Day 644: {Sometimes} Smooth Sailing

Have you ever been sailing?

It’s really… kind of an amazing experience. It’s beautiful, and clean, and pure, and scary, and stressful, and dangerous.

Probably another one of those things that is so much like life… just a perfect metaphor.

You get on this sailboat and you have all this work to do, and you have to do it right or the boat will capsize or you’ll run it aground or something equally terrible. Or even beyond your control, a huge storm can blow through and despite your best efforts, you could be sunk… literally.

But on the flip side, if you do the work right, then you sit down for a bit on the boat or stand at the helm and you feel the wind pushing you along. You hear the wind tap, tap, tapping against the sails. You see the water stretching out beyond you and you rock back and forth as the boat pushes through the waves.

It’s… just awesome.

And life is like that… it can be so much hard work and if you don’t do it right then it makes life more difficult for you. You could capsize your life, or run it aground, or just ruin the boat entirely. Or a terrible storm out of your control can come through and ravage your life, your plans, your work.

But, on the flip side, you at times can feel the moments of peace and see the beauty of life stretching out before you.

And it can be… just awesome.

But the hard part of both sailing and life … is choosing to struggle through the hard work, to push through the storms in HOPES that you will eventually get to experience the peace and beauty.

So let me tell you: this is the really, really good part… It IS Worth It.

This is what Christ promises us…

Have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33

He tells us that even in the storm we can know that the storm. will. end. We can keep our eyes on the horizon knowing that He has overcome the world. He has already defeated it. He has already begun to move His hand to wipe away that storm.

We don’t sail through life hopeless.

We sail through life knowing that after the storm, there does come a rainbow. As cheesy and overused as that metaphor is… it’s accurate. The SON will shine through the rain and you will see the beauty that can He can create in your life after a storm.

So, climb aboard me hearties… and God’s speed!

{Okay, sorry for that last part… couldn’t help myself. I figured since I went with the trite “after a storm comes a rainbow” I might as well use some kind of cheesy pirate and sailing gibberish to finish it off!}

 

Day 643: Lost Cause

It’s not easy being a blogger.

As in, it’s way more difficult than being a book author.

(Not that I’ve ever actually BEEN a book author…)

But, like, when I get an idea or have some kind of “epiphany” or something that needs to be shared, it can be… daunting… to put it out there. I mean, blogging is so frequent, so raw, so (often) poorly edited, and so immediate. There’s very rarely time for me to let something on my mind sit and… marinate. Sometimes I just… don’t write anything for fear that I won’t do it justice.

And I’ve been sorta playing that game with today’s post.

I’ve written it, like, at least five times.

You see, this past Sunday my Sunday School teacher, whose first name I often have to conjure because he’s just known as “Tippit” in my house now (it’s his last name, so no need to scramble to look up an allusion or anything fancy like that) decided to rock my spiritual, mental, and emotional world AGAIN with his lesson. And you know what, actually, it wasn’t even his entire lesson. It was, yet again (like on Day 622: When A Man Cries), with a phrase that just… well… it just melted me.

Like, I mean we are talking the kind of melting that happens when Dorothy pours water all over the Wicked Witch (cue the YouTube vid… only I’m not really wicked nor do I have a long crookedy green nose… nor did I actually, literally, ya know… melt). But any sort of facade that I had built just… melted within seconds.

And it was, yet again, not necessarily something that was some kind of new earth shattering theology or theory, but it was just the words that my heart needed at this point in my journey. My bumpy, messy, is-this-ever-gonna-really-work journey.

He said…

You are not a lost cause.

You Are Not A Lost Cause all things new

And seriously, I folded over in tears. I tried to hide it by letting my hair hang over my face and writing down his quote feverishly in my little notebook, but I was in communion with God at that moment.

Cause those words… they weren’t Tippit’s words.

Those were God’s words. Right to my heart.

I mean… you know, like in the movies when someone gets stabbed or whatever and they have that shocked-I-totally-wasn’t-expecting-that-to-happen kind of face. That was me.

But instead it was God reaching inside of me and ripping out my hopelessness.

I am not a lost cause.

YOU are not a lost cause.

Cause you know why?

