The ocean is an untamable thing, its coastlines spread all over the world & in its depths holds the mystery of the unknown. Standing beside misty waves gives a feeling of being connected to one of the most fabulous creations on earth. It was no surprise and almost a cliche that the first Christian song I ever heard was Oceans by Hillsong United. The lyrics are a perfect example of deciding to venture into uncharted waters in the name of Christ.
“You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand”
-Oceans (Hillsong United)
From High Tides To Shallow Shorelines
October 1st will mark two months being home from El Salvador. How am I doing? You may ask. Coming back from such a spiritual high to the mundaneness of western living in honesty has been a challenge. While serving in El Sal, the Lord gave me a sample of what my life could be like, and I loved every minute of it. Every day I was living in spiritual ecstasy. We served in the direction of the Holy Spirit, and the presence of the Lord arrived naturally. It felt SO GOOD to finally use my spiritual giftings making returning to the routine at home seem insignificant. I caught myself finding disappointment in EVERYTHING. My church lacked fire, my jobs weren’t hitting personal fulfilment, & even the people around me although I love them could not compare to the experiences I shared with my teammates this summer.
Along with feeling frustrated by my current surroundings, I also started getting frustrated with God. “Why this place again Lord?!”
“So pull me up from down below
‘Cause I’m underneath the undertow
Come dry me off and hold me close
I need you now I need you most.”
Once you allow your mind to begin questioning Gods intentions, it also rocks the boat of your peace. Instead of leading by example what I learned while away it was easier to retreat and fall back into a dormant place. My days this month were filled with overwhelming fear. Fear of failure and shame resulting in blaming external circumstances instead of self-reflecting. I had opened an opportunity for the devil to place a foothold which only leads to discontentment.
When the world and even “religious” communities start to create a whirlpool of chaos we need to remember to keep our eyes on the skies. This current storm isn’t new, I’ve navigated it before, and it was the Holy Spirit that got me through it. Sometimes the Lord guides us to take a step backwards because we may have overlooked his teachings, but that doesn’t mean we are lost at sea forever.
“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.”
As much as I think I’m ready to set sail towards a future in missions God has humbled me, even more, to realize that there is much-needed preparation ahead. Although I am stronger than I was two years ago my faith still is easily shaken the moment clouds begin to roll in. How quickly did I forget that the Lord is with me everywhere either it is on the mission field or here in the U.S.? When faced with more health challenges why did I feel abandoned by him when he never left? Why didn’t I choose worship over complaining? Instead of stepping out in authority why did I hide?
Sure, I know what I SHOULD have done, but I chose to sink rather than swim. My only answer to those questions is that I’m a jellyfish (womp). Thankfully God knows our humanness better than we do, he is full of grace to give us a second, third even a fourth chance. There will always be new challenges in life that are inevitable. The difference is when anchored in Jesus and his word it gives us what we need to stay afloat.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”
Just keep Swimming
At this point, my hope is that third times a charm in this season, and I keep pressing forward. Sure, my life still isn’t what I had planned at all. What happens when feeling as if your fighting against waves? It might be time to stop trying to overcome the current and try to go with the flow. Just because you haven’t “arrived” yet at a destination doesn’t mean you aren’t on the way. What I keep relearning as cheesy as it sounds is to be happy within the journey. God doesn’t want us to rush into our purpose. If we get there too soon, we may be unprepared. How great is his love that he sets up to be victors and not failures?
The best advice I can give to someone who feels they have entered the abyss is to keep pushing through. Continue to serve your heart out in the kingdom and be sensitive to the lessons that are growing your character. Besides focusing on mapping out the future take time to enjoy where God has placed you. Try to understand his reasoning in why he locates us where we are. It’s not just for our selfish benefit but rather to use us in helping others as well (mind-blowing I know). Last but most importantly remember to GIVE THANKS for the blessings that have already come to pass. Think of provided promises as landmarks that will help you stay on the course God is leading you towards.
“When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me.”
Keep the peace & God Bless!
Missions: District Meeting October 12th (Please Keep Me In Prayer!)