Saturday, March 6, 2010

Found at Sea

"Put out into deep waters." (Luke 5:4)

Living on the shore, splashing in puddles, I've been afraid of the deep. Afraid of my feet losing footing. Afraid of the fight and effort required to keep my head above water in deeper depths. Putting out into the deep would render me helpless. What if I dove in and couldn't make it back to land before drowning in a sea of vulnerability, pain and confusion.

"The depth of the water into which we sail depends upon how completely we have cut our ties to the shore, the greatness of our need, and our anxieties about the future."

Shallow seemed safer. Deeper decisions, dangerous.

Letting loose the lines that held me to the past, I've suddenly found myself flailing in unfamiliar waters. Going under, self submerged, His grace washes over me, soaking sorrow, sin and shame. Covered by His love, I long for forgiveness, acceptance and deliverance. Grasping for breath, I struggle, terrified of being exposed, left and abandoned.

Will I drown in billows of humiliation? Can I give myself permission to stop fighting the currents pull and believe Someone will hold me...carry me across to the other side? Can I leave the familiar shore for the foreign unknown? The water seems colder. The wind unfriendly. I panic as I sense the sharks circling, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. I feel my insides torn even without their touch.

Glancing at the faraway horizon, struggling and so very much afraid, lost and lonely, giving up, a life-line is thrown. I am not alone in the ocean. God provided a friend who has charted these waters and sailed similar seas. It will be hard, but I will not be alone.

When the undertow is strong and I want to surrender to it's pull, she encourages, "Keep swimming!" When the way back beckons louder than the call to journey forward, she implores, "Keep swimming!" When the weight of the burden I'm still clenching threatens to pull me under, she helps me open tight-fisted hands and with understanding whispers in my ear, "keep swimming". When the sound of the sea confuses me and panic overtakes, she yells above the chaos, "KEEP SWIMMING". When the waves toss me relentless and I'm battered and bruised by authenticities price, she tenderly cries, "Keep swimming, dear one, keep swimming". When I call for help she holds my hand. With her touch I suddenly notice that she swims beside me as God calms the raging storm in me.

I wish at this point I could share a conversation I had with the dearest of friends Thursday morning. Incredible doesn't begin to describe the journey she took with me. Through a carefully crafted illustration the waves continued to roll, but instead of fighting, we began floating in the Hands of God. She directed my gaze to a boat ahead and the Captain who was waiting for us there. When seen through God's eyes, the waves that were threatening moments before appeared gentle. God was rocking us in the cradle of His hands. His boat was anchored, reliable and dependable. "My darling baby girl, I am not going anywhere."

As I reached to borrow her binoculars to see the boat ahead, she pointed something out to me. I had freely let go of her hand...twice...and I had stopped flailing and kicking against the waves. Why? Because my eyes were back on Jesus. She reminded me that Jesus "provides that never ending anchored strength and calm in the storms of life."

Sometimes we just have to "relax and trust the process".

Thanks Diane. Love ya tons. I discovered I was never lost at sea, but found. His eyes have never left or shifted their gaze from me...not even for a moment. His stare steadfast. Exchanging my weariness for His rest. In floating I am strangely secure.

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myletterstoemily said...

i have lost count how many times my
friends have saved me when i was

what a sweet friend you must have.

Laura said...

I stood in up to my knees for the longest time...afraid of going deeper. But when His tide washes over, wow. Amazing.

Sharon Sloan said...

This is beautiful Joy! Just beautiful. Praying and watching with you...if even through binoculars! :)


Your post kept bringing this scripture to mind: Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.

Patricia said...

I understand your fears of the deep...but that truly is where we get closer to God and experience His presence.


Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Love the ending of your story. Love the last two words...."strangely secure." God's ways are unexplainable. It's great to be able to rest in Him even when we don't understand Him.

Hope you are having a good week. Mississippi

Lori said...

"to relax and trust the process" - only by clinging to Him, knowing He will never give us more that we can bear! In Him we can do all things and be all that He so wants us to be.

And, He gave you Diane to share the waves with! He is so good.

Hugs sweet friend, Lori

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

sailing the waters with you, friend, in love and in peace.


LisaShaw said...

"relax and trust the process" that says it all.

Congratulations on the top 100 and God bless you as you continue to walk in Him.

Kathy S. said...

I have been in that water. I have had you on my heart lately. Glad to know the Lord sent you a loving hand to hold!

It reminds me of Oswald Chambers. He says anxiety is "calculating without God"~ I need to remember that daily, and I have had my seasons of "lost at sea" when all the while he is right there holding out His hand!
Love you Joy!

On Purpose said...

To quote Dori from "Finding Nemo"

"Just keep swimming" "Just keep swimming"

Its a track I play over and over in my head many times!!

Connie Arnold said...

We all face those times of fear, struggling, feeling submerged in the troubles of life. The friends God provides in our lives to help us are such a blessing. Fixing our eyes on Jesus is always the sure way to calm the storm. Thank you for sharing the beautiful post!

Pat said...

Very precious Joy! Transparent and filled with hope!

~Grace and Peace said...

So glad you're back again, Joy. I can relate to your post - esp since I can't swim! What a blessing to have a friend like Diane who points you in the right direction.

Have a blessed day, sweet friend.

Cheri Bunch said...

Oh Joy ...

Sat here for a long time searching for words fit to describe how I feel about this ... all that came were completely inadequate! I will return to this post again, friend. Thank you for sharing from the very deepest chambers of your heart! Your openness brings healing!

Much love~

Renee said...

I am new to your blog through Lisa Buffaloe....and this post spoke so clearly to me today as I looked for peace in my storm. I am going to be having surgery for uterine cancer~ scary stuff. Other illnesses make it more challenging and I have found fear is disrupting my days....God has been in the details of every day with this journey and today one of the details came from your post here.
What a blessing..
God be with you.

Cheri Bunch said...

Sweet Joy,
I featured your "Found At Sea" post on my Threadbare blog today. Please check it out! Lovingly, Cheri

Patrina said...

God has gifted you with a TRUE friend! This is where true friends really emerge....out in the deep.

Blessings for the process

Keep growing closer to Jesus

Patrina <")>><
His watchman on the wall

Renee said...

Wanted to thank you for coming by my blog...for your prayers and also for sharing other blog posts to read...I did and they really were helpful! You are a great writer.
Thank you for your prayers...God bless...

Carolyn said...

What an amazing reminder, thank u so much, this message spoke directly to my heart today. The most apt discription of how I feel is like I'm "drowning"& this message showed me I AM NOT!

lisasmith said...

Joy, I love the depth of this writing =)

You and I, saying no to that dogged enemy fear...what a year we are having!
love you and sure hope to meet you at she speaks this, lisa xoxo

Karen said...

What a beautiful post! God bless our dear friends who show amazing strength in our times of "drowning".

prashant said...

This is beautiful Joy! Just beautiful. Praying and watching with you...if even through binoculars!
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