?

Please share with us. I would love if you would use the Badge on the top of the sidebar. Please only use a permalink. If you don’t understand what a permalink is, please read about it here. {It is NOT your blog address, but the actual link to your Memorial Box story.} I will keep the linky open till September 16. Please share with us your stories. I, for one, need to be reminded!!

19 thoughts on “Memorial Box Monday – An Ocean Story

  1. Oh gracious! As I was reading, I suspected that it might have been a shark. So love God's faithfulness!


    P.S. I have some exciting news that I'm going to share later this evening. I might maybe make it a MBM post. 🙂

  2. God is so amazing!!!

    As Itty Bit would say, "God is bigger than the boogieman"… and it is so very true. Ruler over everthing and worthy of praise.

    Such a supernatural protection… can you just imagine how buff your guardian warrior angel is? 🙂

    And I'm trying to link up to MBM for the first time!

  3. Wow! I was just reading a story to my kids this morning of God's supernatural protection over some missionaries in Africa. I am definitely telling them your shark story in the morning! That is wild–literally!! I wouldn't have known to avoid the ocean at night, either. Gives me shivers!!! Jill

  4. Your story gave me chills and the words you shared about God being in charge of your living and your dying so to speak….that resonated with me today after another doctor's appointment. Never fear, God is walking with us!
    Gentle hugs and MANY prayers being lifted for you~ and giving thanks for the many blessings you bring into the lives of others.

  5. this is amazing! seriously…a shark washed up on shore right there?! God is so funny in how He cares SO much to even show you how VERY much He protected you. i love this!!

  6. I am so glad I took the time to read this because somehow I missed it the first time! I am forever amazed at all the adventures you have had! I think God allowed you to go through them all not only for your own memorial box, but also so that you would have so much to share with all of us!

  7. Oh my gosh woman, didn't you ever see Jaws? I knew as soon as you said "ocean at night" that there was a shark, in fact I even heard the Jaws music playing while reading the rest of the entry!

    Elizabeth J

  8. wow! what a story! i had a feeling it was a shark from the moment i saw the title of the blog. especially when i saw you went out after shark thirty. i grew up on a boat and my parents would never let us in the water after the sun went down (shark thirty) because the light-sensitive sharks' eyes could handle shallower water at that point. uhh… feeding time… 🙂

  9. Linny, I forgot to post the e-mail….

    Dear Neighbors –

    I never post things to our neighborhood listserv, but felt this vitally important. The email below is from a friend of mine whose in-laws lost literally everything to a fire this past Thursday. They live in Salem and as you can read below, her in-laws have opened their hearts and home over the years to their total of 10 children (7 of whom are adopted foster children). They are in the process of trying to put their lives back together. Their church is allowing them to stay in the parsonage while their insurance company goes through the motions of processing their claim and getting them into a new living space. However, they have MANY needs given the number of children they have. If you feel so inclined and would have anything to donate, please email me or call me. My home number is 923-8140 and my cell phone number is (502) 541-2405. Thank you for taking the time to consider this request.

    Lisa Carter-Harris
    4031 Viewcrest Loop

    Begin forwarded message:

    > Subject: The Shell family

    > Ladies,

    > Thanks so much for your interest in helping my family. Josh's parents
    > (Preston & Margie) lost their home and nearly everything in it to a
    > house fire Thursday evening. Preston & Margie have 7 adopted foster
    > children, 2 grandchildren and a great grandchild living with them. I've
    > attached a picture so you can see who you're helping. Your donations
    > are greatly appreciated.

    > Heather

  10. I shared your story with my children this morning and they were soooo delighted in God's protection over and around you! They were not delighted you were slammed by a shark, naturally, but that God showed you He was in charge of saving you! Thank you for sharing it!!

  11. Hi Linny. Just curious about an international adoption question. We are being "rejected" for the most part it is seeming for international adoption because we do not meet the 125% above poverty line with my husbands salary (he is a youth pastor). Do you know of any way around this? Feel free to email me back at if you or any of your commenters do. Thanks…and sorry to bother you….but we are just heartbroken that we may not be able to adopt internationally

  12. I found myself holding my breath as I read your story……….. I had no idea these things either and in my much younger years had the courage (or lack of wisdom) to venture out into the ocean water at night before… I am so thankful that once again Jesus was watching over you…. He is oh, so faithful and oh, how He loves us…

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