Monthly Archives: October 2015

Get Out of the Boat: Oceans Deep In Drownable Water

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Last summer I co-led my first mission team of seven people to Jamaica to serve at the Teen Challenge Program in Ocho Rios. While there, we were able to share our testimonies as well as hear the testimonies of the men and women in the program.  Our week was a powerful testament to Revelations 12:11 that says we overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. GO JESUS GO!

After the longest and hottest week ever, our team headed to the beach for some sand and sun…and apparently, an adventure in snorkeling. Anyone who knows me well knows that right about then I hit the panic button. PUMP. THE. BRAKES.

I pre-decided that snorkeling, for me, was just NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.This girl loves the water but she loves her feet planted firmly on the ground.

And then Jesus gently whispered in my ear, as he so very often does. He said, you’re gonna do this TODAY.

Ummmm what? Oh, thanks for the offer Jesus but I am I’m good… Love you! *sips tea.*

In what seemed like a blur, my teammate offered her and her husband to be my safety water partners. I knew I could no longer ignore the still small voice nudging me to step out from my comfort zone. I got my fins, and we were off.

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Needless to say this was a huge experiment in TRUST for me – and a huge feat to accomplish! Little by little with Jesus, my encouraging team, and a very, very patient teacher, I was able to float and see more of God’s beautiful creations under water. I saw fish of so many colors – something that I almost missed out on because of my fear of the water. But Jesus gave me the courage and the strength to let go of the rope and hold His hand.

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God continued to teach me about trust even after this trip. I realized that this experience goes beyond trusting God for snorkeling. Life experiences, stress, work, relationships…sometimes when situations occur that threaten to take me under the current, I wonder if I can stay afloat through it all. Wondering if the life jacket will be sturdy enough to withstand all that I am going through, especially on days when I feel extra fragile.

But the truth of God’s word is that He is my life jacket, my life ring, the One who preserves me through all things. His perfect love has cast out all fear, and He came so that we could have life more abundantly. Abundant living isn’t about watching others have fun from the sidelines. Abundant living is knowing and trusting that I can step out in faith and walk in my true identity of all that He has for me. It is not allowing fear to control me or prevent me from trying new experiences. Knowing that when the waves of life get rocky, I can lean fully into Him knowing that He can handle it all.

He showed me how it is all about trusting Him in every situation, something that I am continuing to learn more and more each day. Every day, every step is one that takes me further away from fear and closer to the heart of Jesus and who He has created me to be. Whether my feet are on the ground, flying to my next mission destination, or floating at sea, I can trust that He has me.

 

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Where has God called you to step out into the waters to overcome fear?

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A Heart of Forgiveness and Gratitude

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The past week has been challenging to say the least. Friday night while heading home my cell phone was snatched out of my hands by someone who took off into the night. Over the past week I have experienced so many emotions: shock, anger, fear, frustration, hypervigilance …you name it. Thankfully I wasn’t hurt. Though it was a material possession that is replaceable while my life isn’t, there was still the feeling of being violated that lingered. Needless to say I am being challenged and stretched and learning many lessons.

Sometimes you have to sit with Jesus and let him hold you when you have no words to say. The beauty of it all is that He loves for us to be present and sit with Him. He is our greatest Comforter in times of need. His presence alone brings power and healing. His presence supersedes anything words could ever say. I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit that intercedes for me on my behalf. (Romans 8:26)

Sometimes your friends will give you wise counsel that you just don’t want to hear in the moment. Pray for them, forgive them, and give the situation to Jesus. Take their advice. I am thankful that God has surrounded me with mighty prayer warriors who challenge me to grow, give wise counsel and don’t just tell me what I want to hear. (Proverbs 19:20)

Sometimes in order to show forgiveness and grace to those who hurt you, you might need more help from God than you would like to admit. Turning the other cheek is not easy, but God never said it would be. I am so grateful that God understands and is willing to guide me by the hand to have a heart of forgiveness. I am grateful for the reminder that I, too, am forgiven. (Ephesians 4:32)

And sometimes it takes all you have to express that your heart really doesn’t want to forgive – and to ask God to change your heart anyway. I am thankful that He is willing and able to give me a heart of flesh instead of heart of stone so that I can love more like Him. (Ezekiel 26:36)

In case you need a reminder this week, God is loyal. When the enemy of this world steals, kills, and destroys, God gives us life more abundantly (John 10:10). God works ALL THINGS together for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). In Christ we are no longer victims, but we fight from a place of VICTORY (1 Corinthians 15:57). When you are feeling wronged, the Word is a great place to hang out. And sometimes it helps to pray in color at 2 am in the morning. 🙂

Photo credit: The Time Garden: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book by Daria Song (free downloadable pages here)