This last week Mark and I had a fight and in the midst of the fight Mark said, “you just need to accept were we are”. I said, “I refuse to accept were we are, I just can’t do it. I need to have hope I need to know something better is coming.” Neither one of us said anything else, but it did spark some deep thinking on my part about what it meant to accept something and what that meant for my relationship with Jesus.
I began realizing that I have lived my whole life refusing to see where I was in a situation. It hurt too much, was too embarrassing, or too shameful. I mentally could not stay where I was. I needed hope, I needed to know something else was coming, something better. I needed to know that I would be rescued from whatever hell I was in at the moment. What I have come to realize is when I look to far into the future, when I refuse to accept the moment, I am not able to work through the pain, hurt, whatever emotion is going on. I could choose to feel it and let Abba heal it as I am going through it. I also tend to rush the lesson that Abba was trying to teach me, when if I slowed down and went the pace Abba meant for me to I might learn the lesson in full instead of having to repeat the lesson later. Because, if I don’t learn what Abba wants me to the first go round he will bring it back. He’s a loving daddy that wants his little girl to find freedom not only in heaven but also on earth. When I rush through a situation looking to be rescued I am unable to see the life raft drifting beside me. I am so busy treading water waiting to be rescued that I cannot see Abba leaning over offering me his hand. The rescue has been there all along, but because I was sure there must be a different rescue plan I refused to be pulled aboard.
Now that Abba has opened my eyes, now that I am ready to let go of control, I am able to see the life boat that has always been at the ready to rescue me. But, it isn’t a life boat, not really, it’s Jesus walking on the water as he did with the Apostle Peter. While I”m treading water sure I will drown Jesus is walking beside me ready to give me a hand up, waiting for me to realize that I too can walk on water when Jesus lives inside of me and when it’s Jesus working through me. I can only walk on water when I accept that I am helpless each and everyday. I can only be free when I pour my pain, my situation, when I can level and be real with myself. When I can be real with myself, instead of in denial, I can then go to Abba, to daddy, to his word. I can hear and soak in his truths about me.
I find myself ready to ride the lazy river. You know the ride I’m talking about, it’s my favorite ride at water parks. You get a tube, try to not so gracefully get on the tube, then for hours and hours you can rest and relax. The man made current allowing you to go around and around on the lazy river. Mark and I are in a painful place financially. I haven’t wanted to look at it, I haven’t wanted to admit, and accept out loud were we are. It’s embarrassing, it feels shameful, there’s anger mixed in there, and I want to stomp my foot in tantrum style. I need to grieve this place we are in, I need to feel every emotion, I need to cry and let the tears heal as a balm to my soul. In this moment of life I need to take the gift of being able to feel and let Abba heal me, even while we are in the moment. I didn’t even know it was possible to function like this, but, now that I do, it’s awesome! Now that I do I want to feel every ugly emotion and I want to combat it with truth of the situation. I want to go through the grieving process so that Jesus can show me another level of how deep his love goes.
The thing about this lazy river ride with Jesus is it’s not really a lazy river. This “ride” has rapids, it has waterfalls, it has some smooth parts but they are rare, mostly to give me a breath before the next rapid. I am not alone on this wild ride, no, Christ goes with me. When I lived in Colorado I had a shirt that said row, row, row your boat down a bone crushing, life crushing, class V stream. Because Jesus has rescued me I can sit back and accept the waterfall, the rapids, or the waves. I can bring my fear, my anger, my joy, my peace and know that I can sit back and relax knowing that I am safe in Jesus’ raft. I could go it alone in a flimsy inner tube, but facing the challenges this world gives us would mean I go it alone. I am ready to accept the painful world around me, but I accept it knowing that Christ is in me, that Christ has already saved me. I do not need to look to the future to be rescued, the rescue has already come, it’s up to me to stop treading water, stop trying to do life my own way and get into the raft. It’s been there all along and I am so very thankful that Abba didn’t wait any longer to draw my attention to it.
Mark and I’s financial situation is uncertain, but one thing that is certain is that Abba has everything under control, the rescue boat has been revealed to me, I have been pulled into the boat, and right now my wounds are being tended to. There are tears that need to come, I have 35 years of accepting to wash over me, but I do not do it alone. Jesus is carrying me all the way, I have already found so much freedom, and I am so very ready for even more freedom. Did you know freedom can be found on earth, I didn’t either until recently. I didn’t know that there was even more freedom in being willing to live in the painful place I find myself.
Elizabeth Elliot died this week, she has mentored me for years through her books, but do you know how she got to be so wise? Do you know how she got to be such a leader? God took her through painful trials throughout her life and instead of cursing him in anger, she turned to him as the great comforter instead. She allowed him to take her anger and her pain and turn it into a beautiful masterpiece. Abba was her vine, she was his willing branch, and through her God has touched thousands of lives. I want to be like that, too. I want my branch so tightly grafted into Abbas vine that nothing can ever pull me off. I want to accept where I am so that Abba can heal me as I go through the situation. I want Abba to use my life to encourage others to stop treading water, to stop trying to rescue themselves, and to realize the rescue has already come. But, it must be accepted, Jesus will never demand we get rescued, he will let us continue to tread water until we become willing. Love is not forcing someone to do something, but he does invite us, and it’s up to us to decide if we will accept the help he’s giving us right now, today.
I still dream, I still have desires, but I have stopped trying to live for tomorrow and I am beginning to live for today and trust Jesus for tomorrow. Today is the tomorrow I worried about yesterday. I’m found, I’m rescued, and I choose to live on Jesus yacht on earth that will one day take me to paradise in heaven. Treading water is too hard, come join the party, the Jesus yacht is waiting for you!