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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baby Steps…

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. Its a ghost, they said, and cried out in fear.

ut Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Dont be afraid.
Lord, if its you, Peter replied, tell me to come to you on the water.
 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Matthew 14:22-29 (NIV)

I haven’t been myself lately. I haven’t felt like I was in the sun.  I don’t mind shady, but I’m a sunny girl. It’s always a good day. There’s always a reason to look up. I’ve spent the last two years blogging that “when life gets particularly rough, there is comfort in that in an imperfect world, a perfect God loves us and abides with us through all things." Yup, that's a quote, and it's mine. There is always a reason to praise the Lord. I know that. but honestly, on some level lately, I've been phoning it in. 

I am sincere in the encouragement I offer; I know how to be happy for someone else while feeling like I’m breathing under water…struggling. I’ve been feeling breathless a lot lately, and not in a good way. I know that God never fails; that His Love is unfailing and endures through all things, but I also know that I’ve been feeling like the Pearly Gates just closed, and I’m on the outside looking in. It might be enough to make you give up. 

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But you see, God gave a message that every now and then I need to return to …when life gets particularly rough, there is comfort in that in an imperfect world, a perfect God loves us and abides with us through all things. So, if I have faith, then I must proclaim that I don't want a right away God/ I must proclaim that I worship a God who is right with His timing, with His lessons, and with His Love. And so, in faith, I take baby steps.  

The disciples expected to perish in the storm, but Jesus walked out to calm the water. So traumatized by their fear, they mistook Jesus for a ghost. Peter took a baby step, asking, “Lord, if it’s You, call me to Your side.” Isn’t that the prayer of desperation? Doesn’t it resonate with the deepest, most afraid, most human part of your nature?

I took a baby step. As a member of the God-sized dream team, my mustard seed goal was to do one thing in furtherance of my goal to write and publish a book. I will not say that I offered my best work to God (my piece could have been better edited; I forgot include images, I’m sure I could have re-written it several times over). I was discouraged, frustrated by being on the sidelines joyfully cheering my sister-dreamers, more than a little sad that it wasn't yet my time. I took a baby step anyway. God blessed my mustard seed and now I’ve been published in an online magazine. I wasn’t rejected. I took a baby step.

Paraphrasing something Holley Gerth wrote that I read this morning, listening to her constant encouragement, listening to God, I crossed the ocean, burned the ships, and felt dry land under my feet. My toes got wet, but I walked in faith. (baby steps, but moving forward). I feel like dancing, and in fact I did, in praise, this morning.

I cannot say that I am enjoying being in the shade, but being in the shade still means you’re in the presence of the sun. The Son. Son shine. So, I will live broken, reminded that I am nothing without You, Lord. I will (try to) remember not to be discouraged… (I know Peter loses his nerve and falls in the water, but that’s a story for another day.) For now, I’m taking baby steps…

Don't be discouraged
Joy comes in the morning
Know that God is nigh 

Stand still and look up
God is going to show up
He is standing by 

There's healing for your sorrow
Healing for your pain
Healing for your spirit
There's shelter from the rain

Lord send the healing
For this we know
There is a balm in Gilead
…To heal the soul

Richard Smallwood

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