Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Diving in the deep water...

Diving in...something I wrote about in my last post and as always God asked me to practice what I preach. On Thursday, I - the farmer's wife and homeschooling Mom, who rarely leaves the state, boarded a plane for Myrtle Beach. Most people think this scenario is great - time away from the frozen tundra (actual air temperature dropped to -16 when I was gone) and an opportunity to go where I've never been. I'm one who will say I need to get away, but when the opportunity comes it's often something I dread.

Honestly, Thursday morning it felt like it'd be much easier to stay home and do what I've always done, but my husband wouldn't allow it. We headed to the airport for our 2:30 flight and as we made the hour drive, fog set in. Five minutes prior to boarding, we were delayed. We waited for a few hours, made some calls, changed a flight and said some prayers. Eventually, we boarded the plane, headed to the runaway and then the plane stopped - mechanical issues.

We all exited the plane and I was ready to change my plans. I pulled out my journal and wrote a prayer asking for direction. Then I texted Job, "Maybe I'm not suppose to go, what do you think?" He didn't even respond and minutes later, we boarded again. We arrived in Chicago with 35 minutes to catch our flight and God showed up...we did what the flight attendant didn't think we could and fell into our seats tired from our sprint.

As the plane flew through the air, thoughts raced through my mind. Instantly, I remembered the blog post and devotional I had shared the day before. God had clearly led me to dive in and go to the Encouragement Cafe ministry retreat, but I had been scared to jump and worried about what would happen. Jesus had set an example of following God and commanded me to do the same, but I was fearful and felt inadequate.

But just like the child who stands shaking at the edge of the pool, I eventually took the leap and God did what He always does. He catches and He equips, He protects and He provides. He fills us with His Spirit and offers us His peace.

After a heart to heart with God, we landed in Charlotte at midnight and there was more to come. The weekend was full of stories of God's goodness and faithfulness. I met women who love and serve Him and love me too. Evidence of God's work and peeks at what is to come were obvious. Conversations took place that deepened my faith and touched my heart. Friendships were made that will last for eternity. Laughs brought joy, smiles shared love and tears united hearts. Humble hearts and powerful prayers will be remembered forever.

Clearly, I was where I needed to be, which is exactly where I was afraid to go. Diving in the deep end is scary, but friend it's where God works. One passage we pulled apart and God brought me to again in my quiet time was Matthew 14:22-33, the story of Peter walking on water. Friend, there are many insights we can gave from this account, but what I'll highlight today - they were probably in deep water. Verse 24 tells us they were a distance from land and we all know you don't catch fish in shallow water.

Peter's question, actions and faith are worthy of our attention and an example we can learn from. First, before we jump in the deep end or try to do the impossible, let's make sure it's Jesus. Is He the One calling you to get out of the boat and take a step of faith? If so, do what Peter did - take action! Get on the plane, make the hard phone call, forgive, do what's right, go where you don't want to go, do what you're afraid to do.

Once Jesus gives you His command, obey. With Him do what you could never do alone. But friend, let's learn an important lesson from Peter - we MUST keep our eyes on Jesus. In verse 30 we read, "But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, 'Lord, save me!'" When we take our eyes off Christ, bad things start to happen. Granted it's probably not the wind that's going to make us sink, but fear, doubt and pride can easily take us under. We mustn't look at our troubles and worries or focus on the praise and applause, but concentrate on the One who holds us in His hand.

When we do this, others will respond like the disciples who stayed in the boat. People will see us dive in and worship the One who called us to jump!!

Friend, if you're standing on the edge and contemplating taking a leap of faith, may I encourage you? I know it's not easy to step out of our comfort zone, face confrontation or walk away from a job we love, but I've experienced God's goodness in the deep waters. As you prepare to take the plunge may these words encourage you to persevere - "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:4-5)

“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4)

Friend, whether you have to do what you've never done or walk away from something you've always loved...do what God calls you to do, follow Jesus where He leads and dive in the deep water where He will work!!

3 comments:

  1. So much fun to read your words after walking with you through the "before!" Thank you for sharing your story because so many of us are in that place at times. Where we don't want to go where God calls us. Not because we don't want to join Him there but because we are afraid of what we have to do to get there. I especially appreciate this paragraph:

    "Peter's question, actions and faith are worthy of our attention and an example we can learn from. First, before we jump in the deep end or try to do the impossible, let's make sure it's Jesus. Is He the One calling you to get out of the boat and take a step of faith? If so, do what Peter did - take action! Get on the plane, make the hard phone call, forgive, do what's right, go where you don't want to go, do what you're afraid to do."

    We must be sure it is HIM who is calling us to where we are going.

    Thank you, Jill, your words really spoke to my heart and emotions today.

    me

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  2. So much YES to all of the above! Oh Jill, you are a true beauty, and I'm so continually touched by your authenticity. Thank you for always affording us such a safe place to hear God's voice and encouraging us to step out in faith. My sis said that the weekend was unbelievable. Praising God so much together with you.

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  3. Jill, wouldn't you know... God perfectly timed your devotional to intersect with a time when I desperately needed the wisdom. Keeping my gaze on Jesus' eyes as I steady my legs to jump and dive! I love you so much... Xo

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