Tag Archives: fear

Surfing and Jesus

Have y’all ever put those two things together?

Well, my kids are.

Jacob catching a waveWe are enjoying time in the Outer Banks of NC this week. Jacob and Emma are attending a surfing camp here, along with three of their cousins.

Makes me wanna sing “it’s a family affaiiiirrrr, it’s a family affaiiiirrrr”, but I digress…

The camp is hosted by pro surfer Noah Snyder, with the help of some of his buddies, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and the local church where my dad and brother are pastors. While surfing is a large part of the experience, the  larger part is to point kids to Jesus.

Yesterday, the first day of camp and barely 10 minutes after the kids had first ventured out to catch their first waves, a young lady’s leg was injured by her board resulting in the need for her to be taken to get stitches. She was very fortunate; her injury could have been much worse.

I watched as all the staff worked so quickly. First, to pray, as they carried her up to shore from the water. Second, to keep pressure on her wound and call for help. And third, to help the girl stay calm. I wanted so much, as my mother instinct kicked in, to rush over and do something. But I could see they had it well in hand and I tried to back away and reassure all the other kids, including Emma.

Enter the major flashbacks for both Emma and me…flashbacks to the broken leg. As I saw the injured girl being carried out of the water, I was sure the child’s leg was broken. So was Emma. Naturally, Emma was pretty freaked out. It was hard for her to watch. It made her second guess her plan to try this surfing thing after all.

Emma getting encouragement from NoahIt is amazing how certain experiences in life can take you back so quickly to those raw emotions, right back to the very moment when a similar thing happened to you. It broke my heart not only to see the girl suffering the injury, but also to see my child reliving her injury all over again. And reliving it so strongly that it literally made her start feeling sick.

Could it be that God was using that moment to take Emma back to that place, to feel those emotions again, so that He can do some healing in Emma’s heart? I hadn’t thought about it that way, but when my Dad mentioned it to me, I thought he might be on to something.

You can’t heal from hurts you choose not to feel. Those feelings are still there whether or not you choose to feel them. They can begin to fester without your knowing it, too. And then suddenly, something happens out of the blue, and those feelings bubble up to the surface and then, BAM! you hardly know what’s hit you! It took some time for Emma to be ready to get out there and give it a try, but she did.

A lot of surfing is about patience, perseverance and practice. So is life. So is walking with God. Surfing is about faith too. Faith that the board to hold you up. Faith that if you fall, you will be okay. Faith that if you work at it, you will get better. It’s about stepping out into a scary place. You don’t know what is in the water. You don’t always know how the wave will break. It’s about going out deeper, catching bigger waves and trusting that the Lord will be there for you when you fall off the board, because you will fall off the board.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” ~Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation)

It’s like Noah said today, “If you’re not falling off the board, then you’re not surfing.”

And that doesn’t just apply to surfing.

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The one which became a repost: Marinating Isn’t Just For Meat

“Many of the adventures you will go on will not make sense to other people because the outcome is unknown. But journeys where the outcome is already known are not adventures, they’re errands. And you were created to do more than run errands.” ~Jon Acuff

I love this quote.

Oh, perhaps you’ve heard me say that before?

Okay, okay. Yes, I love a lot of quotes. I am a quote person. In general, I am a word person. And when some brilliant person strings together some formation of really awesome words which make me go, “hmm”, I get really excited. If that makes me a word nerd, then so be it!

I found this little tidbit of awesomeness today while reading my sweet friend Sarah’s blog. Sarah is, in fact, about to go on a massive adventure. I am sure some folks are looking at her like she has three heads when this Southern born and bred single girl tells them she is moving 3000 miles across the country, by herself, just because she thinks God wants her to. So the whole thing about your adventures not making sense to other people because everything isn’t all tidily wrapped up in a little bow, totally applies here. Sarah is a sweetie with a heart the size of Texas and a gifted writer (hint: go check out her blog, Living Between the Lines!). I pray that her journey is as amazing as she is.

Here is where you must ignore the naysayers. The ones who will stomp on your dreams, your callings, who will try to discourage you from jumping out into the great unknown and perhaps even make you second guess yourself. Why do they do that?

My theory?

They are people who live in fear. (And haven’t we all from time to time?) But we do not have to let the fear of others speak fear into our lives. We were created for more than running errands. We were created to go on these journeys that God has in mind for us and sometimes our own fear prevents us from heading out on these adventures and we end up missing out.