He is making everything NEW. Revelation 21:5

Yes, even our messed up, wrecked up, what the heck is up with this… lives.

He is working out a plan… a good plan… a good work… in us and He is going to CONTINUE that work until it is complete.

You Are Not A Lost Cause began a good work

Which meeeeeeeans, you are not a lost cause. It’s. not. OVER.

Whatever “failures” you feel you might have endured. No matter how many times you mess up and mess up and mess up… you are just not DONE yet. And that, my friends, is the biggest cure for hopelessness that I have ever experienced. I might be at the bottom of the barrel today… rock bottom. I might be swimming in a ginormous vat of chocolate and eating all of it. I might be just like the dog that returns to his vomit.

Terrible.
Horrible.
Gross.
Shameful.

But I am still NOT a lost cause.

Know why?

I am HIS cause.

You Are Not A Lost Cause You are HIS cause

 

Day 112: I’m A Keeper

There was a time when my brother was playing soccer as a kid… like Kindergarten or 1st grade age. You know how it works when they are that age. Every kid just hovers around the ball so there is like this tornado of kids all in one area. And then… there’s the poor keeper. All by himself down there by the goal. And it’s especially worse when your team is good because most of the action is happening at the other end of the field where the tornado of action is attempting to kick the ball into the other keeper’s goal. Well, my brother’s team was pretty good so the poor little keeper on his team tended to get bored pretty frequently.

Well, this one time, after we had all been watching down to the left for several minutes as our kids hacked away at getting the ball in their goal, there was a breakaway and a kid from the other team busted out of the pack with the ball, sprinting towards… our goal.

And we looked on in horror, amazement, shock, and ultimately complete hilarity as we saw that our keeper, having obviously been bored and… well… ignored for quite a while, had climbed up into the goal ropes. It was no biggie apparently… he was just “hanging out” (haha) until it was time for that breakaway. Only, he had gotten himself so entangled that when he tried to get off… he couldn’t. He was stuck. Stuck dangling from that goal as he watched helplessly while the lucky boy from the other team effortlessly kicked the ball in the goal right under our keeper.

Hilarious, right? Definitely! Ha- you should hear my dad tell the story! It’s even better!

But ya know, I think we have all at some point felt like that keeper. We, for whatever reason, choose to go where we shouldn’t go and we get tangled in the ropes of sin. And then, when the time comes for us to escape… we are stuck. Stuck dangling above watching life go by. Stuck watching someone else win right in front of our eyes. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck.

An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness. Proverbs 5:22

I will admit that more and more I feel separated from the girl that felt entangled by this sin of addiction. But I must say that this verse stuck with me. In fact, I finished my reading this morning and then went back to it because I was still thinking about it. Probably because it is such an accurate depiction of what has been going on with me for yearrrrrrs. And while I am all about moving forward, moving on without the past, I guess at the same time when I take small moments to look back at the past then everything about the present is… better. more manageable.

And I saw this verse and remembered how hopeless I felt tangled up in those ropes. Just as helpless as that boy was in that goal. I think about how helpless people were around me that wanted me to be free, but they could only watch me hang there. Just like we all watched helplessly as that boy dangled there that day. We could not help him. And I think about all the poor women I have despised because they were thin… the ones I thought were winning… even though their thinness might have been the only “goal” they ever scored.

And then I look at that second half of the verse “He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.” And the lack of self-control I had for food was literally going to kill me. I don’t have to be a dietician or a scientist to know that I was pushing the machine of my body to perform in a way that it was not designed. And that will kill a machine.

And all of it was just such great, great foolishness… now I see that. Eating to comfort? to entertain? to rest? From the outside looking in, it was such a ridiculous thing. But… I was too entangled to see it. Too entangled to see that I was going to lose. Too entangled to see that I could not escape…

without God.

And I am reminded of how Hezekiah just… asked for life and God granted it to Him. And Hezekiah’s response…

Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!
Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins.
For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness. Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.
Think of it—the Lord is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the Lord.
Isaiah 38:16-22

And how good it is to sit back and know that God is ready to heal me. He is ready to rescue me from death. He is ready to untangle me.

He is ready. Am I ready to ask?