It’s easy for me to hold on to hope and faith and God’s promises when the day is smooth sailing and basically meeting my expectations. Faith in those moments requires almost no effort.
And therein lies the problem.
Because I am not actively engaging my hope – my faith – when the seas of my life are placid, my hope, my faith, evaporates quickly when storms erupt. Like yesterday.
Yesterday is what I like to call one of my Peter moments; specifically that moment when Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples and closest friends, responded to Jesus’s invitation to step out of the boat he was in and meet Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. Immediately, Peter climbs out of the boat and takes a few steps before the storm overwhelmed his senses and he began to sink, crying out to Jesus to come to him and to save him (Matthew 14:22-33).
Every morning, Jesus calls to me and invites me to join Him where He is. Every morning, like Peter, I respond without hesitation and step out of the boat that is my safe haven. I step out to join Him in the adventure of my life and to live it boldly and confidently in the face of whatever comes.
In the face of Asperger’s and parenting unconditionally and special needs and living out the God-given dream that He placed in my heart and designed just for me. A dream that includes writing, serving my family in love, parenting unconditionally, building an extraordinary marriage and creating with Him, living in community and guiding and empowering my girls into who God designed them to be.
Of course, adventure involves risk and it involves unknowns. It also tends to include paths that are not smooth and that test my resolve, my hope, my faith. Because of this, I know I need to keep my eyes on Jesus and not on my circumstances. Sometimes I succeed.
Yesterday I did not.
Yesterday,when faced with an overwhelming meltdown in the middle of the behavioral center waiting room I took my eyes off Jesus and like Peter I quickly sank into the storm. In place of hope, doubt. In place of boldness, humiliation. In place of faith, frustration, desperation, hurt.
If you’re a parent of a child who is more, perhaps you’ve been there, in that moment when doubt wraps itself around you and you sink into despair. You wonder if you’re doing anything right and worry what all those other parents watching you must be thinking about you. You question everything you thought you knew and how you’ve been doing this whole parenting thing.
It doesn’t take long to lose your hope and your faith and find yourself like Peter, like me, gasping for breath and calling out to Jesus for help. I didn’t cry out immediately. Instead I let the lies seep in and I followed them down the rabbit hole of fear and doubt, led into darkness by the voice of my worst critic – me.
Whether you’re a parent or not, perhaps you’ve experienced similar moments. Maybe you’ve faced storms that upend everything you think and believe. Storms that cause you to lose sight not only of Jesus but of who you are in Him.
Well, here’s the good news. Those moments are building you up even as you’re sinking down into the depths of doubt and darkness. Until yesterday, I’d read the verses and heard people talk about how trials provide us the opportunity to grow and to persevere and to become more of who God calls us to be, but they were merely words.
Until yesterday, they were words without real meaning or serious application.
Because yesterday, though I sank into the familiar dark and doubt, I was different. I stopped in my tracks, the rabbit hole tracks leading into wallowing desperation and the enemy’s lies, and I sought Jesus’s face. I called on His name and His promises. I broke into prayers of thanksgiving and prayers for wisdom.
And He met me there, reminding me who I am in Him, renewing my hope and whispering His Truth to my heart, my world-weary mama heart, through His Spirit living in me. As with Peter, Jesus pulled me to safety and then reminded me that I can trust Him; that I should trust Him by now.
And I do. More today than yesterday.
So today, like yesterday, when He calls me to join Him in the adventure of this life I’ve been given in Him and through Him, I step onto the waters and know that I will take more steps in faith today because of yesterday.
Today I am stronger than yesterday. And you are, too, friend. You are, too.