Thursday, March 3, 2016

Wave After Wave

Last spring, I went to Hawaii for spring break with my brother and a friend. We had made plans to hang out with another couple of friends there and we got picked up at the airport ready for adventure.

The same day we flew in, we went to a beach. It was close to sunset and the waves were pretty choppy but I was just so excited to be on a beach and starting this epic vacation that I didn’t let it bother me. I ran into the waves and enjoyed the warmish water, twirling around, and feeling like a mermaid. After a little while of floating around, I noticed the waves pulling me further into the ocean were getting stronger and because of my fear of deep water, I got spooked enough to start making my way out. The waves were so strong they kept pulling me back as I tried to make my way to shore. All of the sudden, with water still up to my waist, I noticed a big wave heading toward me. Instinctively, I rose up my arms and got slammed to the hard, sandy floor. I managed to crawl onto the warm, dry sand with scraped knees and a wounded ego. My brother had seen it all happen and laughed as I walked towards him. “What were you trying to do, raising your arms?” he asked sarcastically, “Stop the wave?”

I laughed with him, agreeing that I had been foolish.

A couple of months ago, I had a dream. (I know, pretty soon these blog posts will be dream journal entries.) I was on a beach with my mother, grandmother, and brother. We were sitting on a sandy hill and the waves were crashing below us. It was sunny and there were other people lying out also. All of the sudden, the waves started receding and a huge wave started to form. It grew bigger and bigger in just a matter of seconds. My family got up and we started to run away from the water, all the other people running, too. Quickly it became chaos. Yet the sun kept shining bright. As I am running behind my family, I think we’re not going to make it. Suddenly, I’m caught up in the wave and I’m up so high, the people look like toys. All I can think is, this is going to hurt when I land. Then I wake up.

So why would I share this dream? There is a connection. Bear with me as I share another seemingly random piece of information.

My junior year in college, I struggled with feelings of restlessness and questions of my purpose in life. I came across the song “Something Beautiful” by Needtobreathe. I played this song over and over as I sat at my desk in the Campus Ministries office. Let me share some of the lyrics with you:
In your ocean, I'm ankle deep
I feel the waves crashin' on my feet
It's like I know where I need to be
But I can't figure out, yeah I can't figure out

Just how much air I will need to breathe
When your tide rushes over me
There's only one way to figure out
Will ya let me drown, will ya let me drown

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees, I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

And the water is risin' quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can't be sure when it will subside
So I won't leave your side, no I can't leave your side

I came to Holbrook the next school year as a task force worker with these memorized lyrics playing in my head. I decided I would surrender. Even though a part of me was just as scared of God as I am of deep water, my desire to be a woman after His own heart was pulling me toward the great abyss. And I let go for a while. I dove deep into each crashing wave God sent my way. Sometimes the wave was a girl sharing about her past traumas. Sometimes it was fighting an evil presence. Sometimes it was battling with my own self-worth and self-doubt. I would dive into it, trusting that God would bring me up for air when I needed a break.

Recently, I have not been so faithful. Just like on that Hawaiian beach, I toss up my arms trying to defend myself against the incoming waves. I have relied more on self than God and then I wonder why I have scraped knees and a wounded ego. I wonder why I am so exhausted and overwhelmed. I have forgotten how to dive into the wave – into faith that my God is enough for me.

In Matthew 14:22-33, we find the story of Peter walking on water. I feel like a Peter. I asked God to call me out into the waves and for a while I was walking on water. But I lost sight of Jesus and I started to sink.

I started to fear the water again. Not realizing that the water is His love for me. God loves me so immensely, His love is often overpowering and jaw-dropping. His passionate pursuit of my heart is intimidating and I often react by shrinking back in doubt and fear. Surely, He could not love me this much? And I have fought His love in my life. I have told myself He is not enough for me, I must find another way. I put up my arms against the waves.

Yet, just like the ocean, the waves keep coming. His love never ends and He is persistent. He will keep pursuing until I dive in again and find healing for the deepest caverns of my heart. He will keep sending the waves until I, with my eyes fixed on Jesus, walk on water again.

Thank you Jesus, for Your persistence. Thank you for Your faithfulness.