So, I say: Bravo, Sarah! Bravo for being obedient to the call and for pushing through the fear and stepping out! I can’t wait to hear all about your new adventure!

About right here is where I remembered a post I wrote back in 2007. And in light of the whole do-stuff-even-if-it’s-scary theme of this post, I am re-posting the following because I feel it bears repeating. Enjoy.

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Originally posted November 13, 2007

Marinating Isn’t Just For Meat

 

Y’all will just have to excuse me for a minute today.  I’m having “a moment”. 

SIDEBAR: Hmm, how to describe what ”a moment” is.  Could be “A-ha” or “Something hit me like a ton of bricks” or “I’m having a minor breakdown” or something along those lines. Basically, it’s a moment in time where I have to think about something for a little longer.  Marinate, if you will. (Thanks, Lisa). To sit with something and let it really soak in.  If you know me in “real life” you’ve heard me use the phrase “I’m having a moment” hundreds of times.

I’m not trying to get all “religious” on you.  Frankly, I think people who are ”religious” are missing the point.   But I have been thinking about something this morning while I was out walking (yes, I am finally getting my ever-enlarging booty moving in the sincere hopes that it will, in fact, begin to shrink.)  And you should know, that my faith in God is the core of who I am.  I’m not claiming to “know it all”.  I’m certainly far from perfect.  But I am a Christian.  I make no apologies for that.  So if y’all are reading this and thinking I’m getting kinda freaky, well that’s okay.  Read on or not, but in order to marinate in this, and really get down to the nitty gritty of it for myself, I have to write it. 

So I was walking along, podulating (listening to the pod) and I began to really listen to the words of the song that was playing.  I listen to a lot of different kinds of music.  Huge variety of tunes on the pod.  Today, I was going with a very cool Christian musician named Jonathan David Helser.  He is the son of a man I have known since I was probably 9.  His father (a musician and minister) and my father (also a minister–definitely NOT a musician) have, over the years, done ministry together and though I haven’t known Jonny well, I have come to know his music.  And now he and my younger brother, who have both gone into the “family business”, along with my older brother, have ministered together from time to time.  It’s really kinda cool to have the second generation going.  Anyway, so I have Jonny’s album (The Awakening) on the pod and I am walking.  God Is Love is the name of the song.  Powerful song.  Part of the lyrics go like this:  “I will live out the dreams You’ve placed in me.  Shout down the walls of fear.  Nothing is impossible for those who believe that God is love.  God is love.  God is love.  I won’t be afraid.  God is love. God is love.  Nothing is impossible.”

This got me thinking.  Two things.

1. What are the dreams that God has placed in me?  

2. What are the fears that I have that keep me from living out those dreams?

We all have dreams.  Whether you believe they were placed there by God is up to you.  I always wanted to be a wife and a mom.  I am thankful that I have been able to do that.  And I love being a wife and a mom.  That was my dream from the time I was a little girl.  Are there other dreams in there?  Dreams hidden away?  Is there a new dream?  I’m thinking on that.  Looking back, there are other things that came along when I was younger that I think I chose not to do because I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough to do them.  So the fear creeps in.  Fear of rejection.  Of failure.  Of disappointing someone else.  Of what others will think.  You start believing the lie.  And you start building your own personal wall of fear…brick by brick.  Then you don’t try those things that come along.  You miss awesome opportunities. 

Who told me to be afraid?  To build the wall?  Only me. 

I often tell my kids when I see fear taking hold,  “What is the worst thing that could happen?”  It is easier to give advice than to take it.

I can’t change the missed opportunities of the past, but what I can do, NOW, is recognize that the fear exists and see it for what it is.  It is a wall.  A wall that keeps you from getting to the dream on the other side.  But it is not an impenetrable wall.  You can tear it down, just like you built it–brick by brick.  But you have to do some work.  And you might need some tools, say a crowbar or pick ax.  And you might need some help and support.  (Think Women of Brewster Place and all those determined women breaking down that wall in the rain together.)  So, I’m marinating in all that.  Soaking in it and seeing what I think of it all.  Do I have more dreams?  How will I face the wall of fear and shout it down?  Will I let it stay and keep me from some exciting stuff?  What am I going to do about it?  Here’s what I’m thinking:  

If perfect love drives out fear, like the Bible says, and if I believe that God is perfect love and if I believe that God lives in me, then there is no room for both God and fear in my life.  Think of it as sort of an equation.  Like this:  GOD ≠ FEAR. 

