I love the ocean. I always have. The amazing power of the waves and the vast immenseness of it never cease to create awe within me. I am not, however, a true ocean swimmer. I’ll swim like a fish in any pool but the minute I can’t feel the sand of the ocean bottom beneath my feet I panic. I’m suddenly adrift in an ebb and flow that is clearly larger than anything I can control. Suddenly the bigness of the ocean is too big for me and I just want to be back on steady ground.
I also love my Jesus. Always have. I grew up in a Christian home and started following him at an early age. I passionately loved and served him to the best of what I had in me. Looking back though I can see I always held a little bit back. There was something about God that was too wild for me. I would never have admitted it, but much like the deep of the ocean I got scared when I couldn’t control the God I was serving. When I couldn’t figure him out I stayed near the known comfort-zone of the shore.
God must see the path I’ve laid out for myself as a toe dip in the ocean of an amazing story he has designed especially for me. I imagine he must laugh at the dreams I have for myself. Not a mocking laugh but an “I am so going to blow you away” kind of laugh.
For years I walked along the edge of God’s story for me with a toe dip here and a splash there. I spent my energy trying to outrun the waves that tried to sweep me in. Like a young child I would let the foam catch my toes and then run like mad for the shore. The shore was safe, the shore was known, and the shore was controllable.
Tattered and broken:
Then without warning the waves overtook me in the most devastatingly beautiful way. At the ripe age of 26 in the space of 15 months my life went from planned and controlled to tattered and broken. A debilitating incurable disease contacted on a mission’s trip to Asia, a severe birth defect discovered in both knees, and a lost job…. just to name a few. Not only had the waves overtaken me, but I was out to sea and barely keeping my head above water.
As pieces of my life fell down around me I had a choice to make. Either be swept under and live in fear or catch the wave knowing my Father was leading the way. I chose to swim. My life wasn’t in tatters because of things I had done, I had been living my life well and loving my Jesus faithfully. However, I had been living my life safe and as controlled and near the shore as possible. Many of us live our whole lives in safe and controlled mode. I believe God can bless us as we move along in that place, I also believe he blows the top off of the blessings when we let go of control and live in the unknown. Those scary waves are right where God desires us to live, for it is there that we truly begin to glimpse just a piece of all that he has for us.
Catching the waves:
If I’m in then I am all in. Once I made the decision to catch the waves and swim there was no looking back. I entered into four of the most scary, painful, and least-controlled years of my short life to date. I also experienced more of God than I ever imagined. I began to know Him as my Great Redeemer, as my Provider, as the Lover of my Soul, as the Author of my story, and as my Healer. As He gently guided and navigated the waves for me I found healing and wholeness in places I didn’t even know were broken.
For those of us who have ridden that wild unknown of an adventure with Jesus there is no going back. The adventure is not safe, it is not comfortable, and it is nowhere near the shore. However, I can testify that I would chose to be nowhere else. God has taken my broken tattered pieces and is creating a story unlike anything I could have ever imagined. When you are whole and healthy there is no limit of what God can do in and through you.
Swim my friends, jump in with both feet!
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
. She’s passionate about being Jesus to a hurting world. She’s also passionate about reading on the beach, finding a good golf game, and eating froyo in every state she visits. You can find out more at www.melissajamcdonald.com .