When Our Timbers Get Shivered

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

According to the etymology resources I investigated, shiver me timbers means:

to break in or into many small pieces, c. 1200, from the source of shiver (n.). Chiefly in phrase shiver me timbers (1835),

To cause (a material thing) to ‘start’ or break away from its place; to displace by pressure or strain. Of a ship. To suffer the starting or giving way of (a plank, etc.).

The word shiver originally referred to a small piece, fragment, or splinter of something, or to the act of breaking something into many small pieces. Hence, “shiver my/me timbers” refers to the splintering of wooden ships upon rough seas.

Well. The last half of 2017 was a time when my timbers were shivered with one continuous thing after another. For sure.

Details aren’t necessary.

But I will say if you’ve ever been caught in a rip current, pulled under water repeatedly, popped up for a gasp of air only to be pulled under again, you might have an idea of what I’m talking about.

While I believe we are meant to learn from our past, and nothing is wasted, for this discussion I’m going with what Kylo Ren told Rey in the latest Star Wars movie. “Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”

The last week of December 2017 I felt God reorienting the ship of my life. Although the tides of life pulled me gradually off course, pieces of wood shivered and lay splintered on the deck, my main mast split in two, and my sails tore; God began turning me back to his guiding star.

When our timbers get shivered it requires a deep trust in God to steady the ship.

It requires stepping away from the steering wheel and allowing God to take over the helm.

It requires continuous reorientation to the Guiding Star that is constant and never moves.

Is it easy? Nope. Is it doable? Yep. With God all things are possible. Even putting the shivered pieces of our life in their proper place.

Have your timbers been shivered lately?

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Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne. Hebrews 12:2 (GNT)

I wish you well.


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