One of them has to go.  And driving God out is not an option.  

I’m lettin’ that marinate.

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

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It was then that I carried you.

I am a control freak.  I freely admit it.  I like to be the one driving the car.  I like to be the one who has all the answers. I like to be able to fix things, people and situations.

Well, it is something I am keenly aware of in my life, and, let’s just say, I am working on it.

My control freakishness rears its ugly head sometimes when I least expect it. Just when I think I’ve got my control issues “under control”, I realize I don’t. Most recently and most frequently, my need to control is related to my children.  My two beautiful gifts. They are my whole world.  They are the two most amazing people on the planet, in my opinion. Like any other mom, I want the best for them. I want them to be fulfilled and happy.

They are growing up so fast; it is scary to me. Their childhood is slipping away before my very eyes. The control freak in me has a very difficult time with this, as you can imagine. I want them to make good choices and blossom into the people God has planned for them to become. I want them to grow up, but I don’t want them to grow up. It is a constant tug-of-war. Makes me feel kinda schizo sometimes.

I often cling to the words of Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I hold fast to these words for my children.  I trust that God has a plan for them. So often, I say to God, I know You are in control. I know You’ve got this…But let me just help You along a bit, okay? I often pray and say, I’m giving this to You, Lord—only to take it back from Him five minutes later.  Surely we can all identify with that struggle.

Jacob, my son and firstborn, is 16 years old now. He is a high school junior. When he was 5 years old and diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome, I could not see this far down the road—I could not see past the next five minutes. I had no idea what his future would look like. And yet, here we are. Now is the future I couldn’t imagine back in 2000. He has made huge strides since then and we are so proud of him. He still has hurdles; he always will. And I still don’t know what the future will look like for him as a man.

I realize that I won’t always be right there to hold his hand and say, now remember your homework assignment or did you put on your deodorant or change your clothes or say hello to the man or, well, you get the picture. I desperately want to make sure he is okay and it is so hard to let go and allow him to go it alone and endure those situations that can be challenging for him.  I want to do things for him. To control the environment so he doesn’t get upset when there is a loud laugh-y lady in the restaurant who, I know, is making his skin crawl. To remind him to use the tools his doctor has taught him to help manage his anxiety. And don’t even talk to me about him driving a car! OY!

He is not like other boys his age who are out playing their soccer games and driving their cars and going out with their friends and girlfriends. He is a loner. He is happy to hang out by himself or with his family. He is not really interested in connecting with people. Going to parties or crowded places is not high on his list of things to do. He is not super motivated when it comes to his school work and does not really seem to have an idea of what he wants to do with his life. Naturally, I worry. He does not fit in the traditional mold of the typical kid…and that is okay. He is truly fantastic and I think he is awesome. But I have to be realistic and know that the world likes “typical”. Unfortunately, a world that likes “typical” is not always accepting of “atypical”.

It is that constant struggle of helping him become independent and doing too much for him. Helping him find his way, without telling him what that is. That whole “give them roots, but give them wings” thing. Finding the balance is a very difficult thing. Should he take the SAT or the ACT? Will he go to college? Will he be able to support himself? Will he find someone who will love him for who he is and who will want to share her life with him?  Are we doing the right things to help him? Who will make sure he is okay when his dad and I are gone?

These are the things I lose sleep over.

And then, I am quietly reassured—Fear not. I am reminded, God loves him more that I ever could. God knows the answers to all those questions that constantly swirl around in my worried brain. He truly is in control—whether we give Him that control or not.

I see, in my mind’s eye, me carrying my two children in my arms.  Just wandering around carrying them. Then, I see myself carrying them, one by one, and laying them at the feet of Jesus. Then, Jesus bends down and picks all three of us up in His arms, like we are light as a feather, and, walking away, carries us all.

It is remarkable the peace I feel when I let Him carry it all.

When He is carrying everything, He carries my worry. I don’t have to worry about the future, because He is carrying that too. And He is carrying us there to that future—wherever “there” is. And I don’t have to worry about that either.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will hold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

So, today, I ball my worries up and throw them as far away as I can. Far up into the heavens so that I can no longer see them.  Some days, that ball is more like a boomerang, coming back to me and smacking me in the head once I’ve turned to walk away. But, today, it is okay. Today, I refuse to pick the worries back up.  I’m going to let Jesus carry them all day. He does a way better job than I do.

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